Archive for December, 2014

A Renewing Resolution

December 31, 2014

For as long as I remember, I've heard people make New Year's resolutions about something they are going to change in their lives. Then later, I observe that they are back doing the very thing that they committed not to do. Year after …( read more )

Excuses And Priorities

December 30, 2014

A new year is about to begin, and I wonder: How many of us have made New Year's resolutions? A couple of resolutions of mine are to attend church regularly and to try and donate more of my time to worthwhile projects or actions that will …( read more )

Running To And Fro

December 29, 2014

I spent a total of over eight months living in a camp in the desert of the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. This included the Christmas season and the change of the year from 1965 to 1966. There were about forty of us living in a camp, and …( read more )

The World Or Heaven?

December 28, 2014

For many years, I went down the path of setting worldly goals and making New Year's resolutions, some of which were short-lived and left me feeling defeated when I inevitably failed. There were goals that I reached, but these achievements …( read more )

Shadows And Light

December 27, 2014

Because of our past year, we are perhaps anticipating a new year of shadows and darkness, but regardless, has not our Jesus brought us through to this moment in time? If we could see the future, would we require faith? If we were to see …( read more )

The Rising Star

December 26, 2014

One year, my husband and I gave our children a telescope for Christmas. It was a gift that the whole family enjoyed as we took turns observing the beautiful night-lit sky. This experience reminded me of King David's words: Then, I …( read more )

Good News

December 25, 2014

I'll never forget the days when our two children were born and then the day our grandson arrived. The birth of a child is always a very special occasion. But the birth of the Child Who came at Christmas is good news for each and every one …( read more )

Christmas In August

December 24, 2014

I was manning a booth at the Western Fair in London, Ontario, Canada, one August, when a man I'll call Hans appeared from out of the crowd and very quickly engaged me in his story. During the Second World War, Hans, at barely seventeen, …( read more )

Memories Of Christmas Past

December 23, 2014

Over the years, our family has experienced many different kinds of Christmas celebrations. When I was a little boy in the Netherlands, we exchanged presents on St. Nicholas Day, December 6th — just small items, like a colouring book, …( read more )

The Tree Of Life

December 22, 2014

While growing up in Westmont, New Jersey, USA, I was like every child anxiously waiting for Christmas to arrive. Part of every celebration was to have a decorated tree. I remember repeatedly asking my dad when we were getting our tree. The …( read more )

Christmas Barriers

December 21, 2014

Around the time when I got my driver's license, my parents had an opportunity to buy a second car. A bright orange 1973 Volkswagen Beetle, close in age to me, joined the station wagon in our driveway. The "bug" was like a small tank, so …( read more )

No Room At The Inn

December 20, 2014

The four goats were at it again, driving the fifth goat, Rosie, away from the feed and not allowing her into the warmth of the barn. Goats have a pecking order, and unfortunately for Rosie, she was bottom gal on the list, which meant that …( read more )

Little Among Thousands

December 19, 2014

As I write, I'm thinking of a friend who is travelling to many parts of the Holy Land, places some of us only read about in the Bible. I thought, *How exciting it would be to visit the town of Christ's birth so close to the Christmas …( read more )

What Are You Giving This Year?

December 18, 2014

Dear parents and grandparents: Are you stressing over gifts for those precious, darling, little children/grandchildren? Are you planning on buying the latest version of the newest computerized expensive something? When adults turn …( read more )

Glorifying God

December 17, 2014

Each year during Advent, I marvel at the angels' part in announcing the birth of Jesus to shepherds in a field. This year, I am paying special attention to the words "glory" and "glorifying" in Luke's Christmas passage, because they were …( read more )

Mary's Hidden Treasury

December 16, 2014

Last Christmas, I found myself lingering over one particular verse in Luke's nativity account: Here I see a pattern which I believe is worth imitating. Interestingly, this verse is situated in the middle of a narrative about the …( read more )

Mary's Song

December 15, 2014

Growing up in an Italian neighbourhood named Tacony in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, during Christmastime was festive for a young boy. The Roman Catholic Church was steeped in customs, especially during the Advent season. These …( read more )

Old Wood And Rotten Fish

December 14, 2014

Old buildings are full of mystery to me. First Presbyterian Church in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, where I served as a student minister for the summer, is a perfect example. Built in 1925, it has stood as one of the pillars of …( read more )

The Master Plan

December 13, 2014

My Italian friend, who was a tablemate where I live, loved to play the piano by ear, to the delight of the residents. Her favourite thing to do was to play requests from gathered audiences. On one private occasion, as she played "O Solo …( read more )

Ice Breakers

December 12, 2014

I attended a church event which included some fun activities for the Christmas season. The first one was called an "ice breaker" because it was meant to make everyone feel at home. The following names were written on the blackboard: the …( read more )

Sing A Song Of Praise

December 11, 2014

One of God's greatest gifts to us is the gift of music and songs. Here are some quotes about the power of music: "Where words fail, music speaks." – Hans Christian Andersen "Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly …( read more )

The Happy Ending

December 10, 2014

Ah, it's Christmas movie time once again, and how I love the collection we have compiled over the years: comedies, dramas, and musicals — so many, in fact, that we can watch a different one almost every evening during the Advent season. …( read more )

Miracle Of Two Mothers

December 9, 2014

In a little town in north-eastern Pennsylvania, USA, my wife and I were expecting and preparing for the birth of our firstborn child, Joseph. One day in the fourth month of her pregnancy, Lori said, "The baby is active; go ahead and feel …( read more )

Do You Tree?

December 8, 2014

December is the month of trees. Well, it used to be! Christmas tree putter-uppers used to wait till December 1 to place baubled trees in every retail establishment in North America. Little by little, the date changed to right after …( read more )

Preparing A Home

December 7, 2014

It was Saturday morning. Saturday was the day I did everything related to home that didn't get done during the work week. That Saturday, I had an afternoon event, so everything had to get done that morning. A trip to the pharmacy to get …( read more )

Our Wintery Advent

December 6, 2014

We who regularly endure the clutch of winter's deepfreeze know what it's like to crave for spring. As each day passes, we look forward to spring with intensified longing. We may even come to the point where we cannot handle another day of …( read more )

From The Cradle To The Cross

December 5, 2014

One year, my daughter gave me a beautiful glass nativity scene for Christmas. At night, when lit, it gives a warm, peaceful feeling, reminding me that Jesus is the light of the world. Still, what makes this ornament special to me is the …( read more )

The Scent Of Christmas

December 4, 2014

It started with a tiny hand — a hand outstretched and holding a miniature bar of goat milk soap. Of all the different fragrances offered on the vendor's autumn display table that sales day, my petite, five-year-old niece, Izzie, was …( read more )

Those Boxes

December 3, 2014

At this time of the year, churches all over the world are placing red and green cardboard boxes in their foyers. These are not ordinary boxes, but very special ones. Most people refer to them as the shoeboxes, but these boxes will never …( read more )

Ask And Receive

December 2, 2014

I awoke to find a world of white. It was beautiful, but also a threat because mountains of the stuff had piled up against my doors, and I was literally a prisoner in my own home. I managed to push the back door open just wide enough to …( read more )

The Greatest Love Ever

December 1, 2014

With race riots, government oppression, radicalized terrorists, horrific new diseases, and financial meltdowns, today's world is in as much darkness as it was 2000 years ago, and as it was before that, when people were hoping for a …( read more )

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