22 December 2009

The Coming Christ - mas

I have thought that I should write something profound since Christmas is approaching, but, my thoughts have been too jumbled amidst the preparations for my family. I have three married children and their spouses who are travelling across different parts of the country to be here. I, as usual, am not sure what to give the people I love. I want the gifts to "mean something". And right along with the "Christmasing" are the routine things of appointments and school that must be attended to.

 I used to be more organized. Really, I did. But these days thoughts of what needs done rush right out of my head at almost the same instant that I think them. So there is nothing new that I could say about Christmas that you don't already know.

God the Father promised the coming of Messiah, way back in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:15

It is obvious from Scripture that Eve understood, because she hoped the promise was fulfilled with Cain and then seemed sure of it with the birth of Seth. But we, if we have ever heard the Christmas Story, know that Messiah did not come until the time when Rome ruled the known world. And that God flawlessly fulfilled every single prophecy regarding Him including the young virgin mother and the very difficult mandate to travel to the place of their ancestors and pay taxes. Jesus was born in a tiny town of no great significance that was filled with people who had to be there to give their money to Caesar.

It was important for us that every single detail be carefully tended to. Important, because we do not always believe God. He did not have to give us all the prophecies pertaining to the birth of Christ, but He wanted us to know that He is able to fulfill every single one. If even one thing was missed or forgotten, then God would not be God. And there was more than Jesus just getting here at "just the right time". He had come to break the curse.  You know......the curse that happened in the Garden.

When Man broke fellowship with God.

 When Man chose Death over Life. 

 The God-Man came to break the Curse of Death and bring Life back to mankind.

"[Christ Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  Philippians 2:6-11 NIV

Jesus came to die.

For You.  For me.

To take the punishment for our Sin.

 So that we would no longer be enemies with God, but could become the children of God.

We celebrate His coming as the God-Man. We celebrate His suffering for us on the cross.  We celebrate His victory over Death when God raised Him on the third day. We celebrate the Assurance that He is coming again to take us with Him to be with Him forever.

Christmas is not just the adoration of a baby in a manger.

It is amazement that the God of the Universe would have such Love that He would become one of us...

...in order to die for us.....

... in order to have us with Him.

Just the thought that He would want us......that He created us......that He chose us......just because He wanted to...astounds me.

His preparations for His Child (Jesus) ....for His children (You and I who belong to Him)......are flawless.

Mine, for my children, are frenzied and imperfect and not always coated in absolute love and grace. They are often harried and impatient and lacking and unfocused.

The Father's focus was absolute......On Christ.......for us.

Our focus must be .....though, often redirected........On Christ......for Him.

I wish for you, this Christmas, grace and peace from the God
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

14 December 2009

A Sense of Place

This is the house we lived in for two years...

It was a humble farm house, but it was
 my dream house.  

It was one of those funny old farmhouses that was added onto again and again as it was needed. 

09 December 2009

Let the Cold stay Outside

today is a cold, blustery day that conjures up images of Winnie the Pooh 

the sky in the north has been very dark... promising more of the same

the trees bend and the snowflakes swirl with no place to land

that's all outside.....where it should be....

Inside there are candles glowing and hot chili simmering.....

children laughing and scuffling and....arguing???

and a sore throat is throbbing....and body aching.....and mood is darkening......


not here.
not inside.

let the cold winds blow outside.......keep the heart fires warm inside.......

as it should be

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV

01 December 2009

Call Me Cordelia

If you are familiar with Maud Montgomery's 
Anne of Green Gables, 
you will recognize that line.  

After discovering that the Cuthbert's didn't want a girl, but rather a boy, Anne Shirley was asked her name. She replied, "Will you please call me Cordelia?" 
 After which, was a discussion about whether or not that was her name. 
Finally, she reluctantly agreed that they could call her by her real name, Anne, but only if they spelled it with an 'e'.

Cordelia was a "perfectly elegant" name and Anne, was a mere orphan whom nobody wanted. Cordelia was wonderful in Anne's imagination, while Anne, herself, was just plain unromantic 'Anne Shirley'.  
Anyone who has read the books, or seen the movies, knows that there is nothing plain at all about Anne Shirley. 

Still, it was how she felt about herself at the time.  

However, Cordelia, I have read, comes from the Latin and it means 'heart'. 
 Of which Anne's character has an abundance.

Sometimes, a person wants another name. 

 All of my children have gone through phases where they wanted to change their names. 
Sometimes, they change the nicknames we have for them or sometimes they begin introducing themselves to other people by their middle names.  Often, they will use their full given name as a sign of maturity and, sometimes, they have even used the equivalent of their names in another language. 

They are searching for a new, unique identity. 

Not the one given to them by Mom and Dad, 
but their very own. 
The one that describes who they want to be,
 or who they feel that they are.  

A name that shows another part of themselves, that shakes off the sameness of every day...

that lifts a cloud that has lingered too long.

This idea of being "called" another name that is not your own is actually biblical. We see it over and over again in Scripture.  

Lazarus had a sister who was "called" Mary. 

Mary, whose root is mara-which means bitter. Don't miss that one because she is the one who sat at Jesus' feet which was the "better choice".  

There was John, also called Mark, whom we call John Mark or just plain Mark.  

There was Joseph who was called Barnabas because that means "encourager". 

Saul who was called Paul.  

James and John were called the Sons of Thunder- does that name describe them or their father?  

Simon who was called Peter.

 Levi became Matthew. 

Even in the Old Testament,
 God changed names of people. 

Abram became Abraham. 
Sarai became Sarah. 
Jacob became Israel.

In the genealogy of Jesus in the book of Matthew, it reads "...Jesus, who is called the Christ." 
matthew 1:16

And in the book of Acts, we read that "...the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." acts 11:26

In Revelation, we are told that Jesus has a name that nobody knows yet. 

Isn't that wonderful? 

He has a name that has never been defiled by the mouth of Man. 

You are probably called other names besides the one you were given at birth. 
Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, Sis, Bubba...

While looking at old family photos I came across one that was labelled 
"Aunt Sister".  
Everyone in the family called her Sister and then it was Aunt Sister...
I thought that was rather odd, but names become part of you.

Your name becomes your identity.....
or your identity becomes your name.......
it depends.....

Lately, I've been thinking I'd rather be called something else...not because I dislike my name but because being me can get tiresome. 
Especially, when difficulties arise and I'd rather not deal with them, or I wish I were a better "me" who knows how to deal with them. 

I know that there is a name that Jesus has for me..a new name, the Bible says.....
and nobody will know it but me.
 revelation 2:17
That's exciting to think about....the perfected me, with the perfect name..

...but until then, 
 I can't seem to think of anything that seems to me to be "perfectly elegant" and I'd be afraid to be "called" something that fits my personality or my mood this week....

so, I'll just use one that's already been suggested......

"could you please call me Cordelia?"

Oh, and by the way, there really is a Cordelia in my family tree, so I actually have a claim to use it, don't you think? 

Here she is, (on the left)... don't you love the hat?

photos: sunsets on the north shore of PEI, smoky mountainsTN, family archives (c) deborah richardson