Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Tag

Joy and Peace to You   Leave a comment

I still get excited about Christmas.  I still get that little five-year-old feeling in my stomach that says, “Christmas is 4 days away!!!!”

I usually start thinking about Christmas – the cards I will buy, who I will send them to, the gifts I will give people – in July.  I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember.  I have a big family, and in order to be able to afford gifts for them and for my friends, I have to start buying in July.

I have always associated Joy and Peace with Christmas.  They are so entwined that I couldn’t separate them if I tried.  The joy of the shepherds.  The peace that Jesus brought.  I always gravitate towards cards with Joy on them, or a dove (peace).

This year, with all that has been going on in the world and in the US, it is a struggle to find and keep joy and peace.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of it.  So much conflict!  Sadness!  Violence!  Poverty!  I have to remind myself of the reason we celebrate Christmas, and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.  And why He did it.  Why He left his home to be with us.

So, despite what is going on in the world, I hold onto God’s peace, and God’s joy.  I try to share it with others.  I try to keep it in my heart and my actions.  I wish you joy and peace.  On Christmas, and each day of the year.

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Posted December 21, 2015 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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And God Bless Us, Every One   Leave a comment

I love Christmas time.  I like how it is colder and darker. I love the holiday lights, and shopping and wrapping.  The songs and movies.  The anticipation and preparation for celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Being single most of my adult life, I also hated the Christmas season.  How I wished I had a special someone to buy gifts for!  Who I could anticipate getting a special gift!  It was lonely.  It was dark and cold.  Everyone else seemed happy and no one seemed to notice I was alone.

I know someone who had a truly horribly 2013, a pretty good 2014, and is really looking forward to 2015.  I know someone who got hit by a car while biking, has already undergone two surgeries, and is struggling to find someone to take care of his dog while he is in the hospital for at least two more weeks.  I know someone who had many struggles this year, but her faith in God has never wavered.  I know someone who had a pretty darn good 2014, is in good health, and is looking forward to 2015 with anticipation and excitement.  I know someone who is having her first Christmas with her husband, as they got married earlier this year.

So many people, so many different situations.  So many emotions, so many different viewpoints and outlooks.

We can never know for sure what others are going through or what their internal life is.  God knows.  God hears, God sees, God cares.  If nothing else, my prayer is that all of you would hold onto that.  God loves you.  God came to earth as a man for you, and he died for you.  God is alive and waiting, oh waiting so patiently, for you to be by his side one day.

Peace and joy to you.

Posted December 24, 2014 by Maureen in Being Single, Christian

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The Reason   Leave a comment

Why_Celebrate_Christmas

I borrowed this picture from my church.  This is why Christmas should be celebrated, and the whole reason for it.  I wish you a blessed, peaceful Christmas time.

 

 

Posted December 23, 2013 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

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They Don’t Know They’re Dead   Leave a comment

I had a friend in Washington when I lived there.  She and her husband and three kids lived in a small house. The small kitchen and dining room area were in a large rectangle, with an opening out to the living room.  On her windows in the kitchen and dining room she had a valance made out of very pretty fabric – bright colors with fruit and veggies.  They added a nice accent to that area.

Once a year during her spring cleaning, she would take them down and wash them.  One time she was telling me about her cleaning, and her great surprise at seeing the valances when they were put back up.  They were so clean!  She had not realized they had gradually, over time, gotten dirty and gritty.  She had washed them as part of her spring cleaning – but she hadn’t noticed they were dirty.

I have friends who have a 3 bedroom apartment with a large covered deck.  It isn’t used much, but I was out there working on a tile project a few weekends ago. I had seen the deck and been out on it for a year and a half, so I was used to how it looked.  During the course of cutting the tile, bits and pieces of the tiles scattered and flew around where I was working, so when I was done I swept the floor of the deck.  It was covered in a layer of dirt!  I had not realized the floor was supposed to be a tan color – not the dark color (tan/black) I was used to seeing.  The deck was covered in a thick layer dirt, but no one noticed.

Does this seem a strange blog entry for Christmas??  Well, I can’t help thinking of all the people I know personally, and all the people around the world, who don’t see any special significance for this time of year.  For some it is a lonely time.  For others it is a burdensome time – parties to attend, traveling, presents to select, buy, and wrap.  For many it is stressful.  And any combination of the above and other things.  They don’t have joy; they don’t have wonder at the Savior come to earth as a baby.  They know nothing of (or don’t care) the salvation that is possible because of the birthday we celebrate on December 25th.  I can’t help thinking about those lost souls.

They don’t know they’re dead.

