Betwixt and Between

Betwixt and Between:

a midway position :  neither one thing nor the other

Thanksgiving is over.

Christmas is soon.

holly

A large Thanksgiving meal–prepared and eaten.  Giving thanks for the many blessings we have had throughout the year–a reminder that all throughout the year is time to be grateful.

Yes, yes, I’ll get back to that after Christmas.

When the meal is done and all have gone home, many pull out the decorations and begin to prepare for Christmas.  There are about four weeks to plan, shop, write and send cards, possibly travel, prepare another meal.  It feels hectic. It can be.

Wait…this season is beautiful.  It is filled with reminders: the coming birth of Jesus Christ, Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem in preparation for the census, a manger will hold the newborn Babe, a star directs shepherds to the Christ Child, the Holy One.

We should be aware and watching for the Star of Bethlehem, be traveling with Mary and Joseph, be there at the manger.

star

Why are we rushing to and fro in search of something material when the true Gift is coming right into our hearts?  Why are we so busy with things that are ‘expected’ yet may not be ‘necessary?’  Why are we not still, awaiting for the Savior to come?  Why are we not looking up?

I know, I know.  Christmas is when we gather and give.  Gift-giving may be to children and others.  There may be expressions of love.  Family and friends who have been apart for a long time may come together for the holiday.  I am not saying that this is all wrong.  But we need to slow down and look up.  We need to remember Who Christmas is about and what He means to us.  He came to save us from our sins, from ourselves.  He came to lay His life down for us…for me.  

     For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  Luke 2:11-14

Father in Heaven, forgive us for being so wrapped up by the world and all of the things of it.  Forgive us for forgetting Who You sent into this world for our salvation.  Forgive us for thinking that we understand what this beautiful Christmas season is all about when we often barely give Jesus a thought in the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  Father, I pray for the many who are so caught in the stuff of Christmas.  I pray that they will not miss another Christmas of You, of Jesus.  I pray that they will see all that they have been missing for far too many years.  I pray that the eyes and ears of our hearts be opened to the coming of Your Son, Your One and Only Gift.  May we stand before the manger in awe this Christmas and know that Your Love has come to us, come for us.  May we be still and quiet so we will know the Spirit of Christmas.  May our hearts be calm to hear Your Voice.  I pray that we will see Your perfect Gift.   May praises come forth from our lips and hearts; may our songs be filled with thanksgiving.  Father, I pray that we will not be standing betwixt nor between, but would stand strong with You and beside You.  I so pray this in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.     

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Give Yourself to Jesus

nativity silhouette clip art

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).  
Matthew 1:23

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”  Luke 2:14

starofbethlehem2

I am grateful, Father, for the beautiful Gift of Your Son.

May I believe with the eyes of faith.

May I see with the eyes of my heart.

May I hear with the ears of my soul.

I come to the manger with the heart of a mother.

The Cross is before me on which I nail my sins, knowing that I am forgiven.

I walk the path You have for me when I stay by Your side.

I am so glad I am Yours…

and am thankful that You are always weaving me into the one You created.

Thank You for leading me to Christ Jesus.

In His Name, I pray.

Amen.

wreath02

Thank you, sweet friends, for visiting me here at “Being Woven” as you do and for blessing me with love and comments.

May your Christmas be sweet and your hands be open to receive our Blessed Savior.

Is Giving Care Different During the Holidays?

2 redchristmas

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,….

Christmas is coming. This time of year can be joyous as we celebrate the birth of our LORD and enjoy family and friends. Holidays can bring stress too. Being the main caregiver can add additional stress, changing the entire dynamics of the traditions of your Christmas (and other holidays).

As caregivers, you may be wishing that the holidays were over or anticipate them with a dread because you just can’t handle the stress of all the “doing” that you find is expected. You may find that you have been alienated by your caregiving duties. Friends don’t call or come by as they once did. You can’t find anyone to watch your care receiver so you may go with your husband to his office party. You have family coming into town to see the parent you care for and you hold resentment towards one or more of them for their lack of support or for telling you how to do something even though they never offer actual help. You dread the encounter, yet do not want to start an argument. You just wish it all were behind you. Your care receiver struggles to recognize pictures accompanying Christmas cards, getting agitated for their lack of memory. Or they don’t recognize where they are because the Christmas tree is taking up the corner where a certain chair is the rest of the year. These issues may occur year-round, but with the added expectations of holidays, you almost would rather skip them. Know that you are not alone.

