Thursday, January 1, 2015

Singing the praises of God through our lives each day. Wouldn't that be a great way to start the new year?

I figured I better touch base after last week's post appeared to be borderline desperate/depressing.  I've worried y'all may have thought I had a nervous Christmas breakdown.  But I'm fine, other than a big case of sitting on the couch movie overload.  Says the fitness professional.  

The boys have been decent human beings.  That is all.  And that, my friends, is good.  Really, I've enjoyed the last week with them and find them for the most part amusing - but only up until my breaking point which is exactly where I was Christmas Eve when I posted my blogosphere cry for help.    

Christmas came and went last week... and I've mostly taken down the decorations.   But we still have lights on our house because it took forever to get them up in the first place.  So we may leave them up till summer and use them as patio picnic lighting or something.  And the tree is naked and feeling ashamed but none of us has the energy to actually take it all the way down. All because of fudge poisoning.  And other assorted candies, cookies and and queso cheese dip and a night of fajita feasting for husband's birthday.  So I totally need the holidays to end.   

But technically, for Christians who observe the true meaning of the holiday, know it or not y'all... we're still right in the middle of Christmas - the 12 days of Christmas  - like the song.  Or Christmastide as it may also be called.  

So we travel through the weeks of Advent, the weeks of waiting as we reflect on hope, love, joy and peace through the days of waiting for the birth of Christ.  Then we move to the Christmas season which begins counting somewhere on or around the evening of Christmas and counts forward 12 days.  And somewhere in a time of transition Santa Claus comes to visit though I'm not sure where he falls on the Christian church calendar.  But he left us tons of candy in our stockings and for me, something a little sparkly that I've been hoping for quite some time.  Thank you Fireman Santa Dave.

So I thought we could look a little closer at the Christmas timeline and such.... since last week I was a tearful mess and my post was pathetic. Or maybe all the way pathetic.  Votes now being taken on that.  


The Christmas nativity.  Nativity meaning the occasion of one's birth.  It refers especially to the place, the conditions or circumstances of being born.  And no, I did not have that definition memorized and ready for small talk at parties. 

Here's a picture of the nativity scene at our church.  Super beautiful, fancy, and probably expensive and I worry about all those kids each week carrying pieces to add to it.    

Here's a picture of our nativity at home.  Hand painted by us.... with a super pale Mary and Joseph and a savage tan baby Jesus.    And our nativity has an angel.  Just one, though the Bible says there was a multitude appearing and praising God at the good news of Christ's  birth.  And our nativity is historically inaccurate.... do you see why?  Because our wise men already arrived in Dallas and truth be told, have already left town and been packed away for another year in the hall closet.  

But notice up there in the church nativity that the wise man have not yet arrived.  Because they didn't have a car or a plane or whatever.  It took plenty of time for them to walk to find the new baby - who was probably already a toddler by the time they actually got to him. 

Moving on...

The word Angel means messenger.  And the good news for you and me is that the angels see their main job as messengers of God's peace. Not just to stay in heaven and sing around the throne.  

As the story goes, enter Mary and Joseph, tired from travel, who get turned away from the only place they may be able to find a place to rest.  So they go elsewhere and good things happen in the most unlikely of places.  In the company of animals.  And angels.   

And then the shepherds play their part.... "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'"

And I imagine the sky opening with an amazing light and the most beautiful song I've ever heard.  Glory to God in the Highest.  

But why show up and tell the good news to the shepherds?  Why not right in the middle of a big city or to more prestigious people?  Shepherds were in the lower levels of society.   Living alone out in the fields with sheep.  (One time in our  adult Sunday School class I listened to a man describe the shepherds  - their class level in society - as the blue collar workers of their day, like firemen, he said.  Hello - thought this wife of a lowly fireman...we really enjoy hanging with our shepherd friends on the weekends.  But nonetheless, point made.)  

Maybe the shepherds were the ones with the most receptive hearts, the ones who most needed to hear the good news.  Maybe they were better able to appreciate the goodness of the news, and also the most humble to receive.  And all of this shows that they were very important in God's eyes, which is another story all together. 

So the shepherds go and see the good news for themselves. And along the way, spread the news to all they encounter that amazing things are happening.  

And once Mary saw all the truths she had been told coming true, she pondered them in her heart, the Bible says.  And she must have had such a mix of emotions of what had begun.  But that night was hers.  To love on that precious new baby.  

"And the shepherds went home after what they had seen, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." 

And I think what I learn most from this, is that each character in the nativity played their part in the story of Christmas in their own way and in their own time. As can we.  Singing the praises of God through our lives each day.  

Wouldn't that be a great way to start the new year?

Merry Christmastide, y'all.   

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