Saturday, December 20, 2014

Keep Doing Something

I wrote this post about three hours after my house caught fire.

Today, my husband put some of the final touches on the restoration that we've been wading through since July. It is nice to live in a house that was once whole, was gutted (in spots) as a result of the fire that ate away part of the structure, and is restored to much nicer condition than it was six months ago when this all started.

My motivation for writing that post was three-fold.

1. I needed to get my mind off of my "loss" and move it to a more productive place. Yes, my house was charred on the outside. Yes, I had a flood in my attic, my bedroom, and my daughter's bedroom.

And I was still alive and had breath left in me with which I could turn my "disaster" into praise, giving glory to God.

2. I had been thinking about the people who are mad at God for allowing bad things to happen.  I needed to work through what my response should be to those people and to the bad things that happen.

3. Matthew West's song "Do Something" was wildly popular on Christian radio at that time and I kept hearing it.  I couldn't hear it without, well, doing something.

So here I am, sitting in a restored house, still subject to the ups and downs of this fallen world, but turning my joys and sorrows back to the Creator of it all.

The winner of the charity donation is:

...comment #4, Cheree Moore's choice, Crossnore School. In Cheree's words, "We have friends that work with a Residential Charter School for kids in foster care called the Crossnore School. The school has recently implemented a new home for kids that graduate from high school and go on college but don't have support systems."

$50 donated to Crossnore School
As promised, I have also donated to Amazima Ministries, the organization started by Katie Davis. She is doing an amazing work in Uganda.
$50 donated to Amazima Ministries

I'm sharing this with you so that you know what happened with my previous challenge, and to encourage you to keep doing "somethings" that change the lives of fellow citizens of earth.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Mt 25:40

Thursday, December 11, 2014


A friend reminded me that the best gifts don't usually cost a whole lot...

My hubby and I were out shopping with the kids when we decided to stop at an inexpensive sit-down restaurant for dinner. (This is a very rare treat for our family.) Hubby and the kids stood around waiting for a table and eventually ordered dinner while I finished up the shopping at one last store.

When dinner finally arrived, the waiter placed a steaming, cheesy bowl of French Onion soup in front of me. I love it but never order it when eating out, because it's so frivolously expensive. My husband ("He Who Does Not Like To Spend Money") knew how much I loved it and just ordered it anyway.

I keep thinking about that small gift; it cost less than $5.00, but it means so much.

It means that he cares enough about me to listen. 

It means that he cares enough about me to remember. 
It means that he cares enough about me to surprise me with the unexpected. 

This is just a small part of how he shows me he loves me. And that is the best gift... Not the soup, but the love.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We three Kings on Bethlehem's Plain... (Otherwise entitled: And now for something completely different)

We've all seen the scene...  Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, angels, shepherds, Magi.  Sometimes it's made of plastic, sometimes it's wooden.  Sometimes it's Lego and has cameos by Anakin Skywalker and a Geonosian warrior.

Last night, the church ladies had a rousing discussion about the nativity story. I brought the discussion to the kids this morning, and now I sit down to bring it to you.

The subject: The events surrounding Jesus's birth.

The question: “Where did the Magi visit Jesus?”

Most people know by now that we have no idea if there were three Magi or eight or two. We also know that the Magi were not actually included in the biblical picture of the manger scene, the one with a feeding trough and amazed shepherds.

But where do the Magi fit in? Where did they finally find Jesus?

We dissected Matthew 2 and Luke 2 to see what the time-line of events actually said. I was surprised to discover something new, despite many readings, over the last thirty-cough years, of these two accounts of Jesus's birth.

1. Day 1 - Jesus is born in Bethlehem - Matthew 2:1 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea...

2. Day 8 – Joseph, Mary, and Jesus go to Jerusalem for purification rites. - Luke 2:22 “When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord...”

3. Day 33 to 41-ish – Joseph, Mary, and Jesus leave Jerusalem and go to Nazareth. - Luke 2:39 “When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.

(I'm not certain on the timing here, but it was within the second month. Mary had to stay for her own purification rites, according to the Law as found in Leviticus 12:1-4)

4. Anywhere from six months to two years later - The Magi arrive in to Jerusalem and enquire of Herod as to the whereabouts of the new king. - Matthew 2:1-3 “Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

5. Herod enquires of his gurus, those who studied the Law and the Prophets, and determines that the king was born in Bethlehem. He tells the Magi to head that way and then come back. - Matthew 2:8, 9 “He sent them to Bethlehem... After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.” It does NOT say that they went to Bethlehem, just that the teachers of the Law told Herod that prophecy said the child would be born there. The Magi, very wise men, indeed, followed the star, not Herod's advice.

 6. The Magi followed the star to “the house” where Jesus lived. - Matthew 2:10-11 “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Last that we heard, Jesus had moved to Nazareth. (See Point #3)

7. After the visit from the Magi, an angel warns Joseph of the danger to his son, and told him to flee to Egypt, which he did. Matthew 2:14 “So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt.

8. Joseph is told he that can return to Israel and is warned to stay away from Archelaus, Herod's son, so he settles in Nazareth. Matthew 2:23 “...he went and lived in a town called Nazareth.

If I'm reading this correctly, the Magi left Jerusalem, maybe headed south because that's what Herod told them to do, and then, following the star, did an about-face and headed to Nazareth, where Jesus was living. What do you think? Am I missing something? Mis-reading the two accounts? Where did the Magi visit Jesus?

I'll tell you this:

Last night, the ladies and I decided that it didn't really matter where the Magi visited Jesus. He was born, the Magi went well out of their way to worship him, and we should do the same. That is the theme of the story of the Magi.