Tag Archives: Jesus

2020 VISION: Mayim, Mayim, HaYESHUA

Why is it…the frayed lettering, the stains, the broken hoodie strings, the paint stains – the multiple washings…make that one piece of clothing the one I reach for when I want – not just something to cover the body – but a special warmth – an indefinable comfort – a bury-my-nose-in-the-collar, full of treasure chest memories in each nappy crevice – piece of clothing for a chilly fall night?

Yet – it always is the one I reach for first, and the one I wear the most.

This was the first piece of clothing I bought after our house fire in 2009. It was the only sweatshirt I had for a year. It is – of course – in the traditional Ohio State University red and gray (faded as they may be). It is the piece of clothing I slept and lived in for a week in 2019 – even though it was June.

Comfort clothes. Comfort foods. Comfort traditions.

“O LORD, I will praise You.Although You were angry with me,Your anger has turned away,and You have comforted me.Surely God is my salvation;I will trust and not be afraid.For the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,and He also has become my salvation.” Is 12:1-2

I love Fall. The nip in the air in the morning and evening. Spending time outside without having to swat at mosquitos. Catching up on gardening chores that I put off the past month because of the heat. Walking and playing with the choc fur girls. The only thing I don’t like about it as I age, is the sinus factor that seems to worsen with each passing year. However, since I deal with it for 3 seasons of the year, I’m praising Abba that I’m getting used to it, and for the meds and essential oils that He has given us to help combat the ugliest of symptoms.

The 7-day Jewish feast of Sukkot begins tonight. They build small huts in their back yard to commemorate 40 years of wandering. Many still chose to live in them for the entire week. A time to remember their Jewish ancestors’ humble beginnings as they wandered in the wilderness to discovered their unity as a nation and their faith in the GOD of Moses. A time when they lived in small huts, nurtured each other, and learned to depend upon the Father that led them out of slavery and into freedom by following Him in faith. On the 8th day, they celebrate one more day with singing and dancing – the day Moses was given the WORD to share with them.

Traditional dance Mayim, Mayim (Google image)

Joyfully shall you draw water, From the fountains of triumph. Joyfully shall you draw water, From the fountains of salvation Chorus: Water – water – water – water Hey, water in joy Water – water – water – water…Hey, water in joy

Mayim in Hebrew means water. Hayeshua means God’s salvation.

One of the traditional songs that they sing during this time is “Mayim, Mayim”. A song about water, triumph and salvation. This has led some Messianic Jews and Christians to believe that – perhaps – Yeshua/Jesus was born during the feast of Sukkot – or more to the point – on Simchat Torah, the day the WORD was – once again – given to His people.

It is something to ponder on a chilly night, in a comfy sweatshirt while I rock back and forth on the patio swing letting an old, old song repeat over and over as I pray for our nation, our people, our President and First Lady, and those of which I do not know:

“Ushavtem mayim b’sasonmimainei hayeshua .Ushavtem mayim b’sasonmimainei hayeshuaChorus:Mayim – Mayim – Mayim – MayimHey, mayim b’sasonMayim – Mayim – Mayim – MayimHey, mayim b’sason”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-n-a2Kxh9o

2020 Vision: Who Am I?

“Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart?”v.1

It was a beautiful day. Windows open. Radio on. Harmonizing to a song I know pretty well. Stretches that really help the knees keep bending. Time in the water at the gym. A great conversation with a fellow Durham school librarian. An old book I’m re-discovering and I wonder why now? A new book that I can’t wait to uncover and wonder why now? A short time to enjoy the patio swing before getting busy wasting time.
I am blessed.

“…what is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him?”Ps 8:4b

This verse has been on my mind all weekend. Not sure why – except – that Our Father’s breath has been blowing many new things into my path this weekend. Like usual, I never know what to do with a lot of the information He sends, so I jot information. I write in my journal, my prayer devotional book, and note cards. Some verses leap off the page at me, so I write them down as well. Thoughts pop in my head and beg my attendance upon them, and then – I wonder – wait – while away the time – as it all tumbles around in my head.

I know eventually – He will tell me what to do with it all – but for now I hold them close and ponder them.

