12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #10

“On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”

JOY!

Not sure why staying home, doing mundane, everyday things bring me want to leap for joy. I just know it does.

Cardinals fussing around the bird feeders. A chicken hawk trying to grab a grey squirrel off a tree (he missed by the way – and boy – did that squirrel scurry down the tree). Dogs sliding in the snow just so they could roll in it one more time. Kitten playing in the box I’m trying to fill with Christmas past. Folding laundry. Cooking hot dogs with onions wrapped in a toasted tortilla. Learning something new during devotions.

It all just makes me – – – full of leaping joy.

“On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 10 lords a-leaping.”

Traditionally, the 10 lords refer to the 10 commandments. 10 road markers to guide a weary traveler. 10 rock-solid principles in a wacky world of slithering truths. 10 laws that guided a way-ward, stubborn people out of slavery and idolatry into the promise land of new milk and honey sweet manna. 10 laws that Rabbi Yeshua followed faithfully as He walked in this physical world.

“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your name may be filled with joy. For You bless the godly, O LORD; You surround them with Your shield of Love.”~Ps 5:11-12

JOY!

One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. One of the words the angels used on the night Our Father sent His Son to live with us. One of the words that Rabbi Yeshua used often. Is it any surprise that I’m leaping for joy tonight? It may be cold outside. I may still have a coughing, sniffling cold. I may not leave the house for another three days because I just don’t want to do so.

JOY!

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”~Jn 15:11 

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #9

“On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

SNOW!

They said, it wouldn’t reach us. They said it would dance east of us. They said if we saw any – it would just be a trace. “They” don’t always know what they think they know. I have one hope left. That “they” are right about it getting above freezing tomorrow.

Knew I should have gone to the store today.

I did get the most of the outside lights off the house. So tonight when the dogs did their “I- wanna-go-outside-dance”, there were still a few lights to guide their ‘slip, slidin’ away’. Lights on the grape vine tree – a snowman light in the corner of the porch – a couple of lamp posts lining our snow-covered ramp – and wire lights on the fresh greenery and ivy berries that have decorated our porch through Advent (although – I have noticed that the berries are half gone since the birds discovered them ripe for harvest).

“On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: nine ladies dancing.”

Dancing through life has always seemed like the best way to tackle the journey. Ever since I took dance classes and dressed up in old lace curtains to dance around the living room, dancing has appealed to me. As a teenager, I liked understanding my body and being able to make it move exactly the way I wanted – most of the time. Having a bad knee did curtail the trickier dance moves.

But the fruits of The Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, sweetness, goodness, faith, Humility, endurance; the law is not set against these things.”~Gal 5:22-23

In traditional symbolism, the nine ladies dancing refers to the nine “Fruits of the Spirit”. Dancing away from the world and dancing to the inner notes of the Holy Spirit. A dance that will lead us closer and closer to our One True Love. The Bridegroom who sings the song just for His Bride.

A new song. A new dance. A new life.

Nine ladies dancing into your life clothed in bright colors of love, joy, peace, patience, sweetness, goodness, faith, humility, endurance to wrap around you. All you have to do is join the dance, then dance and dance and dance – bad knees, stumbling steps, tired feet and all.

See you on the dance floor.

For the WORD of God is living and all-efficient, and much sharper than a double edged sword, and it pierces to the separation of soul and spirit and of joints, marrow and of bones, and judges the reasoning and conscience of the heart.”~Heb 4:12  
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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #8

“On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”

Milk and Honey.

Over the holydays, in the down times between family visits and this crazy cold, Hubby and I have been watching “Drive Thru History – Holy Land”. Having never been to Israel, I’ve found it fascinating to see all the places that I have read about take on a visual aspect within the context of Biblical history.

It sets my mind spinning as I try to see it as it was underneath the trappings of the present. Archaeologists are beyond amazing to me. They can find one tiny piece of the past, and with a certain amount of confidence, they reconstruct a viable reproduction of what it might have looked like or what function it served thousands of years ago. I struggle just to see a basic outline of what they are trying to show me.

“And you gave them this land, which you swore to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey.”~Jer 32:22

2018 is the year Israel is honoring the 70th anniversary of its founding. In the days prior to establishing the old/resurrected country, there was a heated debate about how the Declaration of Independence would reference God. Those who placed a high value on the Torah and their place in God’s world wanted God to be named. Those who were atheistic or non-practicing Jews wanted religion to have no part in it at all. Eventually, they compromised, and throughout the declaration, they referred to God as the rock upon which Israel would stand. The land of milk and honey was re-established.

“On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: eight maids a-milking.”

In traditional symbols, the eight maids a-milking are the Beatitudes of Christ. Poor in spirit. Mournful. Meek. Hungering and Thirsting. Merciful. Pure in Heart. Peacemakers. Persecuted for righteousness. As we walk forward into 2018, it is good to remember that Jesus said we would be blessed when we made the beatitudes our attitudes.

