Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve

 Tonight on Christmas Eve, Advent is complete with the lighting of the Christ Candle.  It represents the light the Son brought into the world, God made flesh.

 The lighting of the Christ candle marks the moment of when prophecy turns to fulfillment. 
The Christ Candle fills a similar function as the Paschal Candle at Easter. It represents the work of Christ to us, our light in the darkness through his birth, life, death, and resurrection.

As we begin the joyous celebration of Christmas, may we always remember that Christ is our light, our hope, our peace, our joy and our love.


  May the gift of God's precious son be yours this day and always.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Fourth Week of Advent Lighinting the Candle of Love

 In spite of my best efforts I have found myself in the middle of the last minute push.  I have been on a marathon of cleaning, baking, and food prepping for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Our grandchildren were here yesterday and Ava helped me cut out sugar cookies.   


We had a little flurry of snow a couple of days ago, just enough to give everything a wintry, festive touch!


 In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of this fourth week of  Advent we lit the candle of Love.

 God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting         life (John 3:16)  This is the heart of Christmas. Jesus shows us God's perfect love.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) 

Perfect love casts out all fear.

Christmas Day is almost upon us, and as we celebrate the miracle of his birth, may we all know Christ's love for us in a real and personal way.  Amen.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Third Week of Advent

Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to thee Oh Israel!


This past Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday in numerous liturgical churches.  Gaudete is Latin for Rejoice.  In the Advent season Gaudete Sunday is when we begin to turn from reflection and towards celebration.  This week we light the rose candle of Joy. Rose is the liturgical color for joy. Also known as The Shepard's Candle, we remember the Angels came to them saying "Fear not! for I bring good news of great joy which will be for all people!' (Luke 2:10)


Jesus' birth brings salvation and throughout the Christmas story there are bursts of joyful proclamation!  Even John leaped for joy in his mother's womb when Mary came to visit Elizabeth. (Luke 1:39-45). Joy and salvation go hand in hand.  There is no true joy without salvation. 

The world often thinks of joy as just happiness and expectation.  We all know how fleeting that kind of joy can be.  True joy goes much deeper.  Like Peace, it is deep rooted and grounded in our very being and trust in the Savior. We can still know true joy even in the midst of sorrow or loss. "The joy of the Lord is my strength."


 Heavenly Father, in the midst of the excitement of family gatherings, the lights and the music of Christmas, even the giving to others in need, may we remember that true joy comes from the Savior, Emmanuel come down from his throne to dwell in the hearts all who seek him. May we with courage and conviction be willing to loudly proclaim that salvation message to the world.  Amen.


With Joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation           (Isaiah 12:3)


 The first known publishing of this ancient song is around 1582 in the Piae Cantionese, a collection of sacred music from Finland/Sweden.

Gaudete, Gaudete!
Christus et natus
Ex maria virgine,
Rejoice, Rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the virgin Mary,

Tempus ad est gratiae,
Hoc quod optabamus;
Carmina laetitiae,
Devote redamus.
The hour of grace
Which we seek is here
We offer with devotion
Our songs of joy
Deus homo factus est,
Natura mirante;
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.
God is made man,
 a thing of wonder,
The world is renewed
By Christ who is King.
Ezechiellis porta
Clausa pertransitur;
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.
The closed gate of Ezechiel
Has been passed through;
From where the light rises
Salvation is found.
Ergo nostra cantio,
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.
Therefore let our assembly now sing,
Sing the Psalms to purify us;
Let it praise the Lord:
Greetings to our King. 




Wednesday, December 9, 2020

More Christmas Decorating

 I have been struggling with a rather nasty head cold since Thanksgiving.  It went through most of the family, and while everyone else is over it, I still have been coughing and sniffling my way through the days.  Needless to say, I have barely left the house in almost two weeks.  It also meant no family outing to cut our Christmas tree this year.  That meant The Inspector and I went out tree hunting on our own for the first time in over 38 years.  It felt so strange searching for a tree by ourselves, but we made the best of it.  The day was beautiful and the farm was quiet as it was the middle of the week.  We wandered through about 20 acres of trees before finding our choice for this year.  

One never knows how the tree is going to look once you get it home but I decided long ago that every tree, no matter it's size or shape always looks beautiful once it's decorated.  This one is no exception. After a little rearranging it fits perfectly in the corner.


