Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Reading

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

We did not teach our kids to believe that Santa brought Christmas presents.  (Note:  That's not a judgement against folks who do.  That's just what we were convicted to do.)    We always taught them that St. Nicholas was a man who lived a really, really long time ago who gave gifts to very needy folks because that's what God wanted him to do, and that we now play a game called 'Santa Claus'  to have fun surprising each other with gifts at Christmastime.

We didn't make a big deal out of it or try to convince anyone else not to teach their kids that Santa brought presents, but boy, did we catch it for not following the society on this one.  It's funny, because we caught it from both sides...from the people who thought we were robbing our kids of precious childhood memories because we did not 'do Santa', and from the folks who thought Santa was the embodiment of the secularization of Christmas and would have nothing to do with 'the guy in the red suit', because we 'played Santa' with the kids.  Whoda thought it would be such a point of contention?

But into this mix comes a lovely little Christmas read.  If you have never read Ed Butchart's the Red suit diaries, you have missed a real treat...a look at Santa from the viewpoint of someone who really understands what Santa should be all about. Ed is an elder at his church and he founded  a ministry  that repairs/ reconditions and supplies wheel chairs and other aids to folks who are in need of such things, Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC).

He also happens to look an awfully lot like everyone's mental picture of Santa Claus.

Consequently, he has been a professional Santa for a number of years, and his books (there is a sequel, More Pages from the Red suit Diaries, as well) are recollections of his experiences, from the physically painful to the heartbreaking to the hysterically funny to the unbelievably precious, not only at Christmas, but year 'round.   Ed writes with honesty that is a joy to read, whether it brings tears or laughter.    And he always, always presents Santa as a servant of God and a representative of Jesus.

My mother-in-law is a collector of Santas and Santa-themed items, so when I spotted a copy of the first book several years back in a Hallmark shop, I picked it up for her. Of course, I skimmed through it a bit before I wrapped it...and the next year I bought one for myself.

I read through it every year during Advent; but really, it's not just about Santa and Christmas -- it's a great testimony of how God gives truly unique gifts and abilities to folks and how, by following Him in faith, we can put those gifts to work in unusual ways.

( one connected with Mr. Butchart or his publishers asked me to do this or even knows  I'm writing...I' m just sharing something that touched me with hopes someone else will enjoy it as much as I did.)

Merry Christmas, everyone, and thanks for spending some time with me at Beer Lahai Roi!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Making a Commitment...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I've watched this from the sidelines for the past couple of years; somehow I missed the start gun.

This year, I've decided I'm going To Do It.

Beth Moore's Siesta Scripture Memory Team.

Twelve months.  Twenty four verses.

I really, really need this.  I don't know if I'll get to participate in the conference at the will be in Texas, after all, and I'm in Alabama, but I need to memorize.  I need the Word in my heart...I need the discipline of seeking Him through memorization.

Any one else game?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Longfellow Was Right

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet, the words repeat
Of  peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head, 
'There is no peace on earth, ' I said,
'For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.'

Then pealed the bells more loud and sweet,
'God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.'
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1863

We all -- every one of us -- have the power to choose.  That some people choose evil and innocents suffer still shocks us.

But 'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep' is a word we must recall, even if we don't understand.

'I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.' - John 16:33, ESV

This was not a pat, feel good statement made by someone passing by a grieving soul; this was Jesus, just a few hours before he was to undergo his own excruciating tribulation...yet he was speaking in the past tense.  With his suffering in front of him, he spoke his victory.  That has always astonished me.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Heb. 4: 15-16

The grace and mercy is given to help us in time of need but...grace and mercy is also given to us so that we may help others in time of need.  But we must go to the Source, Who is not dead and Who never sleeps.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

'Tis the Season

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I posted this to my Facebook wall, just so I could find it and play it when I find myself forgetting.

And as I did I wondered ...what would happen if we all behaved as if Linus were really right?  That Christmas really is all about Immanuel, God With Us?  How would my neighborhood...our different?

Oh, sure, we do the shepherds and wise men and sing the carols, but...really...could anyone who didn't know anything about Christmas watch the behavior of American Christians and know what it was all about?

For some reason, it seems more important to me this year to focus on the birth of Christ...the event that started the countdown to the cross...the life that divided time (even if we did the math wrong).

He took on flesh and dwelt among us.  It is a marvelous thing. A wondrous thing.

What Christmas is all about.