Santa’s Christmas Wish

It’s Christmas Eve once again,
And the world awaits Santa’s return,
But as children sleep with happy faces,
Santa’s face is full of concern.

For he knows that many believe in him,
Even though they see him not;
Yet they don’t believe in the unseen God,
Nor the Son that He begot.

They accept the many gifts from Santa,
As an expression of his love;
But they won’t accept The Greatest Gift,
From the loving God above.

The gift of eternal salvation,
Was offered on Christmas Day –
Through the birth of Baby Jesus,
Who is still rejected today!

“How sad it is,” thought Santa,
As he climbed into his sleigh.
And with tears staining his cheeks,
Santa bowed his head to pray.

“Lord Jesus, ’tis not for my glory,
That I return each Christmas Eve.
But to show men, women, and children,
That they don’t need to see to believe.

“And if they can accept my gifts,
Even though they’re undeserving –
I pray they’ll learn to accept Your Gift,
Through a clearer understanding.

“And Lord, If could have a Christmas wish,
I would ask for it to be —
That on each and every Christmas Eve,
The world would look for Thee, not me!”

-Author Unknown-

The Gift of #Emptiness

FBMeyerQuote-Gift_of_Emptiness--AMP

The education of our faith is incomplete
if we have not learned that there is a providence of loss,
a ministry of failing and of fading things,
a gift of emptiness. 
—F.B. Meyer

I’ve been pondering this phrase I read the other day: the gift of emptiness. What contradictory terms! How can emptiness be a gift?

We have all received gifts from family and friends for various occasions. Every so often someone will give us something special just because. Those are my favorite gifts—a card for no reason at all, a special book from a friend who knows my taste in reading, a hug, a fistful of flowers my Rick picked from the side of the road just for me. All of these make me feel special and loved.

My daughter once gave me a purse she hadn’t used in a while. It was the perfect size and color for me (bright pink!) and I loved the feel of the soft patent leather. There was no special reason for this gift; she simply thought I might enjoy using it, and oh, I did I ever! On top of my desk is a sweet teddy bear wearing a dress and pinafore, with a bow and headband around her head. A close friend gave me this gift because she saw it and thought of me.

I was away for a week and before I drove straight home I stopped at the car wash to surprise Rick with the gift of a brightly clean truck. A couple of days later, as a surprise gift to me, he completely cleaned out the inside of the truck. How’s that for mutual gifting?

As special as touchable gifts are, there are some intangible ones that are special too. The one I’m thinking about now happened a few years ago when my son renewed his commitment to the Lord and was baptized. As the tears streamed down my face, I thanked God that He had allowed me to witness this extraordinary event in my son’s life.

Emptiness is defined as an unfilled space; a total lack of ideas, meaning, or substance; a desolate sense of loss. On the other hand, a gift is something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned. How can two such different words occupy the same sentence or thought?

Ecclesiastes 5:7 says “For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.” The fear of God is not that cowering kind of dread but rather a total awe, wonder and reverence for a perfect, holy, righteous and just Creator. When we truly fear God, we bow to His awesome power, complete knowledge, overwhelming faithfulness, and unfailing love and mercy for us.

God is our strength when we feel weak, our fortress when people try to overpower us, and our refuge when we need to pull back from the pressures of life. In fact, God is our ultimate security and protection.

There is nothing He is not able and willing to help us with. No matter how far we may stray from Him, He is always ready to take us back with open arms because His love for us is immeasurable. All of these are intangible gifts from God, gifts we experience from Him but cannot touch or feel with our hands. We know these gifts are from Him because:

Eph2-8-CrossVector--AMP

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

not by works, so that no one can boast.

10 
For we are God’s handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.

—Ephesians 2:8-10

Pastor David Strem, in his sermon “Easter: Emptiness that Fulfills,” shares this:

The empty tomb is about the power of God to overcome death…[and] is God’s promise that physical death is not the end. It displays His power over death and satisfies our hope for eternal life. The world is full of empty promises, but God is different. Instead of promises full of emptiness, God gives us emptiness that is full of promise. Emptiness because He poured Himself out for us.¹

Beloved, God’s ultimate gift to us is the reality of that empty tomb where Jesus was after He died for our sins. God bestows many gifts on us because He loves us so much, but His gift of emptiness tops everything else. If Jesus had not conquered death, leaving us that empty tomb, we would not have the reassurance of His coming back for us. It is this reassurance that comforts and upholds me during my worst days because I know without a shadow of doubt that God has my back. His gift of emptiness keeps me from losing heart. How about you?

