Archives for December 2006

Time to exhale

This past year was a year full of challenges. We stumbled and fumbled through 2005. And 2006 was a year for picking up pieces.

We started the year on our knees – looking upwards. I’m sure we could have gone lower, and would have, if the Lord had ordained it.

But I learned so many things from this year of trials. Things that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. A lot of the lessons were merely completing thoughts and feelings that I was beginning to wrap my brain around, but still hadn’t resolved in my heart.

For instance:

I “knew” that material things shouldn’t be something I made a priority. But getting that from head to the heart is easier said than done.

So the Lord took away our possessions.

I “knew” that the Lord wanted us to reach out to others more readily. But I still managed to look the other way.

So the Lord put people in our lives that needed us.

I “knew” that the Lord would walk with us through any fire. But I was quick to try to rely soley on myself.

So the Lord made sure that I had no where else to turn but to Him.

Was it worth it? yes
Would I wish the same upon anyone? only if the end result was a closer walk with the Lord.

I’ve learned that the Lord is sufficient.

always

It doesn’t matter the size of my home… my car… what clothes are in my wardrobe… where I went to school…

All that matters is that I seek Him more each day.

And for that lesson learned, I am grateful for 2006.
Happy New Year to each and everyone of you who stop by my tiny corner of the world.

Blessings,
Karla

how can I best sum up this year?

Is that even possible?

This year has been so full of change and stretching.

I’m going to reflect more on this and come back later today to write on it… 12:45 in the morning is too hard on my brain.

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Calamities That Lead Up to Christmas Day

I hope that each and everyone of you had a blessed time with family and friends at Christmas. My prayer is that the New Year will be a year that brings you closer to the Lord and His love and grace.

I will write more about this past week in the days ahead. But for now, I present you with:

13 Calamities That lead up to Christmas Day

  1. Tuesday before Christmas: guest room tub started backing up in the evening – maintenance can’t come until the next morning.
  2. Before they get there, sink and toilet in the guest bathroom overflows and floods the bathroom
  3. Carpet guys (we have carpet in the sink/vanity area) come and soak up water (but don’t clean it).
  4. Smell is so icky. Next day after calling rental office about carpet not being cleaned. Carpet guys come back and clean carpet
  5. Friday before Christmas: go to get meat out of the deep freezer for dinner and realize there is blood all over the bottom of freezer.
  6. Reach in and realize that everything is thawed. Carpet guys unplugged our freezer to plug in cleaner machine (since, apparently, that is the only plug they know about in the entire apartment) and don’t replug it
  7. All of our deer meat and Christmas turkey are ruined.
  8. Everyone in rental office is gone until tuesday.
  9. Friday night: kitchen sink backs up and maintenace can’t come until the next morning
  10. Smell is icky!
  11. Saturday: plumber comes to fix sink and tells us when he was “snaking” it, he brought back mud. This, means the pipe is rusted through/broken. This, along with the clog he can’t seem to remove, means we can’t use our sink and dishwasher for at least a week… I can’t even begin to tell you what an inconvenience this is….
  12. This affects all four apartments that share pipes. So, the two on the top floor can’t use their’s even though their pipes aren’t actually backed up. If they do, they will flood us. They don’t seem to care since it doesn’t affect them and keep turning on water in their kitchen or dumping things in their sink – which goes right into our sink. CAN YOU SAY YUCKKKKK!
  13. Christmas eve: The maintenence guy comes out and is able to unclog the drain, so we can use sink and dishwasher!

The carptet still isn’t fixed. This had happened before – so the carpet is ruined. I’m still trying to get the office down here to look at it and fix it. But I am so happy that the drain got fixed.

In spite of all of this we still had a wonderful, Holy day!

Merry Christmas

Is This all the Christmas there is?

There’s a reason ‘the holidays’ leave us longing for something more

by Linda Moore Spencer
(from Moody Magazine Nov/Dec 2001 issue;)

(I’d link to the article but it is no longer available, at least that I can find)

I’M THINKING OF REDESIGNING CHRISTMAS. The whole thing. It’s never worked for me. Even as a child, for me it was a set-up let-down day, with weeks of talk of Santa and of presents and of aunts and uncles and a Christmas goose, and the “Oh yes, and by the way, remember, it’s all about the baby Jesus.” By 4 o’clock on Christmas day, I always wanted to tug somebody’s sleeve and say, “Excuse me, is this what all the fuss has been about?”

