Flannel Jammies Farm

...praising God on our 1/5 acre of suburbia

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Gift of Pure Joy

This Christmas I received a gift that has filled me with such joy... even now when I think of it my heart swells and the tears come freely.

We gathered together... this congregation that has loved me and my husband through so many challenges and dangers and happy moments, too... sharing the light, telling one another again, "He has come!  God with us!," on Christmas Eve.  But there were new faces.  Faces never there before to share the light and the good news of Christmas.

Our son, Robert, and his lovely wife, Alison

Our sweet daughter, Trista
This year, for the first time, we gathered together as a family, whole, complete, to share the light.  

You see, our children have allergies, lots of allergies.  And one of those allergies is to poinsettias.  Poinsettias are very high in pollen, and many churches fill their sanctuaries with hundreds of them each Christmas season.  Many shops and schools and even doctors' offices do this as well.  All in an effort to decorate for the season, to spread some cheer with large, colorful blooms.

What this has meant for our family is that we don't go into restaurants or shops or museums... or even our church... during this season of anticipation and celebration of the Christ child.

But this year, our church took a leap of faith and purchased faux poinsettias.  These blooms were just as colorful, just as cheerful.  These blooms will be just as beautiful when they are brought into our sanctuary next year, and for many years to come.  This one choice, made by our family of faith, allowed me to invite my children to come, to share the light with us. 

These dear children, knowing what it would mean to me, came on Christmas Eve with loving smiles and tender hearts.  They listened as their father played to our King with handbells.  They greeted kind folks and they sang each carol.  As the elements of the Lord's Supper were passed from my elder husband, to me, then to Trista and Robert and Alison, and later the candle's light was passed in the same manner, my cup overflowed with joy. 

Here we are, among the poinsettias on Christmas Eve

Monday, December 19, 2011

Counting the gifts today...

This morning started with eyes glued tight and swollen shut, exhausted from so many to-doings and wondering if I should leave the warm comfort of my bed.

Then I started to count.  Not 'sheep'.  Not 'things to do'.

The gifts.  The generous gifts, the abundant gifts, the take-my-breath-away gifts, the tiniest of gifts, the hard gifts, the gifts I never expected.

And the greatest of them is Jesus.

Today I give thanks for...

- a husband working tirelessly on his days off to finish for me a dream on a piece of paper

- a church family showing such love that it overwhelms me

- work for both hands (and a few of my toes!) to keep me busy serving instead of busy grieving

- abundant food... so much that I have to think about what I 'feel like eating'

- clean water

- friends lifting me in prayer

- friends holding my hand and hugging my neck

- friends reminding me of His faithfulness

- friends delighting with me over the small gifts

- Christmas joy and wonder and awe

- moments of peace to ponder God's amazing gift

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Thoughts and Images...

This Christmas finds me...
working at two churches
working through grief and guilt
working on renovating a master suite
working on upcoming obligations
working on my physical health

This Christmas calls me to...
wait expectantly for the Christ Child's arrival
live in a state of genuine gratitude
seek His face
envelope my life in the Word
rest in His care 

This Christmas I need to dare to let go and...
breathe in the sacred moments
breathe out praise and thanksgiving
allow Him to enter in, make room for Him, receive Him

Join me?
Providence Presbyterian

Providence Presbyterian Chrismon

Glitter and joy at Providence's Advent Workshop

Our Christmas tree

Second Presbyterian nativity

Second Presbyterian Chrismons

Second Presbyterian's Chrismon tree

Sanctuary at Second Presbyterian

In Providence's Enrichment space

 Advent wreath in Providence's Enrichment space

Providence Chancel Choir

Spritz snowflake cookies

Bells of Providence (cute guy on the end is my husband)