Tag Archives: Jesus

BREADCRUMBS: Going Deep

Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle is 9 months old. At least – that is the educated guess of our vet. She was a ball of fluff when she came to live with us, and for the longest couple of weeks in history, she pretty much lived deep in the crook of my arm,

With matted eyes, runny nose and only able to eat soft foods, I really didn’t think she would make it. What can I say? God is good and now, she is our totally pampered cat that thinks she is human…….or a dog. It depends on the day and how tolerant our Ryndi and Koay are feeling that day.

SSS knows some words. She comes when she is called – even though she tries to be totally cool about it. She meanders instead of running like our lab girls (who are totally not cool about anything). She knows the word “no”. And – – ta da – – she knows how to go deep when she wants to get something. 
Deep under chairs. 
Deep into the crevices. 
Deep into the darkness where mice like to scurry. 
Two days..
Two mice.
Granted – they were baby mice – but they were two baby mice that will not grow up; two baby mice that I didn’t have to catch, so I’m totally down with that.

Needless to say, SSS (btw – that is sssssssss, for short) got a bunch of hugs and an extra dash of tuna in her bowl on both nights. (A part of me thinks she read my FB post from last Friday when I said she didn’t know how to really catch a squirrel.) She figured out something I am just figuring out. When we go deep – when we burrow into things – into deep waters – into deep crevices – into the deep of night – we will find the amazing at the WORD of the LORD .

“And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Take to the DEEP and cast your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and he said to him, “Rabbi, we worked all night, and we have not caught anything, but AT YOUR WORD, I will cast the net.” [all caps added]

I love the way Luke sets up this story. You can see Simon (Shimeon in Aramaic) tired after a long frustrating night of catching zilch, gets out of mending nets with the other fishermen to take this wandering rabbi out in his boat. The rabbi teaches, Simon catches a few z’s, and then, the crazy rabbi tells him to go deeper out into the water. You can just tell, that is absolutely the last thing Simon wants to do after being awake all night and catching nothing.

“And when they had done this, they caught very many fish and the net was breaking. And they beckoned to their partners who were in another ship to come help them and when they came they filled those two ships, so that they were almost sinking. And when Simon saw it, he fell before the feet of Yeshua and he said to him, “I beg you, my Lord, abandon me, for I am a sinner.”~Lk 5:6-9, Aramaic Bible

With a little foreshadowing, Luke describes Rabbi Jesus pushing Simon to stay awake a little longer and go deeper. 
Deeper in the water. 
Deeper in the WORD. 
Deeper in his own heart. 
Deeper to find the true rewards of a journey.
And what a treasure was found in those deep waters. 
Boats-full of fish.
Lost souls.
Deep joy – love – peace – grace – beyond all understanding.

Going deep is often scary. When I was little, I took swimming lessons. The red cross at our local dam said I was ready to go deep. So I swam out to the raft and dived into the water. The bad news? I dived off the raft and came up under the raft and knocked myself out. Scared everyone there – including my mom who swam out as soon as she couldn’t see me.

My parents didn’t let me quit. They kept pushing me to go back to that deep water in the succeeding days, and I eventually got my swimming certificate. I never did like deep water after that. (which was totally the wrong way to look at it). After all these years, I have figured out that it wasn’t going deep that was the problem. It was the stuff on the surface that “cracked” me open.

Going deep – beyond the surface of things – opens a heart – a mind – to things that aren’t obvious from the top.

“Do not be afraid; from now on, you will be catching men for salvation.” And they brought those ships to land, and they left everything and they came after him.”~Lk 5:10-11

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BREADCRUMBS: Little Things

For the past few months, we have not been able to figure out why the dogs go crazy when we let them out at night. They run into the side yard and start barking. The youngster, torn ACL completely forgotten, runs into the woods and comes back with the biggest smile on her face.

One of my friends came over last night and as we sat outside, kitties started appearing at our feet. One, two, three – We petted them and enjoyed their company as we talked. Later, I remained outside for a little bit and started counting again. There was a herd of kitties.

Our yard was a kitty amusement park.

You see – I haven’t taken down my last Christmas light that shines into our woods. It is one of those star projectors with dancing red and green lights. They roam all over the trees, bushes, shed and grass right off our porch. Hubby and I enjoy watching those silly lights bounce around. Apparently, the kitties do, too.

