Quote from "One Week"


TO STRIVE, TO SEEK, TO FIND,
AND NOT TO YIELD


"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold onto them. They are the lifeboats for the darker times. When the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely lucid. So the question becomes or should have been all along, what would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live? What lifeboat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?

From movie 'One Week' starring Joshua Jackson

Panda Escape

Just found these photos of a baby panda trying to get out of his playpen. Awwww...

Full article here


Christmas Meditation


Meditation on John 1:1-18
from the Word Among Us for the Nativity of our Lord

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14)

O you chosen of God, sing and exult with all the angels of heaven! The Word has been made flesh. He who was in the beginning with God, overseeing everything that came to be, has become man and lived among us. The longing of all of creation has been fulfilled, and the world is forever transformed.

O you redeemed of the Lord, rejoice! Grace and truth have come to earth in the person of Jesus. A child in a manger reveals the unfathomable glory of God. No longer do we rely only on his Law to know him. He has come to us, and in his presence we behold the depths of God’s love.

O you children of God, open your mouths in praise! We have beheld personally the glory of the Father’s only Son. His grace and truth were made visible to us in the mystery of his incarnation. He is no longer far off from us in our suffering and emptiness. He whom heaven itself cannot hold has taken on our flesh and dwelt among us.

O you beloved of God, bow down and worship the One who has made you his children! Kneel at the manger in awe that this humble baby holds in his person the power to take away all that separates you from God, to restore you to wholeness, and to open the gates of heaven for you.

O you enlivened by his life, celebrate! He has brought light and life where once there was darkness and death. The light of the world shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome it. Victory is ours because Christ has come!

“Jesus, I receive your life today. I believe that you are the revelation of the Father, the Light of the World, the Word become flesh. I open my heart to you today—to you whom darkness cannot vanquish, to you who have conquered sin and opened the gates of heaven. Jesus, may I gaze upon your glory forever!”

Cute pic - sleepover

“Oh, you guys are totally going to freak when you hear this, but Hannah told me she overheard Margot telling Phoebe that her brother Nick said that Zachary is like totally in love with Mary Ellen Blopchik who works down at the DQ…”
Found on cuteoverload

Wise Men Still Seek Him

Shepherds gathered their flowing robes to hurry to Him; the Magi braved deserts and mountains to find Him; in the blazing noonday sun a defeated Samaritan woman came to Him; a skeptic exclaimed, “my Lord and my God” when he found Him. And today millions on every continent acknowledge with the Apostle Paul that He is “the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Wise men still seek Him; and those who seek find more than they ever imagined. For in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, are to be found forgiveness, inward peace, joys in life today, the promises of life eternal.

The Magi found Him as a young child with Mary His mother. We find Him today as the living Christ, clothed with glory and honor and seated at the right hand of His Father in heaven. He is there because He finished the work He came to do on earth. Of His coming the Bible says, “He was made in the likeness of men: and… He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him… that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:7-11).

While it is true that wise men still seek Him, it is more wonderfully true that He still seeks us--whoever we may be. Now, today, from His place in the heavenlies comes His divine invitation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

If the President sent you an official invitation, you would surely accept. The Babe of Bethlehem who is now the Christ of Glory is inviting you today. The door is the door of your heart. May you know what it is to respond; and may all His spiritual blessings be yours this Christmas.


~Clyde H. Dennis

Parable of the Birds


This is about a modern man, one of us, he was not a scrooge, he was a kind, decent, mostly good man, generous to his family, upright in his dealings with others. But he did not believe in all that incarnation stuff that the Churches proclaim at Christmas time. It just didn’t make sense to him and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just could not swallow the Jesus story about God coming to earth as man. I’m truly sorry to distress you, he told his wife, but I’m not going with you to church this Christmas Eve. He said he’d feel like a hypocrite. That he would much rather stay home, but that he would wait up for them. He stayed, they went.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier, then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound. Then another and another. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. Well, when he went to the front door, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm and in a desperate search for shelter they had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well, he couldn’t let the poor creatures lie there and freeze. He remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter -- if he could direct the birds to it. He quickly put on his coat and galoshes, trampled through the deepening snow to the barn, opened the door wide, and turned on a light. But the birds did not come in.

He figured food would entice them in and he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow making a trail to the yellow lighted wide open doorway of the stable, but to his dismay the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them, he tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms -- instead they scattered in every direction except into the warm lighted barn. Then he realized they were afraid of him.

To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature, if only I could think of some way to let them know they can trust me: That I’m not trying to hurt them, but to help them. How? Any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him. If I could only be a bird myself he thought.

If only I could be a bird and mingle with them and speak their language, and tell them not to be afraid, and show them the way to the safe, warm barn. But I'd have to be one of them, so they could see and hear and understand.

At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sound of the wind. He stood there listening to the bells. "O Come all ye Faithful". Listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow with thankful belief.

~Written in 1956 by Louis Cassells

Joseph's Prayer - Max Lucado


This isn't the way I planned it, God. Not at all. My child being born in a stable? This isn't the way I thought it would be. A cave with sheep and donkeys, hay and straw? My wife giving birth with only the stars to hear her pain?


This isn't at all what I imagined. No, I imagined family. I imagined grandmothers. I imagined neighbors clustered outside the door and friends standing at my side. I imagined the house erupting with the first cry of the infant. Slaps on the back. Loud laughter. Jubilation.

That's how I thought it would be.

But now. Now look. Nazareth is five days' journey away. And here we are in a . . . in a sheep pasture. Who will celebrate with us? The sheep? The shepherds? The stars?

This doesn't seem right. What kind of husband am I? I provide no midwife to aid my wife. No bed to rest her back. Her pillow is a blanket from my donkey. My house for her is a shed of hay and straw.

