Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Least

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress. . ."   James 1:27

Pure love, pure working out of our faith is caring for the "least of these."  Those who can't help themselves.  The poor, lonely, crying ones whose despair crushes them every day.  These aching, mournful ones who in the beginning of their young lives have found themselves without someone to watch over their growing years.  The grief of having parents die only to be followed immediately by the lostness- not knowing where to go, or whom to trust, or what to eat.  Begging or wandering on open streets, open to sickness, or kidnapping, or worse.  Alone in the world without a soul caring whether they live or die, so they do neither.  Wandering or stealing, only to survive.  Orphaned.

And then there are the lonely wives who have tasted the sweetness of love and marriage, only to have their joy and livelihood die and leave them alone.  The widow who remembers the comfort of making a home and cooking good, filling meals for her husband.  Fullness and purpose now vanished, money dwindling, left to stare at walls of memories.  No one calls, no one cares, she is forgotten.  Forgotten by the good church folk down the road who are busy with their own lives.  Forgotten by the relatives who may send a Christmas card only because her name is on the list.  Forgotten and alone, so what is the point of taking up space on this dying earth any longer.  Widowed.

These are the ones who need the outstretched hand of a Christ follower.  The despairing ones who need the hope only God can give.  The hurting ones who need help. 

We are called to help them. 

Whether that means visting the shut in, bringing an orphan into your home to live, giving to the charity that takes the Gospel and the grain to those worlds away, or driving downtown to meet the sorrow filled ones and ask them what you can do. 

Simply do.  Simlpy care.  Simply act.  Simply love.


Monday, December 27, 2010


Our gift this Christmas in North Carolina was SNOW!  Falling down from heaven to cover the ugly brown of worn winter earth.  To make new.  To make white.  To make clean. 

I love how snow comes - softer than a whisper.  Slowly making its descent from clouds of glory and mystery to land on earth's adventure.  Perhaps one snowflake may make its short lived home on the nest of bird or the eave of a forest cottage.  The wild ones may be caught on laughing children's tongues or scooped up to make a snowman's tummy, or landing on sloped hills to make the sled run.  However they come and wherever they land, snowflakes are a beautiful creation.  What a glorious God thought!  

To come on such a celebration day, when hearts are full of thanksgiving for the Son gift.  Our Savior, slowly, softly, humbly coming down from the glories of heaven.  To land, here, on worn dusty earth, in young maiden arms, in quiet, not-to-be bothered town.  What a gift!

Thank you Lord for your mysterious wonderful gifts of snowfalls and a Savior!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Baby Wonder

Beginnings- all wrapped up in yarn twirled blankets.
Feather soft hair, life soaked skin, dim blinking eyes poking out of swaddled softness.
Looked upon with wonder smiles and contented sighs.

There is nothing in the world like a baby!

My babies came into this world in clean, washed-white hospitals as I was hovered over by a doctor and 4 or 5 nurses.  My little ones were cleaned and measured and weighed and handed to me wrapped in cotton gentleness. 

But not so with Mary.

"She brought forth her firstborn son. . ."

No midwife.  No pain relief.  No cleanliness. 

Dirt, dust, hay, animal smells, donkeys, sheep, unwashed floors, alone.  Amazing.

". . .and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes,"

Mary was prepared.  She knew her time was near.  She must have known the journey would be difficult, so before she left her mother and father and home, she packed.  She carefully packed her own belongings, things for Joseph, food for the trip, and what a mother needs for her baby. 

Swaddling clothes. 
To keep the newborn snug, safe, warm. 
History tells us that babies were wrapped tightly in strips of cloth to soothe the small ones, and now we still swaddle our babies to remind them of womb warmth and comfort.

And Mary knew.  And Mary planned.  And Mary brought these cloths to wrap her baby, and keep the Savior secure.  For she, after all, was responsible for the well-being of the Creator.  And His tiny form depended upon her for life.  The Mighty One made small. . . to save.

The hands that shaped the mountains, would now grasp for His mother's finger.
The mouth that spoke light would now search for life giving milk.
The face that was heaven's glory would now smile in sweet baby dreams.

God made man.  God with us.  God in our likeness. 
God crying.  God breathing.  God living.  God loving.
God wrapped in the swaddling clothes of a mother's love, to be like us, to redeem us.

". . . and laid Him in a manger."

Burden bearing beasts once hungered above this trough.  Oxen or donkeys or cows looking for a meal to quiet hungry stomachs. 

Do we hunger above this bed of hay?  Do we truly seek to find the manger and the Savior within?

Are our souls empty, longing to be filled, only to be loaded down with worldly fodder?

Seek the Savior.  Seek the small, life giving one.  Seek the humility.  Seek the peace.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Joy!

I love Christmas!  This season of remembering, celebrating, adoring our infant King.  Children make this time of year even more enchanting.  The wonder, hope, and love they bring.  My only hope is that their wonder is not in the packages they may receive, but the wonder of  God's love, and how the greatest gift came wrapped in swaddling clothes and cattle's hay.  May their hope not be in what they can gain, but in the hope of a Savior who came to save us.  May their love be found in His greatest love, that was willing to give all for a dying world.  Thank you Lord, for saving us, for humbling yourself, for giving us abundant life in You!

