Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Love Came Down: Three

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 People walking in the darkness have seen a great light.  Isaiah 9:2

We love these words from Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp:

Our God who breathed stars into the dark—He breathed Bethlehem’s Star, then He became a baby with lungs and breathed in stable air. We are all saved and rescued from the hopeless dark because God came with infant fists and opened wide His hands to hold yours.    Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

Merry Christmas to you all!

Betsy and Laurie

Here are our readings from Christmas 2013 for you. Click Here.

And one last lovely song for 2014.  See you next year!

Love came down at Christmas
Love all lovely, love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign.

Love Came Down: Two

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The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6

A picture of God’s love from Mike Mason’s The Gospel According to Job:

“Love is not bait for the gospel; love is the gospel. Love is not a means towards some end; love is means and end together. . . In the Kingdom of God nothing moves, nothing happens, without love. In churches many things happen because of human goals, programs, bureaucratic necessity, idealism, private fantasy, or neurosis. But it is not so with God. God has no plan, no program, no agenda except love. That is why He had no other recourse but to send us His only Son Jesus Christ, who on the one hand loved God His Father with a perfect love, and who on the other hand loved mankind no less. These were the two hands that were stretched wide on Calvary. . .This is the dreadful, fearsome love of God, the love that will never let us go.”  Mike Mason

Experience God’s love this Christmas. 

In a town of David, not so near to spring,
At the heart of love, there came a lovely thing.
Straw Against the Chill, Bob Franke

Love Came Down: One

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In love a throne will be established – Isaiah 16:5

Join us for three readings to remind us of God’s love for us as we move toward Christmas . First, the amazing Madeleine L’Engle captures an image of love:

In my mind’s ear I can hear God saying to God, “Can I do it? Do I love them that much? Can I leave my galaxies, my solar systems, can I leave the hydrogen clouds and the birthing stars and the journeyings of comets, can I leave all that I have made, give it all up, and become a tiny, unknowing seed in the belly of a young girl? Do I love them that much? Do I have to do that in order to show them what it is to be human?” Yes! The answer on our part is a grateful Alleluia! Amen! God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son…” -Penguins and Golden Calves, Madeleine L’Engle 

Can you look at Christmas this year as a gift of love?

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .  John 1:14

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  2 Corinthians 4:6

This painting was found unfinished on Rembrandt’s easel at the time of his death.  It was different that the seven other works he had created depicting Simeon and the Christ child.

“The heavenly light appears . .  to emanate not at all from the baby, but wholly from the face of Simeon, whose eyes are nearly shut and whose lips are parted in his prayer of praise. . .The vision Rembrandt was attempting to portray is visible in the luminous glow of Simeon’s face.  Here is the last days of his life, Simeon has seen the Deliverer, the Messiah, often promised and long awaited.  His face shines with the knowledge of the sight, and in a remarkably bold insight, Rembrandt has given the face of the Christ child a reflected glow. . . Rembrandt has dispensed with any hint of the glow he has so often given Christ, in drawings , in etchings, and in paintings, and has given that glow instead to Simeon, as a glow from the inside.”  The Biblical Rembrandt,  John I. Durham

When Rembrandt was younger, he painted Christ shining with a holy glow.  In this final painting, as Rembrandt reaches the end of life, we see the old man, Simeon, is the one who is glowing – the light coming from the inside out reflecting out onto the baby in his arms.

He came as the Light of the World to make us the light of the world. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  May it be so this year for you.

You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14

Merry Christmas,

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritngSIsters.com

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.
Luke 2: 25 – 32

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part Three

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

Frederick Buechner reflects on the Word made flesh in The Faces of Jesus:

The man on the cross was a man of flesh, but he was also the WORD made flesh, as John writes it in the great prologue to his Gospel, the Word that ‘became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.’ The Creator himself comes to dwell within his own creation, the Eternal within the temporal, the Invulnerable within the wound.

It is as if Shakespeare could somehow have entered the world of Hamlet, say, the dramatist descending from the infinite dimensions of reality into the dimensionlessness of his own drama, becoming a character in his own plot although he well knows the tragic denouement and submitting himself to all its limitations so that he can burst them asunder when the time comes and lead a tremendous exeunt by which his whole dramatis personae will become true persons at last.