So last night, I spent some time watching kitties run hither and yon while pouncing on every light they could see. Laughter gurgled. I closed my eyes and let the little kitties tamp down the sadness of our broken world and resurrect that peace that the Shepherd always brings.

It is in the little things, right?

“He made everything beautiful in its time.”~Ecc 3:11

Prayer doesn’t come easy for me. Since I was little, I haven’t felt like I am good at it. My mind skips around to everything under the sun except being still. It even as the audacity to yak at me when I already told it a thousand time to shut up because I need to listen. Even after reading tons of – alright – maybe not tons – – but quite a few – devotionals on how to pray, I still end up with a stumbling tongue and a frustrated head.

It is then – in that choice moment – that I start giving thanks.

Thanks for a stumbling tongue that makes me work a little harder. 
Thanks for role models in my life who can string pearls as they pray. 
Thanks for the WORD who lifts me up from my bruised knees by His grace. 
Thanks to the Holy Spirit who groans – probably with a chuckle at how often she has to jump in for me – speaking the words I cannot find. 
Thanks for a millisecond of quiet from my brain every now and then when I can hear My Shepherd call my name. 
Thanks for a Savior who carved my true name in the palm of His hand and cradles me when there is sadness beyond explanation.

Thanks for the little things.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”~Phil 4:6-9 

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BREADCRUMBS II

“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me…” ~Jn 11:41b-42a

Sleeping-in on a dreary, rainy morning, picking up the novel of dujour, and snuggling under the covers has always been one of my favorite things to do. It just such a rarity these days that it has become a treasure chest memory of days long gone bye-bye.

First off, it is Sunday. I didn’t need to be sleeping in today. I needed to be up for church this morning. Didn’t happen. Instead my internal alarm clock that usually wakes me 15 minutes before I need to be awake, didn’t go off in my head until an hour and a half later. sigh.

Second, the book dujour that always has rested by my side during the night has been replaced by bouncy, smiley dogs. Dogs that are generally staring at me, tongues out, warm, smelly breath in my face, ready to drag me from sound sleep into their active world before I have even whispered my morning prayers.

In other words, my day didn’t go as I planned. So I do what I tend to do when things go awry, I followed the breadcrumbs. Went to my church via internet and worshiped with the people I usually worship with – only from my recliner. In fact, I could even share my pastor’s sermon with you tonight via YouTube. We live in amazing technological times even though the world often seems darker than ever before – literally and figuratively.

Later in the day, I followed the breadcrumbs back to John 11 as I have done most of this week. The last time I wrote, Jesus wept. He wept with compassion for Martha and Mary’s sorrow. He wept for Lazarus who had lain entombed for the past four days . He wept for His people who needed grace; grace that only He would provide. He wept as the foreshadowing covered them all in front of the tomb.

Then, He prayed.

A simple prayer. “Abba, I thank You that You have heard me…” Then in the same poor in spirit attitude that he taught in the beginning of his ministry, he continued his prayer. A prayer that was filled with faith in his Father’s love and mercy. “And I know that you always hear me, but for the sake of this crowd that is standing here I said these things, that they may believe that you have sent me.” ~v.42

Today, the breadcrumbs led me to see the full circle of Rabbi Yeshua’s prophecy from the beginning of chapter 11, “This sickness is not of death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified because of it.” ~v. 4, to Lazarus walking out of the tomb.

And then – – why am I surprised??? – – another breadcrumb appears on my path. God is good and loves to drop breadcrumbs on my path, which is really great since I would be way overwhelmed with a full loaf of bread dropped under my feet.

In any case, my pastor was really stringing pearls today from OT to NT and back again. As he spoke, the treasure chest of memories opened up. Singing this blessing in my church choir – in my high school choir – with the All Ohio Youth Choir – with my college choir – on the marching band bus – on choir tour buses – in cathedrals – under bridges – small groups – large groups – mixed quartets – college party nights under the stars (seriously – that’s the kind of parties I went to in college – and yes, in all other ways it was a typical college party from the 70’s)…

God blessed me many times over today, and more than I deserved. Such is grace. I am so glad this day didn’t go as I had originally planned. God always does a much better job in the planning department.

‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’Num 6:24-26

BREADCRUMBS I

“Jesus wept.”~Jn 10:35

It is the shortest verse in the Bible and yet…it catches my breath every time I read it.

