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.


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)


The Cry Of One

Pain deep inside
Hide it
No one can know

Hurt and despair
Hide it
Make it disappear

Anger on the surface
Hide it
Make it go away

Inside where no one knows
No one can see
The reservoir where all is hid

No one knows she thought
No one can see
It’s hidden well

Outside a calm exterior
Inside a boiling caldron
Emotions raw

She feels worthless
Nothing is right
What is the answer?
Will I ever find value?
Will I ever have peace?

Light, bright light
Truthful light
Blinding searching light

Light shinning into her darkness
Pain long hidden revealed
Hurt and despair uncovered
Hidden anger exposed to this light

The light of God’s love shines into her soul
All that she thought hidden now revealed

He saw it all
He will never love her now she thought

Gently He said, “Give it all to me”
“I can’t,” she said,
“I have had this so long
I don’t know how to let go”

He said, ” I will help you.
Give me your pain and I will heal the hurt deep inside

Give me your hurt and despair and I will exchange it and
give you you healing and joy.

Give me your anger
I will give you my peace.”

It wasn’t easy
The process long
He didn’t give up on me

His light of love bathed my damaged soul
He restored me to what He created me to be

Emptied of all these destructive feelings and emotions,
I am filled with His perfect love

He set a guard at my heart’s door
When pain, hurt, despair and anger knock again
He answers

No room here to take up residence
No place in her life for you

When Jesus’ love shines in your life
You are forever changed


Me, Myself and I

I decided I needed to talk to myself and me.  It was and is a conversation I need to have occasionally.

I launched into the discussion with me and the topic for this meeting of me was “A Crisis of Faith.”  I wondered if other people who have served the Lord wondered just where God is and is all of this I have believed really true.  For myself, deep down inside where me resides is a deep abiding faith and love for Jesus the one that redeemed me from sin.

It was the I and me that were having difficulty when myself joined in and asked some very serious questions.

Why do you think you are even asking this question?
Where do you think the thoughts are coming from?
If you don’t believe what is the alternative?

Myself is the one that holds truly to what Me and I believe.  All the studies, all the sermons and messages and truths that reside in the body shell that holds the three of us. They all have a part in keeping the vast amount of memories, facts and various tidbits of information cataloged and stored in the vast “computer” that makes up my brain. It is in my heart, the seat of my emotions, that really knows what all of us (me, myself and I) really believe.

The three of us, after a long debate answered this question –where are these thoughts coming from?  The we (meaning me, myself and I) knew immediately where this came from.  The enemy of our soul, the liar Satan, aka the Devil was trying to plant the seeds of doubt in the soil of my soul.  He was a tenacious seed sower who kept trying to nourish the small seeds of doubt to blossom and destroy what God was cultivating in my life.  I reminded me and myself of a line in a song “has fear and doubt come against you mind, has your faith been sorely tried.”  Yes we all answered.  This is where we are.  Another line from that same song floated through our thoughts. “Lift up your eyes here comes your help.”  This brought Psalms 121 to our collective thoughts, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills from where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1,2 ESV version.

One question answered, now for the other two.  I said to me and to myself you are asking this because you don’t understand what is happening in the circumstances around you.  We all took a look at what was happening around us in the various parts of our life. We looked backward to all the happenings and events of our life that brought us to this moment.  The three of us all said at once if we don’t believe what is the alternative?  Long discussions ensued over this question.  All of us agreed we did not like the alternative and decided we would not entertain those thoughts, so we brought those negative and troubling thoughts of doubt and gave them to the one who sits on the throne of authority in our life, Jesus Christ, God’s only son.  We listened to Him as He told us the enemy of our soul would love nothing more than to cover your eyes with the cloak of deception and cause you to fall away from the love of Father God.

Me, Myself, and I made a declaration that day – our faith still holds unto Jesus Christ who is the author and finisher of our faith.  We choose to allow Jesus to help us banish doubt and fear and ask the Father to destroy the seeds of these insidious plants trying to destroy the garden of our heart and to strengthen our faith.

Will this conversation take place again, maybe, but the three of us (Me, Myself and I) know where to go to get the answers.


He Rules

I certainly don’t want to argue theology, religion or philosophy with anyone.  These thoughts are mine alone and my beliefs.  You do not have to agree with me but I am sharing my thoughts with those that care to read them

Drinking my coffee and reading the paper I came across an article with this headline in the Orlando Sentinel:  “Oval Office Sits Empty.”  The article was talking about the renovations that are taking place at the White House.

The longer I sat there the more thoughts flooded my mind concerning that headline.  I was reminded that one day all offices of leaders, presidents, kings, queens, dictators and governing bodies will sit empty because the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will reign over the whole earth.

It is God who establishes and allows kings and rulers. He places those in power and authority in nations to accomplish His plans for this world.  I don’t know the whys or the how our infinite God allows certain ones to reign.  There are some that are good, some that are cruel and evil yet they are allowed by a sovereign God.

