A Christmas Memory Tree

KIMG2056The lights and the Angel we bought from the store. The ornaments are gifts from friends and family members mixed with some made at home or that came in Maxwell House coffee cans almost 40 years ago.

I begin with just the tree which came as a gift from friends who live thousands of miles but as I put the branches on I remember. Then once the lights are strung come many hand-made ornaments from my mother in law. Then come two brass Teddy bears with tiny portraits of our sons when thee were boys. As the branches begin to fill a gentle quietness fills up my soul. Our life together hangs brightly there amid the lights and I am thankful for years of both happy days and sad are mixed together in the crowd.

But on that first Christmas night when God sent His angels to awaken the shepherds He was remembering us. God remembered our weaknesses and He remembered His promise. Jesus came to the stable that night for us. He came as the eternal reminder that God has not forgotten us. From that moment in Bethlehem till the supper at which He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” God has forever remembered.

Just so we would never forget He has given us the memory tree called the cross. When we look there we will see all the best gifts of Christmas waiting for our faith to open.

For God so loved the world that he gave us His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!

John 3:16

 

 

 

My former choir

God’s angels dip down to catch the grace notes so strange to them, which we have learned from Jesus

Clarks Summit-20130703-00024    Whether it was sunny or pouring rain, warm or in the middle of a snow storm, my little choir would always sing. A few brief chords from the guitar and an opening note or two were all it took to bring them out into full song. On rare occasions when they were out of the cage during singing time I felt the brush of wings passing near my head as they flew past.

It is amazing to know that in Heaven in the presence of the King of Kings there are angels constantly praising and worshiping. The Bible tells us that they do not stop either day or night. But it was even more amazing to read that Paul and Silas sang at mid-night, chained in their cell. We have here on earth an opportunity that the angels will never have. We can be like my little fellow choir members and sing whatever comes. Don’t be surprised as you close your eyes, to feel the brush of wings passing by. God’s angels dip down to catch the grace notes so strange to them, which we have learned from Jesus at the table when the supper was done

God’s Way in the Wilderness

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:19

Wilderness:   a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings    Merriam Webster
    Have you some areas in your own life that might fit this definition? Is there some location spiritually in your world that you would call uncultivated: an area no one has taken the time to prepare for growth?
    Is there some place that is uninhabited: no one has ever gone and seen the potential that is locked inside?
God is a specialist in exactly those areas we have abandoned. God is concerned about places in our heart that we have forgotten. God is claiming for his own the things we have given up on and is saying today,
“I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wilderness.”
Let’s look briefly at someone in the Bible who was just like us. His name was Elijah.
 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”  Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 1 Kings 19:4-5 
Elijah had given up. Elijah had decided that his life no longer made any difference. Elijah felt that he had given his best, but it wasn’t enough. The good news for Elijah and for us is that God didn’t agree! God tenderly comes through the presence of His angel and stands by our sides when we are sleeping. God tracks us down into the most remote regions of our wildernesses. God wakes us up by a gentle touch on our shoulder and the first thing we discover is the wonderful aroma of fresh bread which He has made with His own hands. We find a cup of cold water there waiting, just for us to drink.
Our plan has been to quit. God’s plan has been to restore! Our plan has been028 (1)
 to resign. God’s plan has been to re-assign.
Our plan has been to be alone. God’s plan has been to send us to new people. Our plan has been to retire. God’s plan is to put us to work!
When our travel plans end in the wilderness – He resets our GPS for the mountain of God!
He will  make a way,
Give us new strength,
Bring us to the mountain
When God makes the way He will be with us for every step of our journey!

While Shepherds Watched

 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid

I often think of the moment before the angels appeared. The sky was dark and the shepherds drowsily watched their flocks of sheep, straining to see in the darkness any movement of anything at all unusual. The sheep were not just their responsibility, they were their life. But until the moment the angels appeared, everything seemed as dull and ordinary on that hillside outside of the village. Crickets chirped and the wind gently rustled the KIMG0174branches in the olive groves. Then in an instant a light began to break out in the dark sky and the glory of the Lord shone in the darkness. Today the Lord’s glory is still breaking out in dark and unlikely places. Rather than being a fragile tradition that we struggle to preserve in this secular society, Christmas is an astonishingly powerful light that has continued to pierce the darkness no matter the odds for more than 2000 years.