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Sharing Baby Jesus

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.   And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6

My 7 year old had a very specific request a few weeks ago.  “I want a baby Jesus that I can take out of the manger.”
I had some nativity scene decorations but I didn’t have a nativity with a baby Jesus that could be taken out of the manger, and I knew I had to find one just for her.  I remembered the one that I had played with as a young child and I knew how special it had been to me.  I loved taking the baby Jesus in and out of the manger when I was her age too.
So my teenager and I went Christmas shopping and I looked and looked for that special request but couldn’t find one anywhere.  I even looked online.  Sadly, I told my teenager I was giving up.  And then she said to me,  “she can have my baby Jesus.”  I was delighted as I remembered that my mom gave her the baby Jesus (or one just like it) that I played with as a little girl, and realized that she had kept it as one of the few things from her childhood she still cherished.  That she would pass it on to her little sister said worlds to me.   That the same baby Jesus was still around to warm another’s heart and add to her Christmas childhood memories meant so much to me.

And I also thought…..that’s what Christmas is all about…..that we give our baby Jesus to others.

This Christmas, may you remember that God’s most awesome work was done through the frailty of his Son.  May you cherish that the baby Jesus brought hope to you and your family…..and share your baby Jesus with others so they can know the wonder of his love, the hope of his salvation, and the promise of eternal life.  May baby Jesus be the center of your Christmas focus and may each generation pass that hope to the next.

And please do remember to take that  baby Jesus out of the manger….and put him in your heart.


 

HOME: A Safe Harbor

Women Living Well is starting a Fall Challenge called Making Your Home A Haven… I am excited about this.  Who wouldn’t want their home to be a haven? Definition of Haven: A harbor or anchorage, a port A place sought for rest, refuge, shelter, protection. I though about my home as a port, a harbor for the ships ( my family ) to sail to and from in their daily journeys.  How wonderful it would be if they looked forward to coming home because it felt safe, comforting, nourishing, and they knew it would be a place where their souls could find renewal. Look!
Here comes my teenager home from a long, frustrating day at school.  She is the first to arrive home, and she feels like life has taken pot shots at her all day.  She had a pop quiz in one of her classes that she didn’t feel prepared for.  One of her teachers was upset because someone poured glue on the floor of his classroom and he punished the whole class since no one would confess to the crime.  She also had to sit 3 to a seat on the crowded, sweat permeated, hot bus ride home.  She is glad no one is home so she can have some time to herself to just unwind from her stressful day…as she rests, time slips away….

Next to arrive is my husband.  He hasn’t had any unpleasant occurrences during his work day, but he has been very busy and he is weary from the circumstances of his work day.  He is also hurting from an old injury in his ankle, and the pain causes him to limp from the garage into the door.  He just wants a cool glass of tea and to prop up his feet a few minutes before he tackles some grass cutting.  He walks in the door and gets upset because his daughter, the teenager noted above has forgotten to pay attention to the time and has not made tea which is one of her daily duties.  Of course, without even thinking about how her day may have gone, he immediately bombards her with demands and criticisms because he is denied his cool drink of tea.   A negative tone in the household is set…


Now I am coming home after working a long day at the hospital.  I too am weary from dealing with patients, their families, meetings, and from doing hours of documentation.  I am looking forward to just being home, but I don’t know the tension that awaits me in those who have already arrived.  Thinking about the myriad of things that I need to do when I get home….supper, check the mail, check emails, help my youngest with homework, etc….I am likely to walk through the door in get er done mode….which won’t help.

But before I get home, I have to pick up one more weary vessel…  My youngest is at daycare….a noisy, busy place and her energy is overflowing….She has had an adventurous day and she wants to tell me all about it.  She is non-stop chatter and excitement all the way home.  She wants to know if she can watch TV, ride her bike, will I play a game with her, will I read a story, etc.  She also has homework to do ….and, oh yeah, mom, I forgot to tell you I got in trouble at school for talking in class, and I have a note about it you need to sign…Whew!  5 minutes home starts to feel like an hour.

This is a glimpse into a typical day in the oceans that my family sails.  How much each vessel needs a safe place to dock…How much each vessel needs the understanding of the others, and a conscious effort to make the home a haven. I am excited to try the Women Living Well Challenge…and I encourage you to do the same.  A Christian home SHOULD BE A HAVEN….but only with Christ is this possible, our ultimate haven and refuge from the storms.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.  Psalm 61:3-5
Images above courtesy of: Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>
 

BONHOEFFER

    FAITH?….CONVICTION?….GOD’S WILL?…..PURPOSE?…..SURRENDER?….SACRIFICE?  These are the attributes explored in Eric Metaxas’ biographical account of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German martyr who gave his life to make a stand against the evil of Hitler and Nazi Germany.
In times of adversity, when being a Christian and taking action for your beliefs comes at a heavy price, men like Bonhoeffer reveal to us an example of a life lived for extraordinary purpose, and with extraordinary circumstances.  This book is a very detailed account of a brilliant and courageous life, a life that impacted millions and still holds relevant insight for the Christian of modern times.  It explores his passion for having a very intimate relationship with Jesus, and for teaching others how to separate from mere religious ceremony and regulation so that they could reach into the lives of others with purpose and compassion, and to make Jesus real and personable in everyday life.  It explores his thoughts on grace, and portrays how deeply a true understanding of God’s grace can penetrate a heart and feel it with deep conviction and purpose.  It explores the grey areas of decision that all Christians must face in times of war and unusual circumstances and Bonhoeffer’s deep convictions to honor what he believed God wanted him to do even if others misunderstood or did not agree.
I enjoyed reading this book, and found myself being able to relate to the time period and events through Bonhoeffer’s eyes in new and insightful ways.  It was quite disturbing to me, actually, to comprehend how drastically Germany changed in a very short period of time.  I couldn’t help but wonder about the possibility that Christians today could find themselves in similar circumstances.  If such were to transpire, I wonder how many modern Christians would be able to come forward and embrace pending death for the cause of Christ with the conviction and gratitude that Bonhoeffer and his comrades were able to do.  I highly recommend this book, and believe it will challenge you to look closely at your own beliefs and convictions.

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