I remember one particular Christmas Pageant that I had a part in as a young girl.
We put on bathrobes and placed towels on our heads. Sound familiar? Magically, those items suddenly transformed us into shepherds. White bedsheets and tinsel halos were the costume of choice for those of us who were chosen to be angels. And Mary? Well, she was in blue, of course.
Anyway, for this one particular production, I was the third angel from the right, and we memorized the entire second chapter of the book of Luke. And you know what? To this day, I can still recite almost the entire thing. (Something to be said for teaching young folks the Scriptures. It sticks!)
It’s interesting, because that’s the same passage that Linus, of the famed Peanuts gang, quotes on stage during the Charlie Brown Christmas Special (The TV classic which I still love to watch each year.)
There is one particular section of the Luke passage that continues to be one of my favorites. Especially during these confusing and difficult times. Maybe it will bring a sense of peace to your heart and to your corner of the world today:
Luke 2:8-14 (ESV)
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.
10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Last Sunday, churches and homes round the world lit the 1st candle of Advent.
This Sunday, we light Advent’s second candle: the Peace candle. In a world where we don’t often see eye to eye, peace is definitely one thing most of us seem to agree on and what many of us hold dear.
Peace to you.
November 28th, 2013 by stephanie
We talk a lot about turkeys and giving thanks these days, but if you ask the average American the history of this day, it’s a bit of a struggle to dig up the facts and the stories. Here’s to keeping the info alive!
So when was this day made the “real deal?”
During the American Revolutionary War actually. …the Continental Congress in 1777 wrote this Proclamation:
It was the First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving.
FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:
It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE:
That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and
That, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance;
That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE:
That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”
November 6th, 2013 by stephanie
Each of us in our own way wish to show gratitude to those who have served. Yet, when we try to express it, I am amazed how many of us so often feel our words are quite inadequate.
How do you properly thank someone who went through horrific moments because of their love and commitment to this country? How do you encourage the service man or woman who stood watch at some distant, lonely, God-forsaken locale and post. Feeling that no one knew, or cared? Or the one who served in an unglamorous or uneventful role, but one that matters and would be missed if left empty.
It’s not an easy task.
I am reminded of Clarence Soulliard. WWII. Army. He was 1 of only 3 that returned home from his unit of 200 that deployed. Just a kid from Pennsylvania. Shot in the face by a German sniper and many more amazing stories these pages can’t hold. He was blessed to return to his homeland.
My great uncle John, that signed up at the age of 40? He served the land he loved in the midst of a trying hour. He soon found himself in the Battle of the Bulge. If you aren’t familiar, you’ll want to “google” that horrid event. We are grateful he returned to us as well.
Then, the surprise of connecting with a cousin of mine later in life. Little did I know, he had served in Viet Nam. How we so long to make it right for those boys that came home at a time when many of our citizens (that they fought for) were so unwelcoming. Heartbreaking. Korean veterans understand as well.
I am honored to claim these men as family and friends. And may they know they are loved by those of us, too, that hold this country of ours most dear.
Here’s to our Veterans. May they know, their labor was not in vain.
This Veteran’s Day– we honor you.