Remember the Child

 What is that sound?
Is it the sound of Christmas?

The ring of cash registers,
The grumbling of overworked, overtired parents.
Cries from children who can’t live without that certain toy…
What is that sound?
Shoppers scrambling for a shot at the best prices
At the best stores.
The seductive lure of advertisers
Blaring out from every radio and television.

The sights and sounds of Christmas…

If we look and listen a little more,
We can see cherub faces, pink from a recent scrubbing,
All lined up to represent characters in a story from long ago.
We can see a choir—rehearsed and dressed in matching apparel,
Singing about a child of lowly birth.
We see a room, alight with the glow of candles…
Inhale the scent of freshly baked goodies,
Delight in the laughter and love of family and friends.

But if our hunger for Christmas is real,
And our thirst for truth runs deep…
Perhaps we could look even closer,
And listen even harder…

Look beyond the gaudy neon signs and glaring lights.
Envision a night of exquisite beauty,
With the only source of light coming from a star-filled sky.
Listen…and hear the shallow breathing of shepherds and
The gentle bleating of sheep.
Feel the emotions of a new father and mother
As their eyes meet, and they silently rejoice in awe and wonder.
Behold the look of radiance on a virgin mother’s face
As she holds an infant soft in sleep.

Reach and touch newborn skin…
Feel the baby’s warm breath on your hand.
And as you touch,
Know that you are touching…
The Son of God.

Be careful…
Don’t lose the vision.
Open your heart and let this most holy of nights
Enter your soul and change you forever.
And when the world threatens to overwhelm you,
And you feel like you’re drowning in the season…

Remember the night…
Remember the sounds…
Remember the love…

Remember…the Child.

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For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16 (HCSB)

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6 (HCSB)

Have a wonderful Holy Season!

Joyfully,

Leigh Ann 🙂

No Sense of Loyalty

I hate my bathroom scale.

It has no sense of loyalty whatsoever. I mean, all I did was overeat just a teensy bit last weekend, and it actually turned on me, claiming I had gained four pounds in three days. thMOIAT4EJ

That’s gratitude for you. I bought the scale in good faith. I placed it in a prominent place in the bathroom. I regularly replace the batteries to ensure complete accuracy. And now, with no warning at all, it mockingly flashes extra poundage at me.

The scale is obviously mistaken. I mean, I admit to savoring three pieces of my mom-in-law’s world-famous chocolate pie—but I was standing up when I ate them. And we all know those calories don’t count. I also sneaked a few items off Roy’s tray when we went out Saturday night. But it’s common knowledge that food originating from someone else’s plate is completely void of calories or fat grams.

And yes, I confess to inhaling a half-dozen doughnuts in one sitting. But that was only because I feared recrimination for leaving just two or three in the box. I had to eat them all in order to destroy the evidence that they ever existed in the first place.

So you see, the scale’s claims are completely unfounded and irresponsible. But just as a precautionary measure, I plan to limit my snacking this week to low-cal popcorn. To help the taste, however, I’ll need to use just a teensy-weensy bit of butter. . .

Father, sometimes my lack of discipline amazes even me.  Help me to give everything to You,
including my eating habits.  I want to glorify You in all things.

Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. Proverbs 23:20-21

(From Time Out: A Quiet-time Devotional)

What a RUSH

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There we were–two grown women–strapped into harnesses, attached to the same monster-kite, and tethered to a speedboat.

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

My brain is firing on all cylinders – I. Am. Going. To. Die.

My sister and I were enjoying a get-away-from-it-all mini-vacation, and Charlene had talked me into going parasailing. As we sat on the back of the boat, waiting to be yanked off into our forever-home-in-Glory, Charlene and I had dramatically different mindsets.

She had already begun to hoot and holler, anticipating the adrenaline rush of soaring miles in the air. I was fighting nausea and reviewing all the things I should have said to my husband and children.

I thought of everything that could go wrong. I didn’t trust the hardware clipping us to the overgrown kite. I didn’t trust the harness, or the boat. I didn’t trust the driver of the boat. I didn’t trust the sharks that I assumed were circling beneath us. And I especially had no confidence in my free-spirited sister who was rushing me head-long into an untimely death.  photo

For the next ten minutes, two sisters soared over the earth, making lifetime memories. My cohort screamed with laughter and urged me to look around and soak it up. I kept one hand above the metal clips (just in case they were to fail…I would at least stay in contact with the parasail), and managed a quick smile for a sky-high selfie (way before selfies were cool). It was all over in a flash, and after being safely reeled back into the boat it hit me:

Charlene had experienced it.

I had survived it.

It all came down to trust. My adventure-loving sibling didn’t waste time worrying about the people or equipment involved. Because she trusted that all was in order, she was free to live the experience.

thI7UTI7RIIn our walk with Christ, it can happen in the same way. We can trust His heart, knowing that He works all for our good (the whole Romans 8:28 thing), or we can obsess and worry ourselves into simply surviving. What if God isn’t watching this time? What if this is actually out of His control? What can I do to fix this if He doesn’t come through on my timetable? What if, what if, what if…?

Jesus didn’t die on a cross, justifying me before a Holy God, just so I could worry myself through this life.

His sacrifice set me free to live the experience.

I can trust Him, because He is Faithful. I may be weak and inconsistent, but He is Faithful. I may be terrified of the surrounding storms and circumstances, but HE is Faithful and True. He invites me to keep my eyes on Him, not the surrounding chaos.

A trustworthy Savior Who loves me…

…now that’s an adrenaline rush!

Father, thank you for the peace You provide, regardless of circumstances. When I’m tempted to be distracted by the chaos around me, help me to keep my eyes and heart focused on You. Help me to remember that because I belong to You, You are working all things for my good.

————–

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Hebrews 6:19 (NLT)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6,7 (NIV)