Monthly Archives: November 2012

Christmas Traditions & other random thoughts…

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”                                       1 Timothy 1: 15 KJV

The season of Christmas is here!  Truly my favorite time of year!  Hallmark Christmas movies, Christmas trees and lights, the music, the cookies- there isn’t a single part of it I don’t love.  There is a certain magic in the air.  An enhanced sense of the world outside of myself.  The wonder and mystery.  Believe, or Don’t believe- that is the question.  The celebration of a baby who came to save the world.

Tradition was the name of the game in my family.  Every Christmas Eve that I spent with my Grandma, Santa would come to make a delivery before bedtime. I can’t remember what the gifts were, but I remember that jolly elf peeking in her picture window before making his delivery.  The entire family gathering together on Christmas Day.  Seeing my Dad for a few hours.  Amazing food.  And stories.  My Mom, Grandma and Aunt sharing memories around the table.  And when we were at home?  Laying in bed at night, listening for elves and wondering if it was really my parents.  Hoping it snowed, but not enough to keep us from traveling.  The presents!  Of course.

And now, with a family of my own, it’s my job to create those memories.  And suddenly, Christmas doesn’t seem quite so magical.   Priorities have to be set.  A budget adhered to.  And the big question?  What do I really want my kids to take away from this season? 

Really, the answer is easy.  Christmas is all about a gift.  God sent his son to us.  For a select amount of time, He came to Earth as a man taking on flesh so we could know Him.  Have a relationship with Him.  Accept His gift of salvation.  I think if God was setting the Christmas priority for me, He would want me to give His gift away.  Not just during the season of Christmas, but all year long.  Christmas gives us an amazing opportunity to highlight giving.  To plant some seeds. To show Gods love.  But, if this is the only time Christians show up to give, we stand the chance of losing a bountiful harvest for Christ.  The attitude of being the hands and feet of Christ should be with us, regardless of the time of year, or even circumstances we are facing. It should be something we wake up with every single day.

 Even worse, if we don’t show up.  If we get too caught up in our traditions and agendas to see the opportunity for service.  To take some time to speak a word of encouragement to the frazzeled checker taking care of ringing up our order. To drop a few coins in the bucket AND acknowledge the individual ringing the bell.  For me, it is slowing down enough to realize there are people surrounding me everywhere I go.  People that need hope and encouragement.

I pray that if I set any traditions for my family, it would be an attitude of giving.  When they remember Christmas, they remember the opportunity to bless others in the name of Christ.  I pray that I don’t miss a single chance to reach out to the people who surround me today. 

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Redirection

Two weeks ago, Madi came home with a negative hearing test from school.  After two failed hearing attempts at school, we had to pursue a formal hearing screening.  As we settled into the sound proof booth, the “games” began.  Madi was to put a block next to her cheek and drop it in the bucket when she heard the ding in her ear.  We did well- at first.  But, as time progressed, she became more intrigued with the blocks than the test.  I knew the moment I lost her.  I handed her a long circular block.  She held it next to her cheek.  A second later, the block was Madi’s new mustache.  Hearing test?  Forgotten!  The Audiologist redirected her attention to the test.  A few minutes later, also during the test, Madi struck up a conversation about what was on the block, again, paying no mind to the fact that she was supposed to be “listening” for beeps.  Long story short, with a little redirection, she passed her hearing test.  But, what sticks with me was how the testing would have come out had she not been redirected.  When she was paying attention to what she was supposed to be doing, she had exceptional hearing.  However, when she was doing her own thing, her hearing health fell way below the line.  She was deaf to everything but her own purpose in that that moment.

Hearing Aids:
Yesterday, I was reading the account of Haggai the prophet, and this verse struck my attention regarding another group of people needing redirection.

“Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?  Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!”  “You have sown much, but bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but are not warm; Ane he who earns wages, Earns wages to put in a bag filled with holes.” 

Thus says the Lord of hosts; “Consider your ways!  Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified”, says the Lord.  You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away.  Why?” says the Lord of hosts.  “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.”         Haggai 1: 3-9

Haggai brought this message to the people of Judah and Jerusalem after they began the work of rebuilding the temple but soon became discouraged with the mission God gave to them.   They stopped building when the going got tough.  They made excuses.  The reasoned that the temple they would create would never be as marvelous or beautiful as what Solomon had.  So they lost focus.  They attended to themselves and they were spinning their wheels.  All of their work ended in ruin.  They were financially and spiritually devastated personally and as a nation.  Why?  Because they simply needed a little redirection. 

“…and be strong all you people of the land, ‘ says the Lord , ‘and work: for I am with you” , says the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:4)  The story of the people of Judah and Jerusalem caused me to stop and take note.  Am I doing the work I am supposed to be doing?  Or and I simply working for my own purpose and pleasure?  I don’t wish to spend the majority of my time spinning my wheels.   My prayer, this week, is for redirection and restoration from a God who longs for His temple to be built to its full glory in my life.