I am a flower quickly fading:
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I’m calling.
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.
And You’ve told me who I am.
I am Yours, I am Yours.” ~v.2

On my way to the gym, this song came on. Casting Crowns. One of my favorite Christian groups. “Who Am I?” One of my favorite songs, lately. Since Psalm 8:4 had been already wandering around in my mind, I took notice. God winks are hard to miss when your eyes are focused on Him.

Since I had been looking up information, reading, listening to choral music, knitting, and watching some of my favorite Christian movies, the thoughts began to sort themselves out. I still can’t see the clear pattern yet, or where it is all leading, but there is something. Something I am about to discover about “who I am”.

So tonight, I am still waiting and watching. I have to admit, I tend to love it when Our Father starts downloading something, and His Hope takes over everything that I do. My eyes continually look up. My lamp overflows with new oil.

“When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place— “ Ps 8:4a

As I sat on the patio swing, I do wonder why He cares so much about each of us. I betray His trust and love over and over – and yet – He is mindful of me. Even as a quickly fading flower or a mere vapor on the wind in the scheme of eternity, He continues to find time for me…and the butterflies that are all over the lantana bush… or the hummingbirds filling up for their trip South…or the two aging choc lab girls who sleep in the shade of a wisteria covered portico. There is much more to come out of this thoughtful weekend, but it is a start.

I reflect back that Job probably said it best, “What is man that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart upon him.” Job 7:7

He trusts us with His heart…His Son…His Grace……..

Since the very beginning, so who am I not to trust Him with mine? 

2020 VISION: Sequestering the Quest

“When you are as old as I, my dear
And I hope that you never are…
You could squander away or sequester
A drop of a precious year…”

Sequester is one of those “old” words. The syllables tumble over the tongue as it is spoken. For a long time when I was growing up, I would read this word and thought it had something to do with searching for a dream – after all – “quest” is right smack-dab in the middle of it.

I think I was in high school or jr hi before I figured out the true definition. I was reading one of those classics, but can’t remember which one….. Bronte, Hawthorne, Twain? Oh well…what I do remember is sitting in my small town library in front of the fan on a hot summer day and being stunned. It changed that picture in my head that words always make.

Sequester, v. , to isolate, hide away.

“What good is a field on a fine summer night
When you sit all alone with the weeds?
Or a succulent pear if with each juicy bite
You spit out your teeth with the seeds?”

Sequester will always be mixed definition for me. I liked my first definition. I liked thinking it was partly a “quest”. And as I sat in front of that fan with its soft hum, I figured that it was a little of both. When I “sequester” myself, I am doing a bunch of things that I don’t usually do, and as I do, I learn something new about myself.

Quest – v., search for something.

I’ve decided that as I approach this new school year, I need this combined definition once again. At this point, my school is still set to open, but we are still a couple weeks out, so anything could happen. If I can just lift my chin a little higher if we sequester once again, I can still be on that quest together with my students even if we are far apart. Our Father has a way of closing gaps in all things.

“Now when the drearies do attack
And a siege of the sads begins
I just throw these noble shoulders back
And lift these noble chins…”

Quests are good for the soul. Jesus was on a quest the last three years of His life. At times, he sequestered himself to pray, to quest after His Father’s face, maybe to beat back the “sads” away and regain the strength to “throw [those] noble shoulders back” into his journey.

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Mark 5:16

So tonight as I yawn and think about sequestering myself for the night, I am singing this song in my head. (Actually, it’s been singing in my head most of the night.) Berthe in “Pippin” is one of those roles that I have wanted to sing since Ben Vereen’s performance caught my attention in the 70’s (I actually wanted to sing Ben Vereen’s part back in my 20’s). The good part – I wouldn’t even have to use make-up to play Berthe now. The lyrics ring a little clearer as well.

I think, “Sequestering the quest” is my new motto for the last half of my 2020 Vision. Berte isn’t really good at resting on her morals in this play, but that’s okay. That’s why its called “acting”. Maybe someday, I’ll stand on the OHIO Theatre stage in Loudonville, OH, once again and sing it. As for now, it is time to sequester and think a little more about this quest…and then I’ll rest on my morals.    

 

VISION 2020: Ouchie

Ugh – I wasn’t going to write tonight, but the nagging voice in my head won’t be quiet no matter how much I argue about being tired and having spent too much time already typing with a defective hand that is all His fault. Well…not really. It is my fault. When you are given a mandate for your gift, it really is not wise to go outside that mandate. That being said, GOD is good and reminds us when we fall down.

