Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I started thinking tonight about all the gifts I received for Christmas this year. Two of my favorite were given to me by my parents because after all, who really would know more what I'd want or like than the ones who have spent most of my life with me? Here are two of the gifts they gave me that I absolutely adore:

Coasters cut from birch wood

You may not be able to tell from this picture but these are about 2.5 inches tall. Most darling little glass bottles I've ever seen. I love 'em.

My mind then wandered to my favorite intangible gifts of this know, experiences that happen during the season of Christmas. These I treasure in my mind's eye as I can't touch or hold them; things such as an impromptu visit with friends who recently moved back into town, enjoying a nearby neighbor's Christmas lights synced to music, or participating in my brother-in-law's church's "LED light" service Christmas Eve (yes, it was an LED service vs. candlelight; welcome to 2011~).

Gifts. There are the ones we look forward to and delight to open and the ones we will never touch or feel but nevertheless enjoy. But there is a third group of gifts I thought of in my random run of thoughts tonight. It's those gifts that seem to have been overlooked on our wish list, the one or maybe two things we REALLY WANTED. We fight the disappointment we feel when all has been unwrapped except that for which we had dreamed. We battle to be grateful.

Or perhaps it wasn't something you longed to unwrap but rather an experience: a peaceful family gathering, that special someone to have given some indication that he thinks of you and cares for you, or a boss's pat on the back and reassurance that you've had a productive year and are an asset to the team.

Your expectation was not met.

Your longing went unfulfilled

Your wish was not granted.

May I remind you as God reminded me tonight at the end of this random stream of thoughts of something He says to those who have longings unfulfilled and wishes not granted?

Psalm 84:11b says, "no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless."

and what about

Luke 11:13, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

You say you have asked. But, for what are you asking? When God says He doesn't withhold any good thing from you, He doesn't mean that "puppy in the window." Rather, He intends and will give us every good thing we need for life and godliness. He will give us His Holy Spirit through which we can receive all else He gives and withholds with peace and gratitude, with contentment and joy.

And sometimes, many times I've known God to mercifully give us that "puppy in the window", too.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Christmas at our house

Welcome to Christmas at our house. As a self proclaimed collector of nothing, I do nevertheless have quite an affinity for nativities, especially ones from around the world. Notice in my pictures this year a very special and new nativity scene brought to me all the way from Tanzania, Africa! Remembering how much I adore unique nativity scenes, my baby sister thoughtfully purchased this for me before returning to the States despite being deathly ill during her stay in Africa. Thank you, Kara! It is and YOU being home safely are the best Christmas gifts this year for me.

In case you care, a little more information about my Christmas decor this year...

The live Christmas tree is a very serious thing for me each year. I am a diehard live tree girl, though I still sincerely love all my friends and family who put up those awful artificial ones. ;)
My children graciously bear with me each year as I pass over many a tree to find the "perfect" one. Remembering last year's meltdowns, I decided I would turn the decision over to my children. They were grateful, quick, and did a GREAT job! Our tree this year may be the most beautiful one we've ever had.

The fabric garland hanging through my pass thru window was my momma's idea and Judah's execution. I love it's festiveness.

In one of my manger scenes, you may notice the baby Jesus missing from his cradle. That's on purpose. ;) I take Jesus out of his cradle and include an empty manger (a simple box w/ hay inside) under our Christmas tree each year. On Christmas morning, however, Jesus appears in his manger "wrapped in swaddling" clothes. Looking on the empty mangers throughout the month of December is a daily reminder of what this season is about: waiting for Jesus to come.