Monday, December 28, 2009

The holiday hurry

The busy days are still here. Our Christmas was put on hold for a week (flu in the ranks), so I still have presents under the tree. The ingredients for Christmas chili are standing by. I'm still making lists and checking them twice.

In the midst of this busy-ness, I thought about Mary and Joseph... how fortunate they were to live in a calmer time ("all is calm, all is bright", right?) Why, even I could concentrate on important spiritual things, with a schedule like theirs. No hustle, no bustle...

Then I remembered their trip to Bethlehem.

Someone had to make sure that Mary was aware of the latest in natural childbirth techniques (Joseph too!). Someone had to plan the route, pack the donkey, arrange for food, round up clean swaddling clothes, push through crowds, etc, etc, etc.

The times were different. The push to get things done? Ever present.

Mine the choice to keep the King of kings in His proper place.

...the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Christmas program

Usually, I am on this side of a Christmas program.

This year, long after I thought the coast was clear (read as all parts were filled), I was asked to participate as a reader.

Today, at the final practice, I find myself on this side of the program... looking at the backs of Sunday school kids instead of their faces.

Although I miss seeing the program, and listening unpressured to beautiful music, I have the privilege of reading some of the most significant words of the season...

But He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.

And she brought forth her son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Philippians 2:7, II Corinthians 9:15, Luke 2:7)

It has been a good thing...

Monday, December 14, 2009

A new perspective

I have been away from home. In the past 12 days I have: visited 5 states; watched grandkids "star" (in my world view) in Christmas plays and programs; done my post-op "Nona" duties; cooked, baked and cleaned in other people's kitchens; accomplished some Christmas shopping; discovered wonderful treasures in out-of-the-way antique stores.

One of my antique treasures was buried in a pile of early 20th century Sunday School teaching boards - a copy of a painting, "Arrival of the Shepherds" by Henri Lerolle. I had never seen it before, but it has brought new insight to my view of the manger scene.

Add to that painting the lesson for my 3rd and 4th grade Sunday School class yesterday. The lesson described the shepherds searching for the angel's "sign" - a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

I have always pictured the shepherds going straight from the flocks to the manger... not wandering through Bethlehem in search of the one stable that held the promised Saviour. They followed the star that marked the spot (I assumed). How wrong I have been... the star is never mentioned until the Wise Men arrive - many months later.

So, with new eyes, I see the manger scene. With new understanding, I feel the wonder of the shepherds as they finally find the right stable. With greater appreciation, I notice Joseph's surprised face as he discovers rag-tag shepherds observing his family moment.

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift...

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Luke 2:12

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Works in progress

Life is getting seriously busy. Christmas provides the perfect excuse for me to play... it's all part of that list that I'm checking twice (hum a little tune here). But, it does get a bit scary as the deadline approaches and the list is still long, so the play-time gets serious about... oh... NOW!

Because you never know who might be peeking, I'll just show WIP from the last few days.

Trying to perfect a parchment wrapper isn't as easy as it looks.

This is too round...

too big...

getting close...

And the cards. How I love to make cards. I know what happens to cards after Christmas, but it doesn't matter. I just love making cards.

So that you can still act surprised if a box of parchment wrapped goodies arrives at your house, or you get a cHim Prints card... vague photos will have to do for now.

I hope you're having as much fun getting ready as I am.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Psalm 100:2