Friday, December 25, 2015
Thursday, December 24, 2015
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went their to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
On the night before Jesus was born the shepherds would have seen the night sky the way they had seen it thousands of times before, they would have looked at it without any idea, any hint that they would witness the Angels appearing, and appearing in such splendor and glory.
It was Christmas time, 1968, when man broke his bonds to Earth. Three Americans, Frank Borman, James A Lovell Jr., and William A Anders, guided their Apollo 8 spacecraft across nearly a quarter-million miles of black void, out of the grasp of Earth, into orbit around the moon, and back once more to a chosen pinpoint on their home planet. Never before had man traveled so far, so fast or looked so closely upon another celestial body. Never before had so many millions listened and watched, their imaginations stretched, as the explorers spoke across the emptiness. Never indeed, had adventure ever borne all mankind so daringly near the boundaries of its aspirations.
Each time Astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders vanished behind the far side of the Moon they lost all contact with Earth for 45 minutes on each side of the 10 orbits. During the first long silence the black void crackled with tension until Mission Control in Houston reported, "We've got it! Apollo 8 is in lunar orbit." "Good to hear your voice," said Astronaut Lovell.
On the Eve of Christmas, as the eyes of the world followed Apollo 8 across the moonscape, the astronauts invoked each other, older voice, reading in turn the first ten verses of Genesis, the story of creation. It's conclusion "....and God saw that it was good" echoed in Borman's words as again Apollo 8 headed into the silent, tantalizing absence of earthly communications: "God bless all of you....all of you on the good Earth." (From "Apollo 8 Man Around the Moon)
There on that small blue circle is where the whole drama of human history had unfolded: the creation, the fall, wars, explorations, feast and famine, marriages and divorces, births and deaths. And to that blue circle God came, at just the right time, for all the fight reasons.
Wherever you are my friends, whatever you are doing, Christmas Eve is a time when we approach that dividing line in human history, the doorway from BC to AD, that revolution that happened when the Son of God made His entry into the world. Sometimes you know that you are on the eve of something big......every Christmas Eve we know we are about to mark the moment when Immanuel came in. So on this night before Christmas, find a quiet moment when you can think about was about to happen in Bethlehem so many years ago. Think about the importance of this event, the day when God became Man for each of us. What a wonderful night! (Adapted from Christmas Joy by Mel Lawrence)
Father God, thank You that we can enjoy the freedom of worshipping you. Thank You that as we anticipate Christmas morning, we can marvel at the moment when You sent Your Son to this world to offer us our only hope for salvation. We praise You today!!
Posted by Joanne at 12:10 PM
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Due to technical difficulties, this is all I have to share from our dinner with Santa on Sunday evening. More to come, I promise. And yes, we all know that these say brunch. It wasn't. It was dinner.
Posted by Joanne at 8:26 PM
Monday, December 21, 2015
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.
When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases."
'Infirmities' is not a word which is used much any more but it means sickness, grief or disease and 'sorrow', it is either emotional or physical pain. Jesus 'took up' these things! The Greek word is 'labano', it means to aggressively take hold of. Christmas is a time of baking cookies, sometimes I will help Amanda and I will have a cup of coffee in one hand and be mixing with the other-then I realize that the bowl is starting to move and I have to put down my cup and use both hands. When that doesn't work I have to roll up my sleeves and put my elbow into it to get the job done. That's what God did when he took up our sin. God didn't mess around with our 'infirmities', he sent HIS OWN son to earth to take care of it. He loved us so much that He didn't casually poke at this messed up world with his celestial coffee cup in the other hand-He took it up with both hands, rolled up His sleeves, put His elbow into it, and got dirty. He came to earth Himself and took on the problem. He doesn't do anything halfway. He bore our diseases and sin on the cross-He took care of it! What a great act of love!
As you celebrate Christmas, there may be some things for you to take hold of. Maybe a habit that you have been trying to break, but in reality, you are only addressing it halfway. Maybe it is a relationship that you are just hoping will mend itself, but instead you need to intentionally seek reconciliation by reaching out to that person. Maybe you seek healing from a disease and are just kind of living with it when instead you need to take care of yourself, do what the doctors say, and pray intentionally for a miracle. I'm not guaranteeing a miracle, but if it is God's will that you will be healed now in this life-He will. God, throughout the Bible is gentle, but when it comes to disease, illness, sorrow, and sin-He's 'labano'-He aggressively attacks and defeats!