Many people laden with family expectations, caregivers or otherwise, go through the holidays hoping they will be over soon.  Rather than wish we could bury our heads in the sand, keep in mind that you can begin anew, set down parameters that work well for you, and remember what Christmas is really all about.  A Savior came into the world over 2,000 years ago.  He is our peace, our Prince of Peace.

For a Child will be born for us,

a Son will be given to us,

and the government will be on His shoulders.

He will be named

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 

Isaiah 9:6

Jesus is our all and worthy to be praised.  During these times, let us keep our eyes focused on Him.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.  To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen. 1 Timothy 1:15-17

As Paul directed Timothy, Jesus reminds us that He is with us.  He is our “perfect patience,” guiding us through each day, through this time of year.

Ways to hold Jesus’ “perfect patience” during this holiday season:

  • Maintain a regular routine for both you and your loved one. The one being cared for must be considered of prime importance.  He or she may or may not know what time of year it is. If they are very sick, a holiday may mean nothing to them because they just don’t feel up to doing anything or being around crowds. Many need peace and quiet; others need to have the family gathered with the delight of children. Knowing their needs are a must. A person with dementia/Alzheimer’s usually needs to have little or no confusion or frustration in their environment.  Try to prevent loud noises, whether that be music or conversations.  Keep one room as a ‘quiet room’ for a nap or for a refuge from all of the hubbub.  Taking them to another’s home or a strange place can cause confusion.  Be conscience of the foods offered, making sure he/she eats/drinks properly.
  • Take care of yourself: staying healthy, both physically and spiritually, includes eating right and nourishing the soul.  The care receiver can often sense that you are tired, stressed, or burdened.  By caring for yourself, they see a loving, focused giver of care.
  • Allow yourself to say “No” to obligations or invitations.  You may have to limit just what you are able to do.  Decide early, letting family know.  Tradition often has to be exchanged for whatever is better for you and the care receiver.  Live up to the expectations that Jesus sets for you, not anyone else’s. 
  • Permit yourself to say “yes” to offers of assistance.  Don’t be shy to ask either.
  • Be positive and hold onto the beauty of Christmas.  Holidays are for memories, joy, and reflection.  Spend time talking about past times, special memories, looking through photo albums.  A care receiver may need this too.  Even if the care receiver doesn’t join in verbally, you may catch a smile or they may close their eyes to savor those moments.
    Memories affirm a sense of being valued and loved.
  • If the care receiver is able, involve them in decorating or making some of the food.  (Mama had special ornaments that she enjoyed seeing up every year so I made a point to have her tell me where to place them, letting her do what she could.  One year, both of my sisters were here for Thanksgiving.  Rather than have turkey and dressing, we made ravioli which Mama’s Italian father had made all of his life.  We three girls made it as Mama shredded up the spinach and directed us.  She loved it, especially the eating.  We were told it was “close to Grandpa’s.”  We have precious memories of that day.)  Play Christmas music.  Sing together.  Watch a Christmas movie from the era of their memory.
  • Depending upon the care receiver, friends and family visits can be important.  It is usually best if just one or a few at a time are with the person.  If the loved one lives in a nursing facility and cannot come to the place where the family is gathering, then small groups should go over and spread the joy out throughout the day.
  • Pray with or over your loved one.
  • If you have family members coming to your home and they have not seen the care receiver for a long time, sharing changes that have occurred since their last visit can be helpful if ongoing communication has not happened.  Sometimes we have estranged family members who are going to be there.  For some, nothing you could say will be heard or taken to heart so silence may be the best way to handle that.  They just need to spend time with the person. (My mother would often be so ‘together’ when my sisters would show up, but over their week’s stay, ‘the Mama’ I dealt would usually appear! If the visit was short, one sister would go away wondering what my problem was for she say nothing much changed.) My best advice would be to just let it happen as it will.
  • Gift-giving: If you are a family member or friend of the caregiver and receiver, visits and certain gifts can and should be given year-round.  Giving the caregiver a break is a wonderful gift: hiring a professional respite team to care for the loved one, or care for the loved one yourself.  Take meals from time to time, but often.  They can be prepared, frozen, gift certificates to local restaurants.  Asking if the caregiver needs anything often is answered with a “No,” but that usually is not the truth.  Offer assistance and then do it.  For the care receiver, gifts of music, comfortable clothing, bird feeders, photo albums, puzzles, games, are all possible gifts.  Think about the caregiver when giving a gift to the receiver for if a gift causes more stress on the one giving care, then it really is not a gift.
  • Sharing our faith with one another is really what Christmas and Easter are about.  Our stories of God’s saving grace should bring us joy no matter what the situation is with the one needing care.  He is the source of joy.  His river never runs dry.  The one with limits now needs to hear this beautiful story no matter how sad you may feel about their condition or impending death.  Our faith may have stemmed from them.  They need to hear how they made a difference in your life. If they do not know Jesus as their Savior, sharing your faith is the most beautiful gift you can give them.  You may never know if they accept Christ but God knows their heart and takes them Home if they asked Jesus into their lives.  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrew 11:1  We all need to be reminded of God’s forgiveness and His promises, especially the promise of eternal life.

