Saturday, December 19, 2015

'Tis the Season!

Christmas is but a few days away!  It has suddenly crept up upon me, and now the last minute details that must be attended to are rushing in!  Shopping and  mailing have finally been accomplished, and now I am baking cookies. Packing and planning for our trip is now on the agenda!

Last Sunday after prayer time at church, a prophetic lady approached me and said she saw my hands  like a bowl spilling over! I wasn't sure what that meant, but the next day my hands were unusually busy. The first blog I had written in months poured out of my new laptop (my kids surprised me with an early Christmas present). Browning sausage and chopping peppers, I made breakfast burritos, helped hubby with his ministry video, put on a  pot of beans, baked a chocolate sheet cake, flew through housework and organized my jewelry box!

After weeks of  feeling under the weather and seeing a doctor for a pulled muscle,  the steroid shot I received may have been partly responsible for my surge of energy and sense of well-being, but I give God the glory anyway!  I can't wait to see what else is in store for me!

I was so excited about the Christmas package I sent to our youngest set of grandchildren, with instructions to open them on arrival as I watched on FaceTime.  Two-year-old Isaac knew exactly what to do as he claimed his box and said, "Mine!" He pulled out the little drum set with small instruments inside and began immediately to strum on the miniscule guitar!

I went off the grid a bit with gifts for my granddaughters, 6 and 9.  Since they never get snow in Houston, when I saw a toy snow-ball launcher, I thought they would get a kick out of it and purchased one for each of them.  Imagine my disappointment when they tried the plastic shooters and the Styrofoam balls dropped limply to the floor! Thankfully their father told me yesterday that he had figured out how to work them and they gave a satisfying pop when they were pumped into action!

Resisting last-minute bargains is hard.  I had largely stayed out of the stores, but on a foray yesterday, eye-popping temptations were everywhere! A surprising snow and frigid temperatures the day before found us out in it reveling in the mist of flurries that swirled around us as we completed our errands.

There is so much in this season to enjoy! I love saying "Merry Christmas" to store employees, though some are not allowed to say it back.  Jesus was probably not born in the winter, but long tradition has had us remembering His birth at this time. I am thankful for the bright spot of Christmas in our present darkened world.  A time to reach out to others, whether friend, family, or those for whom those silver bells are ringing on every corner.  May our hands continue to spill over!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Lights

We drove around and looked at Christmas lights last night.  Just the ones locally, not going out to the lake to see "The Festival of Angels" display that we've seen many times before.  We have a beautiful display closer to home in nearby Cann Gardens.  Lighting the dark, early winter evening and starkly contrasting against the black sky were vignettes of poinsettias, nursery rhyme characters, angels with clouds floating above them, and adobe-style structures. Not to mention the beautiful manger scene and a lovely, lighted church in its electronic beauty.

Our drive took us into neighborhoods with homes cheerily lit up with outlined architectural details, one looking like a gingerbread house with scalloped roof line and windows.  This was so fun!  We ended our tour in the parking lot of a church that had synchronized music and lights dancing up and down Christmas-tree shapes in neon waves of color. Then the colors on the church would change from psychedelic purples, greens, orange or red, illuminating it like a Spanish mission.

This seemed like a culmination of a wonderful Sunday that had begun very early with my making a casserole to cook in the oven on low until we could enjoy it when our son joined us for lunch.  We had been delighted at church to see the children's Christmas presentation, a tableau of tiny shepherds, wise men, and a blue-clad cherub placing a swaddled doll in a manger. The distractible shepherds found the hooked shepherd's rods useful for waving, interlocking and aiming at others, providing stifled laughter and open-mouthed concern in the audience.

I knew my own grandchildren in Houston were to be in their presentation today.  I recalled  9-year-old Anne-Marie's words to me at Thanksgiving:  "Mimi, I have three parts in our play," she announced. "I'm Elizabeth, Mary, and an angel!" When I registered astonishment, she explained, "Well,  I'm really supposed to be only Elizabeth.  She only has one line, 'His name is John!'"

Then my precise, articulate granddaughter went on, "See, Isaac (her two-year-old brother) is Baby Jesus, and I'm the only one that can control him, so I'm Mary for that one scene. And I have to substitute for an angel for just one scene while she does something else." Anyway, I would love to have seen the play, and I scanned the internet for pictures.  All that had been posted last night was one of group singing in which I spotted Maddie, 6, identifiable in the crowd by her bobbing red pony-tail.

I had learned on Facebook earlier in the day the sad news of the passing of a great-niece. She had been cured of brain cancer as a child of 5, but it had returned with a vengeance over 20 years later.   After weeks of aggressive treatment she lost her battle; but as her mother shared, "She got her wings today." Brooke was a light to all who knew her.

The first Christmas light was the star  that led the wise men to Jesus.  It was His light that guided her home.