They don’t know they don’t need to stay dead.

They don’t know they can have salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life.

So while I do have joy and anticipation and thankfulness at this time of year – still, I can’t help thinking of all those lost souls who don’t know they are dead.  God knows them, each one.  God knows them by name and what is in their hearts and minds.   All I can do is be the best light I can, and pray for them.

I wish you joy and peace and happiness during this season.

Posted December 11, 2013 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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Contemplating Joy   3 comments

“Christmas is a season of joy, for it was birthed in joy.” 

How can we have joy?  How can we seek it, grab hold of it, hold onto it?  Almost everyone has had joy in their lives at some point.  Woe to the person who hasn’t!  How awful to think about that. 

The thing about joy that is different from other emotions is that you can’t force it.  You can’t work toward it to bring it up and experience it.  Joy comes from outside yourself. I believe it comes from God as a gift.  And I believe it is a response to our relationship with God.

Even those who don’t believe in God can be joyful when they hold a little baby.  Or get licked by a dog or cat.  Or enjoy the beautiful night sky.  God can (and does) give them that gift even if they don’t acknowledge or are even aware that it is God they are rejoicing in.

Rejoice.  Re — joy.  I like it.  Nice word.  I wish you joy.  I wish you the peace that passes understanding, and deep joy that radiates out from you to others.

Posted December 14, 2010 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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Have a Mary Christmas   Leave a comment

I wish for you to have a Mary Christmas.  No, that is not a typo.  Mary – as in the mother of Jesus.  Joseph’s wife.  That Mary.

Mary is one of the central characters in the true Christmas story of the birth of Jesus.  Over the centuries she has been lifted up, worshiped, discarded, speculated about, and archtyped.  (to coin a word) 

I have always seen Mary as the quiet presence, the one who held it together, the one who did what she had to do because someone had to do it and she was that someone.  I always thought Mary had great faith.  When the shepherds came to them to see the baby Jesus and told her and Joseph about what they had seen and been told, the Bible says about Mary’s reaction, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) I have always identified with Mary, because she reminds me of myself.

The Bible gives us few clues as to the person she was.  She was young.  How young?  I have heard as young as 13.  The Bible does not say, but I have always placed her age in my own mind at around 17 or 18.  Joseph was most likely older – possibly in his late 20’s.  She was, we hope, a woman in love.  She was engaged to Joseph and our best guesses are that it was not an arranged marriage, so she must have loved him and sweetly and happily anticipated marriage to him.

She was a Jew, and based on the little the Bible says we can guess she was devout in her faith.  She lived in a small town, which means everyone knew everyone else.  Their business, what they had for dinner, who argued with who, who was sick, who were the trouble makers, who to go to for help, who everyone’s fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers were.  Despite the Roman occupation and the fact that Galilee in general was despised by the Jews to the South, I have always pictured Mary’s life as one of peaceful, small town-ish, quietness.  She may have been pleased to be marrying Joseph, who was a hard worker and we hope his business was a good one.  She may have looked forward to raising children in that town, that area, and living a long time with Joseph there.

And one day, that changed.  We don’t know what Mary was doing when the angel spoke to her.  We know she listened. We know she obeyed. I can’t imagine how hard the pregnancy was for her.  Pregnant!  Before marriage!  No matter what she said or what Joseph said – no one was going to believe she was still a virgin with a baby growing inside her.  In a small town like that it must have set tongues wagging and heads shaking.  And then Joseph did not have her stoned.  Or even divorce her quietly.  They went right on with the wedding plans while she slowly got bigger and bigger.  Scandal!  Shock!  The pressure on her must have been enormous.  Joseph could be excused from blame, and he could find another.  But Mary would have that baby the rest of her life and would have a hard time getting another man to accept her. 

And what was Mary’s reaction to this?  What was her response when the angel told her she would be pregnant – would hold God’s very own son inside herself?  She must have known what the repercussions of that declaration would be.  Angel or no – it was a hard thing to accept.  To go out on a limb like that, to face the scandal and gossip and shame.  To face family pressures and possibly the loss of friends.  I can picture Mary, sitting in the light, absorbing the words of the angel, thinking, contemplating.  The repercussions clicking one by one in her head.  And what was her response?

“I am the Lord’s servant”, Mary said.  “May it be to me as you have said”. (Luke 1:38)

And that is why I wish you a Mary Christmas.  We should all be so open, so willing, and so obedient to what God tells us or asks us.  Despite the odds and opposition and our own failings and shortcomings — we should all have that same response to God. 

Have a Mary Christmas!

Posted December 7, 2010 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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