Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Christmas letters, especially those with photos and newsy updates from dear friends are one of the joys of the season. None was cherished more than the one signed Callie whose script seemed to still be quivering from her tremulous 92 year old hand.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Before you talk, listen.
Before you react, think.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Respond vs react.
"Always maintain a kind of summer even in the middle of winter."
Henry David Thoreau
"Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can." John Wesley
"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. BEHOLD, I WILL DO SOMETHING NEW, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?...The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise." Isaiah 43:18-21
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
But reindeer really can fly, or at least He can make our feet as hinds' feet...
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Since grandparents lived far away over the mountains and through the woods, our children grew up with adopted nanas and papas. Ora and Paul in their eighties offered to take our little children once a week so we could go for a date. Memories are made of sights, smells, and tastes burned into deep recesses which step out from behind a curtain suddenly without warning.
John describes Jesus saying, "What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled concerning the Word of Life..." I John 1:1 When we see a newborn, we want to hold the soft, wee thing, and breathe in the special smell of an infant. A wiff of baby scent instantly sends us back to a happy place to a longing fulfilled in the past or a hope for the future. I can imagine shepherds' gnarled hands reaching out to stroke a soft cheek or a wrap a curl of hair around their finger, or little pink fingers grasping their calloused ones. Mary would be transported by a whiff of hay, or by the smell of unwashed sheep herders or the smell of frankincense or myrrh to another time and another place. To the disciples, the smell of a certain perfume broken and spilled out on the Saviour would trigger a longing for his presence.
What creates a sensation of longing for you? Is it the worn leather Bible smell and feel. Is it the smell of grape in the communion, the varnished smell of pew or altar? He can come to us instantly, in a heartbeat, because the curtain has been torn in two: He is always waiting and beckoning.
"They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high:
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
"But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple...they were indignant and said to Him, 'Do You hear what these are saying?' And Jesus said to them, 'Yes, Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise'?'"
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
"Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
My widowed grandmother's retirement pittance for pastors was not enough to give presents as she would have desired. How cherished are the gifts she gave, beautifully hand stitched dresses for our china dolls, a quilt for each grandchild, delicate watercolor illustrations for her lovely poems, and books. The queen of regifting, Gram belonged to a book club which enabled her to read and then give a beautiful hardback book to her children or grandchildren. Generations remember fondly her husky voice as she read aloud to them, often brought to tears from moving passages.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Unlikely fellowship: a very young unwed mother, shepherds, Wise Men, and elderly prophets.
Imagine the special place shepherds had in Mary's heart after the angels sent them birth announcements and they were the first to see the newborn King. How she pondered the Wise Men and their visit, who came so far to see her son (where do you park your guests' camels?). As for Anna and Simeon in the temple who prophesied over the Christ child, her mind must have been swirling until it spilled over into her heart.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
"There is such a place as fairyland-
They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country
Monday, December 5, 2011
"How domestic, how ordinary! The magi follow a wonderous star 'til it stops over 'the place where the child was.' (Matt., 2:9) and what is that place? A house. That's all just a house. The magi discover the Messiah, the Son of God, in a 'house" (Matt. 2:11). They find him in ordinary circumstances, with an ordinary-looking mother." unknown
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Other community activities to look forward to...
Nevada City Victorian Christmas,
Grass Valley's Cornish Christmas,
Crossroads Community Church, Drive-Thru Nativity
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Augustine understood our need for beauty and began the creche tradition in Italy with a live nativity so the villagers could imagine the "glorious, scandelous night" when Christ was born.
"'The whole life of the good Christian," said Augustine, "is a holy longing,' Sadly, many of us have been led to feel that somehow we ought to want less, not more. We have this sense that we should atone for our longings, apologize that we feel such deep desire. Shouldn't we be more content? Perhaps, but contentment is never wanting less; that's the easy way out. Anybody can look holy if she's killed her heart; the real test is to have your heart burning within you and have the patience to enjoy what there is now to enjoy, while waiting with eager anticipation for the feast to come. In Paul's words, we 'groan inwardly as we wait eagerly' (Romans 8:23)...And so
George Herbert prayed,
Advent is making room in the heart, preparation, anticipation, expectation of the joy and celebration of the humble birth of our Saviour, Emanuel, God with us. I yearn for the beauty of the season. Let hearth and heart prepare for Christmas!