Father, I pray for each one who is a caregiver facing the holidays with mixed feelings.  We are so very thankful that You sent Your Son into this world to bring salvation and love, forgiveness and mercy.  Please hold us close to You and remind us of why You came for us and why You have placed us as the giver of care to one of Yours.  We pray that we have Your words ready and accessible to share and that Your love shines into the outside world. We lift each other up for You know where we are this day. You know the price may be high in the task You have called us to do.  We also know that You give us the strength, the countenance, the ability and Your love to do the job set before us.  We thank You, Father, for going before us in all we do and in all we are.  We pray in the Powerful Name of Jesus.  Amen.

beblacksig 

 

Let It Be…

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.   He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”  Luke 1:30-33

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So much happens in these four verses:

 An angel

He speaks to Mary

She has found favor with God

She will conceive a son

The angel gives her the name to call this boy

He tells her about her coming son, words that any mother would be proud to hear about her coming son, but would wonder if all of these things could be true

As I wait in the spreading Advent, I ponder the magnificence of this proclamation.  Would I be able to understand and accept these words had they been spoken to me?  Could I grasp the future that these words speak?  An angel naming my baby?  Me, a young and vulnerable woman, having a baby of God’s, not of man?  How could this be?  To me, if I were Mary?  I don’t know.  I just don’t know.

Yet, I understand something.  God can do and be anything and is everything.  The angel says in verse 37: “…For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Even more beautiful and amazing is this young woman who is to be the Christ’s mother, innocent and gentle in her spirit, questions the angel, and then graciously accepts those deep and powerful words by responding thusly:

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:38

Could I?  Would I?  Oh, God, grant me a heart that so beautifully wraps around Your Truth; accepts the words of Your messengers; opens myself to Your will.  Would I? Could I?  I pray so, my LORD.  I pray so.  I pray with my heart’s ears and eyes open to You, to You alone.  In Your Son’s Holy Name, the Son of the Most High.  Amen

 

 

Graphic:  http://www.lorisreflections.com/god-lessons/mary-favor/

Preparing the Way

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.

And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord.  And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:13-17

Zechariah prays.  God hears his prayer.  He sends an angel and brings great and unbelievable news to Zechariah and Elizabeth.  God’s Truth comes to pass for He said it.

John will “…make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

As I prepare for Christmas this year, I am mindful of being drawn closer to Christ Jesus, my LORD, with each day, each passing minute, or even a second.  God gave John a calling to draw people to the LORD Jesus even before He became known.  He was to prepare a people for His coming.  In our own day, we, too, can prepare for His coming as He enters our hearts with newness each year, each Christmas, but also each and every day, each and every moment.  Christ brings cleansing and wholeness to us with each breath.  May we then be prepared and turn to prepare others.