Attitude is everything.

There is a land of milk and honey in our world and the spiritual world.

Eight maids a-milking are a gift from our True Love….

A Gift of Salvation.

“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—”~1 Peter 2:2

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #7

“On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

Yes, I know today is the first day of the world’s new year.

2018.

You know, when I was growing up, my parents said that “time flies”. I totally didn’t believe them, since it took forever to get to get from birthday-to-birthday or Christmas-to-Christmas or Labor Day-to-Memorial Day. But make no mistake, we continue to swim closer and closer to the end of the 12 days of Christmas 2017 and then 2018 will begin in earnest for me.

“On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: seven swans a swimming…”

I haven’t really made any resolutions this year – mostly because cold-fogged brains do not lend themselves to clear thoughts. But as the fog clears, and I start to swim in a straight line again, I’m beginning to organize my thoughts and figure out just where Our Father is wanting to lead me.

A friend and his family members chose a word to meditate on during the year. Another friend chooses a Bible verse. Others have chosen business or family goals. One friend has even chosen an author and wants to re-reads all the books, that person has written.

Truth be told, I’m not big on January New Year Resolutions. I suppose it is because for most of my 67 years on this earth, my new year has started with the beginning of school. Whether as a student or a teacher, that is when I set my direction for the year. Even now – almost 5 years into my retirement – I still find myself gearing up in August and preparing mentally to swim up-stream into a new adventure.

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.”~Is 11:1-3

There are 7 swans swimming in the living waters when we sing the 12 Days of Christmas. 7 fruits of the Spirit that Rabbi Yeshua modeled for us as He walked among us.

Wisdom
Understanding
Counsel
Fortitude
Knowledge
Piety
Fear [Awe] of God

Swim in the Living Waters. Harvest the Fruits of the Spirit. Now those are some resolutions that I think I really need to set my eyes on as I swim into this new adventurous year of 2018. I may have to push hard over the rapids. I may have to be patient in still waters. I may have to weather a storm or two. But if I wait for the breath of His promises under my wings, I can gain more power to swim a little closer to those Gifts of the Spirit and feel His peace surround me.

“I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Vine, and you are the branches; whoever abides with me and I in him, this one brings forth much fruit, because without me, you can do nothing.”~Jn 15:5 web-seven-gifts-of-the-holy-spirit-public-domain [google image]

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #6

“On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

Manna.

Okay – so eggs aren’t technically called manna, but they do sustain the body, right? Then again, with this yukky cold clogging up my head, my ears, my lungs – who can think straight? All that being said – I think it is a great way to start the New Year. I am getting all this miserable, awful, sickly, no taste-in-my-taste-buds feeling out of the way before 2018.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:a The old has gone, the new is here!”~2 Cor 5:17

The Grands are back in their bed giggling at the latest antics of a chihuahua. Hubby is off watching football. And I am eating my favorite snack of yogurt, berries with just a few dark choc chips mixed in just because I know I love eating this treat. However, at this second, the taste buds are refusing to let me enjoy it. So much for having a tasty New Year’s Eve snack later.

“On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: six geese a-laying.”

As miserable as I have felt all day, I was blessed as soon as I woke up with food that will never leave me hungry. It came in the form of testimonies from several of my friends who have walked through “tar pits” in their lives. Tar pits so sticky that I don’t know how they walked through it. From a devotional that daily reminds me to humble myself, be still and to listen. From a couple former students who continue to remind me to be thankful and leave clear footsteps on my path.

Six geese a-laying.

Manna.

A new year full of manna, Light, Truth, Love and Grace for all who know the source of living waters. Blessings!Be! in 2018.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #5

“On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

5 golden promises.

“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”~Num 22:27

“Do not be afraid…since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard…”~Dan 10:12

“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.”~Ps 4:8

“Your faith has given you life, go in peace.”~Lk 7:50

“The grace of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah be with all of his Holy Ones. Amen.”~Rev 22:21

“On the 5th Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, 5 gold rings.”

Gold rings often symbolize a covenant. A vow to be kept between two parties. A promise. Many believe the five golden rings in this song are the 4 written gospels and the existence of the Jewish people. Old Testament covenant blended with the New Testament covenant.

Just a song. A children’s song. A song sung in the backseats of cars. A song knocked off so many times in so many ways. And yet – perhaps – it is so much more.

12 Days to ponder the true Gift of Christmas. 12 Days to honor the True Love who sent the Gift. 12 Days to remember to whom all honor should be given.

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”

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TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #4

“One the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

There should be a warning posted everywhere in our home when visitors come “calling” from out of state that reads: BEWARE – THESE PEOPLE (whether you love them or not) MAY CARRY HAZARDOUS GERMS THAT YOU ARE NOT USED TO ENCOUNTERING ON AN EVERYDAY BASIS!!!!

