Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

May the year to come be filled with innumberable blessings, and God's grace and peace!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Advent--Glory to God in the Highest!

"Good news! Rejoice! What God's angels (and The Angels' Candle) proclaim is not some distant birth that matters little to us. No, this is up close and personal: 'Unto YOU,' the angel says. That angelic announcement continues to be proclaimed: 'Good news! This is for you...for now...for here...for everyone...forever!' Rejoice!"
~Arden Mead, copyright 2007 Creative Communications

The beauty of Christmas is that Christ came for them...for their children...for their children's children...for us, our children, and our children's children...for all of us.

"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoptions as sons." (Galatians 4:4, 5 NKJV)

Rejoice, my friends! For unto us is born a Savior!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Some Advent Thoughts

Throughout the time of Advent, I have had this continual desire to have times of peaceful reflection and waiting on God. Just to prepare my heart for Christmas, and meditate on the return of Christ. But that was not to be. Every time I turned around, there was something else added to my schedule. My kids had another project for school. There was another item added to my agenda. Another memo written on the calendar. Something always came up that needed my attention. It has frustrated me so much!

But in the middle of all this, God spoke something to me so clearly today. That's the point of it all. The world didn't come to a standstill when Christ was born. Yes, there was the angelic announcement and the shepherd's visit. Later, the star led the wisemen to Christ. But those few people are the only ones whose lives paused for His coming. The rest of the world went on with their daily schedules, totally oblivious to the incredible event that had occured in the stable that night, or how that event would eventually change the world. The point is that Christ comes in the midst of our regular lives. He is there in the center of it all--all the craziness and chaos. He is there. IF we allow Him. IF that is what we are truly desirous of, He will indeed make His presence known. Life doesn't have to come to a stop for Him to be present.

I know this is quite an elementary idea, but it struck me as profound. Yes, I do need to take those quiet times to be alone with Him and remember what happened on that night so long ago. But even more important, I need to allow Him to be there in all the times of busyness, allowing Him to make them times of joy and not times of stress.

For that is the beauty of Christmas: Immanuel, "God With Us

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Advent--Do You See What I See?

" 'Behold!' the Christmas angel said. The shepherds heard, 'Behold!' And they did as they were told, for the shepherds had a lot to see. And so do we. The message The Shepherds' Candle proclaims to us is to keep our eyes open. In the midst of all that's going on these bright and busy days, don't miss the miracle. God's glory is near!"
~by Arden Mead Copyright 2007 Creative Communications

There are so many wonders to ponder at Christmas. The story of Christ's birth is a series of miracles: An angel appears to Zechariah. Elizabeth conceives a son in her old age (she who was called "barren"). An angel appears to a virgin and declares that she will give birth. An angel appears to her husband-to-be, and assures him that Mary's pregnancy is of the Holy Spirit--he should continue with his plans to marry her. A warm birthplace is found in the midst of a crowded city. The Savior of all mankind would come to earth, and be found sleeping in a stable. A humble place, yet still a shelter. Angels appear to shepherds. Simple men, yet full of faith and ready to adore this new king.

The Advent season today is no less full of miracles, as we ponder the wonder of what God did over 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. Do we see the miracles? Or are we too busy to open our hearts and our eyes?

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Friday Prayer

My Jesus, how often I feel very small and inadequate before great tasks and responsibilities. What can I do but bring all that I have, even though it isn't much, and place all this in Your hands, wait for Your blessing, breaking, thanking, and receive back again with amazing power to reach all who depend on me, fill them with goodness and still have more than what I started with. May I never hold back my gifts from You. May I believe that Your blessing multiplies my smallest gifts to maximum powers. May I rejoice that You return the task to me and I have the personal thrill of seeing many satisfied by my ministrations. I adore Your wisdom, Your power, Your sharing. Amen.
~Fr. Gerald Keefe

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Advent--Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

"If the Prophecy Candle urges us to listen, the message of the Bethlehem Candle is: 'Prepare! Open your eyes; be aware of what's really going on.' What's really going on? The Lord is coming, that's what! Just as surely as Jesus once came to bustling Bethlehem (which was not fully prepared), so surely He is coming again!"
~Arden Mead, Copyright 2007, Creative Communications

The focus of Advent, week 2, is the prophecy of John the Baptist in the wilderness. John knew the time for the Messiah was at hand. He was in their midst. John's message was: "Prepare! Get your hearts ready, for the One you have been looking for is about to make Himself known."

Preparation means drawing closer to God. We cannot do that without taking time to allow the Holy Spirit to examine us. And as He reveals our true "selves" to us, we are drawn to repentance. A heart full of self and sin does not have room for Christ. It is true, too, that a life full of busyness and activity is also a life that is too full of self and the world.

May this season find us emptied of anything that would hinder us from being full of Him!

Advent--Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

"The first candle of the Advent wreath is called The Prophecy Candle. It urges us to listen. God has a lot to say to us. In fact, what God has to communicate is so important that finally God has to say it in person. 'The Word became flesh'--a human being, the One whose birth we anticipate in Advent and celebrate at Christmas."
~by Arden Mead, copyright 2007 Creative Communications,

In the Church calendar, we have begun the season of Advent. Each night at supper, we have our youngest child light the first purple candle in the Advent wreath. We have special scripture readings in church. We sing, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel". But what does it all mean?

The word "advent" means "coming". During this season, we prepare our hearts in a special way as we anticipate the coming of Christmas: Christ's first coming as a babe in a manger, born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. Just as the prophets foretold so long ago.

But we also remember that there will be another coming of Christ. We prepare our hearts for that day, and take these four weeks to draw ever closer to Him.

I have really been struggling with it lately. It seems that no matter how hard I try to set aside the time to focus on all that it means, other things come along to distract me and turn me away from the true meaning of Advent. My kids' school teachers seem to have this passion for adding "just one more" project before their Christmas break. Someone needs me to do "just one more" thing to help out with some special event. There needs to be "just one more" batch of cookies for this or that occasion. I have felt quite down and lost in the midst of all this. I am trying so hard to get the perspective back, but it is difficult!

May this season be one of our world, yes, but also in our hearts!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Still Here

I know I haven't been blogging much the past couple of weeks. I hope to be back in the frame of mind for blogging soon.

In the meantime, just keep me in your prayers.