Merry Christmas and a blessed,prosperous and healthy New Year to each of you who read this.I just love this picture(and all it's many variations I have seen over the years as well).It puts things in the proper perspective.In the right place.:)No matter what the commercials may say Christmas is about the Savior.Holiness wrapped in humanity.The Light of the World entering sin filled darkness.Truth taking on fallacy.All this ensconced within a tiny baby,born in a barn,thousands of years ago.A baby who's birth was herald by angels and attended by lowly shepherds and stable animals.Such humble,common beginnings.But there was greatness within.This baby was God come in human form.Love,pure,passionate,holy love came down that first Christmas.The eternal God entering a world He created but marked by boundaries of time and space.And it changed the world,and our lives forever!May the peace,joy and presence of God be yours this Christmas.May you know Him in a deeper way in the year to come.And if you have never met the Savior,I urge you to ask Him to make Himself real to you at this time.Commit your life and all you are to Him.Your life will never be the same.:)
~The earth has grown old with it's burden of care But at Christmas it is always young,The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair And it's soul full of music breaks the air,When the song of angels is sung.~
The Christmases of my youth were for the most part forgotten by me.I am not sure why I have so few childhood memories,even of Christmas,but I do.But the things I do remember were the church musicals,the caroling and the parties at church afterward.:)And they are for the most part great memories and something I have missed immensely as I have gotten into my 40's and now nearing 50(in 2 years I will be 50).But last night,in a small way,I got to relive those youthful times of fun at Christmas.Our church,Salem Vineyard,hosted it's annual Christmas gathering.It was a wonderful reminder of just how much fun this season can be and a poignant reminder of the real reason we,as believers in Jesus,celebrate this season.:)God came to earth wrapped in human flesh.There was music,skits,carol singing,special music and snacks afterward with plenty of time to visit with church family.And I came away from it all just so blessed and relaxed and happy.And I think,for me,next to Jesus being born,that was the best gift I could have received at this time in my life.The gift of time with just my husband and church friends.Time to relax,visit with church people whom we love and just unwind.Thank you Lord.:)May each of you also find some down time just to relax this Christmas season. Blessings and Merry Christmas~Sharon
This is from my sister Sandy's visit to Oregon back in October.I am on the left in green,Sandy is in the middle and sister Jane is on the right in the flowers.:)I found and met sister Jane on Christmas Day 2003 here in Oregon via ancestry.com.We had been living just a few miles from each other since I had moved to Oregon from California in 1991 and I did not know it till 2003!How good God is!This was Sandy's first visit to see me in Oregon and her first time meeting Jane.We all had great fun together.
We have been busy here preparing for our friend's arrival from Canada tomorrow.They live in Vancouver BC,Canada and are on their way down to California for the Christmas holiday.We see Patricia and Brian at least every other year and just love their all too brief visits.Lots of laughter and some serious conversations are all part of their visit.We all share a common faith in Jesus and I have been friends with Patricia since the late 1980's when we were both single and attending church together in California!They are chicken farmers up where they live and we just love their stories of life on the farm.:)
Our Christmas preparations have gotten smaller and smaller over the years as life losses have done their work.This year I did not even send out cards as I just had other things to work on(like me :) ).As mentioned in a previous post we had to sell off all our Christmas stuff(and nearly everything else)a few years back at a downsizing garage sale(in 2005 I think).It was painful and yet by that time I think I was ready to really simplify our life.Stuff and all it's trappings are deceptively dangerous or can be anyhow.We had just survived husband's stroke and surgery and my diagnosis of a pre-cancerous condition followed by a complete hysterectomy and were definitely ready for some simplicity in life.Those were just the two biggest things we were dealing with at that time.There were countless other issues,both big and small also going on at that time.No wonder I readily identified with Job.:)So,Christmas prep is pretty well done here.Looking forward to 2010 and all God has for us in it.