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this.
—Luke 24:1-8

¹ The Last Days of Jesus’ Earthly Ministry

The Perfect Christmas {repost}

Sharing a post from December 2012…

merry_christmas

The sounds of Christmas are starting earlier every year. Halloween isn’t even here yet when the stores start decorating for Christmas. And before Thanksgiving is on the horizon, Christmas music starts playing.

In fact as I sit here writing this I am listening to my own mix of Christmas music. My taste in this has changed somewhat over the years. Now I prefer instrumental music over songs with lyrics. It soothes and calms my heart and makes me feel more in touch with what I believe Christmas should really be.

Celebrating Christmas involves a host of activities. Buying—maybe making—and giving presents. Baking cookies and other holiday yummies. Christmas trees, ornaments and decorations. Singing and listening to carols. Connecting with others.

What is it about Christmas that makes us want to embrace it so completely?

There are countless magazine, ezine and other online articles showing us how to create the perfect Christmas for our families. Some magazines are even completely dedicated to the Christmas theme, filled with new or traditional recipes for cookies and other treats. They illustrate ways to decorate our homes to enhance that Christmas feeling and show us how to create to-do lists to keep track of everything that needs to be done by December 25th.

We rush around in an effort to find the best deals on gifts for friends and family. And why not? Since everything is more expensive now and our paychecks are probably not keeping up with rising prices, we need to save money wherever we can. Maybe we’ve decided to try for a more basic Christmas by making gifts and goodies. That still means we have to actually buy whatever it takes to make them. In a frenzied effort to provide our families with the perfect Christmas, we may miss the point of the whole thing.

And that is…?

Celebrating the birth of Jesus because it paved the way for us to live with Him forever in heaven.

Worshiping the One who made us and sent His Son to be born as a human being.

Thanking God for the humanness of Jesus Christ so that He experienced everything we’re going through and completely understands our joys and sorrows.

I have changed a lot over the years. When my children were young, I enjoyed all the hustle and bustle of decorating the tree and the house, baking all sorts of cookies and treats, shopping for those “perfect” gifts. I loved the excited smiles on my children’s faces as they saw the presents piled under the tree on Christmas morning and rushed to find those with their names on them.

Now I cherish more simple things this time of year: enjoying the long-standing tradition of exchanging Christmas socks with my daughter; listening to reflective Christmas music as I am right now; reading cards and notes from friends and family.

Other simple things? The look of twinkling lights. The aroma of a few cookies and quick breads baking. Hanging the stockings I crocheted on the mantel.

My Christmas trees used to drip with treasured family ornaments and colored lights. Now I put out this small but precious ceramic tree made especially for me years ago by my mother-in-law. There are also a few decorations scattered throughout the house and a wreath on the front door…

more than enough to satisfy my Christmas heart.

How about you, Beloved? Do you go all out for Christmas or have you scaled back in recent years?

…..

…..

The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.

The Perfect Christmas

The sounds of Christmas are starting earlier every year. Halloween isn’t even here yet when the stores start decorating for Christmas. And before Thanksgiving is on the horizon, Christmas music starts playing.

In fact as I sit here writing this I am listening to my own mix of Christmas music. My taste in this has changed somewhat over the years. Now I prefer instrumental music over songs with lyrics. It soothes and calms my heart and makes me feel more in touch with what I believe Christmas should really be.

Celebrating Christmas involves a host of activities. Buying—maybe making—and giving presents. Baking cookies and other holiday yummies. Christmas trees, ornaments and decorations. Singing and listening to carols. Connecting with others.

What is it about Christmas that makes us want to embrace it so completely?

There are countless magazine, ezine and other online articles showing us how to create the perfect Christmas for our families. Some magazines are even completely dedicated to the Christmas theme, filled with new or traditional recipes for cookies and other treats. They illustrate ways to decorate our homes to enhance that Christmas feeling and show us how to create to-do lists to keep track of everything that needs to be done by December 25th.