Father God, I seek You and call upon You to prepare my heart in this Advent season.  I wait.  I wait, Father, for Your Son comes anew although He has been, has gone, rose again, and yet lives in me today through Your Holy Spirit for I am one who had to be prepared once for His coming.  I believed.  But I believe today, not in the past tense, for “believing” is ongoing and for always.  Father, breathe in me afresh daily that I would be able to prepare others for His coming.  I praise You, Father, for You gave us the Only Gift we would ever need.  Nothing else matters.  Nothing…for until I knew You, nothing meant anything.  I thought ‘things’ meant something to me, but they really did not.  Knowing You, Your Son, Your Holy Spirit, the Trinity, is All that makes a difference in my life.  I know that Your Son is the Redeemer for He redeemed me, even me.  Praise You, LORD.  You are the Holy One of Israel.  I pray in Your Name.  Amen.

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Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel!
I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.  
Isaiah 41:14

graphic banner:  http://wordworshipbanners.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/the-holy-one-of-israel/

"In the Bleak Midwinter" Arose Our Savior

“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a little-known hymn yet a favorite of mine.  The final verse is the verse taken by many as the entire song or poem.  Even though we probably know today that Christ’s birth was not in the winter, the period of history could certainly be considered “bleak” with Herod the king, his wrath, and his order to slay all the boys under two years of age in Bethlehem and in all the coasts in surrounding areas.  Yet God’s plan was anything but bleak when we can see even a speck of this Light Who came.  Who came for us, to save us, to call us out of the darkness, to ask us to “follow” Him, to walk with Him.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

 

As I fall to worship Him, I see the Light of God beaming from the manger.  The Light draws me near no matter what my circumstances are, bleak or joyful.  The Light does not scare me because this Light is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  This Light takes the darkness away.  When I fall into those dark times, I must not relinquish the faith He gives to me to know and see His Light.  No matter how dark times seem today and in the future days and years, the Light will always shine.  I must hold my eyes upon Him.  He will lead me through what appears dark and bleak.  It is only the appearance for the Truth is Christ Jesus.  

 

Matthew 2:1-18 
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”  

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

The Flight to Egypt

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Herod Kills the Children

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” 

 

Thank You, LORD, for this blessed moment with You.  Thank You for faith, for Light.  And I thank You for the darkness as it actually reminds me that the Light is You, that the Light removes the darkness.  May I remember this when I walk in darkness, in bleakness.  I ask for You guidance to see even when it is dark.  The king brought bleakness to the land by his fears and jealousies.  How easily I can fall into bleak periods of this life.  Build my faith, Holy One.  Draw me near to Thee.  I want only You.  I love You so, LORD Jesus.  Amen.  

 

“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) written before 1872 in response to a request from the magazine Scribner’s Monthly for a Christmas poem. It was published posthumously in Rossetti’s Poetic Works in 1904 and became a Christmas carol after it appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906 with the music, “Cranham”, written by Gustav Theodore Holst in 1906.


poem by
Christina G. Rossetti (English poet – 1830-1894) 

As a Lamb

And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”  Revelation 7:11-12

 LORD, to be with You one day and fall on my face before Your throne!  And for today, I praise You, thank You, and love You … today.  To You, I give myself.  You came to this earth for me, for other “me..s” for You wanted to save us and bring us into Your Kingdom.  As Christmas approaches, the love I feel for You grows deeper and deeper and I thank You, LORD.  I thank You.

  • for sending Your Son
  • The Messiah, The Anointed One
  • Immanuel, God with Us
    • All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:22-23
  • Salvation
  • The Light
  • The Truth
  • The Way
    • Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6
  • a manger
    • … and the babe lying in a manger.  Luke 2:16b
  • Joseph’s obedience to God
    • But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.   She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:20-21 
    • When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.  But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.  Matthew 1:24-25
  • the Shepherds
  • their obedience to God
    • And it came to pass , as 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 is come to pass , which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  Luke 2:15-16  
  • Mary’s humility
    • And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  Luke 1:38
    • ButMarykeptall these things, and pondered them inher heart.  Luke 2:19
  • for simplicity
  • spending very little
  • to prepare for Christmas through words of my heart, actions of my soul
  • to celebrate Christmas by loving and caring
  • baking cookies and making fudge
  • the tiny beaded Christmas tree given to my mother by a dear friend of hers who made it for her now is our Christmas tree
  • God’s Enormous Love packaged in The Gift … Christ Jesus

I praise You today, my LORD of lords;  I thank You today, and love You today, my King of kings.  I open my hands and lift my arms to my Savior born in a manger.  Humbly and quietly, You came to save many such as myself.  May I remember and remain.  May I bow and bend.  I offer my all to You, sweet little Jesus, at this CHRISTmas time and always.  Amen.   