God wept.

I’ve been thinking of the story of Lazarus all week. It seems Our Father does this to me often. He plops breadcrumbs down in front of my feet – like I’m supposed to know what to do with them.

Eat them? Follow them?

Obviously, I don’t handle His hints very well. Sometimes, I crush them – mostly by accident…..I think – with the heel of my boots. Sometimes, I stoop down to study them where they are lying, wondering if I really want to deal with the mess of breadcrumbs in my pocket – you know – they crumble, right? Sometimes, I pick them up – popping them in my mouth – – duh, I’m hungry and the five second rule works for me. And sometimes – I pick them up and turn them carefully in my hands and wonder why they sparkle in the sun? Then I wonder just what in the world am I supposed to do with a sparkly breadcrumb?

It has been one of those weeks. The breadcrumbs have been plentiful – way more than I can handle – and I’ve been befuddled on what to do with all of them. My path littered with crumbs I’ve inadvertently crushed. My belly full of broken challa that feeds my soul. My pockets, a crumbly mess of wisdom that I wish I understood just a little more. My hands full of somewhat intact crumbs that sparkle and then I look up. The darkness thins, and He shows me why they sparkle. They are covered with tears.

As I’ve been reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg which led me at some point to the story of Lazarus. As if to drive the point home, I stumbled over to a podcast by a Messianic Rabbi on John Chapter 11. Till finally last night, there was a transforming catalyst of the breadcrumbs and that sent me to the back door slider in our home. A sunset. A ray of light reflecting off my tears. He always prepares me, I just am not so smart at realizing it until I look closely at those breadcrumbs that I hold tenderly in my hand.

Rabbi Yeshua was close to His followers and even closer to His disciples. He was their teacher for as long as He was given. His Father gave him a list, and He gathered them by calling their name or telling a story or by just a look over a crowd. He broke bread with them. He taught them with love. He patiently explained this new knowledge in different ways, over and over and over. He struggled when they struggled with their faith. He wept when they wept for great was His compassion – – – great was His love.

In our society, students don’t stay as long with their teachers as they did in Jesus’ time. However, like the rabbis of old, teachers today still share tiny bits of their lives, knowledge – and hopefully – wisdom with those given to their charge by the Father through a list typed out by the school secretary in some office. Before they know it though, the students are walking out the door and onto their own paths; their teachers sniffle a little as they wave good-bye.

As teachers, we don’t talk about it much. We act like it is just a job. Actually, I don’t think we understand the process as much as we think we do. We just know – that somehow – we grew attached. We gathered them at the beginning of the year. We broke bread with them. We laughed with them. Struggled with them in their struggles. We sweated in the heat of the summer that didn’t know when to quit. We froze in the depth of winters when old boilers couldn’t keep up with the below-freezing cold. We wept when the ugliness of life jumped out of the bushes and unto the path that we are walking together.

Overdoses.

Vehicle crashes.

Storms that break tree limbs.

Illnesses.

A national tragedy – a local tragedy – a familial tragedy.

The connection between teachers and students has been there since the beginning of time and will continue in the everlasting gospel (Rev 14:6). It has been modeled for us throughout the entire WORD. When Our Father gathered His people to Him. When He sat on Mount Sinai with Moses and the Elders to break bread (Ex 24:9-10). When He carved His law upon the tablets and told Moses what to write in the Torah (Ex 19-24). He struggles with His people when they struggle. He weeps with holy tears as His people weep (Jer 14:7).

Teachers – Students – breadcrumbs that sparkle with tears in every season of life. God is good and greatly to be praised. Amen and amen.

 

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #3

This day just did not go anything like I wanted it to go. Went here – went there – turned around and went in circles round and round and round. I’ve already decided that tomorrow I am just staying home. Napping is on the agenda. Watching Hallmark movies until my eyes cross. Holding Koay so she won’t run. Curling into myself and just holding on to this little bit of heaven on earth and above all – being thankful for swings.

“Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Yeshua The Messiah among you.”~1 Thes 5:18

Growing older has its advantages. Gathered wisdom starts to assert itself, and you realize that ranting and raving over anything really isn’t beneficial to anyone – especially yourself. So late this afternoon when I got home from this absurdly frustrating day, I let our gimpy Koay, her bouncing sister Ryndi, and playful urchin kitty, Shadow accompany me outside while I sat on our swing.

Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Something about a swing rocks my world. Seriously – no pun intended. Maybe it is the return to the rhythm of my mother holding me long ago – or the way I rocked my own children. Swaying with them in my arms while I talked with friends. The swings on a playground or in a park. The WWII Marine hammock under my Thinking Tree. The rope swing my daddy hung in the walnut tree in our front yard. Whatever the physical reference, it is the spiritual “rock” to which I cling.

“And the peace of The Messiah will govern your hearts, to which you are called in one body; and give thanks to The Messiah.”~Col 3:15

Close my eyes. Breathe in the quiet of the neighborhood. Until the music returns within me, and I began to sing. The old hymns surface “Come Ye Thankful People, Come” “Holy, Holy, Holy”, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”.

Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Thankful today for all the swings in my life – my little bit of heaven on earth.

JUST SPECIAL

Somedays are just special.

That’s it. Not anything miraculous. Not anything to stop traffic. Not anything that anyone would notice. It just is.

Maybe it is the way it started – before I even rolled out of bed. Lazy. Slow. Cat-stretches. Prayerful praises that turn into dream-remembering. The sound of the shofar. The words of Abraham’s servant circling in amongst it all,  “Lord…make me successful today…”~Gen 24:12a

Jewish tradition says that during the times of Noach (Noah), it would only rain once every 40 years or so. Life was perfect. Never too hot. Never too cold. Comfortable. Restful. Did you know that Noah’s name in Hebrew means rest, comfort?

Anyway, it was always comfortable because the seasons never changed. In fact, it was so perfect that humans had no reason to reach out to their Father. They didn’t need anything. They were comfortable. So they thought they could do anything by themselves. Sound familiar?

That has been rolling around in my mind for a while. How many times – when things were going well in my life – did I just ignore spending time in the WORD – ignored my prayer closet – ignored seeking His face? Way more than I care to remember, and like the people in Noah’s time – in all times – I, too, drifted further from My Father.

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”~Gen 8:22

Christian tradition has us look at this Bible verse as meaning that God would never destroy the earth by water again. Jewish sages believe that it is YHWH reaffirming that He needed to change things up a little by adding different seasons to the world. Hot. Cold. Storms. Drought.

A little discomfort. A little less restful. A little reminder, that prayer reunites the Creator with those He loves and allows Him to always give back more than anyone could ever request. A time to remind His Beloved just how much He loves them.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”~Ep 6;18

A special day to wake up from a dream with four shofar notes echoing. A special day to wake up with a praise hymn on my lips. A special day to get a picture from the Grandson that made me cry because he said he drew it just for me. Not anything miraculous. Not anything out of the ordinary. Just special with angels singing in the heavens. Just special with a “little Jesus” smiling in the heavens with them. Just special with the Cross of Salvation in the middle of a family filled with love.  

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APOSTASIA

Sometimes you just have to find light in the darkness. Darkness that continues despite the sun’s warmth. Despite the brightness of the blue sky. Despite the spin on society’s faces. Despite all the busyness of daily life. Despite that you just don’t feel like looking for any kind of light whatsoever.

I feel like I have been doing that all week. I hadn’t put a word to it until today. It started with a dream and has continued to dog my steps throughout the week.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not depression although tears have dribbled down my cheeks.  It’s not anxiety though there are lots of payers. A devotion here. A song there. A book pointed out by a stranger. A search for information. A search for truth. A search of the WORD. A light that exists in the darkness.

Apostasia.

It is that dark word that has haunted and darkened my week – darkened the world. Since before I could ride a bike, I have known depth of this word inside of me. It haunted my childhood nightmares – some which have occurred over and over and over – varying little in detail. It echoes on the wind howling outside my windows when my armor is misplaced. A word known by the images in my mind even before I could conceptualize just how it would eventually materialize to darken this world  – – – our world.

Obviously, it’s not one of my favorite words. Greek in origin, it basically means “to depart from a stand” – – – “to fall away from sacred values held at the core of self” – – – “to abandon truth”.

Who would have thought it would come to this? Basic truths thrown under the bus in the name of tolerance or political correctness or love or defiance. Today is the Eve of Yom Kippur.  Simply put – the holiest day of the Jewish faith.  For, after 30 days of repentance – 10 days of introspection and atonement (known as the 10 days of Awe) – they stand on the rock of renewed faith.  In the days of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, a red thread would mysteriously turn white to represent their change in the eyes of the Father and being sealed into His Book of Life for the next year. I like to think of Jesus (Yeshua] making this yearly journey – even though he was without sin. Shepherding us, His followers, even then.

