Tag Archives: Ron DiCianni

CHRISTMAS LOST – (3 Days and Counting)

It is 8:30 P.M. It is dark, cold, rainy and miserable on the shortest day of the year. Worse – our cat is out there somewhere – missing and the house feels empty. Even the lab girls are antsy.

You have to understand – Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle has three names for a reason. She jumps at her own shadows, spooks herself just sitting on a lap and sparkles all the time with little white hairs that dot her coat. Being outside for any real length of time is unusual. Being out after dark? Whoa!

It is 8:35. We just finished another Christmas movie, so it is my turn to go to the door and hollow “Kitty-kitty” like a crazy woman. I don’t think anyone else in our neighborhood hollers for their pets as loud as we do. When they are missing, we holler. We walk the property. We are peer over the edges of the drainage ditches and into the culverts.with our flashlights.

Seeking the lost is serious business.

“For The Son of Man has come to save whatever has been lost.”~Matt 18:11

Good news comes on the darkest of nights – especially when it is cold, rainy and miserable. So too, it came tonight at 8:40. I called one more time, and Kitty-kitty answered from the darkness. She heard my voice, mewed loudly from a distance and came running up the porch steps. And – like the true prodigal story, a tuna feast was thrown in her honor.

The lost has been found.

“My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow Me.”~Jn 10:27

I’m not sure why this was the important thing to write about tonight – especially when Christmas is just 3 days away. But like Mary and Joseph found out, life experiences happen no matter what time of year it is. We tend to think the special days should follow the schedule of happiness and joy. It doesn’t. My father had his second heart attack one Christmas morning. A treasure chest memory of a different kind.

That first Christmas was just the beginning of new life – figuratively and literally . A special, dark, cold and miserable night when GOD became man in a place that most people find way too smelly to spend even a few minutes – let alone a place to give birth to GOD was the first lesson on modeling the way we should live our lives.

Mary and Joseph became servants to what Father had called them to do. No comforts of home and family. Only faith in the promises given them and in the scriptures that they had buried in their hearts their entire lives. He spoke. They heard His voice. They called out from the darkness and began to run towards Him.

The glorious impossible happened when God was born so long ago.

Christmas is only 3 days away. The lost are still out there, and He is still calling. He is using His flashlight. Peering over the edges of cliffs. Looking deep into the culverts. Walking through the woods. Calling over and over as He waits for His beloved to hear His voice and come running for the feast He has prepared.

“I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.”  Ron-DiCianni-The-Promise-Full [Ron DiCianni artwork]

ADVENT 2017 – HOPE #3

It has been one of those nights when all I’ve done is find one podcast after another (and should I  mention that I really don’t like to listen to them at all .  I am a visual learner who does much better watching body cues and facial expression while I listen). Podcasts that popped up in various ways and yet – all related – tied together by theme and content. And now, they are all tumbling around in my head as I am watching seasonal, up-lifting movies, praying off and on, working on a Christmas stocking, and enjoying the colorful lights that decorate my house.

I am blessed. Blessed beyond time. Blessed with unending HOPE.

And yet – I yearn for more.  Yearn to understand more.  Yearn to peek over the balcony in my own world. I can see my cover picture on FB. It is entitled, “Heaven’s balcony” by Ron DiCianni. When I first saw it, it struck me that this has always been the way I pictured angels and my loved ones as they look down from heaven at the rest of us – – – a time of peeking over the rails of clouds into the murky world below.

Can you imagine what Heaven’s balcony looked like when Zechariah was in the temple? At the annunciation to a young girl? At the moment when John leapt in Elizabeth’s belly? On the night of Yeshua’s birth?

Can you imagine them seeing the HOPE that shown in the eyes of a weary couple – in a place – a place they had never envisioned as the perfect spot to birth a babe – let alone – their baby?

“And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.”~Lk 2:6-7

HOPE.

Whether it is a balcony full of angels blowing golden trumpets – – – a choir of heavenly voices – – – a multitude of candles forming a humongous star – – – on that blessed night, there was HOPE. A gathering of notes. An accumulation of lights. A stairway of prayers from heaven to earth. “…a kingdom come…”

HOPE.

“And the word of our God stands for eternities. And this is that word by which you have been evangelized.”~1 Pt 1:25

This is not at all what I was going to write about tonight. As it often is the case, the pictures change in my head, and the words change with them. We celebrate the memory of HOPE during this season, but the great news is – HOPE remains in this murky world. Scary as it seems at times. Frightful as the world turns upside down. Humbling as the knees fold.

But for those “poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungering/thirsting, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, persecuted” – – – HOPE remains in this world and I yearn – yearn for even more HOPE.

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”~Rm 8:24-25 [google images/Ron DiCianni art]heaven's balcony

ADVENT 2017 HOPE #1

“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.”

“I don’t like to say, God, Grandma.” (I think my jaw had started to drop to the steering wheel before she added) “I like to say, G – O – D.”

I wish I could have seen her face when the Granddaughter said those two sentences – I wish I could have seen mine. Then Grandson asked, “Why?”

“I just thinks it sounds better. More like G – O – D.” Grandson then spelled out the name G – O – D.

I think I kinda chuckled and responded, “You know, G – O – D agrees with you. Although He used the letters, Y – H – W – H.”

“Well, how do you say that?” Grandson asked.

“In English, Yahweh or Jehovah.”

Kidlets then said each of those names until Granddaughter finally added that she still liked G – O – D best. Grandson and I agreed, and the conversation moved on to the Snow White play that Granddaughter had been a part of in her class that day.

Simple conversations in a car on an ordinary day. Ordinary days have strange turns when we open the door and allow His Hand to work in our lives. “…thy kingdom come…”~Lk 11:2 takes on a whole new understanding. HOPE appears.

“I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”

Christmas decorations are up. Furbabies are all healthy. The first Sunday of Advent 2017 has arrived with a Super Moon. The Holy Spirit was moving in church today. Cold weather is on its way from the North. I guess Christmas season is officially here.

What I really treasure about how God works is that He always sends signs and prophets and messengers before He moves His hand in our world – in our ordinary days – in our “hopeless” days. Sometimes we just don’t see so well, just don’t listen so well and just try to cower under our beds when it is bigger than we want to think about right now. Well – – at least – – that is how I re-act. I’m very good at cowering, but I am trying to be much braver.

HOPE.

This is the month, that we tend to remember those things that send us cowering under the bed – burying our heads in our hands – wishing it was tomorrow already – sticking our fingers in our ears and singing our favorite song. If we have faith, that is when HOPE lights a tiny dot in our brain, and we manage to inch our way closer to the edge of the bed, take our fingers out of our ears, open our eyes to peek out into that darkened room.

HOPE.

Maybe we can handle it. The dot grows larger. Maybe the messenger wasn’t so scary in all its brightness. The darkened room is bathed in twilight. Maybe the prophets were right with all their yakety-yak. Did you know that the elbows work really well to pull the body further out into the room? Maybe the stars, the sun, the moon were all sending out a message that we needed to hear after all.

HOPE.

HOPE changes the world. HOPE changes the paths we walk. HOPE leads to conversations. HOPE brings even more light. HOPE is the beginning of re-birth.

HOPE.

“No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”~Heb 8:10-12 [google images]

2 of 7: LOVE

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 anmom's stocking 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.simeon

art by Ron DiCianni