Frederick Buechner, The Faces of Jesus

We love this idea.  God entering the world is like a playwright entering his own play. Even knowing the outcome and the pain He would suffer, God came to live among us.  Beautiful.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part Two

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

We love this story by Philip Yancey:

I learned about incarnation when I kept a salt-water aquarium. Management of a marine aquarium, I discovered, is no easy task. . . You would think, in view of all the energy expended on their behalf, that my fish would at least be grateful. Not so. Every time my shadow loomed above the tank they dove for cover into the nearest shell. They showed me one “emotion” only: fear. . .

To my fish I was deity. I was too large for them, my actions too incomprehensible. My acts  of mercy they saw as cruelty; my attempts at healing they viewed as destruction. To change their perceptions, I began to see, would require a form of incarnation. I would have to become a fish and “speak” to them in a language they could understand.

A human being becoming a fish is nothing compared to God becoming a baby. And yet according to the Gospels that is what happened at Bethlehem. The God who created matter took shape within it, as an artist might become a spot on a painting or a playwright a character within his own play. God wrote a story, only using real characters, on the pages of real history. The Word became flesh.   Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew

It is amazing that God would enter the world to show us His love!

That’s something to think about.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part One

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

Lovely words in a free devotional series by Janet Denison:  

The “Word” is Jesus. . .   Just as an idea is expressed and made known through words, God is expressed and knowable through Jesus. Jesus had always been with God and he had always been God. Christmas Day is when God made himself visible to the world. And God wanted us to know him as a tiny, newborn infant.

The God of the universe could have presented himself to the world any way he chose. He chose to become a baby, born to a peasant couple in a stable. Jesus is not a “character” of the Christmas story; he authored the Christmas story to reveal his character.

Looking Forward to Christmas,  Janet Denison

We hope you will join us to reflect on Jesus as The Word as we prepare for Christmas this year.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

A Prayer for Remembering Christmas

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christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

Loving Father,

Help us remember the birth of Jesus,

that we may share in the song of the angels,

the gladness of the shepherds,

and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.

Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,

and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,

and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,

forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake.

Amen.

by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Gift That Will Endure

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree.

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals
and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
but do not show love to my family,
I’m just another cook.
If I work at a soup kitchen
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir’s cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another’s home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return; but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things, and
endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust;
but giving the gift of love will endure.

Sharon Jaynes
Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas
http://www.sharonjaynes.com
Wishing you all Love at Christmas,
The Writing Sisters, Laurie and Betsy

Easter at Christmas

 

English: Icon of the Resurrection

English: Icon of the Resurrection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One October I was asked to write Easter devotions for my church. Even though it was only October, I began listening to Easter music, reading Easter stories, studying Easter symbolism, and watching Easter movies.  By December, I was firmly entrenched … and completely unprepared for a collision of Easter and Christmas.In December I saw clearly the baby Jesus, so pure and lovely and vulnerable – while daily I confronted the horrors that awaited him.  The nativity characters looked so angelic, so pleased by the new baby – while I wrote about scourges and spears.

On one occasion I stopped by the nursery at church. It is hard to describe the experience of writing about those heavy 7-9 inch nails driven into the hands of Jesus – then seeing tiny baby hands.  Or gazing at soft baby skin, and imaging my Savior’s soft baby skin that would one day be ripped away by a Roman scourge.  I saw those sweet babies’ heads, covered in the softest of hair – while the pain and humiliation of the crown of thorns was vivid in my mind.

The greatest impact of all came in late December, as I neared the end of my reading through the Bible chronologically in a year.  I admit to being a little behind – OK, a lot behind.  I was burning through the epistles at lightening speed, then I hit Revelation.  I slowed down.  I lingered.  I reread parts.  The last four chapters never sounded so good.  It was the ultimate victory of that sweet vulnerable baby I had just worshiped, and that beautiful Savior in whose agony I had been immersed for 10 weeks!  It was the confluence of the birth, death and ultimate victory, descending on me en masse.  The experience was electrifying – exhilarating.

May you experience the fullness of Christmas this year.

Laurie

Hallelujah!  For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

Rev 19:6

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