6 of 7: JOY. “Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’…and the star…went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great JOY.” – Matthew 2:1-10 NASB
JOY is finding an old Christmas song that you loved listening to – way back when there were munchkins running around the house and beloved parents were still on this sphere.
JOY is remembering that there are people out there protecting our country and and the ones I love. Thankfulness JOY.
JOY is playing ball with the dogs on a beautiful day in NC.
JOY is sending off Christmas JOY to others far away and trying not to think about them being so far away over the Christmas season.
JOY is treasuring the picture emerging from a book on to a Christmas stocking and knowing that one little Grand is going to be excited when she sees it.
JOY is reading a former student’s first draft of his book, still hearing his voice in your head and knowing that he is still a writer.
JOY is getting cards and phone texts/calls from old and new friends, collegues and family.
JOY is having former students remember you at Christmas with a card or a PM and catching up on their lives.
JOY is reading so many posts that talk about a baby being born in a manger long, long ago.
JOY is knowing that we can still come from far, far, far away – by camel – by car – by foot – by prayer – and still be blessed by His grace – no matter what!
JOY is knowing that “There Will Always Be A Christmas.” A time when JOY became flesh, lived among us and took all our sins upon Him before He returned to the Father. Now that is JOY beyond belief. It is faith. It is JOY.
2 of 7: LOVE. “It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” ~Charles Dickens.
After teaching A Christmas Carol for so many years, there are lots of Dickens quotes that I LOVE. He was able to put into words what the rest of us just saw as an accepted reality without questioning ‘why’ it was an accepted reality. Children understand the beauty of the Christmas story even better than we do. Children LOVE easier than we do. We have way too many everyday doubts and issues circling around us to see the unparalleled gift that was given on that night so long ago…LOVE that was given so long ago. But I also believe that our elders fall into this category. Some of the most special memories I have of my mom were during those last few years she spent upon this earth. She was so full of stories and LOVE that I couldn’t wait to go pick her up and bring her to the house (except when there was a bunch of snow and ice on the road…then – not so much). Usually we would sing Christmas carols all the way to the house or talk about her memories of past Christmases. She would tell me the story of her Christmas stocking every year, and it still hangs right beside mine. Just LOVE that stocking and the memories of the Christmases that it has seen since 1919.
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismissd your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32
God honors children, elders or any of us who makes time to look for Him – in a stable – in a stranger’s face – in our enemy. God honored Simeon’s request to see the Savior before he died. The thing I really LOVE about this story is that God did His usual – He went above and beyond giving Simeon the dream he requested. He LOVED Simeon and blessed him greatly. Simeon actually held the Savior in his arms – kissed His downy head – and I imagine – dropped a few tears upon His tiny form as well. A baptism of salty water that would begin a sacred journey upon this world that was so unworthy of Christ’s presence. LOVE begats LOVE.
Cookies, Carols, Children, Characters, Christmas. Five C’s that take on a whole new connotation during our holyday season. Colored lights erupt in sporadic bursts. Magic circles swirl through the air. Elves hide behind every tree. Secrets float just beyond earshot. Presents pile up under the tree, while dormant dreams suddenly seem to slip from their slumbering state into a possible reality…for Simeon…for children…for you. It’s all about LOVE at Christmas —– or at least —– it should be.
art by Ron DiCianni
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Tagged A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, children, Christ, Christmas, Christmas Carol, Christmas stocking, Christmas story, God, Israel, Lord, love, Luke, Ron DiCianni, savior, Simeon, stocking