A Christian Hates Carols and Trees?

Why would any Christian hate Christmas trees or Christmas carols?

Back when my kids were younger our Christmas season was so stressful with all the grandparent gift competition and squabbling over where we were spending the day, I was so disgusted with it all that I simply quit. I actually stopped putting up a tree for quite a few years! We all needed to focus on the joy and not the gift. Consequently, I was called a Scrooge by quite a few so-called Christians! Because I didn’t decorate the way they thought I should? I was a Scrooge. Hmmm… Since Christmas is supposed to be about the birth and not the tree, I ignored those comments because they showed the position of their heart.

When I did some research, I found the word “Christmas” is short for “Christ’s Mass” given from the Catholic Church. Christ’s actual Birth was (according to the Roman census) in early September, not the end of December. As with most holidays, they evolve. The church wanted to coincide with the pagan holidays and this one fell on winter solstice. (Just Bing search it!) I don’t believe for one second that Jesus cares one iota if we celebrate his birthday. I do believe he does care that we celebrate his life! I do believe he cares that we honor his death and the sacrifice he made for all mankind. And I do believe he gives us the joy of celebrations, whenever they are, because he loves us! After all, his first miracle was at a party!

But Christmas Carols in November?? I think I finally figured out why Christmas Carols make me change the radio station faster than Frosty snowboarding with Clark Griswald! All songs have a subject. Originally, these songs were written to bring light to the birth of the Christ, the Savior of the World. It’s all about the “fluff”. Momma’s, don’t we all know how messy birthing babies can be? Yet, even through the pain and the mess, we find love looking in that little baby’s face, then we turn around and do it all over again! We smile at the goodness while ignoring the ugly. That’s what a Christmas Carol is all about. Sweet and beautiful.

So why the sink in my soul every time I hear a carol? The same sink that made me put away the tree. The meaning and joy has been zapped right out of it! Let me ask you this, do you hear a song about the life of Jesus in a major retail store any other time of the year? No. We wouldn’t want to offend anyone, right? But during the Holidays, carols are promoted because studies prove that people buy more “stuff” when they are played over the intercom. Our society has evolved the Christmas Holiday into commercialism. I get depressed just thinking about all the junk I’m subliminally made to feel I should buy, and the ungrateful people who could care less about their gifts, and all the money wasted.

I have to always remember the enemy has been trying to thwart Christianity for over 6,000 years. He is pretty good at taking the good things God created and using them for evil. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” People and things are not our enemy…attitudes are. We can’t throw out the baby with the bath water!

Eventually, I began to focus on things that will matter a hundred years from now. People not presents. I’m not worried about who can come to Christmas dinner and who can’t or won’t. We can always get together another weekend. I don’t stress about the perfect gift. Personally, I treasure homemade gifts. Yesterday, my dad gave me a present of a handpicked perfect mix of nuts, full of Brazilians!! That two pound can he wrapped up is by far the best present I’ve had in years!

Yes, we still exchange gifts, and I still decorate my house, but I focused on nativity sets, which represents the purpose for the season. We stopped putting our gifts under the tree (yes, I do have a tree these days), though now our new tradition is to put them under the large nativity, the reason for the season. The kids began focusing on giving and not receiving, and I stopped feeling guilty for not buying them everything society said I should. Win.

Amazingly enough, the Joy came back! And…every once in a while…I’ll even sing a carol or two.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” ~John 3:16-17

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Another Birthday Bites The Dust

Well…another birthday down. It was a good day. Naturally, as with most of my previous birthdays, it rained. Well…more like torrential downpours complete with lightening, thunder, and disintegrated hair! I’m not exactly sure why, but so many of my birthdays came trenched in stormy weather…so much so that it became the running joke in my family. It used to bother me, but eventually I learned to laugh at it and just go with the flow.

I usually don’t care to have any celebrations. Oh, but I’m all about the ice cream! Cold Stone Creamery (3)

Cold Stone Creamery (6)

That’s about as far as I go in enjoying any kind of party. I never really asked or expected one growing up and the few parties I had ended up with unwanted drama. I remember my 13th birthday very well…we wound up in the neighbor’s basement hiding from the tornado that ripped through town! :/

The day before yesterday, my husband told me he was going to take me to work and we would go out after since I only worked in the morning. While I was at work, he serviced my car, complete with new windshield wipers! Then he said the day was mine…to do with whatever I wanted. Wow. He even took me shopping for clothes…for girly clothes! 😉 Now that’s love!

