Christmas 

Christmas – Jesus is the reason we celebrate. So what’s next? 

We have parties, we celebrate. 

We post photos of clinking wine glasses, glittery tinsel and bountiful spreads of food surrounded by friend and kin. 

But why did Jesus come? 

So we could have another reason to party, shop for new clothes and have a good time? 

I hope we all (including me) truly learn to embrace the true spirit of Christmas by emulating the Man who is the reason for Christmas. 

Here’s a reflective poem my dear husband wrote many years ago on Christmas day. 

Like the sand, they spread across the beach

Twas’ the night before Christmas, the crowds gathered for

Some choose to spend it with friends

Some with loved ones

All are looking for something to do on Christmas day
Amidst the joyous echoes of Christmas carols

Empty heart are crying out

Eager eyes, look toward the sky,

Looking for hope,

Looking for something to do on Christmas Day
Many do not know, the man that was born this day

Many do not know, the sacrifice he made

Many do not know, the story of love, the story of the cross

Many are just searching for something to do on Christmas
As the clock ticked pass midnight, the crowd began to cheer

Joyous celebration of a day they did not know

Would they still shout, would they still sing

If they knew what they were celebrating for

Or are they just here because they have nothing better to do on Christmas Day
Many do not know, the man that was born this day

Many do not know, the sacrifice he made

Many do not know, the story of love, the story of the cross

Many are just searching for something to do on Christmas
Who will tell them about the Christ in Christmas?

For there is no Christmas, without Christ

And the many can stop searching for something to do on Christmas

Because it would just be another day without Christ

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She Stands Alone 

She stands alone, both tall and true.

The perfect picture of solitude.

The soul of a woman encased in bark.

With limbs that move in a majestic arc.

Alone she’s faced the storm of life.

The wind and rain, disease and strike.

Others gave up but no, not she.

And there she stands for all to see.

She’s had her share of troubles and woes.

But she made it through and still she grows.

Like her I too know grief and pain.

I’ve faced the wind, I’ve felt the rain.

And like her too, I still stand tall.

It may throw punches, I may take a blow.

But in the end I too shall grow.

Each storm I weather increases my strength.

And beneath this skin, my soul’s to thank.

The elm and I, we know what to do.

We count on ourselves, and make it through.

-Kelly Cook

The Summons

Will you come and follow Me
if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know
and never be the same?
Will you let My love be shown?
Will you let My name be known?
Will you let My life be grown
in you and you in Me?

Will you leave yourself behind
if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind
and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare?
Should your life attract or scare?
Will you let Me answer pray’r
in you and you in Me?
Will you let the blinded see
if I but call your name?
Will you set the pris’ners free
and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean,
and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean
in you and you in Me?

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide
if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside
and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found
to reshape the world around
through My sight and touch and sound
in you and you in Me?

Lord, Your summons echoes true
when You but call my name
Let me turn and follow You
and never be the same
In Your company i’ll go
Where Your love and footsteps show
Thus i’ll move and live and grow
in You and You in me..

John L. Bell

Living Well to Die Well

When I’m called to meet my Saviour

and stand before His throne,

I must give account for everything on earth

that I have done.

Every thought, and word and action,

every attitude within,

I must offer to my Saviour

And give account to Him.

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Though on every side we’re troubled

we must learn by grace to live,

Those who follow worldly treasures

will have nothing left to give.

All that’s wood and hay and stubble

will soon vanish into flame,

Only that which Heaven treasures

will bring honour to His name.

Buttprints in the Sand

Author unknown

One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.

But then some strange prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, “What have we here?”
Those prints are large and round and neat,
“But Lord, they are too big for feet.”

“My child,” He said in somber tones,
“For miles I carried you along.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait.”

“You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt.”

“Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their buttprints in the sand.”

Make Me a Captive, Lord

Words: George Matheson

Make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free.
Force me to render up my sword, and I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life’s alarms when by myself I stand;
Imprison me within Thine arms, and strong shall be my hand.

