Sunday, December 27, 2009

Because He Lives

It's because He was born that we do this thing called Christmas. It's because He died and lives that we find meaning in our journey and hope for our future. It's because He cares for us that we find guidance when we've lost our way. It's because He loves us that we find comfort when we don't understand life. These are the reasons why we teach our children about God's Son, Jesus.
This Christmas week, we will have had two funerals to attend. Untimely deaths to our understanding and yet so timely for focusing on the One who gives life and who calls His saints home. We remember these dear people as we celebrate the One who now reigns in heaven and to whom our loved ones are now worshiping in person! Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Young Examples

The actors have spoken, the choir has sung, the angels have danced and, in this play, the live ornaments have found their purpose. The baby is born, the baby whom it was all about. As we tuck our tired children in their beds, hair still full of sparkle spray, a little voice whispers, "I hope people will be saved, Mommy." She is mindful of those in the audience who, for various reasons, have come to observe Christmas in this way. My daughter's theme verse is "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." I Timothy 4:12
I continue to learn from her.
Lord, use these precious children and their efforts by drawing people to You this Christmas. Let our little ones, who are learning to care for souls, see the harvest and may it grow their faith.

121. So thankful for children's Christmas presentations
122. for bumps and glitches in the program that keep us humble
123. for my little girl's new bravery--she danced in front of everyone!
124. for the prayer that helped my other little girl not to be nervous
125. for holidays (we get to have my husband home more often!)
126. for knowing that the death of His saints is precious in the sight of the Lord
127. for the ability to buy our children Christmas gifts
128. for sweet inventive spelling
129. for my husband who is just returning from the Toronto Maple Leafs game (Go Leafs Go!)
--the kids always pray for his safe return
130. for Addison Road
131. for Tetley's Earl Grey Vanilla tea
132. for a 2 year-old boy who, upon hearing someone use the Lord's name in vain said, "No! Jesus!"
133. for nativity figurines, felt board pieces, books, and His word, which all remind us of His coming
134. for Mrs. G stories!
135. for a loving ballet teacher
136. for meeting new friends in our large church who've been there for a few years already!
137. for Mr. Sketch smelly markers... mmm!
138. for little girls in colourful tights
139. for digital photography--oh, the joy of deleting!
140. for older teachers who remember you when they're purging their supplies
141. Lights, lights, and more Christmas lights!

Thank You, LORD!

Friday, December 18, 2009

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Our church's cantata is over, our children's program will be performed this weekend, our gift exchange with friends is complete, we continue to check off the list. All the while, Bethlehem remains in my mind. I'm relishing in the festivities, taking in the joy, but this evening takes my mind to another night. The little town is almost visible to me as I gaze out my window into the darkening sky.
I close my eyes and try to feel her labour, her shivering, her fear. It was Mary's first birth experience and the lack of shelter would certainly bring a nervousness for how this would all take place. She was young, trusting Joseph to find somewhere adequate for them. Oh, how the pain must have scared her. No longer a mother at her side, she was becoming a mother. And as she was visited and gifts were brought and her child was worshipped, she pondered all these things in her heart. I have a video and photos as memories of my births and yet, the story of her child, born in this little town, remains with me today through His Word. I sometimes ache to sit and meditate on this for much longer, perhaps all of advent.
Bethlehem, you're on my mind tonight. You must be on my mind. If I don't allow you to infiltrate me, what is my list worth? What is this season worth? Would Christmas ever be the same if I let go of the parties and gifts and just sat at His feet? It's tempting. Having had even more changes in my heart this month, I wait for the celebration of His birth with renewed anticipation. Oh, little town, my hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Our Home Is Lost"

He's been in the van, making stops, running errands and paying visits to family. His little two year-old mind and body are tired and he cries out to me, in the front seat, "Our home is lost! We can't find it anywhere!"
We do eventually end up finding our home :)
This season begins early and continues on, long past Jesus' birthday. I race to gather what I need from stores and little shops. I've set a goal to avoid the mall and purchase gifts elsewhere. I'm trying to maintain the joy this Christmas and to me, it ends in those long, busy hallways. With all the hustle and bustle, I keep returning to focus on Who it's all about. If I don't find Him daily during this season, I will undoubtedly fall prey to the stress that can be related to it all. Our home will be "lost" in the busyness. So, Little Man, it's when we fix our eyes on the real Meaning of the holidays, that we will never lose sight of our home.
(And so, it is with this focus, I continue my list of gifts from above...)

101. thankful for Friendship Club (for the developmentally disabled)

102. for still receiving snuggles from "big" kids

103. for gentle snow that leaves a light dusting

104. for cookie exchanges

105. for vast differences in my children's personalities

106. for family traits

107. for homemade skating rinks

108. for vanilla bean hot chocolate (with whipped cream)

109. for honest friends

110. for !

111. for little knitters during read-alouds

112. for the children's pastors and staff at our church (we love you!)

113. for a God who still performs miracles (we've experienced it!)

114. for clementines without seeds

115. for boys and girls who still act their ages and play like children

116. for a fresh slate every morning

117. for giggling, whispering sisters in their beds at night

118. for cousin sleep-overs

119. for the "Challenge Novels" by Carolyn (ask me about them!)

120. for the way God speaks to me through my children (Meghan, stay open to His Spirit!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Advent: a season of waiting. We've been reading about the coming of the most amazing person in history and, at the same time, watching the window for a sign of snow. Finally, the snow arrived and the kids bundled up and threw fall-apart snow balls and made angels with just a touch of grass peeking through. They didn't mind. The waiting had been satisfied.
But I've been wondering how to truly get across the importance of the birth of the Ultimate Sacrifice. We've been reading, making ornaments, praying, talking about His coming, but I wasn't sure if it was getting through to them. They are happy to focus on Jesus and not on commercialism and Santa but is His coming penetrating their hearts? Is it really penetrating my heart?
This morning I told them a story about a little girl who went to school without breakfast. I shared with them that although she was hearing about Christmas, she would not likely be experiencing it because of the financial situation of her family. We talked about the many families in our area who will be in the same predicament. How can we share God's love? We decided that they would do special jobs to make extra money for gifts for at least one family. We talked about how Jesus dwells inside of us and forgives us and we need to share Him. Molly began to cry and said she had felt sorry for things she had done and she confessed them to God. It was a touching moment when she realized this God, the One who forgives her, is the One who loves these people and sent Jesus for them. Slowly, the reality of Him began to move them and I knew we were all finally getting the picture just a little clearer. O Come, O Come Emmanuel.