Saturday, December 27, 2008

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Where is He who is born King of the Jews?

Like folks today, the people living in Bethlehem and throughout the World didn't have a clue that their Saviour was being born as a lowly babe in a manger. If they had know or realized, there would have been rejoicing in the streets by some, but also the forces of Satan would also have been at work to thwart the plan of God to redeem the World.

So Christ was born quietly, without mid-wife, doctor, or assistance other than that of Joseph. The babe had no sterile environment in which to be laid. Yet he was more pure than anything ever to be placed in this world.

True there were Jewish scholars who studied the Torah and knew that God's anointed Messiah was to be born. But either their were oblivious to the clues or they were blinded by the eyes of Satan to expect Christ at that time and at that place. It was only when questioned by Herod that his scholars opened their eyes to the fact that a King of the Jews was to be born. And this only when Wise Men from the East came to Herod and asked where the King was for they had "seen his star."

They still await.
They still have not seen.
They are still oblivious.

Remembering a Church Christmas Program

I remember a church Christmas program a few years back (my kids were already grown). The kids 3 years and up to about 16 were giving a re-enactment of the Birth of the Christ Child.

The program was progressing nicely. And then when the kindergarten aged kiddies were lined up and singing their shepherd song, or an angel song - who remembers at this point? - the action began!

Shepherd #1, who was a pretty good size fellow for his age, for some reason decides that he is being crowded or needs more room or whatever. So he gives Shepherd #2 a shove.

Shepherd #2 is a smaller li'l fellow - whose family was in the States on student visa while Dad was in grad school and they were from a country very much South of the US - about as far South as you can go without being off the globe. Well, Shepherd #2 decides he's not going to be shoved around by the big guy. So he shoves back.

Then Shepherd #1 decides that the li'l Shepherd isn't going to shove him around! So he jabs Shepherd #2. What do you think Shepherd #2 does? He literally lights into Shepherd #1!

Pandemonium ensues.
Music stops.
Singing stops.
Moms fly.
And Shepherds no longer were watching their flocks by night!

So what are your memories of Christmas pagents at church or school? Have you a good tale to tell? Have you a precious memory of when you were a shepherd, angel, wiseman? Have you a story to tell of when you as a harried leader were trying to garner the talents of all the wee ones so they could present the ever-wonderful story of the birth of the Christ child? Sit back and reflect on Christmas past in your own life and see where it takes you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Upside Down

This is a particularly intriguing video. Please view it in it's entirety.

Upside Down from Pace Hartfield on Vimeo.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Traditional Christmas Dinner

Growing up my mother always did a lot of baking. Fruit cakes (even candied some of the fruit that went into it), black walnut cake, pound cake, Japanese Fruit Cake. So we had these for goodies.

For Christmas dinner she had regular ham (pink) and corned ham. For those who are not familiar with corned ham: It is fresh ham that has been salted for a couple weeks. Usually the butcher (yes, a little corner butcher) did this for Mom, but I do recall a time or so she had to do it herself when she couldn't get the one from the butcher. With the 2 hams, Mom made her famous potato salad, fresh collard greens (for those in the North, these are only good if grown in someone's back yard and not on a big farm , they are cooked and seasoned just right and yummy), green beans, rice/gravy, homemade rolls, homemade cranberry sauce (Mom even branched out and started making one with ground up oranges - can't find her recipe for it, though), candied sweet potatoes (made with fresh sweet potatoes that are peeled and sliced length wise, placed in a baking dish with sugar, cinnamon, butter, touch of water and vanilla).

Of course, we were too full of candy to really enjoy the meal to it's fullest (pun intended), but we did a lot of damage. Anyway, we were definitely too full for dessert so that waited a little while. When dessert came, we had Mom's cakes and they were so good. Mom actually made and sold these cakes to a select few in town. I don't know if she made any money on them, but people wanted them so Mom made them. I do know that for the family, she had very large tins (she could stack about 4 cakes atop each other in them) in which she would put her cakes and keep stored in a cold bedroom (no heat in them). She would carefully wrap the cakes and place them in the tins. They would mellow and were so good.

Oh the memories are so good!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Taking our Portion

Every man to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:19 (King James Version)

Let's take a moment and think a little about this verse. I don't think it is referring to "riches and wealth" as being very wealthy or having great riches. I believe it is referring to having enough for what you need and then perhaps some to share.

This being the case, we are given "power to eat thereof" - you know having our tummies full, having our needs met, and being able to do it in joy.

Also, we are able to "take his portion" as in we have what we need - for there is no other way to truly view your "portion" as anything other than what you need.

And then where do we get this "riches and wealth"? Why we get it from our labours and now we are able to "rejoice in our labours." It is wonderful to have the mental acuity, physical health and strength, and opportunity to actually WORK or LABOUR.

And then, finally, we can recognize that all this is a "gift of God." What a joy to know that God provides our labor, our portion, and the rejoicing we have in these.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WWII - The Battle of the Bulge

On December 16, 1944 an infamous battle was fought in Belgim. The Battle of the Bulge as it was known. Remembering this terrible time in the history of Europe and of the American Armed Forces, brings to mind the ultimate sacrifice of so many of the young of America and Allied Forces.
The battle was fought on fields of snow and during very cold conditions. There was the terror of death, of the enemy, of the weather. Fear of many types was rampant. Yet, these young men fought for the freedom of the World.
Pause and remember them. Remember, too, the young men and women who today are fighting for freedom. And fighting against the terrors of this day.
(Pictured: American soldiers of the 75th Division photographed in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge. Reference: )

Monday, December 1, 2008

Is "cussing" acceptable?

A question was recently raised as to the acceptability of certain words online. Words of a profane and vulgar nature. Quite frankly, I prefer to dwell in polite society where that type of language is never appropriate. I don't mean specifically "church society," either.

Gentlemen and Ladies simply do not need to use vulgar or profane language. I was not exposed to it and we never exposed our children to it. It simply was not and is not acceptable to us. That does not mean that the feeling expressed by some of the words or terms expressing anger, dismay, etc. have not being felt. It simply means that you learn to control your verbal expressions as well as your physical expressions.

Now that is simply "polite society." As a Christian we have a higher calling to control and cleanse our tongues and our emotions. We are not to act or live profanely or in any sort of a vulgar manner. It would not be pleasing to our Lord and Saviour. Nor would it honor Him who has redeemed us.