Zuno challenges you to count your blessings with Helen Haidle’s The Real 12 Days of Christmas. When this carol was composed, religious freedoms were restricted in England. Parents hid the symbols of their faith in songs like this one. Decode the carol and tell me which line is your favorite.
Monthly Archives: December 2011
Which would you rather have?
Big? Bigger is always better, right? God, however, has an eye for small things.
David vs. Goliath
Baby Moses in his basket vs. the Nile River and Pharaoh’s army
Bethlehem vs. …well, name your city.
Bethlehem, tiny, overlooked, overshadowed by its big sister city, Jerusalem. Even the Magi, on their quest for Christ, head for Jerusalem, but no Messiah. King Herod, in an effort to “help” them, calls the priests together to find out where the Messiah is to be born:
“ In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:
‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ “ Matthew 2:5,6, Micah 5:2 (NIV)
Are you little?
Little in size?
God has plans for you and God’s plans are God-sized.
I Corinthians 1: 27, 28 says;
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world…”
God chose little Bethlehem to host His Son, Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
God chose you too.
The possibilities are endless.
When their only daughter, Blair, heads for Peru and the Peace Corps, the Kranks just haven’t the heart for Christmas. Luther Krank takes the reindeer by the antlers and hatches a plan to skip Christmas entirely by planning a tropical cruise instead. His wife, Nora, makes a reluctant accomplice, as friends, neighbors, and co-workers try to sabotage their plans. The Kranks count down the days to their Christmas cruise—until Blair calls on Christmas Eve to say she is on her way home. With her new fiancé. You will laugh yourself silly reading John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas. Parents, be prepared to edit a small bit of language.
Friends don’t let friends sleep through Christmas. In Bear Stays Up, Bear’s friends make it their mission to keep their hibernating friend awake just long enough to celebrate. A sleepy, droopy-eyed Bear hangs in there through one job after another as the friends search for a tree, decorate it, hang up the stockings, and tackle numerous other Christmas preparations. Just as his friends are drifting off to sleep, Bear gets a burst of energy. He cooks. He crafts. He wraps. So much so that he misses a certain red-suited visitor. Find out if he makes it to Christmas morning in Bear Stays Up by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.
Do You Hear What I Hear – An Internal GPS
Isaiah 30:21 reads:
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (NIV)
Our car has a GPS. Helpful, yes. Always reliable, no. Like the time our destination was on a street with a Spanish name. We laugh about it now, but frustration builds when you need direction and can’t get it. Simeon was a guy with an internal GPS, the Holy Spirit.
We find his story in Luke 2. Described as righteous and devout, he, like Enoch, was a man who walked with God. Scripture says, “…the Holy Spirit was upon him…” In his time with the Holy Spirit, Simeon learned that he would see the Messiah in his lifetime. Luke gives us Simeon’s story in chapter 2, verses 25-32 of his gospel:
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was with him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (NIV)
Look at verse 27:
“Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.”
And came face to face with his Messiah.
Check out his obedience: immediate and without question.
No “…but I don’t feel like going to the Temple today.”
Train yourself to respond to God’s still, small voice, your internal GPS that is the Holy Spirit.
And keep your eyes open. There’s no telling where He will take you.
Angel dreams and an old Christmas box filled with yellowed letters drive the mysterious storyline as the reader and the protagonist try to answer Mary Parkin’s question of “What is the first gift of Christmas?”. I love the work of Richard Paul Evans and his short novel, The Christmas Box, is first in his trilogy with the Parkins, followed by The Timepiece and The Letter. The Christmas Box reminds us when time seems to pull at us from every side, relationships merit that time above all else. How will you spend your time this season?
December. Furniture shifts to make room for the tree. Angels peer down from the fireplace mantle. Shiny balls cling to the tree as Zuno’s tail sends them swinging. He is heading for the kitchen with visions of sugarplums (or something edible) in his head—like a candy cane. Helen Haidle’s Candymaker’s Gift tells the legend of this sweet confection. Complete with crafts and other party ideas, this book’s treasures multiply. Read this one early and share with a friend, or your class at school.