You can trace the rise and fall of leaders in history and read about their acts of goodness or cruelty.  History also reminds us of the leaders of various religions and their leaders and the legacy the have left behind them.  We can trace the religions of this world and either validate or negate their teaching for our lives.  It is my choice and it is your choice.

Today as we watch news, read headlines and listen to the pundits espouse their theories; we are troubled by what we see and hear.  Many have become afraid and see no hope, because we can’t change things. Some become angry because of the helplessness felt.  Again scripture reminds us that in the last day’s men’s (mankind) hearts will fail them because of fear.  The Bible clearly says this: And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Luke 21: 25, 26 (KJV)   

I believe there is coming a day when every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess to God.   Romans 14:11.

Concerned, yes, worried – sometimes maybe, but in the end I choose to put my trust in the one who redeemed by life from sin and

I love the words Bill Gaither penned in a song, “kings and kingdoms will all pass away” so will all governments and leaders and He (Jesus) shall reign forever and ever king of kings and Lord of Lords.”

It has always been God’s plan from the beginning of time to have fellowship with the humans He created but man broke that relationship.  From that time and until this day God longs to draw us back into that relationship with Him.  He sent His son Jesus to die so that mankind could be reconciled to God the Father.  It is our choice as to whether to believe or not.

This is a departure from my usual writings but this morning I felt compelled to share these thoughts with you.  You can choose to accept or deny this, it is your choice whether this makes you angry or not. It is my choice to serve God and accept the promises of His son Jesus Christ.   I place my trust in him knowing that He rules.


It’s Quiet Now

The excitement and anticipation of Christmas is a fading memory and the house is quiet. For some people their house has been quiet for a long time. For others the thought of no noise and commotion brings a smile of contentment and a wish for this to happen.

This very special season always seems to be filled with hurry. There are presents to be bought, gifts to be wrapped and so many things to do. Social calendars are filled with appointments, events and parties to attend. The closer Christmas day is the more frenetic the pace and we rush, rush to accomplish a seemingly impossible to do list.

At last Christmas Day arrives and we settle into the traditions and things that make this day special to us. Tables laden with goodies, brightly colored wrapping paper is found crumpled into piles. Well for most homes that is, but there are some that neatly fold the paper, save the bows or Christmas bags for another time. Must confess, this is not me.

All too soon the day is ended and there settles a blessed quietness. I love the quiet but I do admit I miss the noise and chaos of little kids, extended family and all the things associated with Christmas. During this time memories flood into my mind of the hectic and then I am glad for the quiet.

For many the quiet brings sadness. Christmas is so lonely for them as they remember Christmas’ past and loved ones that are no longer present.

In the quietness I find myself listening to the still voice of my savior, the one that loves me so. Jesus the one the season is about brings assurance that I am so loved and not forgotten. In the solitude of my surroundings there I count my blessings and give thanks. There is no interruption to intrude on my quiet. A peace comes and wraps me in a blanket of serenity where I find comfort.

There are no deadlines for me to accomplish. No frantic rush to decorate and make things perfect. No pressure to cook huge meals with every favorite dish that each child or family member must have at Christmas dinner. Sometimes it is just grandpa and me (grandma) sitting across the table or at TV trays watching television. This year my son came and brought our grand dog. Even with him here things were quiet. All adults, no kids – just quiet.

This season whether you were surrounded with all the chaos Christmas and the holidays bring, or you were alone in the quiet I hope you found time to experience God’s presence and the wonder that God gave to you the greatest gift of all.


Christmas – Just Another Day

I have heard other people say “Christmas, for me is just another day” and I confess to saying this myself. It shocked me that I heard these words come from my mouth. After speaking this I sat in my chair and wondered just what did I mean by this and what would ever cause these words to come tumbling out of my mouth.

It is just another because the hustle and bustle of the season passes me by at this time in my life. Gone is the frantic rush to buy gifts, hide them from prying little eyes, and the late midnight wrapping marathon no longer is needed.

Living far away from grandkids, which are now mostly adults, the urgent need to supply their wishes no longer floods my mind with anxious thoughts.

I know that on Christmas morning there will be no 5a.m. wake time to the delighted squeals of wake up mom it’s Christmas. The house is really quiet and the only one who really wants to get up is the dog that needs walking. Grandpa and grandma (that’s me) roll over hoping to sleep another 30 or so minutes.

No rush to turn on Christmas lights and put on music. It is not because we are old – it’s just because. We have long given up the tradition of gifts – we have everything we need. If we really want something we just go get it and do not wait for Christmas to have it under the tree.

So is Christmas just another day? To some and maybe too many the answer is yes. For those Christmas brings only unhappy memories of loved ones gone, thoughts of not being able to provide or maybe illness that consume us with just living another day. Many just wish the hype and all the celebration will pass quickly and they won’t have to deal with it until another year.

The more I thought about this phrase the more I realized that Christmas truly IS NOT just another day. I know the day we celebrate was not the actual day the baby was born in Bethlehem but it is the time we set aside to remember the reason He came. If it were not for “Christmas” there would be no savior to redeem mankind. Only the babe born of the virgin is able to forgive our sins and take away our guilt.

