For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Friday, December 31, 2010

Begin Again

Proverbs 15:30
Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, 
   and good news gives health to the bones.

I grew up reading and watching the Peanuts cartoons. Lucy frustrated me, I felt bad for Charlie Brown and Snoopy, well he was just funny. But my very favorite character of all is Linus. He may have carried a blanket and been a bit insecure, but he had a way of bringing to light the great philosophies of life.

For Christmas this year, Maggie gave me a cup with Linus and his blanket on the front; inside the cup is written, “Tomorrow I start with a clean blanket.” I love that. I have often said, “every day I get up and start again”. The good news is, Jesus gives me the forgiveness and grace to start again, every day. Each day, I can begin again through prayer and repentance. As I begin this New Year, I praise God for his message of salvation and love and the opportunity to begin again.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

God's Gift

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Two days before Christmas
The gifts are all wrapped,
The stockings are stuffed
And I need a nap.
The food must be cooked
The house sparkling clean,
I’m beginning to see
Why the Grinch was so mean.
But then I remember
That Jesus loves me,
And came to this world
So his grace would be free.
During the hustle and bustle of Christmas, it is not always easy to stop and know that God’s love came to earth so that we may have life. During this crazy, busy holiday, take time to be still and listen to God. Hear his voice telling you that he loves you. Feel his arms around you. Jesus came to earth so that we could live with him forever. There is no greater gift than that.
I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, filled with the joy of the season.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Love Him

Luke 2:4-7

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Each year I display the nativity (defined by Merriam Webster as the circumstances of birth, particularly Jesus’) that I inherited from my Grammy. It has three pieces, Mary, Joseph and Jesus all in an antique white. I love its simplicity. One of my daughter’s has a lovely Willow Tree set with many pieces. I like that the shepherd’s and angel surround the holy family. Artists have rendered the nativity as everything from rugged to glitzy with some bling.

Last year, Maggie gave me the Fisher Price Nativity set, and I think it is my favorite. I don’t display it on a shelf as an untouchable piece of art. Instead, the characters sit on the floor where our grandchildren can interact with them. Isn’t that how it should be with Jesus? When he lived on earth as a human, he didn’t want to be on a throne. He walked among the people, all the people. He created relationships with his disciples. He loved the unlovable. He doesn’t want to sit on my shelf, he wants me to connect with him, befriend him, and love him. Praise God for Jesus!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Heart Light

2 Corinthians 4:6

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

When I was about 13 or 14 years old my brother, Darryl, climbed the pine tree in the front yard and filled it with Christmas lights. Please understand that this tree stood about three stories tall. Somehow he shimmied to the top and strung the bulbs all up and down the branches. I am thinking that my brother, Ron, and my dad probably helped him. What a beautiful sight, when those lights blazed. Drivers could see that tree from two roads away.

Every Christmas Tim and I drive through the local neighborhoods to see the lights. I love the warm glow and the cheerfulness they bring to celebrating Jesus. Yet, with all of the lights shimmering outside, the most incredible light that I experience is the light that shines in my heart from the grace that God gives me. The grace that he pours over me is the most beloved gift I will ever receive. This Christmas I want Jesus light to shine and his grace to flow. Praise God for his light!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Spirit of Christmas

Luke 2:8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

I usually start thinking about Christmas in October; preparing my list of what we want to get for who and figuring out if I am making any of the gifts. But I have a confession to make. When my thoughts went to planning for another hectic season of busy, busy, busy I decided I would rather be Scrooge. I thought about not putting up our tree, not worrying about gifts and not being too busy. But like Scrooge I was visited by a Spirit. Stay with me here. I’m not saying that three spirits came and dragged me around my life; I am saying that the Holy Spirit, my comforter, prompted me to pray about Christmas.

When I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself and talked to God about my issues, I saw Christmas with fresh eyes. I saw Jesus in the manger and on the cross. I saw the joy in my grandchildren’s eyes. I saw opportunities to celebrate with family and friends the joyous event of the birth of the Savior of the world. Like the shepherds I stand in awe of the truth. God sent his Son to save me. He made a way for me to spend eternity in heaven. He loves me and because of this I celebrate this Christmas season with praise. Everything I do for Christmas is done as a praise to God, even lighting my Christmas tree. I praise God for his giving Spirit this Christmas.