“Because of this, put on all the armor of God that you shall be able to confront The Evil One, and when you are ready in all things, you shall stand.” Ep 6:13

It is not easy to stand when the visible rock is crumbling under the feet. As you age, you think – you hope – things will never “REALLY” change. Tweaks here. Re-direction there. That right will always triumph in the end. After all – strength is in numbers – education – military might. But as history has proven over and over and over again, history does repeat itself – especially when the defiance demon starts digging its claws into unprotected skulls willing to believe lies covered by the facade of something entirely different.

A wistful melancholy steals over me as I type. While I have always known that I was born for this time and to be in this place and to speak these words, it doesn’t mean that it is always where I want to be – in fact – – – tried my hardest to ignore it – – – tried to run the other direction – – – tried my hardest to prove I am worse than King David – – – tried to be defiant. It just comes down to the fact that I have always understood Jonah all too well. Never wanted to go to Nineveh and still don’t.

But like Jonah (thankfully without the whale), I have figured out how to be a servant even while I may drag my feet or try to cushion the words or wish I could find any way but this way. Yet – as I read the WORD, I am more and more convinced that we are here. I am here. Apostasia in all its ugliness is here, and although reluctant, I have picked up my staff and turned my feet toward Nineveh. When society confuses kneeling with standing for a physical symbol and doesn’t see the deeper spiritual metaphor hiding in plain sight, my heart hurts and the paradigm grows even larger.

“Behold, The Day of Our Lord has arrived.” Let no man deceive you by any means, to the effect that surely no revolt will first come and The Man of Sin, The Son of Destruction, be revealed, He who opposes and exalts himself against everything that is called God and religion, just as he will sit in the Temple of God, as God, and will show concerning himself as if he is God.” 2 Thes 2:2-4 (Aramaic in Plain English translation)  [google images]

10th DAY OF NISAN

I. Did. Absolutely. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
And.
I.
Loved.
It.

Well – – – that is probably a tiny exaggeration. I did the usual devotional time. Wrote my daily letter for Lent. Cleaned the kitchen. Threw sticks for dogs. Mowed the tiny bit of grass that we call a yard. Visited with my egg lady and her daughter with the broken ankle when they delivered my huge duck eggs – even got some extra eggs for the Grands to color next weekend. (Can’t wait to see their faces as they color these huge eggs) Cooked super. Yawned and climbed in the hot tub.

Seriously though – didn’t read books – didn’t plant one thing – didn’t pitch any mulch – didn’t research any of those things that randomly popped up during the day – didn’t walk the dogs on their usual hike – didn’t run to the store – just didn’t do a lot of things that I usually do. Just a lazy, stretch out kind of day.

Not only a lazy day – but a day completely misnamed in my head. I kept thinking that today was Sunday. Ever do that? A computer glitch in the brain labels the day and there you go. It is SUNDAY – even if you aren’t doing all the things you normally do on Sunday. Not once did I think it was Saturday until I got out of the hot tub tonight and turned on the TV. Then it dawned on me that not only was today NOT Sunday, but tomorrow was not just any Sunday.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday.

“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb.”~Ex 12:2-3

The Western Easter calendar and the Jewish calendar do not always mesh. Sometimes the dates are just off. This is one of those years. Passover starts Monday at sunset on the 10th of Nisan – April 10th for us. The 10th of Nisan is important to Passover. It is the day families would walk to all the pens of sheep around the Temple Mount. Pens full of Lambs that the priests had declared pure and without blemish. Lambs that waited for be chosen as a Passover Lamb. Families would choose the lamb that would atone for their sins on the 10th day in the month of Nisan.

Guess what date it was when Jesus rode into Jerusalem?

“They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.”~Matt 21:7-9a

Yupper – the 10th of NIsan. Rabbi Yeshua – declared pure and without blemish by John, a priest of Aaron’s line – climbed upon a donkey – just as Issac climbed on a donkey – just as prophesied by Zechariah – and was brought into the home of all Jewish people with great celebration and acclaim. Jerusalem. The holy mount where a stumbling man named Abram looked up and finally gave his heart in faith completely to El Shaddai.

