Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories

Joy to the World,

sky so bright.

Church lit at night

childhood delight.

Christmas songs,

I’ve known so long.

Family together,

in all kinds of weather.

Jumping up and down,

as snow hits the ground.

Christmas trees,

of all shapes and sizes.

Beautiful packages,

filled full of surprises.

Mom’s special albums,

of Nat King Cole,

Bing, and Sinatra,

their songs don’t grow old.

TV specials,

my sis and I watched.

Charlie Brown, The Grinch

and don’t forget Rudolph!

All these are wonderful,

and dear to my heart.

Memories  mean so much

never to part.

But, above all else

what means the most…

is the proclamation of

the heavenly host.

“Unto you,

a Savior is born.”

With those words, everything changed

from that night on.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 NIV

 

 

 

 

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Thanks, George Bailey!

Iconic screen shot from the movie It's a Wonde...

God speaks in mysterious ways.

Sometimes He speaks to me in ways that are unexpected, other times as a gentle reminder of something I already knew.

I enjoy watching classic movies. I especially like the old black and whites. There is just something about them.

Each Christmas season, I watch movies with my family. While decorating the tree, we always enjoy watching, It’s A Wonderful Life. It has become a family tradition.

This movie hit the big screen in 1946. It wasn’t a smash at the box office, even though actor, Jimmy Stewart, and director, Frank Capra, hailed it as their favorite movie to make. Now, I will be the first to say, It’s A Wonderful Life is a heart warming story, but not biblically accurate. Maybe there is an angel named Clarence, but he didn’t have to earn his wings. Even though scripture reminds us to entertain strangers because they could be angels…

(Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 NIV)

we don’t have to wonder every time we hear a bell ring.

And yet… even though I’ve seen this movie more times than I can count… I was reminded of something this year.

God reminded me that George Bailey was important. That guy knew his fair share of rough patches, and disappointments. God saw him. God sees each of us. I am important to God. He cares about me and better yet, He loves me. Even when life is rough and I feel depressed or anxious about situations, God is there. He never leaves.

George figured out that it is a wonderful life.

This Christmas, while sitting in my living room, I was reminded of it too.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24

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Prepare The Way

One of the throne-rooms of the Bavarian King, ...

“A voice of one calling
In the wilderness prepare
   the way for the LORD…”  Isaiah 40:3 NIV

Prepare the way

The words spoken, hundreds of years before Jesus was born into the world.

The Messiah is coming!

Prepare

And yet, that night…that busy night in Bethlehem…no one was prepared.

People everywhere…

the census had to be taken.

No place to stay for the night.

Mary gave birth on a bed of hay.

Jesus, the Messiah, came into the world on that night.

He arrived in the dirt and stench of the barnyard animals.

He came because of the dirt and stench of the people.

The multitudes of angels said, “Fear not!”,

to shepherds whose hearts nearly stopped from the scene they were

experiencing.

And the ancient words echo through time—

Prepare the way for the Lord!

Just as Mary and Joseph were in awe of the great responsibility given to them

of raising the Son of God…

Just as the shepherds bowed their heads before the manager throne

of the King…

Shouldn’t we be in awe as we are reminded that the Messiah did not remain

an infant in that humble feeding trough?

Prepare the way for the Lord!

Christ‘s birth was not the beginning, just as His death and resurrection were not the end.

He’s coming back.

And the echo of the words ring through to each of us…

Prepare the way for the Lord!

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”   John 8:58 

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The View From My Front Porch

The view this morning.

I watched the dark being overtaken by the light.

Vivid pinks and purples…

Making way for the sun…

 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.   Lamentations 3:22-23  NIV

Wrapped Up In Christmas

A bright and sunny December morning.

December 12, 2011….

I’m finding all things to be thankful for,

because I will not pass this way again…

So thankful for:

*the crystal frost that covers the ground and sparkles like diamonds in the early morning sun

*a blazing pink and purple sunrise

*a lit Christmas tree covered with memories

*music that makes my heart soar

*worshiping in the here and now

*cleaning the house

*looking forward to having company over

*the village post office, it is exciting this time of year

*being known

*sharing my life

*chocolate covered almonds

*family and friends that brighten my days

*finding the nativity in an old antiques store

*beautiful, vintage glass decorations that make my heart happy

*Christmas cards from friends

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.”  Luke 2:13-14  NIV

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In Search Of The Nativity

Krippe crib family w 3wisemen

I decided a couple of months ago that I needed a new nativity. I already have two. One is a cut crystal and the other solid white ceramic. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought those sets. I mean, they are pretty and everything but, they are almost too pretty, if you know what I mean. I wanted something a little more real…well, as real as a nativity scene can be.

My first hunt for the nativity was on Black Friday. I know, not the best night (early morning?) to be looking for a nativity. I just need to say that Wal-Mart had exactly two nativity scenes. One was a snow globe and the other was a plastic ensemble that was a scary scene of molded plastic and vibrant colors that made the baby Jesus look clownish. Sigh. Not want I wanted at all. I would wait for something better. Something more.

Today I set off with my son and daughter to find a nativity. One with a stable and with people that did not look scary. We headed over to the antiques stores in the quaint little town of Mount Victory, Ohio. I figured (hoped?) that we would be able to find a vintage nativity scene. I told the kids on the way there that it would be great if we could find one that had been made in Italy, and was made with paper mache‘. The ones made in Italy seem to be more realistic and are painted nicely. I didn’t know that we would really find one, but I hoped.

The first store, and the kids spotted some nativities. The second one that was found, was made in Italy and it was made from paper mache’. It was meant to be! I was so excited.

In the hustle and bustle of this Christmas season, I was reminded. The holy scene in the stable, is still here. The scene of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus is just as real this afternoon as it was over two thousand years ago.

Sometimes it just takes quietly looking for it. Persevering. Remembering.

You know what?  I believe Jesus was delighted that I found that nativity scene this afternoon, on the shelf of that old store.

He was there waiting for me…

just as He waits, for each of us, to find Him.

Dance In The Snow

English: 4 paper snowflakes cut out as an example

“We are always getting ready to live, but never living”Ralph Waldo Emerson  (and evidently, Churchill quoted this also)

I spent some of my afternoon cutting out paper snowflakes. It is snowing (for real) outside. I’ve been listening to favorite Christmas music on Pandora. It’s been a quiet day and I have enjoyed it entirely. It’s been good.

Tonight the family will be going to a local “Country Christmas” where we will be witness to a live nativity. Hearing the Christmas story of the birth of the Messiah. The story that never grows old.

Memories.

Living.

Isn’t that what each of us is called to do?

To live each day and enjoy the moments. Right where we are at.

The moments are gone all too soon. How many times do I say, ” I’ll do that later” or make some other excuse?

Stop. Laugh. Enjoy.

Catch snowflakes on my tongue. Laugh until I cry. Take pictures of the kids at this very moment…because it won’t be back again. Capture the dog wearing antlers.

Dance in paper snowflakes. Lick the brownie batter. Sing at the top of my lungs. Wear the favorite sweater on a Thursday, what am I saving it for? Watch classic movies…and cartoons.

Tell family I love them. Send the card. Write the email.

Thank God.