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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Timor Omnis Abesto

1 John 4:17-18
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…

Many of my writer friends choose a particular word to focus on for the year. Most pick a term that helps improve personal habits like generosity, self-control, or patience. For 2014, I want to zero in on the word fear. Much of my mom’s family (the Abbotts) comes from the MacNab clan of Scotland. Through my brother’s research, we found out that the MacNab motto is “Timor Omnis Abesto” (Let fear be far from all). They were a people of war and had to enter the battlefields without fear.

When I read about my ancestors and the time they spent defending their clan, I thought about the battles I face every day. Granted they aren’t wars filled with weapons or warriors. Instead they’re spiritual struggles between evil and good.  As I follow Jesus, temptations, fears, and frustrations arise. But because I follow Jesus, his love drives out all trepidation. He helps me to keep my anxiety under control. As I focus on the word fear for 2014, I want to “Let fear be far from all.” In all I do, say, and believe, I want fear to be gone. Thank goodness Jesus love casts out all fear.

Is there a word you want to focus on in 2014?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas King

Luke 1:30-33
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father 
David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

The tree is trimmed, the gifts all wrapped, the cookies baked…Christmas. But where’s the baby? Oh no worries, I have my nativity set up and displayed in a prominent place. Jesus’ sweet little likeness sits center stage. Mary and Joseph bow before him, while he sleeps in heavenly peace. What a lovely image. One I cherish. Yet, it’s not enough.

The angel told Mary that Jesus’ life held more than she could even imagine. He was destined to be a king. Not royalty like Kate and Will. Not even like Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar. King Jesus reigns over the eternal kingdom, heaven. As I celebrate the season of his birth, I can’t help but think about his life and death and the mercy and grace he brought to the people on earth. God loved me enough to give the gift of his son, who reigns in my heart. Praise God for Jesus and his birth!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Everyday?

 Luke 2:13-16
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.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

Do you think you could do Christmas all year round? I’ve read several quotes and articles this season proclaiming how wonderful it would be if we had Christmas everyday. I love Christmas, but I know I couldn’t keep the pace for more than a season. The hustle and bustle, the Christmas luncheons, parties, get-togethers…the shopping. No, those would wear me out and make me want to hibernate. But what I can do is hold onto the joy. I love the delight I see in my grandchildren the first time they push the button on Snoopy’s hand, and he dances and sings about the holiday. My granddaughter shares my appreciation for the musical globe of angels I treasure from my childhood.  The stories the minister shares and the eternal message of Jesus fill me for months. And the music, both holy and fun-filled energizes me.

But come January 1, I’m ready to take down the tree, put away my Santa collection, tuck the nativity in tissue paper and wrap up the season. Christmas year round doesn’t tell the whole story. If I only celebrate Jesus birth, I’ll miss out on the best part of history. Jesus’ life, though short, amazes me. The love he shared with everyone, the miracles, the quiet times, and the times he was surrounded by thousands. He loved unconditionally. If I only celebrated Christmas, where does that leave Easter? Jesus died and rose from the dead for me; he forgave and continues to forgive my sins. So, I’ll celebrate Christmas and enjoy it for a time. The rest of the year, I’ll praise him for the difference He’s made in my life.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hey Moon

Matthew 2:9-11
After they [the Magi or Wisemen] had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

1 Corinthians 15:41
The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

Sidewalk Prophets has a new Christmas CD featuring the song “Hey Moon.”  In the song, the star that shined at Jesus birth reminisces with the moon about the night the Savior was born. I understand that inanimate objects don’t actually converse, but what an awesome idea for the very star that twinkled on that glorious night to remember the majesty and glory of Jesus.

We know from reading Matthew 2, the Magi followed a star to find Jesus. We don’t know if three men traveled, only two or more. We do know they carried expensive and symbolic gifts to honor him. We don’t know if he was still a newborn when they saw him. Even though we may not know the exact details of the story, the most important part we do know. They bowed and worshipped him. They followed the star to find the King, the one who would give grace to the world. They were wise men because they recognized the one who would give believers a new life through his resurrection. So yes, I’d like to hear the conversation between the star and the moon and the wonder they must have had for this sweet baby, Jesus. Surely they worshipped him, too.