The 10th day of Nisan.

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”c
“Hosannad in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Yeshua, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”~Matt 21:9b-11

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Advent Joy #3:Believe

“I can see the Truth, the light of Your love this Christmas”

I got to pick up the eldest Grand today. Her smile and little jump she gave when she saw my car in line to pick her up was all I needed to bless my day. But wait – there’s more. She jumped in the car, and we talked all the way home. It was worth every mile I traveled to pick her up. Best of all – Grandson was waiting for us at home, jumping up and down, beyond excited to show me the word search that he had done – 14 words – all by himself of the countries of the world. Not bad for kindergartner.

“I can feel the JOY in the Light of Your love…it’s Christmas…”

We spent the next hour reading Grand #1’s newest story on the battle between the cheetahs and the sharks, looking at art work that goes with said story, learning how to manage the on-line pony farm, traipsing out to the chicken coop to look at the new fancy chickens, and examining packages under the tree. It is definitely Christmas in more ways than just a “holiday”.

“Till the whole world hears,
Till the whole world hears,
Till the whole world hears Your name,
I will believe.”~Dianne Michelle, “Believe”

I love this Christmas song. It is only two years old in the age of our earth years and yet, I feel like I have known the melody all my life. It sings in my soul throughout the year since I never take this album out of my car, and it is downloaded on my computer. (Yes – I am old school – I still buy CD’s – after all – the “Cloud” could collapse, right?) I listen to it in the spring rains, the heat of summer, the colors of fall and the wonder of now. Even tonight, as I am writing this tiny little blot, the tears of worship fall, and I hope, I am part of spreading his name just a little further.

“Till the whole world hears…”

What strong lyrics sung about a baby’s name 2000+ years ago – and yet — we are living in the time when that is no longer considered a pipe dream. Words speed around the world in a matter of minutes. Stories – fake and real – go viral in days. Cultures buried deep in forests or high upon mountain tops are beginning to hear that name.

A name given by a Father – – – hinted at in visions of prophets – – – heralded by glorious angels – – – whispered by a tired mother and father as they swaddled Him in human cloth – – – screamed by a crowd who forgot His name five days later- – – echoed down through the ages by sages who remembered.

Yeshua. Jesus.

“Till the whole world hears Your name,
I will
Believe.”

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”~Matt 1:21

 

Because of Christmas #11: HopeTree

“You, me, and the Christmas tree. Picked purchased, and pruned. Trust God’s work.”~Max Lucado (p127)
 
Advent begins tomorrow. The annunciation was only the beginning – – – the beginning of hope. The trees of the garden have been locked away for so long because of our poor choices. Is it any wonder that salvation came wrapped – in so many ways – in the cloak of a tree?
 
“Who Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having been dead to sins, we might live to righteousness…” ~1Peter 2:24a
 
Hope.
 
It is the reason we cry during those sappy Christmas movies. The reason we want to pull the tree out of the attic before Thanksgiving. The reason we can halfway stand the pain when a loved one leaves this temporal plane. The reason that everyone feels like singing “O Christmas Tree” even if they can’t carry a tune in a a tree-holding bucket.
 
A Tree of Hope.
 
Today, I managed to get one of my Christmas trees in place. Now don’t get too excited. My trees are of the 3 foot variety, and they sit in Rubbermaid containers most of the year. There are no ornaments on it tonight. There are no presents beneath it’s branches. For tonight, my Grandma Mac’s creche sits beneath it and my version of the annunciation angel and heavenly lights are its only decoration. It won’t stay that way, but for tonight, it is perfect and I am content.
 
“And having looked up, he [the blind man]was saying, “I see the men, for I see them as trees walking.” ~Mk 8:24
 
Sometimes – we see ourselves as that mighty oak tree in the middle of a field. Strong. Resilient. But often -we become too hard, Grow too tall, Don’t sink our roots deep enough. Allowing the swirling winds of this world to whip us this way and that. Letting the storms of life rip our leaves, fruit and sometimes – even the limbs off our trunk. It is only after we recognize the new Tree of Life -you know – the one that the Father sent to save us from ourselves – that our “blind” eyes are finally opened. In His light we can become the sapling that we were always meant to be so that we might bare more hope-filled fruit for those around us.
 
Because of Christmas – we have the Hope Tree. 
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