It just may be an ouchie reminder.

My mandate is that I am not to comment on worldly things – such as politics. I am to write about His joy – His peace – His love – His blessings. I am to teach as I have taught for the past – almost – 50 years:
Colorblind.
Truth based. (notice: I did not say fact based)
Light giving.
And sometimes – with a little humor/weeping thrown in for free.

Not easy for this very A type – teacher personality. We are used to controlling a classroom of 30+ kids – being an authority on whatever – offering opinions on everything that is thrown our way from those instigator kidlets trying to get us off topic. However, my mama and brother trained me well in opinionated thoughts.
I have opinions.
Strong opinions.

Sarcasm has always leapt to my mind before I even have a chance to think. It was the first classroom wisdom that I gained. Sarcasm is ineffectual as a tool to pass on facts/wisdom/anything. It alienates and decimates those who hear/see it. I outlawed it in the classroom long ago and I avoid it like the plague now. But it still leaps out in my mind at times when I read some of the memes and political stuff on social media.

“I have revealed Your name to those You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You. For I have given them the words You gave Me, and they have received them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” (v.6-8)

In the past few days, I have returned to this chapter often. The image of a garden – hmmm – perfect setting since the garden was the first place man spoke to GOD. Jesus praying. In a garden. GOD made man speaking to GOD the Father. Jesus, Yeshua, praying.

Praying for me.

I think I love this passage the most because He says the mandate that rings in my ears even when I sleep. “I have given them the words you gave me, and they have received them.”

The Word gives us WORDSHis WORDS that the FATHER gave Him to give to us. Words that created the tiniest part of an atom. Words that breathed into our nostrils the Breath of Life. Creative words that we carelessly throw out so that we might exhibit our own version of truth –

Today, I allowed my fingers to ignore those things that I know that I know and typed a response based on worldly wisdom instead of Truth. Bandwagons are not what I am supposed to ride right now. That might change – but for now – Noper!!! So I typed. Turned off the computer. Stomach aching. I went outside. And out of nowhere, a wasp landed on my left hand and stung me three times – from the wrist to the index finger joint.

I am left-handed. Hint immediately received.

One sting I could understand – if I could see a nest or some reason for him to be around. I looked at him and couldn’t figure out what was hurting and moving down my hand. When he was done, he flew to a near-by rosebud leaf and disappeared under it. My hand is now beginning to return to normal – kinda. It is still swollen but the tingling, itchy pain is receding. Best of all, I can almost see a knuckle.

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You.” (v.1)

I needed to be reminded that Yeshua is praying for me – for all of us – especially right now. He is crying with us. He is knocking at the door. He is calling us to our home altars. The WORD continues to give us the words, so we need to open our ears, our eyes, our soul – and then – open our mouths – or in the case of social media – our fingers in response.

“Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one. While I was with them, I protected and preserved them by Your name, the name You gave Me.” (John 17:11-12a)

How great is that? He prays for our protection. He prays for our salvation so that we may see the Father, face-to-face. He prays today as He prayed 2000+ years ago. Truth of the WORD does not change but is everlasting to everlasting.

So my wisdom of the day – don’t get stung by a wasp. OUCHIE!! It hurts. Better yet, remember His Truth. It is often said: “Words matter”. Even so, we forget that on social media forums – and sometimes with our friends – and sometimes in our families.

If Jesus, Rabbi Yeshua, thought praying was so important that He chose to do it in the darkest night of His life, I know that praying is still the most important thing we can do in these dark times.

[artwork by Greg Olsen/personal image]

WARM, BUTTERY BREAD

When the Holy Spirit is nudging, and I am plugging my ears, Our Father and His Son, Yeshua, will often step in and slap me upside the head with blessing after blessing just to get my attention.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”~Ex 14:14

Last night a neighbor drove his mower over and not only did the road frontage, but also did the whole back yard. All day I had been internally wondering how I was going to fit everything in that I needed to get done this week. I wasn’t anxious about it, just pondering what kind of schedule I needed to implement so I could get to school and get some more books on the shelves and do all the things that seem to make up my day.