We rush around in an effort to find the best deals on gifts for friends and family. And why not? Since everything is more expensive now and our paychecks are probably not keeping up with rising prices, we need to save money wherever we can. Maybe we’ve decided to try for a more basic Christmas by making gifts and goodies. That still means we have to actually buy whatever it takes to make them. In a frenzied effort to provide our families with the perfect Christmas, we may miss the point of the whole thing.

And that is…?

Celebrating the birth of Jesus because it paved the way for us to live with Him forever in heaven.

Worshiping the One who made us and sent His Son to be born as a human being.

Thanking God for the humanness of Jesus Christ so that He experienced everything we’re going through and completely understands our joys and sorrows.

I have changed a lot over the years. When my children were young, I enjoyed all the hustle and bustle of decorating the tree and the house, baking all sorts of cookies and treats, shopping for those “perfect” gifts. I loved the excited smiles on my children’s faces as they saw the presents piled under the tree on Christmas morning and rushed to find those with their names on them.

Now I cherish more simple things this time of year: enjoying the long-standing tradition of exchanging Christmas socks with my daughter; listening to reflective Christmas music as I am right now; reading cards and notes from friends and family.

Other simple things? The look of twinkling lights. The aroma of a few cookies and quick breads baking. Hanging the stockings I crocheted on the mantel.

My Christmas trees used to drip with treasured family ornaments and colored lights. Now I put out this small but precious ceramic tree made especially for me years ago by my mother-in-law. There are also a few decorations scattered throughout the house and a wreath on the front door…

more than enough to satisfy my Christmas heart.

How about you, Beloved? Do you go all out for Christmas or have you scaled back in recent years?

What Kind of Gift is That?

Last year, I posted this under my Faith Living tab. I am currently in the middle of a CFIDS flare and need a ton of extra sleep and rest. Since I haven’t been able to spend much time on my computer, I thought I’d share this again. 

The Gift of Emptiness


“[Then said Jeremiah] O Lord, my Strength and my Stronghold, and my Refuge in the day of affliction, to You shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, emptiness, and futility, worthless things in which there is no profit!” (Jeremiah 16:19, AMP)

I’ve been pondering this phrase I read the other day: the gift of emptiness. What contradictory terms! How could emptiness be a gift?

We have all received gifts from family and friends for various occasions. Every so often someone will give us something special ‘just because’. Those are my favorite gifts – a card for no reason at all, a special book from a friend who knows my taste in reading, a hug, a fistful of flowers my husband picked from the side of the road just for me…. all of these make me feel special and loved.

Recently my daughter gave me a purse she hadn’t used in a while. It is the perfect size and color for me (bright pink!) and I love the feel of the soft patent leather. There was no special reason for this gift; she simply thought I might enjoy using it, and oh, I definitely do!

On top of my desk is a sweet teddy bear wearing a dress and pinafore, with a bow and headband around her head. A close friend gave me this gift because she saw it and thought of me.

I was away for a week and before I drove straight home I stopped at the car wash to surprise my husband with the gift of a brightly clean truck. A couple of days later, as a surprise gift to me, he completely cleaned out the inside of the truck. How’s that for mutual gifting?

As special as touchable gifts are, there are some intangible ones that are special too. Last month my son renewed his commitment to the Lord and was baptized. As the tears streamed down my face, I thanked God that He had allowed me to witness this extraordinary event in my son’s life.

We all struggle with sleep at times. Insomnia has dogged me for many years but these days I seem to need more sleep than normal because of health problems. Still, there are nights when I wake up with too many thoughts swirling through my mind to be able to get right back to sleep. This is when I pray for God to help me empty my mind of all thoughts but those of Him so that I can get right back to sleep. To me, this is a good kind of emptiness.

Emptiness is defined as an unfilled space; a total lack of ideas, meaning, or substance; a desolate sense of loss. On the other hand, a gift is “something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned.” How can two such different words occupy the same sentence or thought?

Ecclesiastes 5:7 says “For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.” The fear of God is not that cowering kind of dread but rather a total awe, wonder and reverence for a perfect, holy, righteous and just Creator. When we truly “fear God,” we bow to His awesome power, complete knowledge, overwhelming faithfulness, and unfailing love and mercy for us.

