Merry Christmas

blog shots 008As Christmas 2016 bears down upon us with amazing speed and will soon be gone, I want to wish my readers a most joyful holiday. Sharing my life and my thoughts with you each week has become a fascinating journey through many subjects.

And as we enter 2017, let us take with us the words of the prophet Isaiah who told us to expect the coming Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 (NASB): “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders’ And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace. On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness.  From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. . .

May the season’s best blessings find you and may your hearts be filled with love. Merry Christmas.

Tradition Reigns Parade

christmas-parade-2016-001Touting their Christmas parade as the “oldest and coldest” in the Northwest, citizens of Springfield, Oregon once again marched down their main thoroughfare the first Saturday in December. Horses, bands, commercial floats and gaily dressed individuals sauntered beneath unseasonably blue skies and waved from warm perches, disproving the “coldest” mantra—at least this year.

The weather change wasn’t the only thing different about this parade. In past festivities, “Happy Holidays” became the universal greeting. Not so this year. Scores of parade enthusiasts shouted, “Merry Christmas.” The floats also seemed to be rooted in more traditional themes, with many churches offering scenes from the Christmas story. One church captured the coveted prize for most original portrayal of the parade theme.

Watching the parade made me wonder if we as a culture, as well as a nation, aren’t going to be seeing a lot more of this return to the Christian roots upon which our country was founded. This year of politics, global terrorism, and hate rhetoric have certainly shown us how low society has sunk in terms of degradation and moral decay. Perhaps we’ve reached bottom and a climb to better days is ahead. Change in our country is long overdue.

christmas-parade-2016-018

christmas-parade-2016-017christmas-parade-2016-014

 

 

 

 

 

christmas-parade-2016-007christmas-parade-2016-010christmas-parade-2016-005

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve quoted II Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) many times, mainly because I sincerely believe this verse states God’s way for us to be restored as a nation. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

God couldn’t be any clearer about what he desires of us. Will we listen?

Merry Christmas.

 

Savor the Moment

 

clok-2Isn’t it amazing how we rise in the morning facing a complete new day, follow our planned routine, and before we know it, nighttime has arrived and we take our fatigue to bed? Minutes have passed into hours, hours into days, and within the blink of an eye, whole weeks have vanished.  Where did time go?

I found myself pondering that question when I realized my daughter, my youngest child,  will celebrate her thirtieth birthday this week. Vivid images of the day she was born still fill my mind— her father humming as he carried her in the hall while the doctor tended to me, her brother’s wide-eyed stare over the side of the crib, her grandmother standing above her, camera in hand. How could thirty years have passed since those first moments of her life?

When we are young, time seems to stand still. We can’t wait for summer vacation. As summer drags on, we anticipate returning to school. As we age, time speeds up. Didn’t we just celebrate Christmas? When did this year slip away?

All of us want to feel useful, to be valued for the work we do, to be remembered for the contribution we make during our time on earth. God, though, wants us to walk with Him. He wants to direct our days and guide our paths. The Bible teaches us in Micah 6:8:, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of  you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Yet we fret. In Matthew 6:28-30 (NIV) we are told: “Consider how the lilies grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith!”

As you get caught up in the busyness of this season, remember to pause, thank God for his gift of eternal life to us at Christmastime through his son Jesus, and make the most of the minutes you have been given. Tomorrow is not promised, so be thankful today.