Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Shepherds and the Lamb & Merry Christmas

In the darkness of a typical night, sitting on a hillside outside the town of Bethlehem, some unsuspecting shepherds received word of God's redemptive entrance into the world.

Shepherds were ordinary folk.  They never donned royal robes or mingled with the leaders of the land.  They smelled of earth and sheepskin, not oil and perfume.  Simple people with simple jobs.  Take care of the sheep.  Protect the flocks.  Watch the lambs.

Suddenly the glory of God lighted the darkness of that night.  For God had chosen to make these ordinary shepherds the first recipients of the greatest joy-filled news ever told.

A baby had been born.  He was swaddled up, and could be found in a manger somewhere in Bethlehem.

The angel described this baby as Savior, Christ the Lord.  Upon the utterance of this news, the whole sky was filled with a multitude of heavenly hosts saying: "Glory to God..."

The glory of God coming to some smelly shepherds on a hillside?  Why here?  Why were these ordinary people the first ones to hear?  The fulfillment of God's promise was present.  God's Son had been ushered into the world as a tiny baby.  Shouldn't this miracle be told to someone more influential, someone who could really make a difference and spread the news to all the people for whom the angel spoke?

And yet the shepherds seem to be a most fitting audience.  For not only did they understand the task of shepherding, they also understood sheep.

They may not have completely understood Who they were looking for, but as they searched the town of Bethlehem for the baby that night, these shepherds were searching for one who was a Shepherd and a Lamb.

They found the Good Shepherd lying in a manger that night.  The precious Lamb of God was the object of their search.

It only makes sense that God would choose to allow some simple shepherds to be the first ones to come and sit at the feet of Jesus.  Shepherds, who excelled at watching lambs, now with amazement and wonder, watched the Lamb of God.

As you celebrate Christmas this day, may you sit in wonder and rejoice in Jesus, the Good Shepherd and the Lamb, who came to take away the sin of the world.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Our Weekend: The Beginning of Advent

Happy December!  Happy Advent!  I love this time of year, and I especially love it through the eyes of my children.  We had a great Thanksgiving week; my husband was off from work the entire week, and we thoroughly enjoyed being at home and being together.  All of us were sick with colds and such, but that just made staying inside all the more acceptable.

We decided to put up our Christmas tree on Friday night and I'm so glad we did.  In years past, I have been the lone decorator of the tree {with the exception of the lights--that's always the man's job}, and I missed those days of decorating the tree with my parents and siblings.  For the first time, my oldest two girls were interested and capable of decorating the tree.  It was truly thrilling to watch their excitement as they carefully placed ornaments on the branches.  And I only rearranged a few, just to make sure the tree wouldn't tip over.  Letting go of my 'I want a perfectly decorated, pinnable Christmas tree' was quite freeing.  And my girls appreciated the bit of responsibility they were given.

We took the kids out shopping on Black Friday, just to peruse the toys and have them point out things they liked.  We're trying to teach them about contentment and being greedy and giving -- these are hard things for little people to learn.  Contentment is hard for us adults to learn!  But, it was fun to watch them get excited about what they would give to each other for Christmas.  We've since done some ear-whispering about ideas and I love how they're learning the joy of giving.

Yesterday evening we ventured out to the yard with our tripod and camera remote to try and capture that perfect family photo for our Christmas card.  I had pretty high expectations and some great ideas for poses.  Let me just tell you that's not the best way to try and photograph four children, two of whom can't walk or follow instructions.  I was lamenting over the fact that there weren't any perfect ones.  Bradley's response was, "Good.  Because we're not perfect.  This is us, it's more real."  So, if you too haven't gotten that perfect photo, embrace the imperfect.

I took the week off from cleaning and laundry, so today's tasks are pretty simple:  clean, organize, and wash. My goal with laundry, as of late, is really just to actually put the folded clothes away.  That to me is success. There are still two laundry baskets full of the kids' clothes sitting in our bedroom from last week.  They're folded, just never made it to the dressers.  My poor children can't ever find their underwear!  Maybe today will be different.

This was our weekend, and a little bit of the week.  Back to routine today, but I think I'm ready.

I want to focus my attention today on Jesus, the Light of the World, who entered our darkness as a tiny baby.  His light has pierced the darkness of my heart, and as I go through the tasks today of cleaning, correcting, counting my blessings, and caring for others, I want that light to shine out in powerful ways that my children might know Jesus a bit more.

Linking up here.