Sunday, December 26, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
a: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom) b: a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
3: cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
4: characteristic manner, method, or style
My husband was asked an interesting question this week and it has been on my heart. The question was this..."Does God love tradition?"
Makes you think, doesn't it? No other time of the year is as rich with traditions as this one. Christmas trees, nativities, carolling, hot chocolate, family gatherings, stockings filled with goodies, cookies made from recipes generations old and Charlie Brown with his unimpressive Christmas tree. What's not to love, right?
Okay, I realize we are pondering God's love/hate relationship with tradition, but in coming to any semblance of a conclusion we must consider this...Whatever God thinks about tradition, I am confident of this one thing ~ God loves us and we love tradition!
Now I realize some traditions truly can steal God's glory and His Word says He will share His glory with no one, Santa Claus included! We have to be careful that in celebrating our traditions we are not inhibiting the ability of those around us to embrace what it's really all about! But I don't think traditions are inherently bad.
I hope that traditions will remind my kids when they are older that they came from something special. As they decorate their own Christmas trees with ornaments from long ago, I hope they'll share the stories of their origin with their own little ones. When they bake the pumpkin bread and snowball cookies that we've mixed side-by-side each December, I hope they will be comforted by the familiar smells. As they giggle and laugh their way through Elf and Christmas Vacation, I hope they'll remember all those nights snuggled by the fire with pillows, blankets and Daddy's popcorn. I hope mornings filled with lighted candles and shimmering Christmas trees will remind them how Mama used to get up early so those were what they were greeted with as they awoke.
For you see, traditions are the stuff that we are made of. Those bowed heads around the table speak to that! The reading of the Christmas story and the birthday cake for Jesus...the basket of Christmas books and the home-made snowflakes hanging from the ceiling fan over the kitchen table...Santa Mouse and Angel Trees...shoeboxes sent to those without and plates of goodies shared with neighbor friends. Are they rituals mindlessly performed or the result of hearts filled with giddy expectation?
Don't you see it? Traditions can be the very things that prompt our thoughts to focus heavenward for He created families and our traditions are the threads that bind us all together! Our familial fingerprints, if you will, that makes us distinguishable from all the others.
Now some may ponder this question and arrive at a very different conclusion, but as for me and my house...we're going to embrace our family traditions!
Friday, December 17, 2010
As we reflect over this last year and look forward to the one to come, we need to ask ourselves this question, "How can I spend more time with my Father?" We can't impress Him with our "things" because they are His anyways. We can't impress Him with our thoughts because He knows them even before we do. We can't impress Him with our knowledge because He knows everything. All we can give Him, that He may not already have, is our time.
As I close, I'm going to leave you with a poem. In thinking about Mary one night, I realized that on that wonderful night when she gave birth to Jesus, she embarked on an awesome but painful journey. As a mother I can imagine the pain she must have felt, but how thankful I am that she just trusted her Father and did not try to stop it.
I stared at you the other night
As so peacefully you slept,
With thoughts of another mommy
And the tears she must have wept.
Her newborn babe she held so close
As she whispered in His ear,
"You are this promised Jesus,"
And she wiped away a tear.
She watched Him grow in wisdom,
Found Him teaching those that taught,
She heard He fed five thousand,
As He healed all those that sought.
And all the while she waited,
For she sensed with a mother's heart
That sooner than she'd ever want
He must fulfill His part.
So it came to pass that final day
That she watched, as pain engulfed her,
For there He hung, her little boy,
Who had now become her Saviour.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
We got a card the other day
A Christmas one, in fact,
But it really was the strangest thing
And showed such little tact.
For laying in the manger
Was Santa, big as life,
Surrounded by some little elves
And Rudolph and his wife.
There was so much excitement
That the shepherd’s saw the glow
Of Rudolph’s bright and shining nose
Reflected on the snow.
So in they rushed to see him
Followed by the wise men three,
Who came not bearing any gifts ~
Just some stockings and a tree.
They gathered round about him
To sing praises to his name;
A song about Saint Nicholas
And how he came to fame.
Then they handed him the lists they’d made
Of, oh, so many toys
That they were sure they would receive
For being such good boys.
And sure enough he chuckled,
While reaching in his bag,
And placed in all their outstretched hands
A gift that bore a tag.
And on that tag was printed
A simple verse that read,
“Even though it’s Jesus’ birthday,
Please take this gift instead.”
Then I realized they really did
Know Who this day was for
Though by every indication
They had just chosen to ignore.
And Jesus looked upon this scene,
His eyes so filled with pain ~
They said this year’d be different
But they’d forgotten Him again.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I was just reading in Luke 7 starting in verse 37 about the woman that came to Jesus at the home of Simon the Pharisee. She came bearing a very extravagant gift ~ the gift of herself! Yes, she had a vial of perfume she used to cleanse His feet, but it was really the gift of herself that she offered without reserve. Noah Webster describes “extravagant” as “wandering beyond the limits; excessive; unreasonable; exceeding necessity or propriety”. Sounds to me like that describes this woman’s act perfectly!
Have you ever given an extravagant gift? Have you ever received one? If you have received the gift of God’s salvation you have received the most extravagant gift there is! He wrapped His gift in a robe of flesh and sent Him to earth that we might experience the greatest gift known to man ~ Jesus!!! Don’t let another Christmas pass you by without allowing yourself to receive this precious, incomparable gift! Don’t let another Christmas pass you by without giving yourself back to Him with a passion and extravagance that only He deserves! All other gifts pale in comparison!!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
James 5:16 (The Message)
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
Hannah and Jesse had an issue with each other today. I would like to say it was an unusual phenomenon, but it is rather common. They love each other dearly and won't ever let anyone outside the family mess with each other, but they sure can get under each other's skin themselves.
Hannah and I were talking a little while ago and I was explaining to her that her attitude was sin. I explained again what sin was and that it was an offense against the Lord. I told her she needed to pray and confess to the Lord what she had done wrong and ask Him to forgive her and then she needed to go to Jesse and ask him to forgive her, too.
She was good with the confessing her sins to Jesus, but when I got to her need to confess to Jesse she said, "Oh no! That is the worst part!"
I had the hardest time not giggling when she said it because I thought how common that is for all of us. How much easier does it seem to confess to the Lord and ask for forgiveness than to have to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so that we may be whole and healed? It's one thing for the Lord to know we screwed up and need to be forgiven, but how much we hate to let anyone else know we were wrong!
I pray that I would take seriously the need to confess my sins to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness and then that I would be willing to confess my sins to the human being I have offended and ask them for forgiveness, too!
It took Hannah a while, but I did hear her apologize to Jesse while I was typing and ask him to forgive her! How thankful I am to know that their relationship has been restored and healed and how thankful I am that they can learn this principle early in life!! \O/
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I think I may as well go ahead and admit that my least favourite domestic duty is, by far...IRONING! I don't dislike it just a little...I despise it!
Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
On December 1st my beloved and I celebrated 20 years of marriage! To say that I feel blessed is an understatement and I thank Papa so much for allowing me to marry such an amazing man. Anyway, enough mushy stuff...
Thursday, December 2, 2010
T-minus 3 days and counting until Tim assumes his new role as lead pastor at The Oasis Church! I am excited and nervous all at the same time. I think I have been in denial until now because it is such a huge change, but I am facing the facts and getting a little bit more pumped.