All posts in Holiday

A Girls Trip to Paris

So finally, I had a chance to write about my mystery trip to Paris. I hope you enjoy!

http://www.nowu.com/article/travel/two-moms–two-daughters-take-on-the-city-of-love/20257061/

Cosmic Intervention

Many science fiction movies begin with a cosmic thunderbolt and an alien appearance. That’s when they lose me.

When I pondered the Christmas story–the story that is pivotal to the universe–the backstory of our lives, the magnitude of it awed me once again.

Philippians 2 is a great description of not only the incarnation, but of our example, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here’s how the New Living Translation puts it:

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Phil. 2: 5-8.

It’s as if the cosmic thunderbolt of all thunderbolts hit this planet when the God of the universe clothed himself with our skin.

To live a perfect life.

To die a gruesome death.

To be raised for our transgressions.

So we could have life.

That story never loses me.

Monday’s Musings

A father and two sons lingered around the cutting board cleaning their twelve-inch trout caught off of a local pier. It was the Saturday before Easter. Tourists often flock around our charter boat at the end of the day, especially around the holidays. Mostly to check out my husband Tom’s catch. But this young family didn’t care about our catch, they beamed at theirs. I conversed easily with them while the father worked.

“Happy Easter!” I wished them as they walked away.

The man gave me a peculiar look. “Actually, this is the first year we’ve celebrated Easter. You see, we are Jewish. But last summer I began to research and examine the claims of Jesus, and well,…I converted.” He stated this as if he just discovered it for himself.

“Praise the Lord!” came automatically from my lips. We talked a while longer. I mentioned that I just finished the book, “The Case for Easter,” by Lee Strobel. The young father mentioned a few books he read and a Christian website he followed. I informed him of the standard ‘He is risen—He is risen indeed,’ greeting. True fellowship.

Before leaving, he looked at me and said, “It really is a miracle, isn’t it?” His face glowed.

Growing up in the church, I looked forward to Easter. First, there was the basket. Then I graduated from the basket to a new dress. (Although I always kept the basket.) The Sunrise Service was a favorite of mine. And in The Salvation Army, we shared Easter breakfast together. After that, we filed into the sanctuary to hear good music, and a rich sermon. A busy, happy day.

When I was young, the church service was the least important to me. As I’ve grown older, supplied Easter baskets and some new clothes to my kids, I tend to take the whole season for granted. It seems to sneak up on me.

I don’t think that is a ‘good thing,’ it just seemed to be a ‘life thing.’ So this year, my goal to finish Strobel’s book before Easter seemed to be a worthy one.

It was a blessing. I took much needed time to meditate on the cross. But maybe for the first time I began to get a better grasp on the resurrection and what it means to Christians. That can’t be overstated. A mere ‘awesome’ doesn’t begin to cover it.

When two friends bury two sons in two weeks, the resurrection takes on personal significance. It becomes real. Palpable. Immense.

Not just something we celebrate, but something we believe. A belief that we base our lives on. As it should be.

It really is a miracle, isn’t it?

Christmas Comments

There are certain ‘givens’ at Christmas. One is that your lights will work when you plug them in, but then when you’ve spent 30 minutes stapling them to your house, only half light up. Two is that all women everywhere will have a meltdown where they will sob uncontrollably because of their impossible ‘Santa’s delivery length list’ that is taped to the fridge, staring at her like the wanted posters in the post office. This list can never be accomplished by any human. (But if accomplishing it were possible, only the female species could do it.) And the third given is that women tend to assess their lives at this season of the year.

I did that last night.

I think it started when we were practicing for the Christmas program at church. I watched the people who’d become my spiritual family over the last 25 years from a different view. The ‘leaving’ view. This will probably be my last year in Florida before my move to North Carolina. I will miss them all and my eyes showed it. I’ve known some of these people for 25 years. There are many new family members. I’ve grown to love them. Then there are the young adults who were babies when I joined Lakeside. They were unaware of my musings, as I watched them with their babies.

I thought of how my daughter went away to Florida State University 3 years ago. The first year she was home at Thanksgiving and set up my 6 Christmas villages, the tree and all of the lights, which was always her ‘job’. Last year she set up most of the villages and the tree. This year she positioned 4 villages, but left the rest to me, including the tree.

So when my husband complained about the tree raising, I lost it. I reminded him of everything that he’d ever done wrong and not done right. As I continued my rant, I blurted out, “This may be my last Christmas here where I have friends. Our kids won’t come and see us in the boondocks and I need you to be my friend since I won’t have one other soul to talk to—except maybe chickens!”

There. I said it. Mentally, I played the ‘what if’ game. The age old women’s Christmas carol rang in my mind:

What if Micah breaks his leg, on the eve of Christmas?
What if Sarah wrecks her car, and she goes to heaven?
What if Tommy finds a lump and it costs a fortune,
What if I can find no friends? No more Merry Christ-mas-es!

Tom saw the gravity of the situation and quietly stapled aforementioned lights above our bookshelves. He didn’t utter curses when the lights didn’t work and he had to undo all that he’d done. Together, we hoisted the tree. By the time Micah arrived home, the tension eased. I informed him that after dinner, he was decorating the tree. He gave some sort of Scrooge reply. That, was not wise.

After dinner, I cleaned up while Tom and Micah decorated the tree without complaint. I even heard a few laughs. I gave them their first lesson in gift-wrapping. They fought over tape and competed for best wrapped gift. Neither won. Grandma snuggled into her room, and I had time to contemplate.

Things change. People grow older, children move away. Some change is good, and some is hard. It’s part of life on this sin-soaked earth.

I’m studying the book of Isaiah in Bible Study Fellowship. Each week, the leader concentrates on an attribute of God. This weeks’ attribute was ‘immutability.’ God never changes. I need to trust that. Probably, you need a reminder of that, too.

Let me leave you with a verse from Isaiah 26: 3,4.

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.”

Let’s hold onto that Rock, the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel.

Merry Christmas.