 Staying home the last couple of weeks means lots of time for more decorating.  I have been having fun taking pictures around the house with my new camera phone, an early Christmas gift from my sweetheart.

My little snow people were among the first holiday decorations I collected more than 40 years ago.  It doesn't seem like Christmas without them.


 I love my hand carved nativity set from Bali.  Unlike most scenes, Joseph is holding Baby Jesus in his arms. 


This little wall nativity is also hand carved.  Made from olive wood, it comes from Bethlehem.  I found it in a lovely little candle shop that was run by a small group of Orthodox nuns in Stanwood a few years back.  

This angel was made for me as a gift from a teacher I worked with about 25 years ago.

 Everything looks especially beautiful at night.

Night comes early this time of the year.  I love how the night sky looks in this photo. It rained a little bit last night.  See how all the lights are reflecting off the deck. 

Beautiful from both sides of the window!  Thank you for stopping by and "God bless us every one!:


Monday, December 7, 2020

Second Week of Advent

 Shalom!  Peace!

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:14)  


Most of us when we think of peace we think of things like, the absence of war or maybe the absence of fear. That's how the world thinks anyway.  However, to the ancient Hebrews, peace, shalom, meant something so much more than this.  One definition I read stated it this way:

“Shalom” is taken from the root word shalam, which means, “to be safe in mind, body, or estate.” " True biblical shalom refers to an inward sense of completeness or wholeness. 

Although it can describe the absence of war, a majority of biblical references refer to an inner completeness and tranquility."



Adam and Eve walked in perfect peace with God until the fall.  But God in his mercy has provided us with a way back to perfect Shalom with him.

This second week of Advent we light the candle of Peace remembering that Jesus comes to us as The Prince of Peace.


Come thou long expected Jesus, born to set they people free, from our fears and sins release us.  Let us find our rest in thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art, dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

 Peace is a gift from God.  It gives us a sense of inner tranquility even when the world around us is anything but peaceful. 

 John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.


Heavenly Lord, please help us to find our perfect peace in you. Heal our hearts from the fears and anxieties and stress of the world around us.  Help us to exchange our weakness for your your strength.  May we trust in you for our guidance and protection.  May we be so filled with your perfect peace, shalom, that it overflows into the lives of others. For Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God." (Matt. 5:9) Amen



May the Lord bless and keep you in his perfect peace during this second week of Advent.







Wednesday, December 2, 2020

First Week of Advent

 Every year at this time I like to look back on all the things I have posted during the Advent season and Christmas following.  Like reading a diary, I have the chance to see where my heart was keeping in that, all too often, rush towards Christmas Day.  I hope I was and still am "keeping Christmas well" in the manner I aspired to years ago here.

This year I have worked hard to get as many of the tasks of the holiday season taken care of early. Once again, the decorations have been lovingly unpacked and placed in their traditional spots.


Christmas cards are addressed, while shopping and gift wrapping is almost complete.  There is still the tree to be done but that is for next week.

With all these tasks behind me I am trying to take in this Advent season without haste or distractions.
Advent is meant to be a time of anticipation, heart felt examination and preparation for the birth of the Christ child. I have chosen these books to use for part of my devotions. The prayers may be my own or come from various Advent sources.  I also found this beautiful Advent candle set.


For those of you who may not follow a liturgical calendar, we light one candle for each of the four weeks before Christmas.  Purple is the liturgical color for Advent. Purple represents repentance and fasting as well as signifying royalty.   Sometimes one candle,will be rose.  The white candle will be lit on Christmas Eve.  Each candle has a meaning.  This first week we light the Candle of Hope, also known as the Prophecy Candle. As we light it, we have assurance in the hope that God will fulfill the prophecies that were declared about Jesus in the old Testament. (Isaiah 9:6-7, Micah 5:2,)

It also signifies that we are awaiting in anticipation the second coming of Christ. (Hebrews 9:28)


Heavenly Father, Advent is a time for remembering and reflecting on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Father, I pray that you will turn our hearts toward you as Christmas approaches. Let us not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season this year.  Help us not to dwell on the worries of these times and miss the chance to celebrate the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love, that you sent to us on that first Christmas.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).