Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Real Christmas Story

Last Sunday evening Hubby and I attended an amazing presentation by the Broodmoor Baptist Church choir and orchestra here in our city of the work,
"SAVIOUR" .

This is the whole story of our Christ from "In The Beginning" to the final number that ends with this line:
"With honor for the risen Lord we praise our coming King.  We consecrate our lives to You with thanks for all these things."

This is the story of Christmas!
From "In the beginning was the word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," to the end where we are assured that He will come again and we, His followers will be taken into Heaven to spend eternity with Him ---

This is the story of Christmas!

It is the in-between story that tells us the most about Christmas though isn't it?

 The words "Bondage, bondage, cruel oppression and bondage" describe us as a people and why we needed a Christmas long ago and still do today.

"God was there with patient care.  He taught them all His ways and loved them as His very own...a pillar of cloud led the children by day and a fire in the night as the Lord showed the way...manna from heaven, water from stone.  Miracle power of the Lord was shown.
God in His glory Whose wonders abound is leading His children to higher ground.
The Promised Land."

Holiness and majesty God revealed for man to see!

 But we have very short memories and even shorter patience with the present.
We soon forgot those miracles and fell back into our great need for a Saviour.  One who would pay our price for the forgetfulness and inability to remain pure and holy as He intended before the plucked apple.

We needed a Saviour!

"And the people said, 'We need a Saviour, who'll come in glory and in power.  Lord, hear our cry, 'cause You know we need Him now.' " 

But, that Saviour didn't come as they expected or as we expect, did He?

Rather than coming as a king upon a great white horse and a crown of great jewels to de-throne the evilness that keeps us in bondage, He came wearing a crown of thorns.  He came demanding obedience and faithfulness and surrender.
He came as a little baby so near to the heart of God and became the "Rose of Sharon", a lovely bloom taken in its prime.
My heart broke as I heard the words and saw the images of a suffering King; a Rose with wilted petals that spoke of an unimaginable act of suffering and death.

I thought, "God, why did He have to suffer so?  Why couldn't he just die?  Why did He have to be beaten beyond recognition?  Why did He have to endure such great pain?  Couldn't your plan have been less cruel for your Only Begotten Son?

"He was despised and rejected by man.  A man who was acquainted with grief.  And as one from whom men hide their faces, we regarded as one who was stricken by God.  He was a man of sorrows."

My Saviour was born to die!

"He was pierced for our transgressions.  He was bruised for our iniquities.  By His stripes we are healed.  He bore our griefs, He was afflicted.  He was despised, we turned our backs on Him.  A man of sorrows."

We needed a Saviour!
 "It was God's plan to bruise Him that His soul be made an offering for sin.  By the fruit of His suffering He was satisfied.  This righteous Servant made many righteous.
O, precious man of sorrows."

Why that ugly, horrible cross?  Why the broken bones, the pierced flesh?  The agony?

It was a cross of love!
"This must be a cross of love, for God to bruise His only son Jesus, what a sacrifice to reach us - it had to be a cross of love.
I'll never comprehend how an act so great gave love expression."

I needed a Saviour!
 "Light of the world with hope fills the sky for gone is the power of the darkness.  The tomb that held the Son of God breaks with a cry from heaven.
'He who was dead is risen!  Up from the grave ascended!  The reign of death is ended!' "
"In that day of suffering and sorrow Son of heaven died.  God eternal slain for the sins of men."

"We can share in His resurrection because we have been liberated and so shall we live and so shall we reign in glory and power, now and forever."

So shall we live because
WE HAVE A SAVIOUR
and
 This is the Real Christmas Story!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fudge, Favorite Things & Bronco Football

We are on the Christmas count down but not too busy to take time for
with Joyce and the gang.  So come join us!

1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen?
Although I admire what these people did, I would like to see the more than 100 Fort Bragg Green Beret medal recipients given this honor.  On March 27, 2014, in a massive ceremony to recognize valor in Afghanistan, these soldiers with the 3rd Special Forces Group, were praised for risking their lives over multiple combat tours in recent years.

The medals included eight Silver Stars, 27 Bronze Stars for valor, 36 Army Commendation Medals for valor and 27 Purple Hearts.  Their stories are those of true heros who selflessly gave of themselves to save the life or lives of their fellow soldiers and civilians as well.  As our military dwindles in size, there will be fewer of these awards given.

2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home?  Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today!

Favorite-something old:  An intricately crocheted bedspread done by my maternal grandmother.
Favorite-something new:  My Canon Rebel T5i camera (following are some of my favorite recent pics)
Favorite-something borrowed: I don't have anything borrowed, sorry
Favorite-something blue:Not a huge blue fan, but I do like these pieces currently in my sunroom
3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without?
  
HUGE YAY!!  Give me peanut butter fudge, butterscotch fudge, just plain fudge fudge.  I like fudge!  We used to make fudge every Sunday afternoon when I was a teen, but I rarely make it now.  It must have nuts, yes.

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks?