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Can You Hear the Angels Sing? Oh! How I CAN!!!!

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.  
Habakkuk 3:17-19
YET … I rejoice in the LORD.
YET … I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
YET … GOD, the Lord, is my strength.
The world seems to be all twisted and awry.  So much of what I see hurts my heart.  I want to fix everything.  I want things to be okay.  I want children to be safe.  I want no more war.  I want people to get along whether it be countries, marriages, families.  I want kind words spoken to one another.  BUT … I cannot fix these things for others, only in myself as I allow the LORD to fix me.
SO … I rejoice in the LORD.
SO … I take joy in the God of my salvation.
SO … God is my Strength, my Refuge, my Redeemer.
He came as a Baby.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  

Luke 2:4-7
 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”  And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.   
Luke 2:25-33

 

 
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  
Luke 2:34-35

Even the Blessed Child’s parents heard words that “pierced” their ears and hearts when their little one, our little One, was only eight days old.  If I had lived then and known that, how could I fix that?  I could not!
YET … I rejoice in the LORD, the Messiah.
YET … I take joy in the God of my salvation.
YET … GOD, the Lord, is my Strength.
YET … Jesus is my Hope and my Redeemer.
Although I am a frail human and I am a sinner, God came to this earth in this wee little Jesus Child to save one such as myself.  He loves me so.  He rejoices over me.  He exults over me with loud singing.  He quiets me with His Love.  (Zephaniah 3:17)  Only He can live in my heart to soothe the ache that comes.  Only He can whisper love into my ears when I am troubled by what I hear, by what I see.  Only He.  Only Jesus.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,…. Habakkuk 3:17

Where life is cut off, where hearts do not feel, nor eyes see or ears hear, many go on pretending and looking like we feel, see, hear, care, and love.  For some, Christmas is not!  Not a celebration of Christ nor of beginnings nor of the Light shining today upon this God-created earth nor His children.  Not a celebration of love either.  So much is missed and some never even know they miss anything.    
… yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.  Habakkuk 3:18-19
YET, even when it hurts, when life pierces our very souls, when things are skewed in the world, when we struggle to understand those “whys”, the life and the Light of Jesus points the way to the resurrected life in us. We have hope in the LORD.  We hold close to the One Who came to save us.  He is Life.  He is our life.  We grow in maturity to bloom again and again.  
Can You Hear the Angels Sing? Oh! How I CAN!!!!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

AND SO … I rejoice in the LORD.
AND … I do take joy in the God of my salvation.
AND … GOD, the Lord, is my Strength.
AND … how great Thou art, my LORD.

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

O ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

           “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”  

Oh!  Can you imagine this whole world singing back the angels’ song Heavenward?  Hallelujah!!!!!
I celebrate Christ for He is Christmas.  He is All.   
King of kings and Lord of lords.


“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”: Written by Edmund Hamilton Sears in 1849.  Music — composed by Richard Storrs Willis in 1859.

Christmas Coming

Christmas Coming
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Christmas coming … from the world’s point of view, gifts to be bought, food to be prepared, family arriving, sharing feast and presents, no mention of Christ (He has been Xed out), plus it is getting late, it is costing too much, it is too busy; for some it is lonely and depressing, and on and on!  

Christmas comingOh! to walk from that and breathe the air of God as He comes to us as a child, as Immanuel, as the breath of Heaven, as the Way, the Truth, the Life.  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  John 1:9

Oh, to be sensitive and anticipating Christmas coming! …
Mary heard and knew Christmas coming:
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. …” Luke 1:26-27
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”  Luke 1:31-33
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”   Luke 1:35
Mary honored Christmas coming:
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:38

Joseph became aware of and honored his vows for Christmas coming:
…, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”   Matthew 1:20b-21 
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. Matthew 1:24-25
Elizabeth felt Christmas coming:
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Luke 1:41-42

John recognized Christmas coming from the womb:
…,the baby leaped in her womb. Luke 1:41

