A week after what man calls 'Christmas', when corpse husband is eight days old, it is time to circumcise Him, and Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem. Do remember that Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles around the end of September or beginning of October.

This incident might be unfamiliar to many, even although it is only one week after angels appeared to shepherds. There are not many carols or pictures on cards about this day. Why?

This scene is a very Jewish aspect of the birth of Jesus, but it has a real message. God had said that this should be done and Mary and Joseph obey, without questioning.

They did what God told them to do, and Jesus received a mark, which would never be erased. He sheds blood at the hands of men. Mary and Joseph did everything that was required of them. They put God first.

It is important to make that decision, and it can be significant to tell God that He is going to be first in our lives.

The start of another year is an excellent time to tell Him.

They had to offer a sacrifice in The Temple and they chose a pair of pigeons - the sacrifice offered only by the poor. Jesus was raised in a financially poor home - godly, yes - but not a lot of money.

Later on, Jesus knows what it is to look for a lost coin, and have patches on His clothes, and He uses these experiences in His preaching and teaching. Yet, you can never outgive God. These had been difficult days for Mary and Joseph. Perhaps they had to scrape things together to make this sacrifice.

But travelling on their way are wise men, and one of them has gold. You can never outgive God.

God knows how to reward you when you have sacrificed and obeyed.

I move on some thirty years or so to see what happens when a man just refuses to sacrifice and obey.

You will find the text of this too in Doctor Luke's book.

A rich young ruler approached Jesus Christ to ask how he could have eternal life. It was a good question and he came to the right person. He is religious and wealthy, yet something is deeply upsetting him. All is not well in his heart and mind.

He has no assurance that he belonged to God. His religious searching and seeking has got him nowhere.

Jesus refers this spiritual wanderer to the authority and reliability of the Word of God mentioning five of the Ten Commandments. "Do not commit adultery. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not be a false witness. Honour your father and mother."

His reply was, "All these I have kept since I was a boy." When this rich young ruler examined his own life he awarded himself a fairly high pass mark, thinking he had not done too badly. And yet, something important was troubling him and it would not go away.

Realising what was missing, Jesus told him to "sell everything you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

When he heard what Jesus said, he became very sad. It showed. Jesus sees our reactions. Our face reveals more than we think.

This man with such potential responded in the wrong way. He would have become spiritually rich, not because he gave away his money or sold his possessions and property, but because he obeyed Jesus.

Keeping the commandments is never enough. He was being called to obey the Commander.

This man's values were lop-sided. His love of what he owned was greater than his desire to be a disciple of Jesus.

Sometimes it does not take very much to make someone walk away.