Later, I cried because that is just the way He works in my life these days. He knows that I hate traveling in canyons with their high steep walls. In canyons, the sky seems so far away, and daylight is overcast with shadow after shadow. This summer has been one long, huge canyon for me, and He knows it. But as always, He has provided a river of blessings that flows at the very bottom of that dark canyon to up-lift my dingy self.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”~Is 41:10

As I struggled over devotions, I read and re-read the WORD given. It just seemed to not fit my day, and I wondered what I was missing this time. So I gave up and put myself in His hands as I closed my eyes for this somewhat long and uneasy day. “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way” was one of the last things I thought before I drifted off to sleep with kitty curled into my side and dogs snoring at my feet.

That is when I had a dream with its roots in a memory and the devotional that I had struggled with earlier.

When I was 7, we moved to a new house. A house where my father could walk to work and where we could all listen to the trains rumble by our house every few hours. The best thing – it was a neighborhood filled with kids my age. Mostly boys, which I didn’t appreciate until much later, but there were a few girls. One was a girl named Annie. Her family brought us freshly baked bread that first day when we were hot and tired and excited. I don’t think I had ever had warm bread like that – ever. Other neighbors and relatives joined us with other treats. Impromptu parties were not unusual to my parents. But it was always Annie and that out-of-the-oven, buttery bread that I remembered.

Last night, I dreamed of that warm bread again. Sweeter, better than I ever remembered. The Bread and Annie were both there. She asked me, “Is it really that hard to understand?” I laughed because suddenly the devotional made perfect sense, and I woke up still smiling. In fact, I can still taste that bread tonight and see Annie’s laughing face.

The Bread of Life. The Living Water. Sometimes, we just need to close our eyes. Be still. Rest in His hand. Let Him carry the battle in the canyon journey that we really don’t like. And – eat some warm buttery bread.

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’ “~ Jn 6:48-51 

     [personal images]

 

LENTEN INSIGHT 2019 #3

It has been a month since I have written. The words have been there. The thoughts. The dreams. The joyous bursts of creativity. But the fingers were stayed. For whatever reason – I found myself waiting. So – I waited. I waited some more. Waited for the special silence that always precedes the release of words. And still I waited.

Holy week. 
Palm Sunday
Maundy Thursday.
Good Friday.

A month ago, in one of my many thrift store meanderings, I found a Robert Shaw recording in conjunction with Ohio State University choirs. It was not one from when I was there, but the choral works on it spoke to me once again. The next day, I found myself sitting on the floor of my small utility closet as I pulled out all my classical CD’s. My school room filled with them as I worked. I began singing – not well – but nevertheless – with all my heart in the car on the way home. Finally, letting them filter through my prayers as I lay my head down.

“Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”~Lk 9:58

Two weeks later, I found myself walking through the door of a stately, city Methodist church. The steeple bell rang as I walked the sidewalk towards the church – just as they used to when I walked with my parents. Tears gathered in the corners of my eyes. I was not surprised. I needed the rituals. I needed the music. I needed to hear the oral readings of Psalms and “Our Father”. I needed to remember the community of my history. The birthplace of my faith – my youth – my maturity.

A touchstone of truth.

“Pilate said to him, “You are a King then?” Yeshua said to him,“You have said that I am a King. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world: to testify of the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is the truth?” ~Jn 18:37-38

It is Holy Week.
It is Good Friday.

On Maundy Thursday, I was going to go back to the Methodist church, but instead, I watched the Mass of the Basilica in DC and sang with choir during Holy Communion. Tonight, as I watched some of the Stations of the Cross in Rome, my thoughts focused and the fingers found their freedom. Then I turned on the “The Passion of the Christ”. It is always the last thing I want to do – ever. It is a hard movie to watch. I cry – often. And yet, it is the one thing thing I must do. I must remember the gift. I must honor the sacrifice that an earthly mother made in conjunction with the plan that a loving, heavenly Father made for all His children so long ago.

“There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.”~Jn 15:13

Today was a stormy day in NC. “The swirly winds came and the rain fell on us” as a poem from my high school days stated. I checked my plants. Pulled the flag in under the porch roof. Rubbed the dogs’ heads over and over as they stayed close by my side. Even the cat who has been standoffish all week has spent most of the night on my lap. The winds have quieted and while all three animals and hubby are sleeping in our small TV room, I am at peace.

The stone has covered the tomb, but Grace is about to blow away the cords that hold it closed.

Resurrection Day is coming.

