Monday, November 27, 2006

What does Christmas mean to you???

“Christmas” means different things to different people. To some, it is merely a word. A time of the year that signals a few days away from the office and great sales at the mall. To others, it is a frustrating time of fighting crowds, shoveling the driveway and wrapping gifts. And still, to others, it is a time of reflection on the year that is almost gone – a time of merriment spent with family and friends.

To me, Christmas has always meant family. Christmas was always the one time of the year that I got to see almost every member of my family at least once. It has always been a time of joy, of reconciliation, of peace.

As a child I remember being at Grandma Alice’s house eating her pumpkin bread late into the night and gawking at the gifts that lay under the warmly lit tree. As the gold lights cast an amber glow on our faces, we would crawl on the floor under the tree looking for our presents, only stopping for a short moment to glance at the nativity placed delicately among the trappings. For as long as I could remember, an angel hovered over that holy family with a banner in her arms proclaiming “Gloria”, and since that is my mother’s name, I was sure that angel was there just for us.

As I grew older, Christmas started to become less of a holiday and more of a hectic time for me. My calendar kept me at school functions, at work and with friends nearly every day of the week, and I had little time for family. Christmas was another item on my never ending “to do” list. It never occurred to me that Christmas would ever be any different than what it had always been.

Now Christmas looks very different. We still meet at Grandma Alice’s, but much has changed through the years. The faces of our family have changed. Some have been born, some have passed away. Some have married in, some have divorced out. The rest of us have merely aged. The house is very different as well. The smells in the house have changed. Rooms have been added on. There are many more gifts under the tree.

And yet regardless of all the changes that have taken place and have yet to take place, one fact remains unchanged. Under all the wrapping paper and ribbons. Under all the food and festivities. Under all the hustle and bustle, Christmas is about one thing: the birth of Jesus, our Lord. He lies patiently in a manger under our Christmas tree – amidst the sparkling gifts and the snooping children – waiting for us to remember Him.

“O, holy night, the stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
The thrill of hope! The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees, and hear the angel’s voices!
O Night Divine! O, night, when Christ was born.
O, Night Divine! O, night, o night divine.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Here is a little something I wrote for my family at Thanksgiving a few years ago. I was inspired by the song "Gratitude" by Nichole Nordeman, and felt I needed to put some words down. I tried to find the song for my profile, but had no luck. You'll have to find it yourself! Happy Thanksgiving...

Hundreds of years ago, a group of rebels crossed the ocean, and decided to make a strange land their new home. Imagine what dreams they had on the boat! I wonder if they dreamed of the blessings God would bestow upon them when they arrived; the riches they would find; the feasts they would have. I'm sure the windy nights on the long trip across the Atlantic were filled with prayers. "Father, bring us water, food and peace." "God, Keep us safe." History tells us that not every day was easy. Not every person survived. Not everyone was warm. But history also tells us that, in the midst of all the turmoil and hardships, the pilgrims took a day to gather together and thank God for His many blessings, and centuries later we still come together to celebrate that day. Don't let today be just about the turkey and noodles. Look around you and let today be a day to thank God for what He's done for you. Remember that while you dine on stuffing and pie, most of the world dines on rice—if anything at all. Remember that while the children in our family make noise and get under our feet while we cook, there are a lot of couples yearning to conceive. Remember also that while you may be asking God to answer your prayers the way you want, He may have already answered them the way He wants. Take the time today to thank Him. Our Lord provides for us in ways we see every day, and also in ways we'll never understand. He deserves our praise! Please, enjoy this song, and while you do, I hope you take from it what I have. That God is bigger than we can ever imagine—His ways are not always like ours.


Send some rain, would you send some rain? 'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again. The sun is high and we are sinking in the shade.

Would you send a cloud - thunder long and loud? Let the sky grow black, and send some mercy down.Surely you can see that we are thirsty and afraid.

But maybe not, not today. Maybe you'll provide in other ways,

And if that's the case…

We'll give thanks to You with gratitude, For lessons learned in how to thirst for you. How to bless the very sun that warms our face If you never send us rain.

Daily bread, give us daily bread. Bless our bodies, keep our children fed. Fill our cups, then fill them up again
tonight. Wrap us up, and warm us through Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs. Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time.

Or maybe not, not today Maybe You'll provide in other ways,

And if that's the case…

We'll give thanks to You with gratitude - A lesson learned to hunger after You. That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead - if we never taste that bread.

Oh the differences that often are between Everything we want and what we really need.

So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace Move our hearts
to hear a single beat between alibis and enemies tonight.

Or maybe not, not today. Peace might be another world away,

And if that's the case…
We'll give thanks to You with gratitude For lessons learned in how to trust in You. That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream - in abundance or in need - if you never grant us peace.

But Jesus, would you please…

Written by Nichole Nordeman © 2002 Ariose Music / ASCAP / Admin. By EMI Christian Music Publishing