The first outcropping of said germ was the #1 daughter. She lost her voice after the first night of fun and games. The second was the hubby who started sniffling on day two and was out for the count on day four. By the evening of day four, my nose was constantly running, but otherwise felt fine. So after dropping off #2 daughter and her hubby at the railroad depot in Raleigh this morning (day 5), Hubby and I crashed off to sleep the afternoon away. (I truly know Hubby is sick when he climbs back into bed after the day has started). However, thanks to essential oils, plenty of zinc and sleep, I think our home front is on the rebound.

“On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: four calling birds…”

Calling birds or Colly birds – if you are singing the old English version of the song – are wonderful gifts. However, which ever birds come “calling” – I just need to remember to wash my hands a lot more often. Strange birds bring strange visiting companions without even knowing it. After all, being with beloved strange birds is definitely worth a little effort behind the scenes and even a little sickness.

“Everything whatsoever you desire that people should do for you, do likewise for them, for this is the Law and The Prophets.”~Matt 7:12

One of the many interpretations of the 12 Days of Christmas song is that the four “calling birds” refers to the 4 disciples of the gospels. Disciples that continually “call out” the love of Yeshua Christus into a needy world. I have to admit, I am partial to that one.

Birds bring beauty into our world with their plumage, their songs, and their playful antics that keep us entertained during the day (if you are lucky enough to be retired or a child and have time to watch them). It is of little wonder that for the first 4 days of Christmas, “True Love” gifted birds to the one He loves the most.

Birds continually call out God’s song of Grace and Love – continually show His beauty in this world and in each other. And while birds of this world sometimes carry unwanted visitors, the birds of our “True Love” never do. They carry only the good things He knows we need the most.

So on this fourth Day of Christmas, I will continue to welcome His “calling birds” into my home. I will continue to welcome those strange “calling” visitors of our world into our home as well – how could I not? It is the commandment above all others. Most of all, I will carry His greatest “calling bird” in my heart and home “…all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.”

“Lord Jehovah will shepherd me and I shall lack nothing.
He will make me lie upon lush pastures and he will lead me by restful waters.
He brings back my soul, and leads me in the paths of truth because of your Name.
Even if I shall walk in the valleys of the shadows of death, I will not be afraid of evil, because you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me,
You have prepared tables in front of me opposite my enemies; you have anointed my head with oil and my cup overflows as if it were alive*.
Your kindness and your mercies pursue me all the days of my life, that I may dwell in the house of Lord Jehovah to the length of days.”~Ps 23

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #3

“On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

Children.

Today was full of giggling, running, fussy children. It was also full of blustery, wintry winds that chilled us every time a door opened. Unfortunately, it was also full of coughing, sniffling, feverish sleep-inducing internal ‘colds’ that seem to multiply so quickly this time of year among family members who like to hug on each other. It was also our last full day of being with our #2 daughter and hubby for this trip.

Why is it that 5 days seems like a long visit until those 5 days actually occur? Like a puff of smoke from the fire pit. There for a moment – gone the next. Don’t get me wrong; I love their visits. Love watching their faces along side their siblings and juxtaposing their childish faces in my head. Love listening to their conversations and laughter as they interact. Love getting to know them as the strong, independent adults they have become. Love opening up my treasure chest of memories and stuffing a few new ones deep inside it.

It’s just that a puff of smoke dissipates way too fast. As too their visits. Too short – too far apart for this mama’s wish. And yet – –

“On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, three french hens…”

And yet – – I am starting to understand that is all just part of the life journey. There are times when we are taking lots of pictures, playing games that make us laugh or cry, singing songs with a karaoke machine or with a movie character, cuddling side-by-side on a crowded couch. And then –

And then – there are other times – when I open the treasure chest of memories and ponder the blessings of life, one-by-one, two-by-two, three-by-three, four-by-four, hundreds-by-hundreds. And it all began with one special child.

A child who grew up to remind us how important that ‘child-like’ quality is to the human treasure chest of the world.

“Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”~Matt 18:2-4

“…and put the child among them…”

I love this part of this promise. So many layers of metaphoric speak in these six simple words. Keep our “child-self” in whatever stage of life we are in because He has put it among us. When He places children on our life path, treasure them. Open our eyes to observe the nature of the “child” He wants us to be.

Welcome the child of the manger and the three silly french hens into our hearts – every day and in every way.

“O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!

I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.

I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.”~Ps 63:1-8 friends-zoom

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TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #2

“On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”

A lot of steps.

