December 2009


Remembering last year… have a blessed Christmas everyone!

‘Happy Birthday’ was all it simply said.

The Good News declared in pink and blue icing. The two-year-old and four-year-old hands that had helped their mommy bake the cake, now helped their daddy decorate it.

Finished and sticky, Ben returns to me in the kitchen. I can tell from his eyes that his mind is occupied. I watch as he finds the words to share this weight with me.

‘But we won’t be able to have the party here,’ Ben announces, his voice certain. He looks at me, nodding decisively, ‘Jesus is too big and He won’t be able to fit under our ceiling.’

I feel nervous and my heart sinks. My instincts told me this was coming. Please Father, please don’t let him be disappointed.

Paul and I had decided we wanted all Christmas celebrations this year to be for Jesus; for Jesus alone. Our Advent had been overflowing in joyful preparations with the children… planning Jesus’ birthday party, deciding on the perfect gifts for our King, decorating our home with significant symbols of His birth.

And now, two days before Christmas, my heart is anxious. Ben had periodically asked during Christmas preparations, ‘Will Jesus really come to His birthday party Mommy?’ I had always assured Ben that, of course Jesus would be there, and supplied vague answers about how Jesus is always with us, even when we can’t see Him.

And now, I can pretend no longer. Ben is expecting Jesus to be physically present at our Christmas party, and is worried we won’t have room for his beloved, Big Jesus. I say nothing, but my heart panics protectively. How I love my son, and don’t want his Christmas to be a disappointment. Even more, I beg God that his innocent faith won’t be shaken.

