Archive for December, 2012

babies,children,Christ,Christianity,Christians,Christmas,halos,holy,iCLIPART,illustrations,Jesus,Madonnas,Mary,mothers,religions,religious,saviors,vintages,Virgin MaryIt’s the anticipation I love.  The waiting…planning….preparing.

The Little Ones are wrapping handmade gifts with wrinkled tissue paper and a stapler.  Mom, I need some help.  The Big Guys trample up the stairs.  Where are the cookies?  You’ve eaten them already, I reply.  But the fudge is on the countertop.  My favorite Christmas CD plays in the background and I wish more days were spent like this–slowing down long enough to savor life’s small pleasures.

My thoughts jump to the anticipation of the first Christmas.  For months, the young mother had ignored the barbs and stares of others.  She’s pregnant.  Have nothing to do with that woman.  Her swelling stomach reminded her that God’s promise would soon be fulfilled.  He will save his people.  And finally, bent over in pain, she knelt in the dim light of a stable.

There were no gilded packages…just rags wrapped ’round the babe.  There were no sparkling lights…but she held the Light of the world in her arms.  And as she gazed at Him, the woman knew He was the Gift the world had been waiting to receive.

Thousands of years later, we still celebrate that day–and we continue to anticipate.  The Promise he introduced long ago in the stable will one day be made complete.  He will save.  He will restore.  He will bring peace…hope….renewal–Christmas fulfilled.

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"He will never leave you nor forsake you."Covergirl and Este Lauder promise we’ll see the difference.  The Biggest Loser and American Idol assure that once we’ve “made it”, our lives will have meaning…purpose…value.  Cultural icons and pop psychologists promote self-fulfillment as the answer to our problems.

But the life-changing, perspective altering difference doesn’t come in a bottle.  He came as a baby.

The life-changing, perspective altering, purpose-giver didn’t come to earth seeking fame. He wasn’t wrapped in a flawless body.  Instead, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes.

The life-changing, perspective altering, soul-fulfilling choice didn’t hang on the cross to bear only the stripes on His back, but to bear the nails in His hands that would set us free.


…I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.  John 10:10


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A child reacts to police and fireman staged nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School where a gunman opened fire on school children and staff in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. REUTERS-Adrees Latif

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice…Isaiah 42:3

Like the rest of you, I’m in mourning today for the horrific and senseless loss of life in Connecticut. I sit helplessly in front of my computer screen–watching in stunned silence–wanting to do something, to help someone, to erase those fatal moments from history.

I cry and wonder aloud, How could something like this happen to innocent children? What if these were my little ones? Why would God allow such evil?

I don’t have the answers to the hard questions. I wish I did–or that someone did.
All we can do now is to bend our knees in prayer for those families who have been robbed of the gift of their precious children.

One day there will be justice for this unjust loss of life–for the children.

We can’t begin to describe the sadness, anger, and bewilderment we are feeling. We can’t begin to understand how such an evil act can occur within the walls of a school building where crayons and books are the norm. But you, Father God, are the Comforter and Healer. You are the Rock and Sustainer. You bring about justice and offer us life everlasting in Jesus Christ.

We ask you to surround those families who have suffered and lost all hope today. Act mightily in their lives and turn our nation toward you because we are desperate for our Savior and in need of his redemption.


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Heather role-playing Mary and baby Jesus

Heather role-playing Mary and baby Jesus

From the moment the Thanksgiving turkey graces the table until my children unwrap the last present beneath the tree, my radio is set to local stations boasting of jingle bells and roasting chestnuts.  Yesterday, the words “you’d better watch out, you’d better not cry, better not pout–I’m telling you why” bounced around the living room while my daughter tried to convince me–and her older brothers–that Santa Claus “is too” real.

Heather’s continued belief is surprising given a recent school event. Having just lost her seventh tooth and wanting to share her bounty of wisdom, my daughter perched on top of a bench in the lunch room and announced to all of the 2nd grade students within range, “There is NO tooth fairy.  Your parent’s are the tooth fairy!”

Still, this same little girl is convinced she saw Saint Nick one distant Christmas night.  And the childhood fantasy continues…for now.

Unlike the fantasy, though, there is One who does more than watch us pout or cry.  He is more concerned about our heart condition than our outward behavior.  He is more interested in giving His life than sharing a toy that will be broken in a few months.  Instead of watching from afar, He left heaven’s perfection to bring salvation to imperfect men.

He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is the Alpha and Omega.  He is the creator of heaven and earth.  He is the babe in the manger, the sacrificial Lamb, and the firstborn from the dead.  He is Jesus.  And whether people believe or not–He is real.

Scripture for Reflection

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know my every thought when far away.  You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest.  Every moment you know where I am.  You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.  You both precede and follow me.  You place your hand of blessing on my head.”  Psalm 139:1-5



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Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. (1 Samuel 3:9)

SIt’s an ordinary day–not unlike any other. You sip half a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts hazelnut coffee and start your morning routine. Pack lunches…sign student planners…feed the dog. You’ve set out vitamins, breakfast dishes, toast and cereal. You’re youngest two children wake up and start squabbling while one of the highschoolers refuses to get out of bed and the other starts throwing up.

Yes–it’s another ordinary day.

Is God in the middle of all of this ordinary? You wonder.

Saul probably asked the same thing. “The donkeys ran off again,” his dad said. Saul knew what that meant–a couple of days roaming the countryside with his servant boy and a loaf of bread. It was an ordinary day in Saul’s life, too.

Saul’s normal day led from one seemingly unconnected event to the next, but a closer look at Chapter 9 reveals a picture of God’s involvement in the smallest of details. Like a dot-to-dot, each step brings Saul closer to the fulfillment of something greater. In his case, it was becoming Israel’s king.

In my case? Not so much. But, God is in the details. The regular, minute-by-minute, this-is-my-life details. From that first taste of coffee until the moment I close my eyes, God is there. At the end of the road–when I’ve stopped chasing the donkeys–I’ll be able to understand more about his plan.

Where do you think the donkeys are taking you?

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany years ago a Far Side cartoon featured a small dog and it’s owner.  The words in the bubble read, “Blah, blah, blah, Minnie.”  Like Minnie’s owner, I’m certain my words–though spoken–are often unheard.  I imagine it something like this.

Tammy:  Child 1, please put your toys away when you’re done playing with them.

Offspring’s Interpretation:  Child 1, blah, blah, blah…play with your toys.


Tammy:  Child 4, call if you’re running late.

Offspring’s Interpretation:  Blah, blah, blah…run late.


Tammy:  Child 3, when you calm down then we can talk.

Offspring’s Interpretation:  You can talk.

You, too, might struggle with a similar problem.  Maybe your colleagues don’t consider your opinion, your children disregard your guidance, or your husband ignores your input.

Christ understands, friend.  His words fell on the ears of the religious leaders of the day, but they ignored the forgiving call of his voice.  The masses dismissed him as worse than a criminal and overlooked his promises of freedom.  Even Christ’s own family dismissed him as deluded.

But there are some who listen…some who respond.  They are the ones He came to save.

Scripture for Reflection:  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  (John 10:27)

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