He truly is the gift all mankind needs to receive at this special season. Years ago I wrote this quote and it is still true today. “God wrapped divinity in humanity, placed Him in a lowly manger as a gift for all man.”

It is because of this that no matter our circumstance Christmas is not just another day. It is not about brightly wrapped gifts, special dinners and celebrations. Christmas is the day the world received that greatest gift given.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders and His name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, prince of peace. Isa. 9:6 KJV Immanuel – God with us.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Reflections of Thanksgiving

The kitchen is finally clean again and all the leftovers are neatly stowed away in the fridge.  We will have another thanksgiving meal from the leftovers again and still have enough for sandwiches and snacking.  Our sweet tooth will again be satisfied from the pies and cake that still take up space on the counter or fridge.

It is the day after and I am still thinking about family, friends and what causes me to be thankful.

On the TV the usual litany of murders, accidents, fires and events that happen to normal everyday people are chronicled.  I am thankful that those I love are safe and have another day to live.  I am truly blessed.  While I wished that all the kids could have put their feet under my food laden table it was not to be.  Separated by miles we were still able to connect by skype, instant message, and phone.  Those far away brought joy just with the sound of their voices and this gives me another reason for thankfulness – technology.

Sitting on the lanai the weather is warm and the blue sky clear and the sun shines brightly.  Ok, so I live in Florida – not the colder climates.  Thankful – oh yes.  These old bones are glad we are not shoveling snow, no ice on the roads and I can see flowers and green grass.  I am grateful that my skies are not filled with smoke from bombs and the roar of planes carrying their payloads of destruction.  I live in the United States and even for me; America with all of her faults still is a blessing to live here.

Reflecting on the past few days and the election (and no I am not going to comment about the results) I am thankful that I can cast a ballot without fear of reprisal.  I have the freedom to worship or not to worship and no one can dictate my beliefs.  Watching the protests pro and con reminds me that I have the freedom to do this without fear of reprisal – especially if I do it in the proper manner without violence and the use of destruction.  America with all of her faults, with all of her failures is still the greatest country and I am thankful. I can come and go as I please; the choices of various things are abundant.

For every opportunity presented to me and for all the freedoms I have I am thankful.

The scripture says “whom the son sets free is free indeed.”  My freedom, not in just in the country and in the state I reside is good but better than all of this I am free from the sins of my past, my guilt is erased by Jesus Christ and there is an assurance of my eternal future.

Sitting at the kitchen table and reflecting on all my blessings, those earthly and those heavenly, this lady’s heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness.


The Uninvited Guests

She heard the knock at the door.  Who would be calling at this time?  Standing there was the last person she expected.  Miss Pity breezed in and past her.  Her presence filled the space and her essence permeated everything.  Right behind her trouped, doubt, fear, mistrust and few more of her close friends.

I didn’t invite you she told the guest.  I came anyway because I just knew you needed me.  She was right.  Feeling sorry for myself I allowed Miss Pity to set the agenda for my morning.  There was the gentle reminder of who had offended me then she laid out a long list of things from my past. We sat down as the delectable morsels of faded memories and accusations we spread before me.

She was right.  I needed her.  I needed to feel that poor little oh me syndrome.  It wasn’t long before doubt and fear unpacked their basket of goodies and I was overcome with what they said  was  true.  It wasn’t but then they were really convincing.  Mistrust was the last to bring her enticing delights.  I should only trust Pity and her friends she reminded me.

Yes, yes, they were right.  I shouldn’t be treated like this I thought to myself.  The ladies, my so called friends, spoke cruel and punishing words. I didn’t need friends who would whisper behind my back and share things I had said in confidence.

Fear was dancing for glee.  This pity party was going exactly as planned.  It wouldn’t be long before their hostess would be filled with fear and mistrust.  They would have her captive then. They could control her and she would never breakthrough to victory.

They twisted God’s word to fit their agenda saying, “If God  really cares – then why is everyone else blessed and not you.”  God is punishing you was another tidbit they placed on my plate. He really doesn’t care about you.

These uninvited guests were winning.  They could feel it and they settled down for what they thought would be a long extended visit.

The phone rang and the hostess rose to answer.  Her guests said let it go, they will call back later.  After all these uninvited guests had so much more to share.

No, no she couldn’t do that.  “Hello,” she said.  It was her friend and she had called to remind her that she would be there in a few minutes to pick her up.  She had forgotten – a girls lunch out.  She didn’t feel like going but – she was one to not disappoint.  She dismissed her guests and Miss Pity and her pals were ushered out.

Lunch was delightful.  Her three friends brought her gifts.  They shared love, joy and peace with her.  Prayer time and reading from the Father’s love letter (the Bible) encouraged her heart.  Sharing together they told her everyone goes through those times of having a “pity party.”

It was time to go home.  She left encouraged and lifted by their friendship and love.  She determined the next time Miss Pity came to call she would refuse to entertain her and would close the door.  She just didn’t have time for them anymore.