Life is full of a lot of steps. Some steps lead us in the direction of all those beautiful goals that we set for ourselves. Some steps lead us backwards, so we can gain more confidence in what we know. Sometimes we find ourselves running in place until we figure out where it is we want to go. And sometimes – our steps circle around and around and around in one gigantic loop of dizziness.

“ ‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.”

I’m not sure what led me to Acts today – specifically Acts 2. But –
that first step led me to another step. A step into my devotional book – Day 361. Light dawns, and I begin to figure out where the Holy Spirit was pointing me. I never, ever completely figure it out. I’m not that smart or ambitious enough to take all the steps that I need to take. If I’m lucky I manage to take a step or two forward – 10 backwards – 100 running in place – and about a 100 billion, trillion running in circles.

When it comes to watching me, I think G-D probably sighs a lot. His Son probably rolls His eyes. The Holy Spirit wants to give me a Gibbs’ slap. And then – I make that breakthrough. I link a few things together, and suddenly they are all dancing in joy just for me.

“On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me – two turtle doves…”

There are always pluralities in life. Good and evil. Light and darkness. Truth and lies. Spiritual and physical. In the Hebrew language they add “-im” to a word to represent plurals. “Elohim” – G-D. “Chayim” – life. “Shamayim” – heaven. “Yerushalayim” – Jerusalem. “Mayim” – the river of living waters.

There is more than just one face of G-D. More than one facet of life. More than one heaven. More than one Jerusalem. More the one river. More than one turtle dove.

We get this crazy picture in our heads and think we have it all figured out. We think we “know” what it looks like; how it acts; what it should be; what it will be. At least – that is what I do.

A baby was born in a manger was more than just a baby in a manger. He was a plurality. A king – a servant. A beginning – an end. A first – a last. A death – a new life. Bread – water. Grace – judgement.

Pluralities. Two turtle doves given by my true love.

Lots and lots of Steps.

“Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above.
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”~Act 2:17-210511-1011-1802-2221_Twelve_Days_of_Christmas_Song-Two_Turtle_Doves_clipart_image  [google image]

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #1

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

My eyes are tired tonight. Early mornings. Late nights. Food, food, food. Chocolate and more chocolate. Forcing my eyes to stay open for just a little longer, so I don’t miss a moment of this blessed holyday.

The MI son and family started it all off four days ago. Their escape from the cold and snow of the north. My latching on to each of them for one more hug – one more moment – one more ear full of deeper voices, more grown-up stories, and wishing so much that they – and my son – were still little enough to cuddle close to my heart. Our two days together passed way too fast.

“Every good and perfect gift descends from above, from The Father of lights with whom there is no change nor a shadow of variation.”~Jm 1:17

Second daughter and hubby made their way to NC on Christmas Day. Eating Grandma Mickey’s shrimp and trail bologna. Cookies. Then the more formal food as we sit down to stuff our faces again. Swapping white elephants as we bartered with the Grands, stole from one to another; and finally carrying home a pair of hand-made, Peruvian dinosaurs to hang on our window garlands.

“Grandma, can I have your dinosaur?” Grandson whispers as we leave, and my heart melts a little more.

Yet – more than the gifts, it is the laughter – the smiles in the eyes of those I love – which sings its song in my heart tonight and stifles another yawn. Whether it is the laughter over “Say Anything” or “Timeline” board game; the Grands bouncing as the explain/ show all their new toys; or the grown-up versions of my baby girls and their spouses sharing conversations that flow over my head; the holyday is made more holy by just their presence and I soak it in even if I don’t say much.

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.”~Is 54:10

In 12 more days, Christmas 2017 will be in the annuals of time. Pictures will be stored on the computer, posted to various social media sites, and “normal” returns to the land of humankind. My grown-up kids will travel to their far-away homes. Grands will return to their various schools – in MI and NC. But my heart – – –

My heart will be full of the blessings we were able to share in each other’s presence for a few days. I cry easily when they appear on my doorstep and when I wave goodbye. It is then I wonder that if I feel such powerful emotions – how much more deeply does My Father feel over all the coming and goings of His children?

It is His blessing in our lives to glimpse just a portion of His love on Christmas. A Father who sent His Son to a far away land. A Father who sent His Son to be raised by others. A Father who loved so much that He sent His Son to remind us of just how much He loves us.

In this the love of God is known to us: for God sent his only Son to the world so that it shall live by him.’~1 Jn 4:9

As I finish up here, I am yawning a few more times. My sentences have been reversing themselves as i type – which happens often when I am exhausted. And as I make my way back towards my comfy bed, I lay my hand on the door, where my “child” is already sleep and whisper a prayer of thanks once again.

Holydays bring their own blessings when we pray. They slow us down. They open our ears and eyes. New songs expand our hearts. The invisible becomes almost opaque. A slender,silver tie to our first family. So as the music begins, I will sing myself to sleep…

“On the first day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me: a partridge in a pear tree….”

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