God is our strength when we feel weak, our fortress when people try to overpower us, and our refuge when we need to pull back from the pressures of life. In fact, God is our ultimate security and protection. There is nothing He is not able and willing to help us with. No matter how far we may stray from Him, He is always ready to take us back with open arms because His love for us is immeasurable. All of these are intangible gifts from God — gifts we experience from Him but cannot touch or feel with our hands. We know these gifts are from Him because:

“…by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8, ESV).

Pastor David Strem, in his sermon “Easter: Emptiness that Fulfills,” shares this:

“The empty tomb is about the power of God to overcome death…[and] is God’s promise that physical death is not the end. It displays His power over death and satisfies our hope for eternal life. The world is full of empty promises, but God is different. Instead of promises full of emptiness, God gives us emptiness that is full of promise. Emptiness because He poured Himself out for us.”

Beloved, God’s ultimate gift to us is the reality of that empty tomb where Jesus had been placed after He died for our sins. God bestows many gifts on us because He loves us so much, but His “gift of emptiness” tops everything else. If Jesus had not conquered death, leaving us that empty tomb, we would not have the reassurance of His coming back for us. It is this reassurance that comforts and upholds me during my worst days because I know without a shadow of doubt that God has my back. His gift of emptiness keeps me from losing heart. How about you?

“But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this.” (Luke 24:1-8, NLT)

“The education of our faith is incomplete if we have not learned that there is a providence of loss, a ministry of failing and of fading things, a gift of emptiness.” (F.B. Meyer)

Sweet and Pink!

I have now had my Nook Color e-reader for over a year and I can honestly say I really love it. When e-readers first came out, I could not see myself with one because I love everything about books: the feel of a brand-new one; turning each page; even the smell of the ink and paper. So I scoffed at the idea of an electronic book and couldn’t believe such a thing would catch on.

Ah, silly me!

I love, love, love having almost my entire library—around 425 books right now—available at all times, no matter where I am. It wasn’t long before I realized I needed a cover to protect my Nook because I’m not teased for being clumsy for no reason. So I found this cute and retro looking cover and use it every day:

Isn’t it the cutest?

But here’s the real reason for today’s Sweet Saturday posting. Recently while shopping online for a dear friend’s birthday I saw a pillow made specifically to prop an e-reader (as well as “real” books) while reading. There were only two pink ones left, so I’m sure you can guess the rest: I bought both! One for my friend and one for me.

Sweet, huh? I’m not sure if there are any other brands available but this particular one is called a “Peeramid.” Here’s what it looks like with my closed Nook propped on it. And below you can see how it looks while I’m reading:

The pillow is very light and easy to hold in your lap or place on a table, the floor or on a footstool. Here’s a better look at it:

The rolled edges are perfect for propping any kind or size of book, e-book or tablet PC. You can see that there are two pockets that can hold bookmarks (if you’re reading a real book), pencils, pens or highlighters, or even reading glasses. Notice the braided rope with a tassel at the end—this can be used as a bookmark. Isn’t that clever?

The Peeramid can be found at Hog Wild Toys and Amazon.com as well as other retailers. They run between $25 – $35, depending on where you find it.

Santa’s Christmas Wish

 

It’s Christmas Eve once again,
And the world awaits Santa’s return,
But as children sleep with happy faces,
Santa’s face is full of concern.

For he knows that many believe in him,
Even though they see him not;
Yet they don’t believe in the unseen God,
Nor the Son that He begot.

They accept the many gifts from Santa,
As an expression of his love;
But they won’t accept The Greatest Gift,
From the loving God above.

The gift of eternal salvation,
Was offered on Christmas Day –
Through the birth of Baby Jesus,
Who is still rejected today!

“How sad it is,” thought Santa,
As he climbed into his sleigh.
And with tears staining his cheeks,
Santa bowed his head to pray.

“Lord Jesus, ’tis not for my glory,
That I return each Christmas Eve.
But to show men, women, and children,
That they don’t need to see to believe.

“And if they can accept my gifts,
Even though they’re undeserving –
I pray they’ll learn to accept Your Gift,
Through a clearer understanding.

“And Lord, If could have a Christmas wish,
I would ask for it to be —
That on each and every Christmas Eve,
The world would look for Thee, not me!”

[ Author Unknown  ]