A Different Christmas

This has been a Christmas never experienced before. The month of December should bring the eager expectation of celebrations. It is the season for a burst of celebrations, a burst of decorations, special lights and party planning. This year is different. We desperately try to bring a semblance of what we experienced in past Christmas seasons but this year we are shut in our homes, social gatherings are limited and the sting of a pandemic overshadows everything.

There was no mad dash to the stores for “black Friday” with customers crammed into aisles, stock on shelves are limited and to find the ingredients for special holiday dishes is almost impossible. Jobs lost, business as usual is almost non-existent and many of our familiar stores are now shuttered and out of business. Parents who once would pile gifts under a beautiful decorated tree now will be happy to have a few presents and the holiday meal overflowing with goodies will be much smaller

Instead of joy, excitement and anticipation of good things to come we are shrouded in fear of what is to come next. Into the atmosphere I want to scream WAIT, WAIT – Christmas is not about things, and parties and all we think that is need for a celebration.

Long ago there was also a different Christmas. It began in hard times for those that lived then. There were heavy burdens imposed on people. Taxes and the census needed to be attended to.

A young couple, with the wife pregnant with her first child had to make a difficult journey to a small town. Arrival in that town did not bring comfort for there was place to stay and to make things even harder the young woman knew her baby was about to be born. They finally found a place. Really – a smelly cave-barn where the animals were fed and bedded down. Not where I would want to have my baby.

Were there decorations – yes – A star a magnificent star in the heavens Were there visitors – yes lowly smelly shepherds and later three wisemen Celebrations – yes It was the heavenly hosts – they celebrated saying “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. Unto you is born this day a Saviour which is Christ the Lord. Gifts given – the wisemen brought gifts.

It was a different Christmas then and it is a different Christmas now but the real Christmas and the reason for it has been the same for centuries. CHRIST IS BORN.


Psalm 119 – The Importance of “Your Word”

  1. Your word have I hid in my heart -verse 11
  2. That I might live and keep your word – verse 17
  3. Revive me according to your word – verse 25
  4. Strengthen me according to your word -verse 28
  5. Establish your word to your servant -verse 38
  6. Your salvation according to your word-verse 41
  7. For I trust in your word -verse 42
  8. Take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth – verse 43
  9. Remember the word to your servant – verse 49
  10. For your word has given me life – verse 50
  11. I have said that I would keep your words -verse
  12. Be merciful to me according to your word
  13. You have delt well with your servant O Lord according to your word -verse 65
  14. Because I have hoped in your word -verse 74
  15. Let, I pray your merciful kindness be my comfort according to your
    word to your servant -verse 74
  16. My soul faints for your salvation but I hope in your word -verse 81
  17. My eyes fail from searching your word -verse 82
  18. Forever oh Lord your word is settled in heaven -verse 89
  19. How sweet are your words to my taste -verse 103
  20. Your words is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path -verse 105
  21. Revive me oh Lord according to your word -verse 107
  22. You are my hiding place and my shield, I hope in your word -verse 114
  23. The entrance of your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple -verse 130
  24. Direct my steps by your word and let no iniquity have dominion over me -verse 133
  25. My zeal has consumed me because my enemies have forgotten your words -verse 139
  26. Your word is very pure -verse 140
  27. I rise before the dawning of the morning and cry for help, I hope in your word-verse 147
  28. That I might meditate on your word -verse 150
  29. They do not keep your word -verse 158
  30. The entirety of your word is truth -verse 160
  31. My heart stands in awe of your word -verse 161
  32. I rejoice in your word -verse 162
  33. Give me understanding according to your word -verse 169
  34. My tongue shall speak of your word -verse 17



In the darkest of night, He gives a song 

In midst of conflict, He is the Prince of peace

When storms rage, He is the one who restores calm

In sorrows midst, comfort is found in Him

In unbearable sadness, He is our joy

In overwhelming exhaustion, He brings rest

In chaotic times, He can restore order

In weariness, He brings rest

In times of indecision He brings clarity

When complex problems present themselves, He brings solutions

In lonely times, He walks beside us

When questions arise, He brings answers

Jesus, He is my everything,


Three Acts and a finale

Act 1 – Scene One:

Greed had overtaken him, and he sold out his friend and teacher.  Why?  No one knows for sure.  Was it just greed or was there something else that drove him to betray his friend, his teacher and mentor.  Did he not believe what was spoken by the one, this one, who could do the impossible with a spoken word and miracles happened?  Was the payment worth the betrayal?  Once the wheels were in motion he was compelled to see this through.