Additional reading: Luke 4:38-44
If Jesus bore our sins on the cross, why is there still disease in the world?
In what ways do you need to be more intentional and take up an issue in your life more aggressively?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for coming and 'taking up' our problems. There is so much grief, sin, anguish and sorrow in the world! Please show me what I need to do to bring about peace and healing. Thank you for the work You started by coming to this world and taking on sin and death-defeating it. During Christmas I know You came to save, and You started a work that will be completed when there is no more disease, pain, or sorrow. Lord, may that day come soon and let Your peace reign. Amen
Posted by Joanne at 9:56 PM
Friday, December 18, 2015
In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.
People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He (Jesus) has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."
When is the last time you were overwhelmed in a good way? We often talk about being overwhelmed, but today it's usually in the context of a trying circumstance. It is used when you are overloaded with work at your job, a conflict in your family, or your debt has exceeded your ability to pay your monthly minimum. When Jesus walked on earth he taught an healed. The people who witnessed Him were "overwhelmed with amazement." Before Jesus was born, an angel spoke to Zechariah the father of John about how John would prepare the way for Jesus-Zechariah was afraid-probably because he was overwhelmed with amazement. An angel spoke to Joseph, then to Mary-they were amazed. A host of angels appeared to the shepherds-they were amazed. Simeon the priest got to see Jesus before he passed away-he was amazed. Simeon praised God saying, "Sovereign Lord as you have promised, now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation....." (Luke 2:29-30) All around Jesus's birth and life-people were overwhelmed with amazement. Wouldn't you like to be overwhelmed like that instead of work, conflicts and debt? I would. He is the healer-but not just in the context of physical ailment. He heals our chaos. In Isaiah 29:18, God says, "the deaf will hear the words of the scroll." That's scripture! If you want to be overwhelmed-read and be amazed by His Word and let Him heal your chaos!
Additional Reading: Luke 2:21-32
Are you overwhelmed? In what way?
What will you do this week to be 'overwhelmed with amazement' more than you are overwhelmed with chaos?
Our prayer today:
Lord, In You the lost are found, the blind will see, and deaf will hear. May I hear You and see you today. May I be amazed by You, like Mary was when Your angel appeared and delivered the message that her child will be the Messiah. Thank-you for loving me and revealing Yourself to me. Help me replace being overwhelmed by chaos to being overwhelmed by You. Amen.
Posted by Joanne at 7:01 AM
Thursday, December 17, 2015
"He has sent me to proclaim......the recovering of sight to the blind."
Jesus is sometimes referred to the "Great Physician". He was born and raised a carpenter's son but in a sense became a doctor. People came from all around to get their needs met by Him, both physical needs and spiritual needs. Before Jesus came, Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would proclaim liberty in various forms-all very good. What gets me as I study this during Christmas time is how Jesus never had any bitterness. Mary traveled many miles to a place where she and Joseph would stay in a stable and she would give birth alone without help of a doctor. Jesus knowing the story of His birth showed compassion! The Great Physician-who came to earth without the aid of a doctor, or a nurse, or a midwife. Jesus who has come to take care of us came into the world without the normal aid and support that we expect to be at the side of a woman in labour. What have we done? The abuse and neglect Jesus endured birth all the way to His execution warrants a bitterness that any mortal soul is entitled to based on any human standards. No one would have blamed Him for being sour about that. How could anyone be filled with so much love as Jesus had that he would turn and offer medical aid when none was offered to His mother when He was born?
The answer is twofold. One, as a sinless person, he could not hold bitterness in his heart. Two, He came to save the world not judge the world. Three, as God made flesh, God is defined as love, even though he had every right to hurt people-because people neglected his mother at the time of his birth-He returned neglect with love!
Matthew 8:4-17, Isaiah 35:5-6, Isaiah 53:5
Have you experienced Jesus as healer in your life? How?
Our prayer today:
Lord Jesus, What an awesome act of love You displayed by healing so many people when you walked the earth. What an even greater act of love You displayed by the mercy and forgiveness You have extended to me! Thank-you. Please forgive me for any bitterness that has grown in my heart toward another and help me to live like You did and return neglect, abuse, and hurt-with love.
