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Showing posts from December, 2016

Advent: Christmas Day- When It Isn't What You Were Hoping For

And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress." And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. - Luke 2:48-50
It's Christmas Day and it's a sunny 49 degrees outside and I've taken my young men to the park to ride their bike and roller blades, but mostly just to flee the thick-with-virus air that is our house right now.

Christmas day isn't turning out to be all I was hoping for.  My husband woke with a fever and fever blisters with a vengeance lining his mouth and throat.  The boys were up at 6 am wanting to open presents and begin the festivities, but the sick man on the couch next to the Christmas tree had just barely fallen back to sleep at 4am.  So kids got their first gift today: layin…

Advent Day 20: Waiting For God

Save me, O God!  For the waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.  I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched.  My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. -Psalm 69:1-3
Psalm 69 is not exactly a common Bible verse quoted at Christmas.  But I think it's perfect for Advent.  At least it's where I'm at right now.  Maybe you are too.

For lots of people, Christmas is not all joy and jolly.  For many it's a very painful reminder that they long for things to be right and happy and light, but in reality they find themselves in a place where things are wrong and sorrowful and dark.  If you find yourself in a place like that today, I pray this will encourage you as it has me.

I counted 11 times in my version of Psalm 69 where the writer asks God to save him in various ways.

Save me O God!  For the waters have come up to my neck... (vs.1)

...answer me in your saving faithfu…

Advent Day 12: A Light for Those Other People

I almost went to bed without posting this.  It usually takes me mulling over a passage all day before the light breaks through and I get an "Ah-ha" moment of clarity and excitement that makes sharing it possible.
Tonight the ah-ha hit while I was tucking my youngest in bed. 
The three sections of Luke's narrative on Christ's birth that always catch me are:
Mary's reaction to the shepherds: She treasured and pondered the message they brought about her son.Simeon's prophecy about Jesus to Mary:  He would pierce her soul and be opposed and expose people's thoughts and hearts.Simeon's prayer and praise before prophesying to Mary: Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.- Luke 2:29-32
The third is what I want to dwell on tonight.  It's the "li…

Advent Day 10: opposed, piercing and revealing

Advent day 8 and 9 were spent on the floor of the acute rehab unit at Banner Del Webb hospital. Yesterday, day 9 was a particularly long and even record setting day. I worked with two new nurses and together (along with the help of some coworkers who were gracious enough to come help us out on their day off) we admitted seven patients to our unit on our shift, a record number of admissions in one day for us. I put in over 14 hours yesterday, came home, crashed, woke up this morning at 6 and packed Goats Make Soap Co. up for her last farmer's market of 2016. Therefore, no Advent posts for Thursday and Friday.

 I do want to pick up where I left off on Wednesday though.

There are three phrases in the Luke account of the birth of Christ that grab me every time I read them.  The first is Mary's response to the shepherds report of angels declaring to them the birth of the Savior.  The second is in Luke 2:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was…

Advent Day 7: What Will You Do With The Message

My favorite telling of the birth of Christ is in Luke.

There are a few phrases that always catch me in Luke's narrative. One of them is when the shepherds decide to go find this Savior that had been announced to them and they find Mary and Joseph and the baby and start telling them, and apparently others, about this glorious news made known to them by angels.  It says:

And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.- Luke 2:18-19 When Mary heard these poor shepherds tell their story about the angel of the Lord announcing to them the good news of a Savior and the host of angels praising God with those famous words, "Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace among those whom he is pleased!", she didn't seek out a publicist or start planning for her position as future Queen Mum.  It says treasured up all the things that the shepherds told her and pondered them in her heart.  And ap…

Advent Day 6: Who Is this Baby?

I've been focusing on Jesus as the light of the world in these devotions. I've been thinking about this a lot because of the people in my life who challenge my beliefs and question why I do what I do and why I don't do what I don't do. When someone asks you as a Christian, "What does make you happy? What are you living for? What is your purpose on the earth?" You want to give a sincere and meaningful answer, even if they don't get you.

When I was asked these questions recently and heard the answers coming out of my mouth, I realized this Jesus I believe in as the light of the world really does live in me!  I really am different.  Not because I'm trying to be holier than thou or pious or prudish.  And not because I'm judging the people around me.  I'm different because the same Christ who was born in a cave 2000 plus years ago and grew to be a man who said things like, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk i…

Advent: Day 5: Born to Clothe Us In Light

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.- Isaiah 61:10
Today the boys and I went to our first (and probably only) professional photography session. A new friend of mine, Jean, is a professional photographer in Buckeye, AZ and she and I have done a sort of trade of service/goods with each other: soap for pics.

I've never done anything like this. There was very specific preparations that had to be made so that we had the best chance of looking close-up photo worthy. Twice Jean and I had talked about what to expect during the session and laid out plans …

Advent Day 4: Sons of Light

So Jesus said to them, "The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." -John 12:35-36
I did a search on for the word "light" because when I decided to write these meditations out for Advent this year I wanted to focus on the truth that knowing Christ gives life and meaning to everything.  When I read this verse it really struck me.

Sons of light
Jesus called himself the light.  But here he is telling the men who were with him that they would become sons of light if they would believe in the light. In the famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew Jesus tells his disciples that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

At Christmastime we celebrate the birth of Christ and wrap presents and decorate trees and take special pictures a…

Advent Day 3: The Light Has Come

Advent: 24 Days of Looking to the Light of the Word
Day 3 (because I worked day 2 and couldn't squeeze in time to write): The Light Has Come

Real life is that sometimes in attempts to stay worshipful during Christmas by doing Advent readings and devotions you might not get to a devotional at all.

Yesterday, after a sleepless night and a 3:30 AM wake up call from my asthmatic son and his tight airway, I got ready for work and plodded my way through 13 hours of answering call lights and questions about why I looked so tired, along with the daily business that nurses do.  By the time I got home last night I was good for nothing, especially writing an Advent meditation.

I did manage to read some of my Bible asking God to take the few minutes I had at lunch and feed my soul.  I read this:

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. - John 3:19 Not exactly one of those honey-bun verses tha…

Advent: 24 Days of Looking to the Light of the World

Christmas is a very special time for me personally. My history of personal trials and having a baby boy at Christmastime nearly 12 years ago has changed Christmas for me forever. Every year since then, Christmas has been not a day, but days of worship and meditation leading up to the 25th of December and a new year.  I've spent many years doing a Jesse Tree devotional with my boys.  The last couple years, the Jesse Tree devotional was replaced by other short readings and discussions (read resistance and challenge) with my preteen and teenage sons. This year, I've decided to write out my own meditations and thoughts and share them with my young men.  I am planning to post a daily meditation/devotional between now and Christmas.

 December 1: What Life Is All About
"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" -John 8:12
I've been thinking a lot about how…