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Children are a heritage from the Lord..."

I never knew the fullness life could have until I experienced the complete joy of having children.  When your life is your own, before covenant love marriage, and before life bearing gifts, one is lost to the wonder of cultivating a family.  My children have filled me with such laid bare love I never knew I could contain, and I still don't know how my heart holds the fullness.  I have done things for my children, that I would do for no other (besides my Lord), and I would do anything for them, to see their happiness, to hear their delight, to feel their love, and know their joy. 

This reflection of my Father's love for me, for all His children.  Oh, how he longs to see our joy, our passion, our delight, our growth.  But how much more His love for His own dear, beloved, only son.  Forever one - Father, Son, Spirit - but one must be sent.  Alone for a time.  To save the lost, sinning, hurting children.  How the sending must have hurt. How the watching and the knowing must have burned.

And now here we are at Christmas, hanging our colored festivity, dripping opulence on doors and banisters and souls in the name of celebration.  But, for all who were truly there that first holy night knew the pain of Christ-coming.  Joseph - road weary, anxiety laden for his pregnant bride, responsibilty burdened to keep safe the Saving One.  Shepherds - society scrap, poor, wandering, lonely care givers to foul smelling grazers.  Mary, beautiful Mary - her pain one of the greatest, teenaged mother, honor scarred, travel sore, searing hot contractions, alone among the burden bearing beasts, giving all, giving life to her Life Giver.  The Father - watching His ONLY Son born, into this sin loving, law forsaking world, but born to be the sacrifice for the hating, cursing, hurting ones, that He loves.  Oh, the pain and the joy all wrapped in one swaddled baby.

Let us not forget the sacrifice of Christmas.  In our remembrance, what will we sacrifice?  What will be our Gift to the Giver?  Helping the hurting, as He did; laying down our idols of selfishness, or pride, or culture love; or just adoring and worshiping this baby king made Messiah made Savior.  Reflect on the pain as well as the love and know that our Father sees our pain and loves us unconditionally, for we are His children. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not Alone

"No man is an island..." says the poet John Donne, and it is true.  We are created to live in relationship.  The Father himself is in constant relationship with the Son and the Spirit, holy trinity, three in one, united eternally.  From before time or earth or heavens there was God.  The great I AM - together - deciding to create - us - for communion, relationship - with Him.  It is no accident that man was not made to be alone.  The Creator made us to be like Him.  His image in the flesh, thus made to live with - not apart from or unto ourselves, but to connect with others and ultimately with Him. 

I must admit, sometimes island life looks tempting.  Ahhh... to be alone, to breathe, to relax, to think only of myself.  But it's only nice in increments.  If this self is watered too long it will grow into full fledged sin.  Then frustrations and anger and selfishness take root, that only Holy Spirit pruning can tear away.  Culture tells us "you have to look out for number one, " but the Word tells us, deny yourself, "take up your cross and follow me."

Today, let me embrace my relatioships that God has gifted to me.  Let my time be spent in prayer, seeking to know my Father and Savior.  Let me not wince when I hear little feet running into my bedroom at the waking of day, but let my love have victory over my self.  Let me seek out relationships with far off friends and family, to know and be known.  Through the giving of ourselves we will only gain, and the fullness will be greater than we ever imagined.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


This is my first time writing into the great unknown.  To someone who may want to listen to the quiet song of a small wisdom seeker.  I am nothing, but through Him we can all take that step, off the branch of comfort, and soar on the wind of His Spirit.  So this is my whisper into the clamoring world.  I pray God will use it, for it is in obedience to Him that I write, or sing, or breathe.  

My Artist God

Creator - what does that really mean.  My own Father began His world by making new.  From nothing that had ever been before to something that would never be the same again.  Light.  Darkness.  Separation.  Water - rushing, filling, floating, still.  Sky - expanse of heavens from sight to sight, holding the clouds where he paints His glory.  Earth - deep, rich foundation for life, His abundant seed bearing life.  My wonderful Father is an artist.  He creates beauty everyday, whether we see it or not, the choice is ours.  HE sees beauty in even me, a lonely, sin soaked mother trying, and trying again to raise her children and please her husband and clean her house.  And He wants me to get past all the striving to just the being.  Being  His, listening to Him, worshiping Him, loving and living in Him.  What a beautiful Creator!  What an amazing Father, and He is mine, and He loves me.  Even when I don’t feel loved, HE LOVES ME!  This daughter is ever and eternally grateful for His love.  Love that didn’t just watch from afar, but came.  Came to my planet and my soil and walked and cried and lived and died out of His abundance of love for me.  Greater love. . . is born in my Father.  So as I live out these few short years here, let me become like my Father.  An artist, a shaper of words, to please my Creator, let me create, and let it begin today.