Stories… I love to sit and listen to the stories of others! Shared stories are the stuff from which whence wisdom springs. They are treasures, a testimony of times past and present, of growing up years, and of challenges and celebrations.
I remember many family gatherings and the sharing of memories and information, and am glad I collected some of my mother’s remembrances like, “Your grandfather had large hands. I remember how big they were when he held my hand in his.” She and my dad told me of hobbies and skills that our ancestors possessed, where they lived or grew up, struggles and hard times they went through, accomplishments and much more.
Do you remember stories shared through family or friends? As we smile and laugh about past antics and quirky natures, connections are formed. As we learn about struggles and pains, tragedy or overcoming, and doubts and faith, we gain deeper insights. Yes, stories are the essence of humanity.
It’s no wonder that Jesus shared stories, usually in the form of parables. Through them he taught the importance of discernment and truth, teaching in a form in which others could relate. He said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” * I like the way the book of Proverbs opens, expressing the importance of learning, wisdom, and instruction. *
Stories… from the head shaking, foot stomping, belly laughs of epic escapades to the deeply thoughtful, wonder-filled, or heart sighing moments, are of value and worth. They help guide us in our search and desire to gain perspective and understanding, which in turn can nurture compassion for others. May we value and treasure them and approach them with discernment and thought, gaining encouragement, and discovering a deeper connection and love for all peoples.
• Strength of character is an asset • Dedication and hard work are commendable • Working together brings about strong finishes • Think and pray before making commitments • When you make a commitment stick to it • Keep your goals ever before you • Remember to take time out for a slower pace • Spend quiet solitary time to reflect • Join others in relaxed company • Letting go of anxiety develops inner peace • Mind and body absorb whatever you immerse yourself in • Thoughts turned to the Spirit lead to contentment in life
Christmastime! For me, no matter what the year had brought or what the circumstances may have been, the songs of Christmas brought renewal and anticipation. “O Holy Night” … “Silent Night, Holy Night” … They are reminders of the “holy one” which the angel foretold of to Mary, this baby who grew to show us the way and to bring us hope (*Luke 1:35).
Holy, special, set apart, belonging to God. The words and songs bring to heart and mind the mystery and awe of God and of coming before Him in worship and praise. Can you imagine it? Can you see and hear the story unfolding on that holy night?!
And the angels rejoiced at the birth of His Son to a world so in need of him. Like the shepherds drawn to the stable and the wise men who came from distant lands, we are drawn to that baby, Jesus. The light of that star is the light we too seek.
O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth… Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name.
The holiness of God. The holiness of that night. The holiness of infant Jesus, God’s Son, Emmanuel (*Matthew 1:23). When the world is dark and cold. Emmanuel. When the sun rises fresh and bright. Emmanuel. When we miss loved ones. Emmanuel. When the lights of Christmas shine. Emmanuel…
I am thankful for that holy infant Jesus, who came to us on a dark night. When I struggle with doubts and fears or am feeling worn or alone or afraid, the events of Jesus’ birth are welcome reminders of God’s holiness and presence. When joy and happiness surround me from family and friends and awesome new life, the Christmas story draws me into the life of that other family so long ago.
May the light of that star and the events of that story draw you too to our holy God and bring you comfort and peace. —————
Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. NIV
Matthew 1:23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” NRSV
• Surround yourself with positive reminders • Those positive reminders strengthen hope • Decorations tell the story of God’s great love • Keep Christ’s star ever on top to light the way • Lights show the way and bring cheer and security • We pray for messengers bringing good news of peace • A safe place of rest is never too lowly • Shelter and care are sometimes taken for granted • The occupation of service is a universal call • Watch over and guide those precious ones in your care • Those who live humbly and compassionately are life’s greatest strength • Like newborn babes and children… we seek nourishment • Encourage each other and freely offer your all • The constant evergreen love of God for us is the greatest of gifts
from “Reflections from the Everyday” Charlotte-Anne Allen 12/12/2020
Hosea 14:8b(God said,) “I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit.” NRSV … “I am like a flourishing juniper; your fruitfulness comes from me.”NIV
Isaiah 11:1A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.NIV