I was 28 when I made my first flight.  We flew with a group to the Holy Land, but that's another story.  Do I like to fly?  Yes and no.  Yes, I love the views once I'm up, but the getting up there is what I don't like.  No, I have never been to the NC Outer Banks.

Just a tidbit of info.  When we were at the Henry Ford Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI in September, we saw the Wright Brothers bicycle shop where their first "plane" was actually built and their family home.  Very Interesting!

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?

My grandfather, father and husband were in the ministry.  My son, daughter, and five nephews are in various aspects of the medical field.

6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?

Getting this blog ready to post in between appointments and a Christmas party tonight.

7. This Christmas I hope (pray) for a reawakening among God's people that our country may turn from its wicked ways and experience revival before it's too late.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Today, grandson and the Western Michigan University football team flew to Boise, Idaho
(Shown emerging from plane)
 to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday.
 I know it isn't one of the biggie bowl games, but it is an exciting time for this Bronco team.  They have come from a losing season last year to a winning team in 2014 and for the 6th time is school history are playing in a bowl game.  They have never won; however, they have been given a 3-point spread for this game against Air Force.
Should someone in your home have time to watch Saturday at 4:45 CT on ESPN, look for #85 as a back-up center and special teams, or #41 at tight end.

 Hubby and I will not be going to the game but Grandson's parents will be there to root on the team.  We do leave Sunday though to be with this precious family for Christmas and New Years in northern Indiana.
GEAUX BRONCOS!
and
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's A Hallmark Christmas

I knew my next door neighbors decorated well for Christmas, but I had no idea how well until I walked in their front door.

From the moment one walks into the entry of this lovely Garden Home, the spirit of Christmas and family invades one's senses.

There are actually two combined themes in the long-collected decorations.

Both Bob and Bernie collected Hallmark ornaments and nativity scenes even before their marriage a few years ago.  Now, these collections are combined beautifully to tell the story of family history and tradition.  They are rearing Bernie's pre-teen twin granddaughters, Katelin and Taylor and truly teaching them the meaning of Christmas.

On the entry table is the first of Bernie's many nativity scenes.  It is a collection of Jim Shore nativity figures and sets the stage for the rest of the house.
Just to the left inside the dining room is the first of many Christmas trees.

This is the most unique tree I have ever seen.
It is a revolving Family Tree holding pictures of five generations on both sides of the family.  Bernie told me the girls enjoy this tree the most.
Interspersed among the pictures are Hallmark ornaments that have special family significance.
There are Hallmark collectables throughout the home such as this grouping in the dining room.
The centerpiece on the dining table is a small nativity scene that Bernie purchased many years ago.
There is Hallmark Christmas even in the kitchen.
Bernie proudly showed me her special Spode Tree made up of actual pieces of Spode china ornaments that she continues to collect along with her latest interest, lighthouses.
In the living room, beginning with the piano which Taylor and Katelin played beautifully for me, are musical collectables.
Atop the hutch is only a portion of their complete Hallmark Heritage Village.
On a side table, is a picture of Bernie and her older sister with one of their childhood Christmas Trees that they lovingly call their "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" and beside it is a gift from a friend reminiscent of that tree.  I could relate to this as many of my childhood trees resembled Charlie Brown's as well.
 And this is the Charlie Brown Collectable ornament.
The music theme continues on the coffee table with two very different but beautiful music boxes.
The mantel above a roaring fire features the largest and oldest nativity scene in the home.
Bernie explained to me that when she was pregnant with her daughter (who is now 43) and unable to purchase many Christmas presents, she made this nativity for her mother-in-law.  At her death, Bernie's father-in-law returned it to her and it has had a prominent place in her home ever since.
The main feature in the living room is of course Bob's huge rotating Hallmark Tree.  It is laden with ornaments that date back 34 years when his daughter was born and he has continued to collect new editions. Many are musical and/or animated.  There are extensive collections of Santas, snow bears, elves, and many others. 
Bob started decorating his tree at Thanksgiving and I can understand why.
In the hallway below childhood confirmation pictures of Bob and Bernie is a collection series of Musical Snowmen.  I was amazed at the beautiful and true sounds from these "instruments".
Inside the master bedroom is Bernie's beautiful Seraphim Angel Nativity.
From the kitchen
to the bathrooms
there is the feeling of Christmas.

But, the girls could not wait to show me their rooms.

On this dresser amidst another from Bernie's collection of nativity sets is a singing angel that when activated will start other singing angels in other rooms.
What lovely Christmas sounds emanating throughout this home.
Taylor and Katelin proudly showed off their collectable Hallmark ornaments on their personal tree.
Every morning, one of the girls moves the countdown marker leading up to Christmas.  What a great way to start their day.
And of course, they have their own early childhood nativity collectables.
These adorable twins were featured on a local magazine cover several years ago.  They are not only pretty, talented, and polite young ladies, but very smart and involved in their Magnet School.
Thank you Dr. Bob and Bernie,
 Katelin and Taylor for allowing me to share your wonderful Christmas Hallmark wonderland of family, music and tradition.