“You are my friends if you will do all that I command you. No longer do I call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master does, but I have called you my friends, because all that I have heard from my Father, I have taught you.”~Jn 15:14-15

It has been an interesting month of being a learner again. Listening to the Teacher of Truth is never easy of me. I am – at this point in life – used to being the teacher in the room. I tend to want to control everything around me. Although – some of my oldest friends say that I have always had that “teacher attitude” – whatever that is. I’m still not sure where it is leading or what is on that path that seems to have very few mile markers. What I do know?

“You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you so that you also will go bring forth fruit and your fruit will remain, so that all you will ask my Father in my name, he will give to you.These things I command you that you will love one another.”~Jn 15:16-17

 

[google images]

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: The Trinity

Tired. Enjoying. Expectant.

Words of the day. Flipped mattresses. Washed all the bedding from guest room and ours. Put a few more decorations away. Opened all the windows to air out the house…again (love 60’s on the first day of a new year). Sat outside and talked with an old friend while I enjoyed our patio swing. Roughed out a rough lesson plan for Friday’s library lesson. And – – – tried to absorb a bunch of wisdom from looking back over the “past”year, set some goals for the “future” year and really – really – just enjoyed this “present” of this holiday.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”~Matt 6:33

This is the verse of my new year. Writing it huge and posting it in my closet and on my bathroom mirror. Taping it to the dashboard in my car and on my desk at school Maybe – I’ll even make it my screen saver on my phone and computer. My overall intention is to read it aloud at least 3 three times a day and write it in my heart at least three times a day.

A verse created in the past. Chosen in the present. Blessing my future.

A Trinity.

In folk wisdom, three is that magic number: 

“Third time’s the charm…”
“Rule of three…” 
“Three sheets to the wind…”
“As phoney as a three dollar bill…”
“Three stooges…” 
(Well – maybe that last one is a stretch.)

In the spatial world, we see in height, depth, width. In the material world, we see gas, liquid, solid. In the temporal world, we have three frames of time: past, present, future. In the educational world, we learn the 3 R’s. In Jewish tradition many important events occur on the third day. In Christianity, the third day was the day of GRACE. In the Spiritual world, “GOD in three persons, Blessed Trinity” (love that hymn).

The Father.
The Son.
The Holy Ghost.

The Trinity is sometimes debated since it is never referred to by that name in the Bible. But there are several verses that speak it to my heart. Verses where all three are working together to achieve His Salvation Plan for all of us. I particularly feel it when I read this: Lk 1:35: “The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

In any case – that is where I am tonight: tired, enjoying, expectant.

“On the 7th day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me…” A Trinity – – – the Way, the Truth and the Life.  (Hmmmm….funny…Jesus gave us another list of those pesky three’s.)

[google images]

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: The Vision

In 1951 I was 6 months old. Across the country a jazz musician by the name of Alfred Burt was writing a Christmas carol to go with the words written by Wihla Hutson. In 1955 when I was 4, this new carol was performed for a Christmas party where record executives were present. The rest is – as they say – history.

“Some children see Him lily white
The baby Jesus born this night
Some children see Him lily white
With tresses soft and fair
Some children see Him bronzed and brown
The Lord of heav’n to earth come down
Some children see Him bronzed and brown
With dark and heavy hair.”

As close as I can figure – maybe 11 years or so later, I sat in the back of a small church and heard my mother sing a “new” carol in a Christmas pageant. This church was in another town, so my mom took me along to many rehearsals. I would work on homework, write poetry, fall asleep, or wonder if I would ever sing as well as my mom. Most of the time, I just absorbed the peace and the holy quiet of the sanctuary as I watched the pageant become a work of art.

I can still see Mom kneeling as Mary. A blue veil falling across her face at the creche as she picked up the “child” to rock Him. Yet, strangely, there is not one picture of her singing in this production in any of our old photo albums. I wish – – – then again – – – maybe not – because the picture in my head is probably better than any picture because blended together in one image.
Her voice.
The Colors.
The Words.
The Vision.

“Some children see Him almond-eyed
This Savior whom we kneel beside
Some children see Him almond-eyed
With skin of yellow hue
Some children see Him dark as they
Sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray
Some children see him dark as they
And, ah! they love Him, too”

In my head, I can see Mom. In my head, I can see GOD. In my head, I can see YESHUA. And that is exactly what Wihla Hutson realized the night she wrote these lyrics. We each see Our Father, His Son, The Holy Spirit according to The Vision in our own heads. The neat thing? It doesn’t matter what color – what facial features – what scars or disabilities – we see because GOD gave us that Vision. He put us in the families that surround us. He colored us with His mighty right hand. He formed us and knit together all the things that make us His. He gave us the Vision in our heads. Best of all? He loves us and is so happy when we come to the manager and kneel to give Him love in return.