He joined the group that was sent to arrest the man.  They needed him for identification purposes. It was the last place He wanted to be, but here he was.

The group of soldiers marched into the quiet serene garden carrying swords and spears.  Why?  Were they afraid of this one solitary figure?  Maybe they feared the crowd of followers and the disciples that followed closely with the master.

Over there, look there are his followers.  He must be close by.  Look they are sleeping.  Just a little farther three others that were closest to the master couldn’t stay awake either.  The soldiers surrounded the group, and were amazed when the master asked, “who are you seeking?”   Just to make sure they had the right person the soldiers waited until the betrayer Judas kissed Jesus.  The deal was done.  He was taken away.

Act 1 – Scene Two:

Brought before the High Priest to answer the accusations, he stood alone.  The High Priest sent Jesus to Pilot.  No fault could be found but the crowd insisted.  The cries of crucify him became louder and more intense.  Jesus was led away

Act 2 – Scene 1

Beatings and mocking filled the time in the courtyard.  His followers were afraid some left, and one stayed.  He really was afraid the soldiers would recognize him.  In the end it was a young woman who pointed him out.   “You are one of them, you follow this man,” she said.  No, no not me. Silence, then the cock crowed, and this one disciple knew Jesus’ words were true his denial was complete.

The road to Golgotha’s hill was brutal.  He was so broken in body he couldn’t carry his own cross and another was compelled to carry it for him.  The street was lined will people, some mocking and jeering while others wept silently as they remembered all the good he had done.

Act 2 – Scene 2

Thrown down on a wooden cross you could hear the echo of the hammer hitting the spikes in his hands and feet. The loud thud as the cross was dropped into the hole caused his body to be consumed with spasms.  His followers and disciples gazed upon this man thinking all is lost and their hopes and dreams dashed. 

He had no tomb until one man asked for the body and he was laid in a borrowed grave.  The stone rolled into place and sealed.   The world thought it was over.

Act 3 – Scene 1

It was early on the third day when three women went to the tomb.  They were going to finish anointing the body with spices.  Much to their surprise the stone was rolled away.  The body was gone.  What happened?  Did someone take the body.

Act 3 – Scene 2

Mary, alone in the garden became aware of one standing near.  Looking at the man she asked do you know if Jesus’ body has been moved.  Overcome by her grief, she did not recognize the one she loved so much until he said her name.  It was true just like he said.  He had risen and was alive and lives forever more. 


This “play” is not finished.  There is one more final act to take place in this world’s future.

Yes, he is risen, yes, he ascended into heaven. 

Maybe you are one of the scoffers or unbelievers and think of these happenings as just a fairy tale to make people feel good.

One day the finale will unfold, and Jesus will come back to earth again to call his true followers’ home.  Today just as in those days there are many that do not believe.    






She had everything she wanted.  At least she thought she did.

Leaving behind a home that was dysfunctional, and at times very unhappy, she strained to capture the life dreamed about.  Just 17 years old, a head full of dreams and a calling from the God she served, life would be wonderful now.  There was no comprehension of where the life journey would take her, but she was ready to go.

People in her high school told her she was not college material, look for something else. No, she was going to college, she would prove them wrong. If they said she couldn’t do it, she would prove them wrong.

The day her acceptance letter came she knew all she wanted would come true.  The next 4 years would prove life would be challenging.  A love lost, a broken heart, lack of funds, illness were just a few of the hurdles that needed to be conquered.  Graduation could not have been sweeter.  The new love of her life by her side, married life started, it was all coming together. 

It is a good thing that you can’t always see the future because you would never want to go there. The two of them, husband and wife, launched out into the calling they longed to fulfill.  No idea that the path they chose would bring so many challenges.  Yes, there were victories that allowed them to cling to hope but the trials often seemed to outweigh those victories. 

