Christmas Calendars: Innocent Inquiry

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The door creaks.  My toddler holds her breath as her fingers fumble in the space, reaching for the figurines, those which commemorate the greatest treasure.  After a few moments of staring, she sets the magnet on the board.  She looks at the scene then at us, “Jesus?”  Oh dear child, if only you understood how provocative your question is and was.

It gives me delight to know how anxiously you await him, the promise of hope, peace, joy, and love for all eternity, for those who want to trust him.  We all are in this waiting, our Emmanuel who came, who is through the Holy Spirit, and is to come in Justice.  You ask it simply, but it is a heavy question.  A question that man has accepted and rejected throughout the ages.

There wasn’t room at the inn for him.  Now we ask ourselves if there is room for him in our hearts.  Will we let the light penetrate the darkness that consumes us?  Will the star lead us to him or will the obsession of self make us desire stars of fandom?  Will we prepare for him, anxiously waiting with excitement, or will we grow weary in society’s preparations of materialism and self-aggrandizement?

In some areas, it was, is, and will be a dangerous question to ask.

Herod hunted him.

Pharisees & Paul persecuted professors.

ISIS isolates infidels.

The world wants him and needs him, even if pride distracts us from confessing such.  My eyes grow moist with tears.  I pray you’ll always ask for him expectantly; desire him even when you receive criticism or mockery.  Here is Emmanuel and he delivers you!  So ask child; ask him to come, celebrate him having come, ransoming us from the captivity of sin.  Oh please, keep probing, diving deeper into his immeasurable love.  Please adopt him as your Lord & Savior as he has adopted you as a child of God when you confess your surrender.  That’s what I pray this Christmas and all Christmases.  I can’t give you any gift as great as a poor babe laying in a manger, a compassionate man crucified, and a risen, reigning King.

Ask him anything, or ask me anything about him, you’d like.

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I pray I am equipped enough to answer satisfactorily.  Always and forever though, even when doubt plagues you, please continue asking for him, for JESUS to be in the scene, your scene.

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Creative Thoughts: Projected Thoughts of Biblical Characters: Dragon

Alas,

Lurking, looming

I anxiously await the babe.

News of the virgin’s birth swept through my cave

and out I came, ready to conquer the nave.

I deceived the first of his creation with the ripest of fruits

and I’ll take this virgin’s first-fruit too.

My deceit succeeded once and now I hold his people captive,

my plan’s adaptive,

I wish to burn all their souls to ashes,

whipping guilt through legalism’s lashes.

This King will not usher peace.

His love will not win.

When he crowns, I’ll usurp his throne.

Oh wait, I hear her moan.

Now I find the boy resting in hay.

Yet I can not touch the treasure today,

Angels have protection lay

and offensively kept me at bay.

They enshroud this Prince of Peace.

I’ll devise a different plan,

One through Herod’s clan.

A decree will he utter

to cause mankind to shudder

as Israel’s children are laid asunder.

Time toils on

and he’s gone,

impaled on a cross.

A brief sigh as I shake off my assumed dross.

I’ve won!

But wait, third day’s light dawns!

I’m thrown to earth

through his birth,

and in turn death’s acceptance

to one day rise and ascend.

In such,

I’m toppled from my dominion, hell’s holy haven.

Now I lurk, looming,

devouring fools sin graven.

Yet in heaven he has won.

He stands to rule them all

if only in repentance they call,

and sadly,

He’ll redeem the Fall.

 

 

Gift Assistance and Tangible Empathy

“You have sure your hands full, don’t you!”

This is the common remark when I’m out and about, one hand tugging on a runaway toddler while my infant stirs on my chest, nestled in the carrier.  Often I smile, nodding in agreement, and say, “Yes, two under two is a challenge.  It’s good though, I love seeing them interact.”

Often strangers aren’t malicious.  We don’t know what to say in circumstances very different than our own.  Fearing silence, we often fill the space with unwarranted advice, seemingly callous remarks, or purposeless babble.  There are truths that can exist as truth and don’t need to be stated.  Anyone who has ever raised a toddler knows they aren’t easy to instruct.  I know the lady who recently told me this wasn’t trying to be cruel.  She was trying, as best she knew how, to show empathy.  Yet, I didn’t receive it well.

Too often we talk about struggle, myself included.  We say there needs to be change.  We criticize and critique, while we ourselves go unchecked.  If we want things to be different, we must be those agents.  We can’t sit idly by.  We must act.