“The children each in different place
Will see the baby Jesus’ face
Like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace
And filled with holy light
O lay aside each earthly thing
And with thy heart as offering
Come worship now the infant King
‘Tis love that’s born tonight.”

I still have the sheet music for this “new” carol. The sheet music is showing a lot of wear, but there are the notations that mom wrote for herself and for the organist. Mom had a Vision of how she wanted to sing the song. When I sing it, I have a Vision as well. It is a little different than the way mom sang it, but – GOD, JESUS, THE HOLY SPIRIT – don’t care. They gave me – they gave Mom – The Vision unique unto ourselves. It is the Truth, the Love, the Grace in each Vision that matters.

“He possessed no splendid form for us to see, no desirable appearance”~Is 53:2b

“On the fourth day of Christmas, My True Love gave to me…” The Vision.    

THE CHRISTMAS BELL

In the past couple of months, we’ve started this thing on Sunday morning. The Hubby gets up and starts a fire in the patio wood stove. The daughter brings her family for breakfast. And me? Well – I manage to roll out of bed a few minutes before they arrive and start my portion of whatever kind of the breakfast meal is on the agenda. And if I am really on my game, I set out some kind of craft on Saturday night for the kids to work on while they wait for breakfast to finish up. Last week it was looking through circulars and making wish lists.

Today – – – it was THE CHRISTMAS BELL.

Not sure when we started the Christmas Bell tradition, but I’m pretty sure we were still living in Killbuck, and it took both me and Grandma Mickey to help get the kids’ bells done. Where the idea came from?? I have no clue, but it might have been a suggestion from one of the teachers I worked with at West Holmes or something that I read – somewhere. All I really know is that the tradition continued through our many Perrysville homesteads and on into NC.

Christmas music playing on the record player, cassette tape, CD or radio. A plain paper bell waiting to be decorated. A short poem that the kidlets would trace or copy or write (and that grown kidlets can still recite today). A paper chain of whatever paper we could scrounge up. Bouncing kids squabbling over scissors, crayons, markers, glitter, tape, glue, etc. And finally – a couple of tired parents or Grandma Mickey who all had love lights in their eyes at night as they tucked those kidlets into bed “after prayers had been said”.

Traditions are special. Whether it is Sunday morning breakfasts or pigroasts or family reunions or Christmas Bells…traditions carry much more than just the activity. Jewish traditions suggest that way, way back in time, Adam sat down and noticed that the days were growing shorter after he and Eve were kicked out of the garden. He prayed and fasted wondering if there would continue to be light in the world after choosing to eat that one piece of fruit. However with time, he noticed God started lengthening the days. His prayers had been answered.

Light Be!

Throughout Jewish history, God continued to bring light to the darkening world. Moses noticed the burning bush. Moses brought down Light from Mt. Sinai. The Macabees, after being lost in the darkness of their culture for many years, found one blessed oil container that miraculously remained untouched, and it supplied light in the temple for 8 days instead of one. A baby boy born on a dark night in a tiny stable with a dirt floor and laid in a manager.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”~ Matt 5:17

Hanukkah was a relatively new festival when Jesus was walking this earth. Yet, it was a festival that he would have honored during his time as a man. His own words continue to push us to notice all the times God has put His Light in front of us – IF – we just notice.

Adam noticed more light.
Moses noticed the burning bush.
When Moses brought the Jewish people to Mount Sinai, they noticed the fire and the shaking of the earth.
The shepherds and wisemen noticed the Light in the sky and followed it.

We just have to notice. We don’t have to find reasons or logic to explain the miraculous, we just have to notice its existence and praise God for reminding us that He always provides the Light to our the darkness. Faith mixed with a simple action of “thanks” thins the veil between earth and heaven just a little more, and we can almost feel the touch of His hand as He covers us with His love.

“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”~Matt 5:18-20

A good way to start the first day of Hanukkah and the first Sunday of Advent as we notice Our Father continuing to add Light back in our world of darkness.

[personal images]