Multiple moves, various churches, good jobs, bad jobs and choices made.  All these things were a part of her life journey.  In all of these, there were the mountain top experiences and the valleys of discouragement. It was like the line in in Andre Crouch’s song – “Through It All,” she had truly learned to trust in Jesus.

Still on her journey she is amazed at where she is.  This time of life is not as frenetic and there is time to contemplate.  The kids are grown with lives of their own and often days of reflection keep her company. 

“What have I learned?” It is the good times, and spiritual victories that sustained her, but it was in the broken places, the disappointments, betrayals, loss of friends and other things to numerous to say, she found growth and spiritual lessons.  It is easy to serve God when everything is great but when her life was broken, and all hope seemed lost she found the reality of God’s love and the faithfulness of His promises. 

Brokenness and trials though hard and difficult to understand is what forges the person that God has called you to be.  You become the vessel, that is fit for the Master’s service.

A line from an old hymn says it all.  “Take me master, break me, use me.” 


It’s 2019

It’s 2019

The new year for me usually begins with a flurry of things to do. Things to get in order so that the year will begin smoothly. New thoughts flood my mind and become seed thoughts for things to write. It didn’t happen. It was only the second time in years that I didn’t spend the early hours of the new year in church and worshiping and praying. There was a valid reason for not going – but – there you have it the “but.” The normal for me was out of order and it seemed that nothing else would line up correctly.

What brought order back into focus was my personal time spent with God. That has not changed through the years. Each year I begin a new yearly devotional book, change the color of pens I use to mark important passages. This year two books along with my Bible are what starts my personal time spent in His presence.

While reading in “Come Away My Beloved” by Frances J. Roberts this one passage brought clarity and what is important for me this year. I share it with you and maybe it will help you.

I have changed it from the “King James English” (which I love to read) to make it easier reading.


To Give:        So He can bless me more 
To Pray:        So He can respond and help me 
To Rejoice:     So I am kept from being swallowed in anxiety
To Be Humble:   So I am protected from calamities that happen to the proud 
To Forgive:     So that I can receive His forgiveness

“Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. 

If these five things guide my life through 2019 I will truly be blessed and will grow in my spiritual life.

I welcome 2019 and anticipate all that God has instore for me this year.


Christmas – Past, Present, Future

It is that time of the year.  Boxes long stored away are pulled out of storage ready for their contents to deck the halls for Christmas.  The tree is up and its branches ready to be laden with treasured ornaments.  Each ornament placed on the tree evokes a memory of all the Christmas’ that have taken place through my years.

The real tree has been replaced by an artificial one but as I place the pole, yes, a pole not a trunk, I remember picking out trees at my Uncle Bill’s gas station.  He always sold trees. We always seemed to pick the tree that had the proverbial hole, you know the one where no branches grew.  It was turned to the back of the wall and covered with tinsel.  In our house the tree stood with nothing on it – just waiting for Santa to decorate it and put presents under the tree.  Every Christmas morning there it was arrayed in splendor.  The most beautiful tree ever.  Later we were told that Santa had so many trees to decorate since we were older we could help, and we did.

Laughter, squeals of joy float through my memory of Christmas’ with my kids.  Waiting for them to fall asleep so we, or I should say me, could begin my gift wrapping.  I still can’t remember why I thought every stocking stuffer needed to be wrapped. A special dinner, cookies everywhere and Christmas cards placed just so.  The children’s program at church, the choir cantata and snow, lots of snow. (The real stuff)

The kids are now adults with families of their own and traditions they have made for their families.  I still remember the traditions of things that had to be done just a certain way.

To say that Christmas is different now is true.  We traded snow for palm trees adorned with festive lights.  We walk outside in bare feet to get the paper to see all the special ads calling us to buy endless things we don’t need.  The decorations are up, and the tree is in place while the memories have been rehearsed in my mind.  There are not as many decorations this year because I have run out of energy.  The cookie count seems to get smaller each year and the variety is scaled down.

Grandpa and I will spend a quiet Christmas and sleep in. (No little ones to wake us.)  We have grown old together and each Christmas that we share becomes special.

