Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas by Julia {plus a little Piper} and Our Icy Weekend

We are all in full anticipation mode.  It’s hard to beat this time of year.  All of life’s best things come together for a season and most everyone takes the time to enjoy it, if not for just a day.  Family, food delights, anticipation, a meal around the table, hopeful children, familiar and special music, surprises, beauty, time with loved ones, worship, a birthday....


All of our experiences of Christmas are different even as we are celebrating the same thing.  That must bring joy to God’s heart seeing all of the ways His children decide to anticipate and celebrate Him.  Ever since the children were really young, I have enjoyed all of the pictures drawn of Christmas and what they had been taught.  I have a small collection that I just can’t seem to let go of and I place them around the house each Christmas.  I don’t get the pictures from them anymore but last year, Julia brought me these words that were an overflow of her heart Christmas night.  And I got a peek into how she was pondering and experiencing Christmas as a ten year old.



Christmas by Julia

I love Christmas time with it's festive lights and colors.

It comes only once a year with trees and Santa Claus and reindeer and wishes of good cheer. 

People fill the stores.  Traffic jams and long, long lines are the stressful part of Christmas. 
  
But on Christmas Eve, the present becomes unwrapped and joy fills the air as you hear the story of the years gone by when the Story of the Savior fills the ears. 

And we remember the real and the true meaning of Christmas.  Not the presents or the tree not even the lights but how Jesus came to save the world and love us all the years.  

So please remember the beautiful story of that Midnight Clear.



It IS a beautiful story.  And I think, one of the most interesting and magical in all of history.  I struggle EVERY year as I think how we’ve almost buried it with stuff we don’t even need.  My kids have want lists and they can’t WAIT for the presents around Christmas.  I am the same way but at the same time, I am grieved.  We’ve done it to ourselves so therefore we have to PRACTICE making the story a big deal---to resurrect it from the sale papers and movies about elves and talking reindeer.

I am guilty.

So this wondrous story.... I’ve read it a few hundred times, so how much more to it can there be?  Why so wondrous?



I am determined to read the Advent book I ordered a couple of years ago.  Last year, I was able to read a few entries but Christmas after the move into the rental seemed a bit blurry.  This particular book, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus edited by Nancy Guthrie has entries from many pastors and teachers from Martin Luther to George Whitefield to Tim Keller. I have been so blessed by it these first ten days of December.  Of all the ways I have been challenged and been given great thoughts to ponder about the Word, I will share this one with you.

John Piper slowed my reading down when he talked about when we pursue Holy Spirit's empowerment and filling, we must do it indirectly by pursuing the Son, Jesus, as the Spirit doesn't reveal Himself but the Spirit reveals Christ.  Maybe I could have figured this out but I have been very focused on being filled with the Spirit so I may manifest the fruit of the Spirit and have felt very defeated- especially in my parenting.  I have no idea if I have ignored Jesus in some way but I feel it's worth exploring and praying through.

Piper says, “If we look away from Jesus and seek the Spirit and His power directly, we will end up in the mire of our subjective emotions.”  Piper is highlighting the Spirit’s work in the Christmas story-- his quiet, unobtrusive work, his delicate and mysterious work--ALL to magnify Jesus, to put Jesus in the limelight, not Himself.

I love this.  And in my non-Piper way of thinking, I believe I understand it.  It’s always been about Jesus.  Every Old Testament story points to Jesus.  ALL of creation anticipated His birth and arrival.  I LOVE how Luke says in Chapter 2 Verse 6, ”While they were there, THE TIME came for the baby to be born.”  THE time EVERYTHING had been anticipating since the beginning. “Significant moment in history” falls short.  THE moment.  THE game changer.  Jesus.  Here.  Why would we focus on anything but the Son?  Why do I?

Here’s a last Piper thought to leave you with....

“Devote yourselves to seeing and feeling grandeur of the love of God in Jesus Christ and you will be so in harmony with the Holy Spirit that His power will flow mightily in your life.  Christian spiritual experience is not a vague religious emotion.  It is an emotion with objective content and the content is Jesus Christ.”

Yes!

But on Christmas Eve, the present becomes unwrapped and joy fills the air as you hear the story of the years gone by when the Story of the Savior fills the ears. 

And we remember the real and the true meaning of Christmas.  Not the presents or the tree not even the lights but how Jesus came to save the world and love us all the years.  

So please remember the beautiful story of that Midnight Clear.



And for a few snow ice pictures…

It blew in Thursday night and we awakened to this.


And it was thick, hard ice.




Gabe was CRAZY out there.  He just LOVED it. 






SHEETS of ice and no sun or rising temperatures to thaw it out.







Plenty of time to make Christmas candy--- and eat it.


And a drawback of this kind of homeschooling-- there really aren’t snow days since most assignments are completed at home.  
Check out the pile of snow outside the window.  It measured about 3 1/2 feet high.  Our own little snow drift in Texas. 

2 comments:

Sarah said...

That big street reminds me of Giverny... it looks like you had a blast in the ice. I'm ready for it all to melt!

Julia is one talented girl... she must have got her writing skills from her mama!

Alyssa said...

I second what Sarah said about Julia!