I’m grateful for this season.  It is making me realize the struggles of others.  I’m judging less because I can feel the judgments of others.  There is too much negativity and haughtiness.  There is too much back story and nuance for me to know every person’s reactions.  We judge without regard for what might have caused the tones of others, their motivations.

So as I read in an article that resonated with me, don’t just speak platitudes.  Help the woman with three bags in her hands.  Assist the wandering souls.  Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty.  Let them know you are Christian by active love.  Through my circumstances, I’m learning that the empty words aren’t helping.  As my toddler decides the street is a very good place to nap, I’m learning that other moms are trying to resist the urge to scream as they sternly correct their children.  Rather than criticizing a parenting choice, I can run over and ask if a mom needs help holding a younger child, if she wants me to put bags in the trunk, if she needs a sitter, if she wants me to buy or prepare a meal.  (The same would go for a father who appears to be overwhelmed in a moment of wrangling children.)

This season let’s start changing the world by being the change we want to see.  Let us stop saying things should be different and start acting differently.  It won’t be perfect.  We’ll mess up.  We’ll have our own schedules interfere, we might act selfishly from time to time, and we might be so consumed in our own thoughts that we don’t notice, but let us at least try.  Every project has to start somewhere.  Let us start now, in this magnified season of giving, and continue to press on, being ever transformed so that his will might be done on earth as it is in heaven.  God is in control, but he created us to be operative in his story.  It is in and through us that God has revealed himself and it is in and through us that we can help bring about his kingdom on earth.

Creative Thoughts: Projected Thoughts of Biblical Characters: Mary

I was pure, an innocent girl awaiting the day when I would join my betrothed in joyous union.

Then one day an angel came to visit.

He told me the Holy Spirit would hover over my womb

and I’d be the one to carry God.

Oh what anxiety stirred in my soul!

“How can this be?” I bequeathed.

I had yet to indulge the passion.

Dear God, if my belly became rotund

I’d endure the rumors they’d report.

Yet, trusting, I accepted the heaviest weight I could carry.

The responsibility of delivering this Savior so he could deliver me and in turn, the world, is not an easy effort.

Then if mockery wasn’t enough of a burden,

Herod called for a registry and in the third trimester I’d by donkey travel

to stain straw stinking with animal waste.

My grunts accompanied by animal groans,

as I prayed to God to ease the discomfort

and wished I had women attending.  Oh midwives, what support, what comfort they’d offer, or so my mother had said!

I didn’t have such luxury, projected thoughts shunned me from such relief.

I bore Christ in a stable, rejected by family for what they thought I had done.

There was no room for us at the inn,

the town wouldn’t welcome a suspected harlot.

So here I pushed out the Holy One,

and though I in faithfulness was righteous,

I had to accept the lies they spread

and the dejection.

I gave birth to God in this manger because they wouldn’t let me in,

they couldn’t accept my indiscretions, however false they were.

I laid God to my breast

and as in salvation I am sustained,

my milk nourished him.

After he was comforted,

I with swaddling clothes laid him in the feeding trough,

gazing at glory divine.

I treasured, in my heart, the task of parenting I had accepted

and the imagined scandal I would now endure.

It wasn’t a silent night in my mind,

I was envisioning the path now set before us,

the obstacles I’d have to continuously surrender to God.

Hold me Jesus as I now hold you.

Disclaimer:  These creative thought series are in no way Scriptural fact.  They are theories or thoughts about how I or others in the same circumstances might have felt with these situations.  It is with creative license that I type these things.  These poems, or appearing more prose, are not intended to be an addition to Scripture.  Only God’s Word should be upheld as truth.  This is just an idea of what the characters or items personified might have been thinking.  Please take it for what it is—a writer’s dreams, wrestling with the things God sometimes calls us to.

Creative Thoughts: Projected Feelings of Biblical Items Personified: Manger

One of my favorite poems is The Dream of the Rood.  I’ve written a piece back around Easter time based off of the poem.  In similar fashion, I extrapolated the idea to the manger scene.  Enjoy.  I also included a disclaimer in a post due to show up tomorrow.  Please read that disclaimer.  I do not want you to think I am trying to add or subtract from biblical truths.

In I was the trough from which swine would dine.

Now I will be remembered as the cradle which rocked a king,

the one who saved mankind.

Holiness slept in my straw.

I was anointed with vernix and show.

Oh what an honor to hold the divine,

to witness angel choirs and wise men humbled.

Now I will swing to melodious tunes as God himself slumbers in my embrace.

I’ll rest, if even just for a moment, as I experience the hope, peace, love, and joy

this heaven sent babe has delivered unto creation.