The advertisements tell me, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but I don’t buy it. How does a 45-day holiday devoted to buying presents celebrate the Eternal God of all Creation come to earth as man?

Perhaps the best gift of the Christmases I’ve seen is that they stir up in us strong longing, a wistfulness we can’t quite name. After we have opened all the presents, strewn the wrappings out across the floor, our children sit back, look around, and the question asks itself: “Is that it? Is that all there is?” They want more. They should want more. They should not be satisfied with this Christmas that we offer them.

Children hanker after the real thing. We all do. It has occurred to me of late that I sell my children short. I sell my Savior short. I duplicate the Christmases I grew up with: generating hubbub, hanging tinsel, stringing blinking twinkle lights. I buy and wrap so very many things that I lose sight of Christ in the confusion. And in my children’s minds, the Baby Jesus gets buried in the mistletoe and tinsel.

I go back and check just what the Gospel writers do with Christmas. First off, two don’t even mention it. Mark hits the ground running with camel- hair-clad John the Baptist spelling out the reason Christ was born; he baptizes Christ, and the Holy Spirit descends like a dove. And that’s just the first 12 verses. The Gospel of John starts out with the Word — the Word that is the everlasting King.

I read the other Gospels for hints of Christmas. I find worship and awe, and angels in the heavens, and an old, old man whose first wish is to die, content now that he has seen with his two eyes: Salvation. The shepherds return to the cold, dark hills. The kings go home. There is fear and flight into Egypt, a mass slaughter of newborns, and the unfolding of a story that can only astound us.

There is, I think, a different Christmas we might give our children, a different Christmas we might give ourselves, telling the old, old story a new way:

Saying to our children, “Listen up. You won’t believe it. Are you ready? Hold onto your hats and fasten your seat belts. In this very month, this cold, blank, dark December, a baby is born who is and will be Christ the Lord. This thing that we call Christmas is just the tip of the iceberg, the tiny crack in the cosmos where the God of the universe takes on the size and shape and sorrow of a man and comes to earth. Tonight. Get ready. Pray. Give thanks to God. Listen. Shout hallelujahs.”

Then whisper to them, “Later, when it’s very late, midnight maybe, we’ll all bundle up and drive out to a hillside in the country and we’ll look up at the heavens and sing praises to the Lord our God. Glory to God in the highest! And there’ll be angels. If you listen you can hear them. We’ll wait and listen. We’ll remember and we’ll worship — outside — in the dark of night and think about the Light that came to earth to shatter darkness.”

“Then we’ll go home and we will get a special calendar and mark it with a thick, black magic marker to count the days, through the whole mean month of January, snowy February, March, and sometimes part of April till the day of celebration.Resurrection morning: the triumph of a reason for this dark, cold Christmas night. A night of awe, of expectation, the beginning that opens up the story; that’s the start of promise now to be fulfilled, God’s promise to Israel, God’s promise to you and you and you and me.”

This very Christmas I would love to promise my children to tell them, every day, the story of that Christ child’s life and wonders as He walked the earth.

Together we might count the days, the minutes, through the winter weeks till Lent, and then until the day the whole thing comes together on the morning of the Lord’s triumphant resurrection — victory over sin and death, two long days after dying on a cross the day the earth quaked, wild beasts brayed, the sky went black as night, and men rose up from the dead and walked the streets of town.

And what a fitting Christmas gift: to turn a small child’s awe and wonder, not to flying reindeer and Santas who hang out at shopping malls, but to the glory and the mystery of the Eternal Majesty become a baby in a manger.

What joy to tell them of the holy mystery day, to share anticipation, wonder and dumbfounded amazement that the God of heaven sent His Son to earth — not to remain a baby, but to grow to be a man, to die and rise up from the dead and live forever so that we can, too.

Now that’s a Christmas present.