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Category Archives: Christmas

Stable-Peeking

Just for a few seconds.

Sit down.

Just breathe.

Yes,

In

and

out.

Close those eyes,

smell the straw,

hear the soft bleating of the sheep,

the shushing of Mary,

the wonder in the eyes of Joseph.

The sandals of the shepherds racing toward the stable.

Ah, yes.

All the presents

and the baking

and the cleaning

and the shopping

pales

under the radiance of that New Star

and His beaming face.

God made Babe.

Jesus,

with tiny footprints,

 curling fingers,

and that smell of heaven

still fresh on his head.

Still our hearts,

Lord Jesus.

Red Bucket

I always walked right past them, usually with eyes averted or a sheepish smile and a murmured “Merry Christmas.”

 

Until last year.

 

Firefly was only two and I held her little hand tightly as I absentmindedly rushed her past the red bucket and the bell-jingler. We stepped through the doors and I breathed a quick sigh of relief as the warmth of the drug store hummed over us. But she was old enough to start asking questions and her two-year-old queries halted me.

 

“Mama, what is the red bucket? Why do people put money in it?”

 

Before, my excuse for my hard-to-come-by generosity had been that I never carry cash and I pass by so many of those Red Kettles throughout the Christmas season – how could I possibly give to all of them? Oh, and my wallet’s change pocket? Well, my meager amount of pennies just seemed too  . . . meager.

 

But now she was asking if she could drop money in the bucket.

 

We walked out of the store, she with pennies in hand, and with a plink, plink, plink, her little heart gave too. And she changed me.

 

She asked about that bucket all year. Her little two -, then three-year-old brain, remembered right where it was. We drove past the drug store, the summer sun warming our skin through the car windows.

 

“Mama, why is the red bucket only there at Christmas?” She had asked inquisitively.

 

Her questions churned within me. And again, from the mouth of a child, my heart learns to lean a little closer toward the One who whispers. He’s the One whose Red Covering washes us clean and whose joy can fill us to overflowing….

 

Christmas season arrives again and she squeals excitement at the first glimpse of a red bucket. We walk out of the automatic doors of Wal-Mart, and she stands, hands cupped, as I dig through my wallet, trying to find as many silver coins as I can. The bell-jingler sits and waits patiently. She wears an oversized black and white parka and a dark toboggan, trying to keep warm. Her eyes smile as her cocoa-colored hands tilt the red bucket toward Firefly. I watch as my child steps on her tippytoes, dropping her coins, one by one, into the cross-shaped slot.

 

My heart slows.

 

The bell-jingler’s eyes meet mine and I wish her a Merry Christmas as she simultaneously bids us a blessed one.

 

We take a short step out from under the store’s towering shadow. Our eyes have to squint in the December sunlight.

 

 

Repost from Christmas 2010

Heart Full

What a fun, beautiful week! The fun and Christmasing still goes on here as the hubby is off of work all week (I feel so spoiled!), so the posts may be few and far between (just in case you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for them, heh heh).

 

This is the first Christmas that I was not completely depressed by the time I slipped under the covers. I’ve mentioned before that I *love* the Christmas season and that I’m usually “down” after it’s all over. This year, all that has changed and I think it has a lot to do with the mindset that has finally been clicking with me and seems to be in the blogosphere as well.

 

Christmas is just the beginning.

 

This year, in the midst of all the partying and baking and shopping, I just could not get the Cross off of my mind, as evidenced in the last post. And the Lord just kept giving me glimpses of His whole Redemptive story at a time when I oftentimes get stuck in the first chapter.

 

I found this picture from Easter of this year:

 

Notice what the little one is wearing on Easter morning? Her Christmas pajamas. Not planned. I just noticed it a few days ago when I was looking through the year’s pictures.

 

And then my sister made hard-boiled eggs for Christmas Eve brunch:

 

And simple things like that.

 

So now, I feel like the season has just begun! He has come! He is with us! I am anticipating His work in me . . . in you.

 

So, I am just sitting here, bursting at the seams in gratefulness:

 

#82 little sister hugs

#83 thoughtful birthday wishes before I’d even pulled back the covers

#84 a new piano book – music to feed the soul

#85 hydrangeas in December

#86 a friend who knows me so well

#87 a delicious Italian dinner, celebrating with My Man

#88 unexpected drop-ins from friends!

#89 a belated card

#90 a new, healthy baby girl on the street

#91 the Christmas errands, FINISHED!

#92 the hubby, home for the holidays

#93 the weaving of the Resurrection in the Birth

#94 a heart and life transformed through the years – pure joy before my eyes!

