Tag Archives: christmas eve

On December 24th

candleOn December 24, 1999, I sat in a candle-lit church sanctuary. My stomach was rounded by the second trimester of pregnancy with my first child, a son. The vocalist came out and began to sing, “Mary did you know?” The song goes through all of the wonderfully miraculous things Jesus, the child she would carry and deliver, would do. The song crescendos with how her son would deliver her and the world from their sins.

Believe me, I have no delusions about my own son. He is a normal boy who has been loved and disciplined along the way. Nowhere close to the perfection of Christ. But years ago, sitting there listening to all of the things the Christ-child would do only reminded me of all the things my child might do for Christ. How would my baby’s life play into the kingdom?

If you are pregnant at Christmas this year, or have young children, look at them just as Mary looked at her son who had a divine appointment from inception. Our children have a purpose for the glory of God. Pour into them the scriptures. Pray for God to reveal to them their role in His plan.

My son is 14 now and we are going through some of the stuff teen-agers experience. When he hits a bump in the road I don’t pretend to have all the wisdom and answers. Sometimes I sleep on a big question or difficult request. He knows it too. He knows that if I don’t have the answer, I’m going to pray about it and get back to him. I hope this is a lesson that is more caught than taught. May he continue to grow-up knowing that while we don’t have all the answers, God does.

The seeds are planted and each day I cling to Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

I wonder, how did Mary pray for her child? God incarnate. She was young and innocent. So much of what Christ experienced had never been seen before. She had no earthly reference point. But she had the scriptures and the prophecies. God gives what we need.

Unlike the Christ-child, our children will make mistakes and make bad choices. Haven’t we all. May they all land in the loving arms of Christ who was once a baby and then a man who grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).

Mother did you know?

Merry Christmas,

KK

P.S. — Enjoy this video while you pray for your child or children, Mary Did You Know? (Pentatonix free download)

 

 

 

Not so Holy Feeling

The remnants of sand and dirt felt crusty on Mary’s face from the long day’s journey and the ebb and flow of pain and sweat. The hard pain – the overwhelming stench – the crowds.  An hour from town there are tribes setting up camp everywhere.  How many more are crammed into this small town, Bethlehem?  The noise pounding in her head – the pains coming closer and closer. Oh, to just lie down.

Mary waited outside the inn for what seemed an eternity for Joseph to return.  His demeanor screamed as loud as Mary’s pain that he had failed.  There were no rooms.  The best he could provide was the privacy of the innkeeper’s barn.  A gentle touch on the shoulder from Joseph reminded Mary that he had done his best and was sorry it wasn’t better.  He wasn’t in charge of how the events of this night were unfolding.  The final steps to their accommodations were the worst on Mary’s swollen feet.

Joseph slid the barn door open only to gag from the disgusting odor.  Seems the barn was as full as the streets with visitors.  Asking one final thing of Mary, to wait in the fresher air outside while he found some straw and made bedding for her.  She submitted to her betrothed.  He didn’t sign up for this, but he certainly stepped up.

Together they slowly and gingerly walked in out of the cool night.  As he helped Mary lie down, she let out a scream from the pain.  Finally, free to let out the truth and anguish she felt.  The animals rustled and made noises like an out of tune orchestra.  Upon noticing their unexpected human guest, as if they knew who they were hosting, they laid down and became still.  As she settled in and became accustomed to the smells, sights and sounds.  She prayed.  God, we wanted better for your son.

It was a long and unfamiliar night for both Mary and Joseph; Mary too young to know much about birthing a child and Joseph too innocent.  Men didn’t get involved when a baby was coming.  But tonight was not about tradition or decorum – it was about changing the world – it was about hope and eternity colliding with all that humans thought was “normal”.  A new covenant squeezed into this night.

His birth wasn’t pretty.  Jesus joined humanity as a wiggly, slippery baby.  Mary was scared but led by what came instinctive and natural.  Joseph was awkwardly doing his best to provide blankets and a towel to wash the boy who would return the favor someday.

This night didn’t feel very holy, but it was real.  No airs or regal greeting parties for the King of Kings.  His mother felt the pains, his earthly father the helplessness, him the trauma every human baby in history feels during birth.  It was the heavenly Father who felt joy knowing He sent an invitation through Jesus. He knew he would get his son back and when He did, Jesus would bring all of the rest of His children.

The night was finally silent.  Mary could breathe without pain.  Joseph settled in next to his family. Mary-Film-The-Holy-Family For the first time since Genesis the world would be still and rest in the hope of Him who came to love, serve and save.

May every night of your coming days bring stillness, hope and peace in Jesus Christ.

Happy Birthday, Jesus.

KK

Santa Claus – The Man the Legend…

The Legend of St. Nicholas
The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. One of the best known of the St. Nicholas stories is that he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married. By the Renaissance, St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe. Even after the Protestant Reformation, when the veneration of saints began to be discouraged, St. Nicholas maintained a positive reputation, especially in Holland. (ref. http://www.history.com)

Throughout the years and across cultures, St. Nicholas has taken on new looks. After the American Revolution, the term Santa Claus was adopted by Americans from the Dutch. Artists and poets began to paint the picture of a jolly giving man with a red suit.

My favorite image of Santa is the praying Santa. This for me encompasses the truth and the fantasy we find at Christmas. Please praying santaunderstand that the MOST important reason for any celebration at Christmas is the miraculous birth of the Lord; that being made the priority, consider how Santa can fold into this time and celebration.

As stated above, the man of Saint Nicholas was a faithful, giving man who looked out for “the least of these.” He gave up his wealth in caring for others. Sounds like characteristics he modeled from Christ.

As far as allowing our children to believe in the “jolly elf” who comes down the chimney, ask yourself this: in our world there is so much joy-robbing, negative, fast-paced, cynical information and attitudes why not allow our children the magic and fun of Santa Claus coming to bring gifts? We allow our children to have imaginary friends and pretend tea parties; why not allow them to enjoy the fun of Santa? As our children mature they outgrow those wonders of childhood anyway. With the right guidance there will be the appropriate shift from the fantasy of Santa to the forgiveness of Christ.

I do believe in all that Saint Nicholas lived for and the Savior he followed. I have learned to manage the hustle and bustle of this season to make room to remember the wonder of Christ’s birth; to truly take in the profoundness of His birth that set motion a new destiny for eternity.

Think about it,
KK

Ho, Ho, Ho, Who do You Know?

st. nickI’ve been thinking about Santa Claus.  Recently, while talking with friends with younger children I learned a lot about what younger parents are doing and letting their children believe about Santa.  Before I weigh in on the jolly one, I’d like your thoughts on the matter.  What were you told as a child?  How is that the same or different than how you are raising your children?  Your thoughts please, then stay tuned.

All the best,

KK