Monthly Archives: December 2011

I AM With You

 

The New Year is fast approaching. Along with that I sense the fears of many people.

Worries about finances, relationship difficulties and simply the unknown seem to overshadow thoughts of a new beginning. Fear reigns instead of faith. Confidence dwindles in the face of risk factors, doctors’ words, shootings, bombs, earthquakes, floods, etc.

Where can we turn when negativity abounds and fear dominates?

Over and over again God reminded His People “Fear not. I am with you.” (Is. 41:10)

It is the promise of His Presence that not only gives us confidence in the midst of difficulties, disasters and devastations but also joy. It is the strength of His Peace that speaks faith to everyone who listens from the little ones to the elderly.

Yes, my heart sings when I think of all the many ways He has provided, protected and blessed me in the past. There have been times when I had no idea how I’d make it through.

But I knew God. I clung to Him. And He made a Way through the hardest of times.

So as we face a New Year, do it with faith and a song in your heart.

God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, is with you. Always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Peace

Three days until Christmas. How are you?

How is your peace?

It is all too easy to forget the meaning of Christmas in the rush, wrap and hurry.

It seems to be catching-that spirit of frenzy, fuming and haste. Have you noticed?

But, let’s slow it down.

Grab yourself a hot cup of tea.

And for a few minutes, let’s join our hearts in thought.

Is it even possible to have peace in the midst of all that goes with Christmas?

I believe so.

The swaddling clothes speak a message of peace  in the midst of chaos.

You remember it?  The babe in the manger was wrapped in swaddling clothes, strips of cloth used to wrap around the baby. Luke 2:12-14

Where did they come from?

One author has suggested that the innkeeper’s wife must have loaned them to Mary.

But I’ve wondered if there might not be a better answer.

Of course it’s all conjecture, but I wonder if Mary and her mother didn’t prepare those swaddling clothes in preparation for the birth.

Mary had no idea how it would all unfold. Her mind must have been filled with a million thoughts and questions. There was nothing she could do to control the events.

But she could focus on the precious baby, God’s Son.

Could it be she prepared for his birth, not knowing how it would all happen or where she would give birth, by making the swaddling cloths? And as she worked her heart was stilled and filled with peace.

History tells us that sometimes those swaddling cloth were embroidered.

We will never know, will we?

But maybe there is an idea here that could help you this Christmas.

Focus on what you can control. Release those many details that are beyond you.

Keep your focus on what is within your control.

As you do that, you will experience a sense of peace and wonder.

Like Mary, rest in the wonder of His birth. Rest in God’ abiding Presence.

As you do this, let Christmas become what it was always meant to be. A time

for celebrating and  praising the Greatest Giver.

A time for connecting heaven and earth with hearts of love.

Prepare for your heart for Him.

As you do so He will meet you there.

Christmas Oranges

Early this morning Jenny, my eleven year old, and I went to Walmart. We were set on completing our shopping and trying to beat the crowds. Grabbing a shopping cart we began pushing it up the aisle, when all of a sudden I saw them.Oranges.

 

“Jenny, let’s get some oranges,” I said nodding in the direction of the display.

She walked over and began putting oranges into a bag. While she did that, my mind wandered back to December, 2002. The place-Kostroma,Russia.

 

“Come here, Jenny,” I said softly so as not to upset her. She was the tiniest two year old with brown hair and big brown eyes. I had only met her a few hours before.

 

Shyly she walked over to me tightly holding an orange.

 

“What a beautiful orange,” I said to her. She looked at me and then at her orange.

Each child in the orphanage had been given just an orange for Christmas. It was a special treat. A delicacy. And each child had their very own.

 

Jenny let me pick her up and for a while I held her softly stroking her hair.

My mind wandered back to the states where so many children got piles of presents for Christmas. This prized orange meant so much to this little one whom I had come to adopt.

 

Then I was jarred back to the present by the sound of her voice.

 

“Here they are Mommy,” she said looking up at me with a grin. “Aren’t they beautiful?”

 

“They sure are,” I said giving her a hug.

Although with the passing of years she doesn’t remember those days in the orphanage she still has faint memories of oranges and Christmas. We have made them a Christmas tradition.

 

In a few days we will put an orange in everyone’s stocking. They continue to remind us of the great needs that exist in so many places. So many children have nothing this Christmas.

 

My friends, let’s continue to do what we can whenever we can. Nothing is too small.

Maybe you will get some oranges too, this year.

One orange.

Millions of smiles.