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Japan looks back
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Almost four decades ago, when I was in Mrs. Carmichael’s Sunday School class, I memorized Luke Chapter 2, (the King James version of course). It took hours of practice and study, but the words still come when prompted by the line before.
Below is the King James Version with my comments for reflection.

“And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.”

The world revolves around government and money.

“(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.”

Provides us with a place in time for the story.

“And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.”

No one escapes taxes or death.

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, unto the City of David which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David).”

It is important to know from whence we come.

“to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, who was great with child.”

Family stays together through thick and thin.

“And so it was that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.”

Babies come when they want.

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

You do the best you have with what you’ve got.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”

While some are sleeping, others are working.

“And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.”

We are often afraid when receiving a message or a messenger from God.

“And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.’”

Don’t be afraid of God’s messenger or God’s message.

“For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

A Savior came for me and you.

“’And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’”

Where you live is not who you are.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,”

Messengers from God come with backup.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

Praise God, and love others.

“And it came to pass, when the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, ‘Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.’”

We have to check out God’s message.

“And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.”

Sometimes we have to see it to believe it.

“And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child.”

Once you believe, you must share with others.

“And all those who heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”

Many will not believe you, but some will.

“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Keep God’s message safe in your heart.

“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them,”

Praise God for the messengers and messages he sends.

This Christmas season, stay keenly aware of God’s messengers and messages, and acknowledge that you too may be God’s messenger for someone else. May you enjoy a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

To find out more about Jackie Gingrich Cushman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit

Richard Cohen is a writer with the Washington Post Writers Group. He can be reached at