Posted by Joanne at 9:42 PM
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Prayer: Thank-you Father for loving me so much that You revealed Your wonderful love to us even though we don't deserve it. Help us to not get caught up in our kingdom and what it desires for us but instead to seek after Your kingdom and all it has for us this season. Amen.
Posted by Joanne at 7:49 PM
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Santa was at the Giants game last night and Grandson and I stopped for a quick chat. Christmas is creeping upon us so quickly and in two weeks, it will all be over. There are lots of activities happening this weekend, and even more next weekend. I have a Christmas brunch that I have to attend this morning, so I had best start getting ready!
Posted by Joanne at 11:06 AM
Friday, December 11, 2015
Grandson and his hockey team had a fundraiser. It just meant that we bought tickets to watch the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Cougars, and some of the profits went back to the Ridge Meadows Hockey Association.
Posted by Joanne at 11:54 PM
Thursday, December 10, 2015
This is really true. And as much as the secular world tries to convince you otherwise, it's the people in your life that really matter. More than money. More that stuff. And especially more than yourself!
Hubby went back to the Doctor on Monday. He went last week (Dec 1) and got ear drops, as his ear was still hurting after a week on Amoxicillin. He went to our regular Dr and he verified that the drugs were good, but for the type of inner ear infection that he had he really needed ciprodex otic drops. So after a few days, they appeared to to be working and Hubby felt okay on the weekend. But by Monday the pain was back and he stopped at the clinic on his way home from work. Sure enough, this time he has a stronger dosage of Amoxicillin and now he seems to be pain-free. Finally!! It took more than two weeks to be somewhat healthy.
He needs to be 100% on the 27th of December as we board a flight to Las Vegas and it would be very sad to have a sore ear. Could you imagine how painful that would be?
Posted by Joanne at 12:39 PM
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
And the real reason that I thought it was so amusing is that I can totally relate. I don't want to jinx myself, but I am actually sleeping okay right now. Not great, but okay. I think it has something to do with how incredibly busy I am. Having a baby five days a week makes the days go by even faster than they were already going by, and the evenings have been busy too. For the few evenings that I have been able to stay home, I am appreciating them very much.
Posted by Joanne at 11:40 AM
We pick up Pretty Girl from school every Friday afternoon. And the children all love it when the weather is nice and we can play at the school for a little while. This past Friday it was actually quite pleasant out, as the sun arrived and it was 10 degrees.
And Uncle B came by with Sweetheart just after 3 o'clock as he went to make a gingerbread house with her at pre-school........you can actually see it sitting on the counter. He is on Winter lay-off from the golf course right now. He worked until November 26th, which is almost a whole month longer than he usually does. The seniority and the nice weather are both helpful for that! Sweet Pea was appreciating the help with the colours. At 20 months she likes to colour for little bits of time........it is so fun to watch her develop and mature.
She was enjoying the peg board. Such concentration!
Posted by Joanne at 11:14 AM
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
These are all taken in the last few weeks. I was looking at pictures this morning and these are all saved, so there must be a reason that I did that.
Monday, December 7, 2015
This is a daily occurrence. The children will climb onto the couch and look and touch. And look and touch. We have a lot of conversations about the decorations on the tree.
Unlike her youngest cousin, Sweet Pea LOVES the Christmas tree. She spends a lot of time taking decorations on and off.
Posted by Joanne at 11:54 AM
Sunday, December 6, 2015
Baby is not so sure about our Christmas tree in our living room. The first time she saw it, she said "Wowee," and carried on to the other room. It takes a bit of encouragement for her to actually get close.
I actually hid a toy in it the first time, just so she would get close enough for me to take a picture of her.
She was curious enough to come and look for it. And then she immediately wanted to put it back into the tree.
Funny little girl!
This is usually as close as she is willing to get.
She will look at it, no problem. But I wonder how long she will actually look at it, before wanting to go and touch it. I am thinking it would probably be all day. Or maybe never.
Unless I hide a toy. Then she will go and play my game and leave. I really do think she is the only 17 month old that I know that doesn't care about a Christmas tree. Interesting, don't you think? I do.
Posted by Joanne at 9:54 PM