Cake now completed, it is Advent, and so, we wait…

~~~~~~~~
Ben and Tya wake up Paul, Otto, and I early on Christmas morning.

‘Do you know what day it is today?’ we ask them, coaxing their growing excitement.

‘It’s Jesus’ birthday!’ they exclaim, bouncing on us, full of anticipation. I am touched by this title they give today. ‘Today…a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’ Luke 2:11 ‘And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ Isaiah 9:6

I play with the children, Christmas music playing, while Paul prepares our Christmas brunch. Before long, he calls us into the kitchen and I am stunned while Ben and Tya squeal with surprise.

Wonderful Paul has created a banquet for our birthday celebration.

I pause to absorb the abundance … the diagonal table laden with plates of homemade eggnog waffles, the overflowing fruit tray, the blueberries and maple syrup, the dark chocolates, our wedding wineglasses cradling fresh juice. The kitchen’s only decorations the pictures the children colored from their Nativity coloring books. I see Baby Jesus, whom they colored blue, lying in His manger, and I smile.

Our five Advent candles are burning in the center of the table. The three blue candles. The pink candle. And now, at last today, even the middle white candle- the Christ candle. Jesus’ birthday candle, taller than the rest and glowing. The candles radiate today’s joy, shining, dripping with Good News. Christ the Savior is born!

We savor the meal, candles glowing in every eye. Ben and Tya are quieter, sitting almost reverently, their eyes frequently watching the lifted flames. I give Otto to Paul and leave to collect the cake. We light one more candle on it and I lay it before these waiting hearts. These hearts that have been longing, aching to sing Happy Birthday to their King.

Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday Dear Jesus
Happy Birthday to You.

We love You we do
We love You we do
Happy Birthday Dear Jesus
We love You we do.

Our voices sing of our hope… of darkness-weary walkers who have seen a Great Light.

I watch the children… Otto is staring, unblinking at the flickering flames. Tya is leaning in, face just beaming, alternating her gaze between Paul and I. I watch Ben closely. I read his face for any trace of disappointment. I find none- thank You God. Ben’s face is intent, but warm and full of devotion. I am certain. Yes, he knows Jesus is here, among us; for that is what Christmas is. God bending to dwell with men.

You are so much more than enough, Jesus- You are our Gift. Ben knew- as if You could be contained by these fragile walls. You are too great…
Yet You are big enough to fit in the smallest heart.
Too big for the heavens, still, we make room for You within.


Happy Birthday beautiful baby Jesus…
take all the room You want.

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~Thank you Tammy for all your Advent posts. They have truly enriched my Advent season. As you wrote, I have especially cherished pondering Mary and Joseph’s lack of Christmas preparations- so much so that they did not even have a place to stay! This has given me permission to relax in the frenzy of preparations this year, and simply enjoy more quiet evenings together around our Advent candles, preparing our hearts.

~Two things have helped most simplify our Christmas the past couple years. One is buying presents for Jesus alone. We fill the kids’ stockings with a few small art supplies they will enjoy, and then we focus our energies on an awesome birthday party for Jesus Christmas morning. Last year Paul made homemade waffles, chocolate sauce, special juice, Jesus’ birthday cake, we decorated the kitchen- the kids loved it! The second is this year I have decided the only Christmas baking that needs to be done is Jesus’ birthday cake, and I feel healthier and more relaxed!

~The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” I used to think that the most humble place Jesus could choose to be born was in the crude stable that first Christmas. What could be a starker contrast to God’s glory than the dirt, the animals, the poor surroundings? As I have been pondering God’s dwelling with men this Advent, I have been wondering if perhaps the most humble place for Him to be born in is man’s heart. I am overcome with praise to worship such a humble King! A God who, for love, not only descends to be born in a barn, but is also willing and waiting and longing to be born in my wayward heart. May each of us recognize and respond to His birth in our hearts this Christmas. “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

Anna. Simeon. (Luke 2:21-40) -Meg

Eighth day

cold stone

warm arms.

Word Life

soul pierced

Flesh God.

The priests and praying

psalm marinating,

You- whispering, present

Time.

The rising and falling

cacophony, calling,

and yearn for You, to

come.

Lord- how could it be

in this sacred scene

only two would recognize You?

How I’m haunted, I tremble

      would have I?    

 

And so it has begun, the count down to Christmas. Preparations are well under way for a Merry Christmas. I’m trying to choose a less stress, less expense, more Jesus holiday but it’s not always easiest to make these choices. It’s hard to turn down invitations, and fun oportunities. It’s hard not to get hyped up with the gift giving and shopping and I have to admit some guilt about my humble gifts for my family, and wonder if they will be apprciated. There is decorating to be done, baking, wrapping, meal preparations, Christmas cards, parties, parades …and the rest of the world still happens, bills to pay, cleaning to do, diapers to change, meals to make, kids to raise, not to mention my renos that need completing :).

Is this what ‘preparation’ is all about?

Silent Night…Holy Night…All is calm…All is bright…

As I reread Luke 2 I realize, no ‘special’ preparations were made for Jesus’ birth. They did as they were told and traveled to Bethlehem dispite Mary’s condition. Upon arrival there was no Inn booking (or maybe they were just over booked!) there was no plan. “While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Simple. One of the most important events in the story of mankind and it was retold in a few lines.

There weren’t  trays of baking awaiting the wise men in the freezer, she did not run around making party plans, instead “she treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” “Good news of great joy for all people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am into the Christmas parties, and fun, but I don’t want it to overshadow the true meaning of Christmas, I want to choose wisely so that I don’t get consumed. I want to carve out space for reflection and some fun with family and friends. I want to spend time pondering, and focusing on what Christmas really means. “Amen, come Lord Jesus.”

Hi.

I have been quite absent from this blog.

I don’t know why.

I’ve been busy, yes…moving.  I also feel like I’ve forgotten what my purpose or hope is for this blog and I don’t know what to come and write here that I wouldn’t write on my own blog.  Sometimes I’m funny this way with things.  But I am back, and I want to back!!

My desire here is to share and grow in and encourage others with God’s love.  So…without further adu, here is this weeks (or last weeks, or the week before’s or whatever…) memory verse.

From Matthew 2

“When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!  They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”  vs 10,11

I pray that as I prepare my heart this advent I will be filled with joy, with JOY! as I see the star, and that my heart would be filled with worship when I see the child, Jesus.