Friday, December 21, 2012

Let Heaven and Nature Sing!


These are the times that try men's souls............a quotation from Thomas Paine on December 23, 1776.  Mr. Paine, of course, used the phrase in a much different setting than I.  However, it is a good quote and applies to so many situations.

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year.  Even though we never had children to enjoy here, we made a big deal of Christmas.  We worked with the kids in our church, we participated in the plays, skits, whatever we could to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Terry loved Christmas.  He loved the decorating, baking, cooking, wrapping gifts...but NOT the shopping!  That was my forte.  Now, with him in heaven and me alone here, some of the lustre has worn off, it seems.

I participate in my church, I shop, I decorate, I bake a bit and cook even less.  The wrapping is now my chore alone.  His presence is missing; half of me remains a gaping hole with seemingly no real healing.  Yes, at times it's feels better, as though some healing has begun.  Then, something from nowhere hits and the wound is fresh again.  What a roller coaster ride!

Last year, for the first time in my life, I actively celebrated Advent.  I had no idea how to do it since I'd never been introduced to it in my church.  I Googled it (what WOULD we do without Google?) and made a somewhat half-hearted effort.

This year, I built upon what I had learned last year and have had a quite fulfilling experience.  Beginning on Dec. 1, I read my daily Bible passages and lit my candles.  It has been such a great blessing in my life.  It has helped me keep my focus on what I have instead of what I've lost.

The decorating has been more fun this year.  Two of my grand-nieces spent the night and helped me bake a cake and do some other food preparation.  Their laughter filled my house for several hours.  We sat together for my Advent focus; we talked about baby Jesus and all He means to us; what He did for us.

I never cease to be amazed at what little ones can understand if they're given the opportunity.  They are 30 months and 70 months (2-1/2 and nearly 6) and astonish me with their open-hearted acceptance of everything I say to them as absolute truth.  I had forgotten that.

So, Christmas once again brings me joy, real joy.  The kind of joy that permeates my heart and soul, that shines from within me and lights my way as I go.  THIS is what Christmas really is....the joy of Jesus Christ and all that His coming made available to us.  Joy to the world, the Lord is come.....Let heaven and nature sing!!!!

That night there were shepherds
 staying in the fields nearby,
guarding their flocks of sheep.
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord
appeared among them,
and the radiance of the Lord’s glory
 surrounded them. They were terrified,
but the angel reassured them.
“Don’t be afraid!” he said.
“I bring you good news
that will bring great joy to all people.
The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—
has been born today in Bethlehem,
the city of David!
And you will recognize him
by this sign: You will find a baby
wrapped snugly in strips of cloth,
lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined
by a vast host of others—
the armies of heaven—
praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth
to those with whom God is pleased.”
  When the angels had returned
to heaven, the shepherds said
to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem!
Let’s see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has told us about.”
 They hurried to the village
and found Mary and Joseph.
And there was the baby,
lying in the manger.
After seeing him, the shepherds
told everyone what had happened
and what the angel had said
to them about this child.
All who heard the shepherds’ story
were astonished, but Mary
kept all these things in her heart
and thought about them often.
 The shepherds went back
to their flocks, glorifying and
praising God for all they had heard and seen.
It was just as the angel had told them.
Luke 2: 8 - 20    (NLT)


Trish said...

"It was just as the Angels told them." Di, this, the last sentence of your beautiful Post...hit me this morning! God does not lie...His Word is true! And Peace and Joy, do come in our mourning!!!
I love you!!!

Pat said...

joy in those small things we often take for granted...that's what I see in those tiny fingers on Kayleigh's beautiful little hands, created by God himself. I see such sweetness in Allysons eyes, and a smile of an angel.
Your post today has brought me joy, just like knowing you does.
Merry Christmas my precious friend, I wish you love and peace.