Friday, December 25, 2009

This is IT!

Yes, this is IT. 

IT is the reason we have a holiday. 

IT is the reason we exchange gifts. 

IT is why we gather with those we love on this day set aside. 

This is Christmas. 


He is IT. 

Oh how I hope IT is what you are focusing on today.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This is a Christmas gift from a very dear friend.  It is counted cross stitch.  I love quilts so really, really appreciate the picture and the details on that quilt.  Her dad built the stand for the picture which is totally awesome, too.  How neat that father and daughter use their gifts/talents to bless other people.

The quilt on my bed was a gift from a former boss.  As I was leaving a previous position I was given a gift certificate to a store that has tons of gift ideas but I knew right away that I was going to buy myself a quilt.  I'd never bought one and have always admired handstitched quilts.  The applique quilt that I purchased has been on our bed for the past 13 years.  It is a comfortable, snuggly quilt that is especially dear as I think of that former boss and his gracious gift to me.

Quilts, to me, are a symbol of comfort.  I've attempted making a few quilt tops over the years.  So far I've only completed a couple of quilt wall hangings.  The wall hangings have been gifts and have been made of fabrics that are special and represent family heritage.  That brings a sort of comfort to the recipient.  A sense of peace and "rest".


On the bottom of the wooden stand on this year's Christmas gift, my friend wrote out the verse Mark 6:31 "And He said to them, Come aside by yourself to a deserted place and rest awhile."

Rest.  Are you laughing that on this fourth day from Christmas I would choose to write about this word!  Maybe you are cringing because you have so much to "do" before Jesus' birthday party.  Isn't it just like Jesus to say, "hey...get away from it all...find a deserted place and just take a rest" .

My "get away from it all aka deserted place" is one of two places:  wrapped in a blanket in the recliner in the livingroom or...get ready for this...the bathtub.   I sure wish my blanket in the livingroom was a quilt and especially one like the cross stitched picture. Maybe someday I'll make one like that.

In the meantime, let me tell you that I am choosing rest on this day.  I've had some time today to be alone with the Lord. 

Can you do that, too?  In these next days, could I challenge you to find some time to rest.  Find some time to get to a deserted place and rest awhile." 

Focus on the One that can give you pure rest.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Song

As a senior in high school, I was in choir and also in a smaller singing group.  At Christmastime the smaller group would visit community events, school functions, go to nursing homes, etc. and perform a selection of Christmas tunes.  As a senior, I had a speaking part during the performance.  Public speaking at that time was NOT something that came easy.  In fact it mortified me but yet something deep inside of me wanted to be able to make coherent statements in public!!!  My choir director must've seen some hope in me as the speaking part was assigned via tryouts! 

Each Christmas since high school I think of that speaking part.  It was Mary's song from Luke 1 and I so wanted to be able to convey her heart during each performance.   Even after all of the MANYyears since high school, I remember my desire to speak as if I were Mary. 

Let me set the stage if you aren't familiar with the story:  Mary, the young virgin, pregnant by a Spirit, carrying the Salvation of the World, goes to visit her auntie Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth sees her and greets her, the baby inside of Elizabeth leaps for joy (that might've even hurt) and she greets Mary, calling her Blessed One.  And Mary's response is this:

Mary's Song

And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers."
My mind, honestly, cannot fathom what she was going through.  Or even what kind of heart and pureness she must've had to be allowed to carry God's One and Only Son into this world through a human birth.  And to raise Him as a normal child despite His.....heritage!  It really is more than I can comprehend. 

Yet, she accepts what she has been given.   And even recognizes she will be called blessed and I get the feeling that she was okay with being given that title. 

But then right away she draws the attention back to the Mighty One that has done great things for her...holy is His name.  She speaks of His mercy, great power, true authority, love, justice, acknowledging her heritage in Abraham.

If this was a story in our present day, can you imagine the Facebook updates, all the Twittering that would go on and the smear stories that would be in the media.  I'm sure the only focus would be on the fact that some young chick gets pregnant and the whole focus on God would be approached only from a "she must be crazy" aspect and her wanting Him to get the focus would totally not be printed.

As one that has come to see my sin, as one that has come to accept God's forgiveness, as one that has received Jesus as my personal Savior, I too, am called blessed.  So, as I read Mary's Song this morning in my devotional time, I read it out loud as if I were the one saying it for the first time.  Then I read it again.  Louder, as if to proclaim the truth of each word to anyone that was within earshot (that was just the dog).  This morning something in these verses became real to me, like they were mine. 

If I could stand on a mountain and shout at the top of my lungs, I would shout of God's great love, mercy, power, justice, faithfulness, His holiness and more...more...more!

If my life could show anything, I would hope it would show these things.

The Message Bible interpretation of Mary's Song goes like this:

I'm bursting with God-news;
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It's exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

He is my Song. 

May my life be a song of Him.