No, I didn’t hear from all my kids. No, I didn’t even hear from my parents. And, no, my social media didn’t blow up with well wishes (mostly because I hide the date!!).

But, I don’t need all the pomp and stance. I know I am loved by those that matter. I know I am valued by the Lord. He gives me purpose. I am completely content with who God made me to be.

No, life is not perfect. Sometimes it really stinks. But, God gives joy in the middle of the storms.

And yet, the day ended with another of God’s beautiful sunsets…in spite of the rain clouds!

Who could really ask for more?

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Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

I’ve seen a lot of people post, “Happy Single Awareness Day!” which cracks me up since Valentine’s Day is more for “Singles” than any other group! If it weren’t for hinting wives and FB, not many married men would even remember the holiday! (Except mine…be jealous girls!! LOL)

Saint Valentine himself was… SINGLE!

But…did you know that the holiday is centered around his torture and beheading? Read more here: This Day In History .

As we go through this day…let’s ask ourselves who in our lives has sacrificed more for us than any other. That is worth celebrating!

my-rose

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The Brightest Star

I wrote this poem a few years back for a very special daughter of one of my best friends after the children’s Christmas program at our church. She always had a way of putting life into perspective…

1982

The Brightest Star

A baby born to parents young,
just starting out in life.
She formed a bond of love so tight,
baby, husband, and wife.

All American family,
the world was at their hand.
They dreamed of trips, the three of them,
the ocean and the sand.

The doctors’ words were cruel and hard,
“She’ll never be like those
who run and play, who laugh and sing,
her kind we will dispose.”

Then love broke in their aching hearts,
for quiet answers lie
in Special babies God has blessed,
not the world’s reply.

While all the children shine like stars
on Christmas program night,
this special child the Lord did see
in her the brightest light.

For from her eyes God’s kingdom shines,
her silent lips proclaim,
to ‘sign’ the words from palm to palm,
His praises to exclaim.

Yet through the words she could not sing,
His love she longed to tell.
From palm to palm she ‘signed’ His name,
and Glory on her fell.

June 1984

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Holiday Grace

Thanksgiving & Christmas Thankfulness…My little Speech? Statement? Declaration? My final breath? 😉

I’m so thankful for a faith rooted in love not terror; in life not death. I’m so thankful God allowed me to see him through His Spirit…and not in the examples or interpretations of earthly fallible men. I’m so thankful God gave us his Holy Spirit and his Word for guidance, strength, and comfort, and for the remaining churches that love the outcast like Jesus did (John 4).

I’m so thankful I don’t attend a church that doesn’t allow anyone older than the millennial generation in worship band/choir, but rather exonerates all walks of life (1 Kings 12:13). I’m so thankful I don’t attend a church that doesn’t allow newer, timeless, music for fear of letting go of traditions or just plain being stuck in the 80’s (Job 32:8-9). I’m so thankful I don’t attend a church that clings to suit & tie & stocking hosiery instead of acknowledging that man looks at the outward appearance while God looks at the heart and wants our worship to be a place where people can be real, be accepted, and loved in ordinary jeans (1 Samuel 16:7: Matt 23:27).

I’m so thankful that even though I will never live up to the expectations of people who are so quick to believe the worst, I am forgiven and accepted by a God who loves me just as I was created (John 3:16-17). I’m so thankful for the friends God has placed in my life, people who would not listen to negativity, realizing that to believe hearsay without verification is the same as the original telling of the lie, for lies are only for enemies (Eph 4).

I’m so thankful for my husband and the restoration God has worked through our lives. We are not perfect, but we choose not to control each other, but rather to let God be in control; we choose to respect instead of belittle; we choose to love in spite of our baggage.

Finally, I’m so very thankful for the children God allowed me to birth, even thru the distance, disagreements, and miss-communications, they all know their Momma’s love will never end. My prayer for you is that your road will wind its way to the Lord; that you will always seek Truth; that your faith will be your own, and to know that… “our struggle is not against flesh and blood {people}, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12).

Most of all, never ever forget…”nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39).

That is all. (This is about as mushy as I’ll ever get….)


~Nora, Daughter of Abba God, Wife, Mom, Friend.

Jesus is the Light

Saturday…the day in-between…

The space between. That very long Saturday. The day between what Christians call Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This year…a full moon…a blood moon.

