This week begins the season of the Great Return, you know when everything you spent hours looking for and many dollars buying gets returned to the unknown abyss.
Do you know what happens there? Untold bunches of stuff are taken back to their original store, where they are then sent to some kind of discount place store. All will be sold for a tiny percentage of original value.
Is anything we own of any real worth? Clothes get baggy and worn, dishes break. All that really lasts is our relationships.
Sadly they don’t go on forever either. People move or die and everything is over…unless we have the hope of seeing them again.
The only thing we can really count on is our one on one relationship with the Lord. Thankfully it is non-returnable.
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. (John 1:18, NIV)
Prayer- Lord, draw our hearts to what really lasts…the Christ. Amen.
What kind of state are we in when Christians complain we have Christmas music playing too early or the stores decorated too soon? We should be cheering when we have any opportunity at all to bring up the name of Christ.
Let’s stop whining about music in the mall. If we don’t, everything will be festive this and festive that. Festive is the replacement word for anything Christmas. It means anything cheerful: it means anything related to a celebration of feasts, festivals or holidays. Christmas is slipping out of our hands. All we hear is festive trees, festive school concerts and festive holidays.
Do we want festive sales, festive music and festive decorations? Before you know it we will have the festive Christ, a Christ whose only purpose is to festive!
Rejoice in every Away in the Manger, or Noel, Noel. Those are scriptural words echoing into malls and halls; a word that we are still allowed to share. Grab onto it with both hands and turn up the sound of Christians rejoicing in the Christ.
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! (Philippians 4:4-5, MSG
My dear friend and fellow writer and blogger, Brenda Wood; asked me for this recipe after I served it at our writers group Christmas dinner.
Irish Potato Casserole
Recipe shared by: Carolyn Harman, Harrisonburg, Virginia;Parkview Mennonite Church
8-10 medium potatoes, peeled
8 oz package cream cheese
8 oz sour cream (I replace this with 8 oz Greek yogurt)
½ cup melted butter
¼ cup chopped chives or green onions
I clove garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1. Cook potatoes and mash. (Do not add any liquid.)
2. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Add potatoes and all other ingredients except paprika. Beat until all ingredients have combined. Spoon into lightly greased 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with paprika, cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.
I invite you to watch this, courtesy of Tracey who sent it to me. Be blessed. As this year draws to a close, as life happened even in ways that might not have been your choice….always remember this. God remains in charge. He loves you and always makes choices that are for your best, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Hugs……Brenda J Wood.
Years ago, I learned to balk at a Christmas with more than one big meal. That’s because we spent our first Christmas day together, running from pillar to post, trying to make everyone happy. So Ron, infant Judith and I trailed a mile down the road to my parents for seven am breakfast, drove through a blizzard to Gran’s for lunch an hour away and finally scurried home to serve dinner at our house for all of Ron’s family…..WHEW!!!
And who was cause of all this commotion? Me. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I felt guilty for saying no to anyone, so instead I hurt my own feelings…. and my family’s.
Little by little over the years, with Ron’s encouragement,we cut down to only one or two events per holiday. Today though, I find myself going to the Keenagers catered lunch and the Writer’s Nest home cooked Christmas dinner. WHEW!!!
Why? Because I can. And because all of these dear people are my friends and I love being with them. And because I decided I wanted to, with no guilt involved. It bears remembering that guilt is not from God.
Yesterday the first copy of my first children’s book, The Big Red Chair (CD included) arrived at my door. I’ll be reading it at both events. It is a happy, funny, sad love story about life and death…..
I wrote it because our smaller grandchildren didn’t understand what happened to their Afi. I expect lots of other little ones feel the same. We often unknowingly and unfairly lock them out of our grief.