The smell is bad, the animals are loud. Why, I even smell like a shepherd myself.

Did I miss something? Did I, God?

When you sent the angel and spoke of the son being born--this isn't what I pictured. I envisioned Jerusalem, the temple, the priests, and the people gathered to watch. A pageant perhaps. A parade. A banquet at least. I mean, this is the Messiah!


Read the rest here...

If You Had Only One Son


If you had only one son,
would you send him to this earth
to live in lowly birth
where no one felt his worth?
God did.

If you had only one son,
would yo ulet him leave his throne
and come to live unknown
and face his task alone?
God did.

If you had only one son,
would you let him serve and bless
a crowd that offered less
than love and faithfulness?
God did.

If you had only one son,
would you let him weep and grieve
for men who won't perceive
but only make believe?
God did.

If you had only one son,
would you let him pay sin's debt
for men who would soon forget
and live without regret?
God did.

If you had only one son,
would you let him bleed and die
upon a cross held high
between the earth and sky?
God did.

If you had only one son,
would you raise him from the tomb
to lift away the gloom
from earth with still no room?
God did.

If you had only one son,
would you send him back again
to face a world of men
who still are lost in sin?
God will!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Just One Star

Back in the throne room of Heaven, plans were being made to announce the birth of God's Son on earth. Michael, the archangel, had just finished describing his great heavenly display of comets and falling stars, for a year preceding, and following the birth.

Gabriel went on with his musical plans - a great angelic choir with tens of thousands of voices, tuned with Heaven's finest and latest harmonies, ready to serenade the earth.

But God interrupted their conversation. "No," He said, "that's not really what I had in mind."

"What, you want more?" asked Gabriel.

"No", God smiled. I planned a small family gathering in Bethlehem, actually. We don't need all those trimmings."

"But.... all my stars...." said Michael. "What will I do with them?"

"And my angels," Gabriel added.

Just then, Jesus stepped through the pearly gates, out into the red carpet of time, and started down the spiral stairway of stars.

Michael pleaded, "Father, let us do something, please! He simply can't go unannounced!"

"Well, alright, " God said. "Gabriel, a few angels.... and Michael, just one star."

Christmas quotes

The Son of God became the Son of Man,
so the sons of men might become the sons of God.

It's not so much that man could not believe in God,
but that God was proving that He believed in man.

A thousand times in history a baby has become a king,
but only once in history did a King become a baby.

This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone."
~ Taylor Caldwell

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern,
is very simple: loving others.
Come to think of it,
why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?"
~ Bob Hope

Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect."
~ Oren Arnold

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world
in a conspiracy of love."
~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

What is Christmas?
It is tenderness for the past,
courage for the present,
hope for the future.
It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow
with blessings rich and eternal,
and that every path may lead to peace."
~ Agnes M. Pahro

Christmas renews our youth by stirring our wonder.
The capacity for wonder has been called
our most pregnant human faculty,
for in it are born our art, our science, our religion."
~ Ralph Sockman

Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love,
a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men
should prevail over all hatred and bitterness,
a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives
manifest the presence of God.
~George F. McDougall

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:
the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
~Burton Hillis

Jesus, the Light of the World, as we celebrate your birth,
may we begin to see the world
in the light of understanding you give us.
As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor
to receive the greatest news the world had ever known,
so may we worship you in meekness of heart.
May we also remember our brothers and sisters
less fortunate than ourselves
in this season of giving. Amen.
~Karen L. Oberst

Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart,
a wide open heart that thinks of others first.
The birth of the baby Jesus stands
as the most significant event in all history,
because it has meant the pouring into a sick world
the healing medicine of love
which has transformed all manner of hearts
for almost two thousand years...
Underneath all the bulging bundles
is this beating Christmas heart.
~George Matthew Adams

Teach us to value most eternal things…
To find the happiness that giving brings...
To know the peace of misty, distant hills…
To know the joy that giving self fulfils…
To realize anew this Christmas Day…
The things we keep are those we give away.
~Marvin Davis Winsett

This is Christmas:
not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols,
but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift,
the Christ.
~Frank McKibben

When the song of the angel is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost--To heal the broken--To feed the hungry--
To release the prisoner--To rebuild the nations--
To bring peace among brothers and sisters--
To make music in the heart.
~Howard Thurman

Three wise women would have...
asked directions,
arrived on time,
helped deliver the baby,
cleaned the stable,
made a casserole,
brought practical gifts,
and there would be peace on Earth.
~anonymous


The Magnificat

Luke 1:39-55

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed:
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!"

And Mary said,
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.

He has mercy on those who fear him,
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,

Casting down the mighty from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
to remember his promise of mercy,

The promise made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children for ever.


Painting: Mary and Elizabeth by Dorothy Webster Hawksley

Christmas is for Christ


I've collected some of my favourite Christmas stories, poems and songs...


12 Days of Christmas
classic song explained

Christmas Gifts from God
inspiring reflection by Ann V.

Gift of the Magi
love this story!

Mary's Dream
makes you think...

My First Christmas in Heaven
for those who have lost a loved one

Our Greatest Need
short reminder of why He came

T'was the Night Before Jesus Came
remake on the classic poem

Why Jesus is Better than Santa
I love this comparison!


Some of my favourite Christmas songs,
click to hear...

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Casting Crowns new take on a classic

Love Crucified Arose
Michael Card's beautiful ballad

Seven Joys of Mary
new rendition by Barenaked Ladies

While You Were Sleeping
new song by Third Day

These jazz players are a bunch of animals!

Makes me miss my guinea pig...

God's Billboard

He has a few things to say!
about 20 different messages cycle through...


Advent

How to prepare for Christmas...

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