Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Don't Miss Christmas

Here we are, just a few days before Christmas … and are we gonna miss Christmas again? 

I hope not. 

I really hope not.

You and I need Christmas, even if for a few moments alone in our living room, or den, or wherever we place our Christmas tree.

Some will physically miss Christmas because of distance or weather conditions or planes and train schedules.  I regret that for them.

But … don’t miss Christmas.

I have been practicing the art of capturing bits and pieces of Christmas this year.  I’ve often sat at my desk, in the dark, with the simple lights of our tree nearby. 

I love looking at our tree.  It is a lovely array of blue, red and green lights.  There are more ornately decorated trees around, but this is our tree.  I reflect on the day we picked it out, brought it home, and set it up. 

As we go through the season I marvel at the magical music of the season.  We always hear our favorites done in a traditional way, and we hear a nice sprinkling of the new, the fresh music from some amazing creative minds.
I pause and give thanks for their creativity.

I have seen the shine of Christmas in the eyes of little ones – bright eyes, enormous smiles, and happy giggles.

We had a sprinkle of Christmas two weeks ago when our grandkids and kids gathered here at home to make Ginger Bread houses.

I’ve read a few stories about differing aspects of the Christmas experience.  I’ve tried to capture some fresh thoughts on the season in my writing.

I have endeavored, this year especially, to not miss Christmas.

It is too important of a season, too magical of an event, to rush past.  There are too many small and simple meanings to capture, and if I get too busy, or rush too quickly, I miss the smaller moments of Christmas.

~I’ve savored a cup of hot eggnog more than once while gazing at our tree.
~I’ve had a few cups of peppermint tea with a peppermint stick as a nightcap while reading or listening to some source on Christmas.
~I’ve gotten caught up in Buddy the Elf, George and the town of Bedford Falls, dreaming of a White Christmas, and Scrooge’s declaration of being a better man, a better friend, to Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit’s family.  

I’ve pondered again the babe in the manger, the announcement of His coming, the shepherds and wise men, and the amazing declaration of “For with God nothing is impossible.”

I’ve made it a point this year to slow down my Christmas.  I’ve done some on-purpose thinking, reflecting and pondering the many aspects of Christmas.

It has made a difference.  I am different because of it.

Whenever it is that you read these words, there is enough time to capture a bit of Christmas for yourself.

~Sip a cup of cheer.
~Hum your favorite carol or seasonal favorite.
~Smile and offer your heartfelt “Merry Christmas.”

Just don’t let Christmas Day go by and realize you’ve missed Christmas.

Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, December 12, 2016

You Mean Christmas Means More

You mean Christmas means more than …
    Decorated trees
     Yummy hams
      Golden baked turkey
       Pies galore
        Chocolate fudge
         Cookies with sprinkles
          Dolls and video games
           Golden rings
             Sweaters and sox

You mean there is more?

Oh, my.  What on earth could you mean by “more”?

What?  What did you say?

~A baby?  In a manger?
~A star that lead some wise guys?
~Shepherds and sheep and a sleepless night?
~A virgin giving birth?  What was she thinking?
~A rescuer?  Who?  What is his name?  Where did he come from?

Peace on earth … good will to all men and women everywhere!

Merry Christmas.

Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Manger Baby was Human

 The baby in the manger that we celebrate at Christmas time – He was a human baby, with all the working parts just like any other baby.

He lungs worked well, for he cried, just like any other baby you’ve ever been around.

He pooped, he burped, he gurgled and laughed, he cooed, he spit up and tossed and turned just like every other baby we know.

And he didn’t bypass puberty.  He charged right on through that as well, for he was fully human – and fully divine.

And he had a career.  He became a carpenter.  He hit his hand a time or two, he stubbed his toe, his beard itched, he had body odor and he had to wash his cloths. 

He lived his life in those days just like you and I do.  It was a mundane life, mostly.  He had to learn his craft just as He had to learn to speak and read and write.  His parents taught Him to play nice with the other kids, and to share.

Perhaps he had a crush on that cute Jewish girl next door, or she had a crush on him.  Perhaps he didn’t really care for his math teacher, yet he learned, just like we learn.

He became a man, and lived among us.  He was one of us, you see.

This man, Jesus, was fully human and fully divine. 

John 1:14 says this: “The Word became flesh and made his home with us. 

I can’t relate to some rich oil baron in Dubai.  We have so little in common.  Our worlds never touch.

But I had a friend named Bruce once.  It was said, at his funeral that “Bruce was Jesus with skin on his face.”  My, oh my, what a concept.  Now I could relate to Bruce.  He sang in a choir I directed a few times.  I heard him sing solos and duets, and we appeared together in an Easter production once.  I could relate to Bruce for he was like me in so many ways.

That is what the babe-in-the-manger thing is really all about.  He came to experience life like us so that He could show us the way.

He wasn’t a theory.  He wasn’t a drawing on a sheet of paper of some future species.

He was flesh and blood and real.

I can relate to Him!

As we consider Christmas this year, I think we should make the candy, cook the hams and turkeys, wrap the presents, sing the songs and see the plays and pageants. 

And we especially should reflect on and read about this small child that was born of a virgin, and He grew up, just like us, and lived His life on earth, and died an earthly death – and He did it for you and me.

To show how much love He had – in the end, He stretched out His arms in one final gesture of love – and died.

I believe in the Manger Baby.

Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time