IT WAS THE LAST LEG of Jesus’ trip to the Cross.
In an all-day trip, he headed 20 miles (33 km) uphill—a winding climb about three quarters of a mile up from Jericho, 846 feet below sea level (248 m) in the Jordan River Valley, to Jerusalem, elevation about half a mile high, at 2582 feet (787 m).
I’ve been creating maps for the Casual English Bible online beta edition of the Gospel of Luke. I’m nearly done.
It’s a bit odd studying the death of Jesus when we’re celebrating his birth.
But I noticed something surprising about how these two stories work together, and Mary’s role in it.
In my Bible study group last week we talked a lot about Mary, and about the feelings she must have been developing for her coming baby. We talked, too, about the extent of a mother’s love after a child is born and even when the child is grown.
I played a video of my daughter singing one of the songs she sings to her son, Owen, who will be a year old on December 30. The song is “Be Still,” written by Isaac Slade, Joseph King, David Welsh, Ben Wysocki. The song begins with this assurance:
Be still and know that I’m with you
Be still and know that I am here.
There’s a powerful verse that seeks to soothe in the worst of times:
And when you go through the valley
And the shadow comes down from the hill
If morning never comes to be
Be still, be still, be still.
As the song draws to an end, two more lines grab my heart and squeeze:
If no one is standing beside you
Be still and know I am.
I created a homemade video of this song, using my daughter’s voice humbly recorded on her cell phone. I wove that video into videos and photos I had of Owen, so that the lyrics matched the scenes.
The message of the song my daughter sang to her boy seemed clear to me: “I’m here for you. I’ll always be here for you.”
The surprising link to the Christmas story hit me with such force that it pumped tears into my eyes the moment the thought arrived.
The song my daughter sings to her baby isn’t just a song Mary could have sung in Bethlehem. It’s a song she could have sung at Calvary.
She was always there for her boy.
Free books for Christmas
Christmas is coming and I’ve got some books I’d be happy to give away to people you think might actually read them.
Here’s the catch. The books aren’t for you. They’re for someone you know.
Below are books I have to give away, as long as they last.
If you know of someone who might like one, email me. Pick out a book and send me the person’s name and address. I’ll sign the book to them and mail it to them. No charge.
Here are the books available, first come first served.
- A Visual Walk Through Genesis (newest book)
- A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible
- Strange and Mysterious Stuff from the Bible
- 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible (first edition)
- Quién es quién y dónde es dónde en la Biblia 2.0 (Spanish edition of Who’s Who & Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0)
- Big Dummies of the Bible
- La Guía Completa de Profecías Bíblicas (Spanish edition of The Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy; small version that’s hard for older eyes to read).