Monday, December 28, 2009

"This Old House"

This weather-worn birdhouse in Pawpaw Thaxton's yard caught my eye, and as you know by now, I'm always looking for an interesting picture, especially one that tells a story. As I looked at this photo, I immediately thought of the song below.

"This old house once knew my children
This old house once knew my wife
This old house was home and shelter as we fought the storms of life
This old house once rang with laughter
This old house heard many shouts
Now she trembles in the darkness when the lightnin' walks about"
-Stuart Hamblen-

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." IICor. 5:1

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Comes Gently . . .

Christmas comes gently and offers the gift of peace.

This beautiful thought printed on the front of today's church bulletin grabbed my attention and warmed my heart! It must have been placed there just for me!

This Christmas season has been and will be "different" for John David and me in several ways. Because of illness in the family, we have not done a lot of in-store shopping, and we missed our annual church party. Even my decorating has been reduced; I finally got the tree up a few days ago. Knowing that all of our family won't be here puts a different perspective on our celebrations, too.

I guess you could say that Christmas has quietly entered our home and our lives. Not a lot of hustle and bustle here with preparations for Christmas! Yes, it looks to be a quieter, simpler, "different" Christmas for us.

But I've come to realize that using words such as "quieter" . . . "simpler" . . . "different" does not diminish the real Christmas spirit. It'll still be Christmas . . . a celebration in our hearts of the birth of our Savior . . . a time to cherish our family and friends . . . a time to count our blessings and the gifts lavished upon us by the One born in that quiet, simple stable on a silent night so long ago. Maybe we won't keep every tradition that is ordinarily a part of the Christmas season for us, but it'll still be Christmas!

This question comes to my mind: What was ordinary or traditional about that very first Christmas night? There's nothing ordinary about a young virgin girl giving birth to the Savior of mankind! Nothing traditional about a King entering the world in a stable and becoming one of us . . . or Peace lying in a feed trough . . . or Hope being visited by lowly shepherds.

No, that first Christmas was like no other!

Maybe this holy season will be the most unusual we've ever experienced. Maybe anxious thoughts and moments of wishing for a Christmas like we've always had will creep into our hearts and minds. Not maybe . . . but probably!

But I choose peace . . . in spite of circumstances (which I realize could be SO much more difficult) . . . I choose peace.

And I won't find it in hustling and bustling . . . or in shopping . . . or in gatherings . . . or in decorations . . . or in traditions . . . or even in my beloved family.

Peace comes quietly . . . Christmas comes quietly . . . into my heart . . . because I know and trust the Prince of Peace, who is "bigger than any problem, bigger than any fear."

"He whispers sweet peace to me . . . "

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Puzzzle Pieces and Life

Putting the last piece of a challenging puzzle together is a small but rewarding triumph! During the Thanksgiving holidays, the family completed this colorful country jigsaw whose pieces were scattered over the dining room table. We knew we had to get it together before our Thanksgiving meal, and that happened just in time.

At some point, someone discovered that a piece was missing, and it was nowhere to be found. After much searching, Em found it under the table, completely out of view. After fitting that piece in its place, the completion of the puzzle seemed easier. With every piece put where its creator intended it to be, we admired the "big picture" that had emerged. And it looked exactly like the picture on the top of the puzzle box! Imagine that!

Life gets like that sometimes . . . complicated . . . puzzling . . . pieces missing . . . and it's so easy to forget that Someone does see the big picture. He knows about every piece of our lives, and none of our struggles, fears, or hopes are "lost" to Him. If we just persevere and trust His good plans for us, one day all the pieces will fit . . . just in time to sit down at the table He's prepared for all His children. And that big picture will look just like the one He's told us about in His Word!

Imagine that!

"Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand.
But I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand."

-Ira Stanphill-