The Details of His Birth

I love Christmas. I love thinking about the events surrounding the birth of Christ. I love celebrating his birth. I love how Mary “pondered” the Angel’s words in her heart.
I like to think of her snuggling him right after he was born. Did she count his fingers and toes? Did she look at him to see if he had any of her features? This was her baby and her savior. Imagine the love and adoration she must have had.
Just imagine you are pulling the late shift at work (the shepherds) and some amazingly awesome being tells you the person you’ve been told about since birth has been born. Do you leave your sheep unattended? Did they cast lots or pull straws to determine if anyone needed to stay back and continue keeping watch or did they act on faith and leave knowing they would be okay?
I love the perfectly orchestrated details. The glory of the Angels would not have been as great during the middle of the day but at night I’m sure it was breath taking. God could have ensured their arrival in Bethlahem in time to get the best accommodations. He’s God and it was his son, heir, part of him heading to earth on a mission.
Oh the Magi…imagine them showing up after traveling for months and quite a distance. They brought the baby some gifts. How wonderful and thoughtful and prophetic of them. They literally came from the ends of the earth to worship this new born king. God could have used local wealthy people to bring gifts. But these three people and their entourage went back to their country using a different route. You know people asked them coming and going why they were traveling such a great distance. Think of all the people they would have told about this infant king.
I love how Joseph had a dream to get up and leave immediately. You know God could have given them more notice so they could pack more supplies and get some souvenirs. I also love to think Joseph and Mary hesitated or waited until the last minute to awaken Jesus. You never wake a sleeping baby, right?
Of all the places on earth to run to for safety, they went to Egypt. Of course this was to fulfill the scripture.
I love all of those reminders of how God will orchestrate a situation down to the minute details.

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A Box of Chocolates

My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump
I can remember every year around Christmas time my mom would have a box of Sees chocolates sitting around. Back then, they didn’t provide you with an easy to follow illustration that helped you determine the type of filling. I did what some of you did, I bit a tiny piece off of bottom of the candy until I found one I liked. You know the routine, you bite one and if it’s not what you were looking for then you put it back.
Although the original intent of this post was to bring back a fond memory, I feel compelled to ask, is this how we treat relationships today? Take a sample, then put it back when we realize it wasn’t what we wanted. The chocolate that is left in the box is now incomplete and not as desirable to the next person. If you were the next person, how did you get past the incompleteness of the chocolate? Maybe it’s not that big of a deal. Maybe…

Merry Christmas to you and yours

Christmas trees, candy canes, family, friends, laughter, food and fun are all the things that bring a smile to my face when I think of Christmas’ past. Seeing my cousins and playing a game of tag or pop the whip; watching my great-grandmother cook, sitting down to eat a feast fit for family are other childhood memories.
While I am thankful for those memories, today I am thankful I have full understanding of the reason to celebrate this day. Love sent love down to love me and you.
Merry Christmas!

Mary did you know?

One of my favorite songs of the season is Mary did you know. I wonder what were some of the things Mary thought when Jesus was suckling and looking at her with a sweet smile.
Not every mother knows she will carry a baby that will change the world as an adult. Klara Hitler didn’t know. I’m sure she never dreamed of the tragedies that would occur at the hands of her baby boy. When she first felt him move and when she prayed he would not die in childhood as some of his siblings did, I’m sure she didn’t know.
When we as parents hold our breaths and wait for the first cry. When we smile broadly at the first steps. When we celebrate the milestones of childhood. When we shower our offspring with words of encouragement and rebuke, kisses and hugs, I’m sure we don’t know. We hope they will become productive citizens of society. We pray they will live a life that is reflective of our love. But, we don’t know.
My heart is heavy for the mother’s and father’s whose children don’t live a life that reflects the love they were given. I’m sure they didn’t know their children would grow up to kill a room full of children or a theater full of people or an airplane full of passengers. I’m sure they didn’t know.
At the same time that I grieve, I rejoice. I rejoice that Ruth Patton encouraged her son and that Barbara Bush supported her children and that Alberta King put a dream in her son’s heart early on. But I’m sure they didn’t know when they carried those babies they would grow into world changers.
Mary may have known some of the story but she didn’t know the entire story. As she watched her son grow into a man, I’m sure she didn’t know how his life would end and that his story and her story would be told and sung throughout the world.
Mary did you know?

The Rudolph Syndrome

rudolph
I was listening to the radio this morning when Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer started playing. I hummed along for a few moments until it came to the part about Santa calling on Rudolph because of his nose and asked him to lead the sleigh. All of sudden the other reindeer weren’t calling him names anymore and they weren’t excluding him from the reindeer games. Now they loved him shouted and even shouted with glee that his name would go down in history.

Rewind to several years ago. I was with a room full of moms and each of them was saying how they had always wanted to get married and have babies. They reminisced about being young girls and dreaming this dream. They didn’t know it at the time but I felt out-of-place. I always wanted to be a supreme court justice and have a nanny. As I sat there, I could envision a grove full of trees. None of the trees were exactly alike. I realized I was created to be different, as were you.

Fast forward to this past spring. I was spending time alone to reflect on my life. I realized that my closest set of friends were business majors and could not understand my me fully. I was a psychology major.  I made decisions that were impractical or seemed silly but they made sense to me and usually worked out in the end. Even if they didn’t work out, I was okay with that.

Getting back to Rudolph, my point is he was not liked when he was seen as different. He was misunderstood and according to the movie, it was tough enough that he felt the need to run away to join the other misfits. In the end it worked out for him. Santa saw his value and gave him a position of honor. I say to my fellow Rudolphs it’s okay to be you. There is value in being uniquely you. It may not be easy and you may not get to lead the sleigh but you are valuable no matter where you are in the line up. The others can just go kick rocks. (I think that is the funniest saying)

I wonder, are you a person who looks at others’ uniqueness as a personal challenge to try to get them to conform or do you embrace those people who are different hoping to learn something new and experience something different? There is room in this world for all kinds. Where is the fun in everybody being the same?

Can You Imagine This?

You are sitting in your living room or laying in your bed watching TV, reading or sleeping and all of a sudden there is pounding on your door. Then members of the military break down your front door, go into your bedrooms and pull your baby boys out of the bed and kill them right there in front of you. You are helpless and can’t do anything to stop them. Why are they doing this? What happened? Why me? You grab your baby into your arms and cry out to God. Why!?!?!?

You look at your husband and he looks at you. He tried to stop them but he was beat up and knocked out. You tried to protect them but you were slapped in the face, kicked and held back. Why!?!?!? If they didn’t come to your house, how many of your neighbors do you hear screaming and crying in the night and throughout the day. What do you do? What can you do?

Matthew 2:16
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

At the time that I originally wrote this, my two youngest would have been two and one. They would have been killed along with all of the other baby boys on that horrendous night. I have so many questions about that night. Did they take them away or did they kill them in front of their parents? Did the parents ever figure out what why it was done? Did they ever forgive… Would I have been able to forgive whoever was responsible for taking my baby boys from my life? Tough questions but questions I ask nonetheless. I would like to think Jesus paid a visit to those families when he was older and comforted them.