#95 a basket of bread to give away in the moonlight

#96 that sextupling instead of tripling the batch by mistake was actually His provision

#97 grown men reading the Jesus Storybook Bible around the table

#98 a confidence, not my own

#99 matching Christmas Eve pajamas

#100 family togetherness

#101 six to seven inches of snow on Christmas morning!

#102 the best Christmas gift ever:

#103 finding each other in the chaos

#104 a snow plow to rescue us!

#105 being with my brothers and sisters despite the snow

#106 cell-phone lights, waving in the night

#107 making it home safely

#108 a quiet, lazy Sunday morning

#109 arms full of little girls

#110 answered prayer

#111 blossoming sister-love

#112 building my first snowman on Christmas Day

#113 memories captured

#114 He came, He will not leave, and He is coming again

Arrival

I was definitely not planning on writing again today, but

I’ve been wondering . . .

Why a stall?

A manger?

Hay?

Sheep and Shepherds?

Rejoicing angels over a field of sheep?

I know the common belief is that shepherds were regarded as thieves, or worse than thieves, and that God often uses the humble things of this world to show Himself and reveal His glory. I think I get that.

But I can’t help but wonder if there’s more hidden in His choice place for His own birth. He was swaddled tightly and laid in a feeding trough for animals. Among sheep? Cows?  Were they Jewish animals being raised for sacrifice?

Perhaps that first night, in amongst the sheep, shepherds and stars, He was already proclaiming his Redemptive plan to those who were often feeding, breathing and growing merely to die as atoning sacrifices. To those who were the very picture of inefficient redemption, He first proclaimed His earth-arrival.

Perhaps He was saying,

“No more.”

Perhaps, the One who died as the Lamb of God, the One who came to abolish all scapegoats and sin and sacrifices, who transferred all sin to Himself . . . perhaps He was also born the Lamb of God. His once-and-for-all, unblemished sacrifice, foreshadowed.

Emmanuel had come. The Creation-Redemption had just begun. And our breath still catches.

From the Realms of Glory

Making last-minute menu, grocery, and to-do lists and checking them twice. It is almost here!

 

And thanking Him, that He came to do away with any checklists that could ever earn His love or favor.

 

For His Law is Love.

 

Dear friends, may your Christmas be filled with the Spirit of our Rescuer, who leaving Glory, came down to the musty smell of hay and bleating sheep, to reclaim us for His own.

 

Our Emmanuel.

 

He came.

 

And He never leaves.

 

“And I will never again turn my back on them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon them,” says the Sovereign LORD. Ezekiel 39:29

 

Let us rejoice – louder than the angels!!!!


Thanks in the Midst

We’ve had such a busy and fun weekend here, and are beginning a busy day, including a(nother) hair cut and seeing my sister – in from college!

 

Short and sweet.

 

#65 celebrating Christmas with old and new friends

 

#66 Three parties in three days!

 

#67 That this was the only weekend in December that was quite that busy. =D

 

#68 “Welcome Baby!” cupcakes at a Christmas Party

 

#69 All the kids crowded around the little table

 

#70 A little boy who’s learned from his gracious parents just how to play host, retrieving floss, toys, etc.

 

#71 Learning just how small a world it is!

 

#72 Honesty  materializing in unexpected subjects

 

#73 Heart-breaking, yet freeing, conviction – it’s a cleansing place to be

 

#74 A baby girl with necklace-radar!

 

#75 3-year-old versions of Christmas Carols

 

#76 Cookie swaps!

 

#77 Emerging friends

 

#78 Trying new recipes

 

#79 As well as the tried and true

 

#80 Learning from the best neighbor in the world

 

#81 Hand-addressed envelopes in the mailbox

In Grateful Chorus Raise We

He brings up the subject, the one that has me on pins and needles with hope and expectation, and all I hear is his saying, “No.” Tears burst and heart aches, desires feel impeded.

 

More waiting. More stamina for the waiting necessitated. I am weary with the waiting.

 

Then the window of his soul opens and thoughts and conviction tumble out and things I used to pray for . . . things I had given up on . . . make themselves known.

 

And I didn’t know it until he voiced it, but I had lost hope for this. But when least expected, a coursing hope sweeps away the pining tears and my weariness turns to joy.

 

They thought Jesus was coming to rescue them from the tyranny of the Romans. He rescued them from something much greater, much more sinister.

 

I thought He was readying to rescue me from my waiting. He stirs and chains much more strangling are beginning to loose. He rescues us from our inky-black apathy. The Star is brightly shining and He leads us to Himself, the Great Rescuer.