Moonrise (4a)

Jesus was a very common name back then. In today’s world, John or Jim or Bill are the names more will answer to when heard…not so much Jesus. Scripture indicates by society’s standards, he was just average, someone who would not stand out in a crowd. Yet, he was the establishment’s biggest threat. So they killed him. The high Judge, Pilot, proclaimed him innocent. And yet, they determined to silence his existence. For such an average man, he sure made an impact on the world. The establishment fears truth. And this man, Jesus, was truth. He was God in human form.

All this drama took place on Friday. There were parties full of dissension, convictions, and death. The day has since transformed into huge Hollywood productions. Even today, Friday seems to be a day of drama. It’s the last day of the typical work week and invariably everything will go wrong at 4:55. It’s date night and invariably we will have nothing to wear and no money to spend. Yes, Friday will forever be a day of drama.

But…what about Saturday? It’s the day in-between. It’s a day of waiting. Most churches have services on Good Friday, and then again on Sunday. But Saturday? No, not Saturday.

Every farmer can relate to a time of waiting. The seed is planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. What about summer? No, not summer. In our impatience, we tend to forget about the time in-between. We sow a seed and expect immediate results. In Deuteronomy 7:21-23, God was leading his people into the promise land, but ordered a time of waiting. He could have driven out the heathen nations immediately, but the immediate was not in their best interest. Usually, the immediate is not in our best interest either. As with the farmer’s crops, people also need time to grow. Most of the time, we will not understand the reasons for the wait until we have landed on the other side.

Most people find the perseverance to reach maturity the most difficult. In James 1 we are taught the wait through trials matures and completes our character. As my husband and I are embarking on a new chapter in our lives, we have had a long few months of wait. I have felt my life in complete limbo lately. My Saturday has turned into several Saturdays. This is very aggravating for someone who needs her ducks in a row. But, God always has a purpose for every wait. This past week has been filled with two funerals. Two friends’ lives were snuffed out from cancer. I watched their Saturdays’ wait; waiting for tests, waiting for treatments, waiting for death. But in God’s perfect timing, we were able to be available for our friends, whereas if our move would have occurred on my timing, those opportunities would have been missed and relationships lost.

I can’t even imagine how Jesus’ followers felt on their Saturday. Oh what a day of confusion that must have been. As difficult as our times of waiting has been, I cannot fathom the vast emotions of everyone from the Disciples to the Pharisees. His followers waited in fear of the establishment while the establishment waited in fear of exposure. Neither knew at the time how the story would end. They could only wait.

But after the wait…

Oh yes, Sunday…a breath of fresh air! Although attempts were made to cover the evidence, too many people saw, too many people knew. The grave coughed up the dead. This average man, Jesus, conquered what no one else would attempt. He rose on the first day of the week, on a Sunday. He took on humanities curse and broke through the gates of hell. He came back. He walked with his people. He left his Spirit with us. We can relax. Humanity now has its solution. The drama is complete. We can spend Sunday afternoons in leisure. Everything is finished. God declared a Sabbath, a day of rest, so we reflect on Him in worship. Sundays are for rejuvenation. Yes, Sunday will forever be a day of new beginnings.

Can we trust Him during our wait? Believe that God works everything for our good. Look for your Sunday. For there you will find God’s grace. No matter the trials or persecution, the Lord brings peace…even in death. For in death, we find life.

“Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” ~Luke 24:36

Woodbury Church Steeple

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Scrooged New Year

New Year’s Resolutions…Nope. I don’t think so. Have you ever? Of course we all have. But I’d say about 99.9% of normal folks forget about their “self-promises” by January 3rd. Well, that would be today. Yep, I learned years ago to skip this tradition.

I haven’t written much at all lately. I suppose the holidays could be used as an excuse…but since we are all the dictators of our own time…I really have no excuse. Life happens. Life is chaos. Life is redundant. Life is…life.

July 4th is my very favorite holiday. And why not? It’s the holiday with all the hoop-la and none of the hassle. We get to enjoy lots of food (an ancient favorite!), gatherings with friends (no family drama), and best of all…fireworks! Oh yeah…presents? Nope. Nada. Not a one. Am I a “Scrooge”? I don’t believe so. I love giving gifts, but we live in such an entitlement society that the joy has been sucked right out of charity. **Sigh**

But, then again, I guess I should have at least posted a “Merry Christmas” on my blog. Oh well…maybe that will be my New Year’s Resolution for next Christmas. 😉

 EPSON scanner image

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