One day I will spend Christmas with the reason for the season.  I will transition from earthly life to everlasting life with Jesus Christ in my heavenly home.  I will be able to do this because” God wrapped divinity in humanity, laid him in a manger only to hang on a cross to forgive me of my sins.” (Z. Dodd)

This Christmas I am reminded that Jesus Christ is the best present given, past, present and future.


The One I Serve

In the middle of the fiery furnace of circumstances,
while walking in the furnace, there is one that
walks in the fire that seeks to devour me.

In the raging storms, on the ocean of my life,
there is one that rides in my life’s boat who
says peace be still, and the storm is calmed.

While alone in the night and the sea of my life
rages with fear and doubt, you say come and
walk on the water with me and trust.
When I put my eyes on the circumstance
and begin to sink under the load you stretch you hand
and pull me out.

When the battle of life roars in fury and the tears fall, it
is you that reminds me “weeping endures for a
season but joy comes in the morning.”

When all my resources are at an end, and there is no
help in sight, you multiplied the loaves and
fishes and met the need of the multitude.

You remind me that in this journey I call life I need
to put on the whole armor of God so that I can defeat
the enemy that seeks to destroy and to stand firm, believe
and see the salvation of the Lord.

You Lord are my rock, my salvation and the strong
tower of safety. I run into your safety.

You remind me that you are greater in me than any thing
that comes against me.



I Am Thankful

I Am Thankful

The laughter of a child
The look of a lover
The bond of friendship
The comfort of family

I am thankful

The smell of rain
The beauty of flowers
The lush green of grass
The majesty of trees

I am thankful

Joy in friendship
Comfort in love
Peace after conflict
Release after a burden

I am thankful

Food on my table
The shelter of home
Clothing to wear
Shoes on my feet

I am thankful

Freedom to live
A country I love
A hope of the future
A day to rejoice

I am thankful.

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord,
and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:
Psalms 92:1



Bitterness, hatred and discontent boil in the cauldron of fear and lies rip away any semblance of order and give birth to chaos within us and our country.

Morality and decency no longer rule and the adage “the end justifies the means” becomes the truth of the day and rules with an iron fist. Each side postulates they are right and know what is best for humanity. If one dare to disagree or not fall into lock step with the ideology that side believes then automatically they are evil. The few believe they are right and know what is best.

No longer are we civil to those who do not believe what we think they should believe. We have bought into the lie that only we are right and only we know best. The word compromise has no place in our world today. It is my way or the highway.

We label those that do not adhere to our political beliefs, or governmental ideologies as hate mongers, liars, deplorables, or any other degrading terms used to denigrate those that have a different understanding or view.

We have come to the place where winning at any cost is acceptable. We will defame and lie about an individual to destroy not only the person but also their family and we give little thought to the immeasurable damage done to those around them.

Civility and honor are ideas and practices long forgotten. It is all about power and control. Those who have it must keep it at any cost and those who want it will use any means to obtain it. We stir up ancient beliefs, old divisions and build on old hatreds long buried just so we can win and disregard the consequences because winning and holding power is what we crave.

It doesn’t matter the “fallout.” we have established ourselves as little “gods” knowing once we obtain power we can control, manipulate and reign in the little kingdom we establish.

Into all this chaotic climate of those clamoring for rule is the general population of our country. The embers of this era of bitterness and struggle fall upon us like rain and begin to invade our souls and we believe we can display the same immoral behavior seen in our leaders. If the leaders we are supposed to look up to do this then it is alright for us.

Tossed aside are the lessons of kindness, tolerance and civility. On the news we see murders, rapes, riots and lack of respect for the rules of law and government. We seek for solutions and pour copious amounts of money hoping to find an answer to the ills of society.

Is there a solution? Can mankind be redeemed? The answer comes from the foot of a cross where one gave His life to redeem mankind. The change must come from the inside so man can be changed on the outside.

Scripture says, “…I am a new creature in Christ Jesus, old things have passed away and all things have become new.” (2Corthians 5:17KJV) It is He that brings peace during our life storms and walks on the water of our troubled lives. “…He is an ever-present help in time of trouble.”(Psalms 46:1 NIV)