"Remember,if Christmas isn't found in your heart,you won't find it under a tree." ~Charlotte Carpenter~ Do you find Christmas in your heart today?More importantly,is the Christ of Christmas dwelling within your heart today?The real heart and spirit of Christmas is not in presents and glass ornaments on a tree.Though these things can be wonderful,Christmas truly is all about Jesus.The one true King and Savior of the world.He was born long ago into a world dark and full of sin.In many ways the world and our hearts are still the same.Still shrouded in darkness and depravity and still in need of a Savior.Won't you open your heart and life to Jesus, the"Light of the World"today?
"Oh!lovely voices of the sky Which hymned the Saviour's birth, Are ye not singing still on high, Ye that sang,"Peace on"earth"?" ~Felicia Hernans~
Christmas has changed a lot since the angels first heralded to a few lonely shepherd's our Savior's birth.Many have gotten trapped in the miry web of materialism.Others have tried to totally do away with any religious references opting for"Happy Holidays"instead of "Merry Christmas."Perhaps they think that they will also do away with our Savior if they change the usual greeting this time of year.But they cannot do away with Jesus for that baby in the manger did not stay there.He grew up and became a man.The"light of the world."The one who would die for us to save us from our sins.Some forget that.They only see the child,the baby.They do not see the man He became.Healing the sick,casting out demons,raising the dead.He did not stay the same.That baby changed,grew up,changed the world.Turned the world on it's head in a sense.:-)How we personally celebrate it here has changed as well.Since having to sell off all our Christmas stuff a few years back to make ends meet we have been unable to decorate our home in any way for the Christmas season.Initially I struggled with that.I missed our little tree and the lights,etc.I missed sitting in a darkened room,looking at the twinkling lights and shiny ornaments.But life had changed and we had to change along with it.As time has passed and we have adjusted to the changes my heart has adjusted as well.I no longer sigh with sadness over the loss of a few Christmas decorations.I enjoy this season of celebration just as much as I used to but inside I've released the hold all the trappings of the season had upon me.It did not come easily for I had loved decorating for Christmas since I was a child.But it did eventually come.Healing.A changed heart.That baby in a manger changed the world of a few lowly shepherds forever and He still changes hearts and lives today as the man Jesus,our Savior! Blessings and Merry Christmas~Sharon
This is another well written book by Lisa Tawn Bergren(with art by Laura J. Bryant).I am not sure what number it is in the"God Gave Us" series of books but once again it is a book I highly recommend for the young reader in your family.In this particular book,"Little Cub",learns some very simple but valuable lessons about the greatest of all gifts,love.As in the previous book I reviewed on here from the series, the artwork is nicely colored(though done by a different artist).Rich but not glaring.A great gift for the upcoming Christmas season or a birthday too.For more info or to purchase this book,please click here.
Blessings~Sharon Disclaimer:This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Before I chose to read and review Treasured:Knowing God by the Things He Keeps I had never heard of it's author Leigh McLeroy .I can see now I was really missing out on some beautiful writing.Treasured was a wonderfully written book.The author weaves lovely threads of stories from her own life combined with biblical stories and principles into a beautiful tapestry.I came away with a deeper confidence in His daily and tangible love for us,His creation.I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a bit of encouragement.This book is small enough that it would fit comfortably inside a larger Christmas stocking or even a gift basket.However do not let it's size fool you.It's dynamite in a small package.To purchase this book or for more information click here.
Disclaimer:This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
This wonderful little book written by Lisa Tawn Bergren(with art by David Hohn)is perfect for young readers or for parents or grandparents to read to those not yet old enough to read.The words are a simple testimony to the reason why we as Christians celebrate Christmas and the main character,"Little Cub"is a real charmer.The colors in the artwork are vibrant and rich without being glaring.It's a perfect Christmas gift for either a girl or boy and I highly recommend this book.To purchase or learn more about this great little book simply click here. Blessings~Sharon
~Disclaimer:This book was provided for review by the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group~