Friday, December 24, 2010

It is the Night - from a dear FB friend ...

It is the Night

by Amy Shinn Sayers on Friday, December 24, 2010 at 1:08pm

I wrote this last year in the wee hours of the morning on Christmas-thought I'd share it again with you this year.

Much Love~

It is the night
It is this night

For many years I have tried to picture the setting
in my mind's eye
And while I have many times been moved by its awesomeness
It is this Eve of Christmas
that God would have me feel the tremendous weight of it all

I see the reality of a manger for a crib
I hear the night sounds of an ancient Bethlehem
I smell the stable sweetness-despite its common use

In these wee hours of morning
I have found that if I allow the intimate details
of this birth story to unfold within me
Then I can also taste the body that was broken~
the blood that was poured out-
for me.

And I am humbled

Who am I to want for so much~
when the One who created me
saw it fitting to allow His Son
to find comfort in a manger?

I begin to feel lowly and unworthy
when I compare my earthly desires
to this moment
And yet God's Spirit touches me
And this is what He would have me know~

It is the night
It is this night
that I offer to you, Amy
The Child I sent~ was for you

And suddenly I am aware
That on this night~
I received the greatest gift of all.

Final Advent Thoughts

As we bring the Season of Advent to a close with the lighting of the Christ Candle tonight, we end a chapter in the story of our Faith, and open anew, the ageless story of God with us, in every respect. Small towns and big cities, rich and poor, foreigner and citizen - for God so loved the world.

May the brightness of the star illumine our darkness ...

May the tenacity of the wise men, who dared to follow a star, encourage us in our journey ...

May the joy of the shepherds impel us to make our own trek to Bethlehem to see what the angels have told us ...

May Herod's anger be a sobering reminder that powerful interests have their own agenda ...

May the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt give us hope in tough times ... and ...

May the promise of Scripture - that all of these many and varied pieces were part of a Master Plan, the fulfilling of Scripture - give us peace and determination to keep up the good work of loving and serving Christ - because God's hand is yet upon the flow of history, to keep God's purpose and God's love alive, and to maintain our life together on this planet, a planet that God so dearly loves

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Christmas Story - A Baby's Hug

From a friend ...

~ A Baby's Hug ~

We were the only family with children in the restaurant.
I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking.

Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map.

We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. 'Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,' the man said to Erik.

My husband and I exchanged looks, 'What do we do?'

Erik continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.' Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man.

The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.' Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. 'Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,' I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's 'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man. Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship.

Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time.

I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, 'You take care of this baby.' Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a throat that contained a stone. He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain.

I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift.' I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, forgive me.'

I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, 'Are you willing to share your son for a moment? when He shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, 'To enter the Kingdom of God , we must become as little children.'

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today Will Be a Good Day

Today will be a good day ... maybe hard, maybe sad, but every day occurs under heaven's watchful eye ... 
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8