My heart is weak and poor until it master find;
It has no spring of action sure, it varies with the wind.
It cannot freely move till Thou has wrought its chain;
Enslave it with Thy matchless love, and deathless it shall reign.

My power is faint and low till I have learned to serve;
It lacks the needed fire to glow, it lacks the breeze to nerve.
It cannot drive the world until itself be driven;
Its flag can only be unfurled when Thou shalt breathe from heaven.

My will is not my own till Thou hast made it Thine;
If it would reach a monarch’s throne, it must its crown resign.
It only stands unbent amid the clashing strife,
When on Thy bosom it has leant, and found in Thee its life.

The Tree God Knows

The wind that blows can never kill

the tree God plants;

It blows towards the east, and then toward west,

The tender leaves have little rest,

But any wind that blows is best.

The tree that God plants

Strikes deeper root, grows higher still,

Spreads greater limbs, for God’s good will

Meets all its wants.

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There is no storm has power to blast

The tree God knows;

No thunderbolt, nor beating rain,

Nor lightning flash, nor hurricane;

When they are spent, it does remain,

The tree God knows,

Through every storm it still stands fast,

And from its first day to its last

Still fairer grows.

-author unknown

(Streams in the Desert)

Mary’s Prayer

Mary’s Prayer

By Max Lucado

GOD. O Infant-God. Heaven’s fairest child. Conceived by the union of divine grace with our disgrace. Sleep well.

Sleep well. Bask in the coolness of this night bright with diamonds. Sleep well, for the heat of anger simmers nearby. Enjoy the silence of the crib, for the noise of confusion rumbles in your future. Savor the sweet safety of my arms, for a day is soon coming when I cannot protect you.

Rest well, tiny hands. For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold. You will grasp no pen, guide no brush. No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:

To touch a leper’s open wound, to wipe a widow’s weary tear, to claw the ground of Gethsemane.

Your hands, so tiny, so white–clutched tonight in an infant’s fist. They aren’t destined to hold a scepter nor wave from a palace balcony. They are reserved instead for a Roman spike that will staple them to a Roman cross.

Sleep deeply, tiny eyes. Sleep while you can. For soon the blurriness will clear and you will see the mess we have made of your world.

You will see our nakedness, for we cannot hide.

You will see our selfishness, for we cannot give.

You will see our pain, for we cannot heal.

O eyes that will see hell’s darkest pit and witness her ugly prince… sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can.

Lie still, tiny mouth. Lie still, mouth from which eternity will speak.

Tiny tongue that will soon summon the dead, that will define grace, that will silence our foolishness.

Rosebud lips–upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness to those who believe you, and of death to those who deny you–lie still.

And tiny feet cupped in the palm of my hand, rest. For many difficult steps lie ahead for you.

Do you taste the dust of the trails you will travel?

Do you feel the cold seawater upon which you will walk?

Do you wrench at the invasion of the nail you will bear?

Do you fear the steep descent down the spiral staircase into Satan’s domain?

Rest, tiny feet. Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power. Rest. For millions will follow in your steps.

And little heart … holy heart … pumping the blood of life through the universe: How many times will we break you?

You’ll be torn by the thorns of our accusations.

You’ll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin.

You’ll be crushed under the weight of your own sorrow.

And you’ll be pierced by the spear of our rejection.

Yet in that piercing, in that ultimate ripping of muscle and membrane, in that final rush of blood and water, you will find rest. Your hands will be freed, your eyes will see justice, your lips will smile, and your feet will carry you home.

And there you’ll rest again this time in the embrace of your Father.

Better to love God and die unknown than…

Better to love God and die unknown than to love the world and be a hero;

better to be content with poverty than to die a slave to wealth;

better to have taken some risks and lost than to have done nothing and succeeded at it;

better to have lost some battles than to have retreated from the war;

better to have failed when serving God than to have succeeded when serving the devil.

What a tragedy to climb the ladder of success, only to discover that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall!

-Erwin Lutzer

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Photo credits: Samuel Chan