Archive for December, 2017

A Resolution Above All Others

December 31, 2017

Do you make new year's resolutions? I do. As I think of those resolutions in the first few hours, days, and weeks of a new year, I often hear the words of a particular song playing in my head: "Day by Day", a song from the 1971 Stephen …( read more )

Sweeter Than Honey

December 30, 2017

Did you, like me, write your first letters on a slate with chalk? In Jesus' day, it is said that, as a reward, teachers in Hebrew synagogue schools would put honey on the slates of children doing well. They were then allowed to lick the …( read more )

Money: Evil's Root

December 29, 2017

"Money is the root of all evil." Though my standard of living would be considered rich by third-world standards, by American standards, I've rarely lived a comfortable lifestyle. Making the monthly bills match the monthly income has …( read more )

Hopeless

December 28, 2017

When my husband came home from the hospital after having suffered a stroke during surgery six years ago, he did some very strange things. He thought that I was his sister one day, and another day, he recognized me as his wife. I caught him …( read more )

The Family Tree

December 27, 2017

A number of years ago, a distant cousin put together our family tree on my father's side. It revealed that my heritage is Welsh and English, although I am convinced that there is also a Russian branch missing from the tree as I am always …( read more )

Come And Celebrate

December 26, 2017

It's the day after Christmas, and I am quietly sitting here looking at all the gifts that I received from friends and loved ones. While I really appreciate their thoughtfulness, I also know that I didn't need any of them. Some did send …( read more )

Great Expectations

December 25, 2017

In an Advent liturgy presented in our church, one word leaped off the page at me: "Expectations". That word rattled around in my brain for the rest of the service. What was so special about that word? As I reflected, I realized that I …( read more )

The Royal Viewing

December 24, 2017

"O come, let us adore Him!", "Come and behold Him!", "Come to the manger!" (from Christmas carols) More than ever, nativity scenes at Christmastime capture my interest. I appreciate their presence in our current cultural landscape, which …( read more )

Tower Of The Flock

December 23, 2017

Have you ever wondered why the shepherds were the first to hear the good news of Christ's birth? Perhaps it was because they were humble, unlike the religious and political leaders of Jesus' day. However, this year, I learned of another …( read more )

Perfect Peace

December 22, 2017

Sometimes, we get so busy at this time of year that we forget to listen to what God is saying to us. We get so wrapped up in meeting deadlines — personal and work-related — that we set God aside and promise within our hearts to get back …( read more )

Do Not Be Afraid

December 21, 2017

In November of 2011, I was told that the aortic pig valve in my heart, which had been placed there in 1993, was leaking badly and had to be replaced. Even though it had lasted much longer than I had been told to expect, it still came as a …( read more )

Christmas Memories

December 20, 2017

Christmas wasn't a big deal when I was growing up, but my family would usually take the train to London to see "the lights". The windows of the big department stores displayed electric trains, animated bears clapping continuously, and …( read more )

Christmas On The River

December 19, 2017

God sometimes shows up in the strangest ways to provide for us. One Christmas week in 1980, He did just that, and it was a Christmas that my family has never forgotten. For a number of years, dad struggled with God's call to be a …( read more )

A Figurehead Or The Real Thing?

December 18, 2017

The extravagance of British royalty fascinates me. Yet sometimes, I wonder, Why bother? This pageantry is just a remnant of the past. It's not the real thing; monarchs no longer rule. Yet royal traditions can preserve values like …( read more )

Was That You, Lord?

December 17, 2017

Homelessness and people on the streets asking for money, food, and/or work are not new, but they are increasing in most communities, and perhaps nowhere more than on the Lower Mainland or on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, …( read more )

Prophecies With Fulfillments to Celebrate

December 16, 2017

When we toured Israel as a group, our faith was reinforced as our experienced leader, a Christian minister, many times supplemented our Jordanian guide's orations of what we were seeing by telling us of further connections between these …( read more )

And Sarai Had A Plan

December 15, 2017

Recently, I have been dealing with a difficult financial situation. It's not health-related, but nonetheless daunting. By nature, I tend to take matters into my own hands and have occasionally lived to regret it. This time, I simply put my …( read more )

The Word Of Life

December 14, 2017

As a writer, I always use a thesaurus to help me to choose a word that will best communicate the idea that I want to convey. A thesaurus is also useful in selecting a different word with the same meaning in order to get my point across …( read more )

Preparing For The Christ Child

December 13, 2017

It has begun: the lights, the shopping, the baking, the gift wrapping, and all the hustle and bustle associated with Christmas. In fact, the lights and decorations were going up in some stores alongside the Halloween decorations. You have …( read more )

Mary's Meditation

December 12, 2017

One Christmas season, our church's Celebration Choir was introduced to a song entitled, "Mary, Did You Know?" which became very popular in both the spiritual and secular worlds. The words were written by Mark Lowry in 1984 as part of the …( read more )

Our Royal Gifts

December 11, 2017

Perhaps this Christmas, you'll be giving at least one present because you feel obligated. Your better judgment reminds you that gift-giving should come from your heart, not from someone's expectation. However, if you had been the Magi …( read more )

Christmas Is A Birthday

December 10, 2017

We celebrate our birthdays in many ways: we send cards, decorate our homes, give presents, and have parties. Christmas is a birthday — Christ's birthday — and by far, celebrated in the most varied ways and by the most diverse groups of …( read more )

Verbal Pictures

December 9, 2017

Ever since I was a little boy, I liked to draw, colour, and paint. I was a sickly little fellow, and I remember the many days when I sat in front of the window, drawing and colouring, while other children were outside playing. In …( read more )

The Gift Of Giving

December 8, 2017

Every year, our families participated in a "Secret Santa" event. Into a bowl, we would put folded pieces of paper with our names on them, and each person would draw a name for the next Christmas. They would then buy a gift for that person …( read more )

Tell Me A Story

December 7, 2017

For my first Christmas as a new grandma, I received a very special present from my grown daughter, the sister of the baby's father. It was a collection of books containing her favourite childhood bedtime stories for me to share with her …( read more )

The King And I

December 6, 2017

Recently, my Wednesday evening Bible study group began studying the book of Daniel. During our last session, we discussed the historical events, recorded in chapter four, concerning King Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylon. Daniel worked as …( read more )

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

December 5, 2017

by Isabel Allison A little lad, loved by kin of mine, looked straight ahead, then in voice sublime — for child philosophers tend to mime — spoke out amid the chatter of Christmas supper time: "This sure has been a good Christmas," …( read more )

The Royal Birth: Two Responses

December 4, 2017

Each Christmas, we acknowledge a royal birth. Baby Jesus was, after all, born to be King. He was destined for a throne "far above all rule and authority, power and dominion." (Ephesians 1:21 NIV) What can be said about royal births? …( read more )

Hosanna In The Highest Heaven!

December 3, 2017

The approach of Christmas certainly stirs up memories of yesteryear. Changes are replacing the ways of the old days. It was Advent, which means "coming", and the Finnish Lutheran church that I attended as I grew up was preparing the …( read more )

Through Wind And Fire

December 2, 2017

Here in British Columbia, Canada, the forest fires of this past summer were the worst in the history of the province. Over 1.2 million hectares of forest and pastureland, and many homes and businesses, were consumed. Livestock and …( read more )

Who Is In Control?

December 1, 2017

My grandmother wrote this verse on the cover page of the first Bible that she gave to my father. My father did the same in the first Bible that he gave to me, and I did also in the first Bible that I gave to my son. We even have it …( read more )

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