"" Writer's Wanderings: December 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

"Mary" Christmas!

Yesterday I used "Mary Christmas" as my theme for the Sunday school lesson I taught. I looked up the phrase "Merry Christmas" thinking it might have something to do with Mary, mother of Jesus. It didn't. It's an old English term that originally meant "pleasant." In England however, it has come to refer to drunken revelry so the Queen prefers to say "Happy Christmas."

Undaunted, I decided to wish everyone a "Mary Christmas." Our scripture lesson was in Luke and told of the angel appearing to Mary to explain God's plans for her. First he told her she was highly (most) favored. She had been faithful and obedient to God in her young life. He told her not to be afraid but she was talking to an angel who was telling her things that troubled her sense of humility. She was anxious.

Gabriel, the angel was patient and explained carefully how everything would happen. "Nothing is impossible with God," he told her. After all, her cousin, Elisabeth, was pregnant even though she was past childbearing years. Mary was reassured.

Finally, Mary says, "Let it be done." Yes, Lord.

So I wish you a "Mary" Christmas:

  • May you find favor with God. Seek Him to keep

  • Anxiety from overriding your life. Be

  • Reassured of His love. Then decide to serve Him. Say,

  • Yes, Lord.

With a "Mary" Christmas, you can't help but have a Joyous New Year!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Let It Snow, Let It Snow. . .somewhere else

It's snowing. I know everyone is dreaming of a white Christmas but I sit and sigh as I watch the gray skies empty white fluff. I sip coffee and try to hate the fact that it's snowing. I watch the flakes fall--each unique in its creation. The snow builds up on the ground in soft piles of white.
In the quiet hush of the snowfall, I think of how God pads the fall when life knocks us down as if we were landing in a soft drift of snow. I think of how He covers the ugliness of life with the purity of His love like the pure whiteness of the new snow.

Okay, Lord, you got me. Let it snow.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jesus and Santa

I don't believe Santa had anything to do with my children accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord in their lives. The Santa game we played taught them that Christmas was a time of gift giving and receiving. That opened the door to them learning that God's gift was salvation through Jesus and that they could receive that gift by realizing that they weren't good on their own. That they had to ask God to forgive them. In doing so, they could receive the gift of eternal life.

God gave us the gift of creativity and imagination. If we use it wisely, it can enrich our lives. Use "Santa" wisely.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Santa Dilemma

Is Santa a part of your Christmas celebration? He has been and still is a part of ours. Our adult children still receive their gifts from "Santa" although our grandchildren get theirs from grandma and grandpa. Santa visits their house, not ours, with their gifts.

Santa has always been presented in our family as the spirit of giving--not spirit as in personality or ghostly apparition, but as the part of our celebration of Jesus' birth that causes us to want to give just as God gave. And to recognize that this is a special occasion just as the three wisemen did with their precious gifts.

As our children grew, we stressed that the gift-giving part of Christmas, Santa included, was our way of learning to love others and express that love and remembrance. That is what Jesus taught--love one another just as he loved us. Our children's gifts to other family members were thought out. What would make Grandma smile? What does Dad need? (Over the years, he has collected 50+ pointy screwdrivers.) Sometimes my gift came in the form of a shelf built in a cupboard or a clothes pin glued to a stick to hold my recipe cards.

Santa became a game the older they got. I'm not sure at what age our kids became absolutely positive about Santa's real identity because whenever I caught that shadow of doubt, I said, "If you don't play the game, Santa doesn't bring anything."

Did my kids have a problem understanding that Jesus was not a game? That he did exist even though Santa was a creature of imagination? I'll take that on in my next post.
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