Zechariah prophesied Christmas coming:  
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Luke 1:76-79

The shepherds saw, heard, and believed Christmas coming:
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:9-12

The angels rejoiced for Christmas coming?
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”   Luke 2:13  

Simeon awaited Christmas coming:
And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  Luke 2:26
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”  Luke 2:29-32
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  Luke 2:34-35

Anna, the prophetess waited, was sensitive to, and then praised Christmas coming: 
And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.  Luke 2:38

The wise men saw Christmas coming:
“For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”   Matthew 2:2b

Prophets prophesied Christmas coming:
Micah – But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2
Ezekiel – And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.  Ezekiel 34:23
HoseaLet us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”  Hosea 6:3
Isaiah – Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:14
Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”  Isaiah 49:7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, 
and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Christmas coming:
  • in a manger over 2000 years ago
  • in Salvation
  • in Grace
  • in Truth
  • in the Word
  • in a cloud 
  • in my heart each day
  • in the praises of His people
I see Christmas coming this year more clearly than ever before.  Christmas comes in the Christ, directly to my heart as my LORD and Savior.  He comes in the quiet of prayer.  He comes in the darkness as the bright and shining Light.  He comes in love and joy.  He comes as the Word.  He comes in a song.  He comes every day, every moment of every day.  Some I miss.  Yet He comes and waits.  I wait with anticipation and adoration.  I feel Christmas coming from the inside-out this year.  Truly remarkable moments!  


Thank You, Heavenly Father, for blessing us with Your One and Only Son.  Thank You for opening the eyes of my heart to truly see Christmas coming.  May I be sensitive to Christ coming, the Holy Spirit within me forever teaching me, praying for me, loving me.  May we each take the time to ponder the Truth of Christmas.  May we each treasure the beauty of Your gift to us.  The Son of Righteousness has come to us, to me.  He is the absolute expression of Your Love to us.  He is our King.  He is our Shepherd.  He is our LORD.  He is the innocence of the Babe in the manger.  He is Birth in me, Rebirth in me.  He is Forgiveness.  He is Love.  He is Salvation.  I thank You, Father, for Your Son… for Christmas Coming.  Amen and Amen.  Selah…  

 

Where I’ve Seen Jesus … in the Midst …

 Finding Christ in Christmas: Where I’ve seen Jesus this Season
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How we hunger and thirst.  Literally, so many are dying of hunger and thirst in this world.  And so many are satisfied physically, yet are hungering and thirsting for something, something … they know not what or Whom.  He is right here with us, in reach, in sight.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. John 6:35-36
Jesus is all around us, near us, beside us.  One just must look up and know that He is here with us.  For me, I know that my Redeemer lives and walks with me, lives in me.  He shows me Himself in so many ways.  This Christmas season, I am looking for Him in the world around me.  My physical eyes and the eyes of my heart focus to see Him.  

In the Word…He is on every page:  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:1-5


In the night skies, the moon and stars:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.  And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. Genesis 1:14-16

And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  Matthew 2:9b


In the love and encouragement from my husband, my sister:
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.  Romans 15:5-6

In the faces of the elderly at the nursing home when they can no longer speak understandably or at all, when they cannot hear so well, when dementia or Alzheimers or a stroke has taken pieces of their mind, a touch or a hug, an “hello”, an “I love you” means the world to them, making their precious faces light up:
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  Matthew 25:34-40

In the hands and hearts of the nursing home staff, especially Consuelo, Art, Flo, Yvonne, Junko, Letty, Marta:
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  Luke 10:33-34

In the delight of children, especially Estephania as she cares and loves my mother, other residents, in the nursing home while she waits for her own mother to finish her shift as nurse’s aide:
…but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 19:14

LORD, I pray that as I walk through this world, that I would see You all around me, that I would have my eyes open for “the least”, my heart ready to receive You however You come to me.  LORD, I pray I not miss an opportunity to serve You in this world.  When I do, I am sorry.  I ask Your forgiveness and know that it has been given.  You are forever and always.  I am today, but will live with You in Eternity.  Thank You for Your gift to me through Your very Blood.  I am Yours.  May my eyes be aware and my heart ready.  I will seek You and find You when I seek You with all of my heart.  Amen.


Immanuel ~ God with us.