December 25, 2008

Advent Ending

I've not posted for a few days! Monte got home from Norway at 2am Monday. We went to Travis and Sarah's Tuesday, bearing gifts: Christmas presents and tons of food. We spent the night there and had a wonderful fun family time together - new memories: Las Posadas food. The hit? Yes tamales were good, as was the green mole pork stew, churros ... ha ... we have to perfect ... But the stuffed jalepenos wrapped in bacon and baked, were our first bite, and everyone was lifted into another place. "Oh, man", said Travis. "They are luscious!!!!!!!!!!!" said me. We ate the leftovers, looking forward to them, for lunch the next day (after playing the game "SET".

This is going to post as AM, but I'm finishing writing now in the PM. Dawson woke earlier than I thought, and I put our "Pankaka" (Swedish oven pancake) in the oven, and we spent some time together before he left to carry on celebrating with his girlfriend, Splarah (Sarah's), extended family. So it's just Monte and me, and he's feeling the effects of his long trip without sleep for 24 hrs, so napping. Dawson and me set him up on Facebook, and I'm downloading some pictures for him. So I'm going back and forth.

My emotions have gotten stirred up as the day progresses ... Heather & Bill called this morning to talk Christmas, but also that his date for redeployment could be before their baby is born. Their first baby, and married a year ... I'm bummed ...

So, I was going to give the remainders of my Advent Basket. Maybe as I start typing and sitting with scripture ... I'll feel a little better.

Advent day 22's miniature was a dove. And the paper insert reads, "We learned what a cross stands for; what does a dove stand for? Read Matthew 3:13-17." Jesus insisted that John baptize Him. This is a setting where the fullness of God is there: God Incarnate coming out of the water, God's Spirit - looking like a dove, and God's voice. And John the Baptist saying, "Here is the Lamb of God, come to take away the sins of the world".

Day 23 has a little skein of wool. "Where does wool come from? In John 10:1-18 Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Who are His sheep?" When I rededicated my life to God I wore a necklace, till I lost it, of Jesus carrying a sheep in his arms - that was me!

Day 24 has a marble. "This is the world. Read John 3:16. What did God do for the world?" God, so loves the world, He incarnates Himself, taking on human flesh, from the beginnings in a womb, birthed and laid in a wooden feed trough for a bed ... to a death for us, the world; hanging to death on a wooden cross. God asks us to believe IN this, IN Him, so that we might not have to die our deserved deaths, but live incarnately with Him, on into eternity!

Day 25, today, has a miniature baby. "What do we celebrate this day? Read Luke 2:1-20." Remember Linus, his voice was refreshed in my memory, not only from church last night but a radio program we listened to - Linus tells Charlie Brown what the true meaning of Christmas is - reciting this Luke passage from memory. We lit the center Christ child candle in the Advent wreath.

The John 10 passage I so love and have often meditated and journaled on. My favorite phrases? "He calls his own sheep by name ... he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice ... I know my sheep and my own sheep know me ... I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary ... I need to gather and bring them all in ..."

Which reminds me of a story I read -
"One cold night years ago in North Carolina I went outside to check on some animals then housed in my father's small barn. There was a full moon shining down in bright, brittle light above the pines. It was so cold that the water in the horses' trough had frozen over, unusual for the coastal counties. As I went to get an axe to chop through the ice, I noticed a yard chicken, a hen, perched near the trough, with several biddies tucked under her wings. I was impressed with how she had turned her face and frail body of fluff into the icy wind, her wings outstretched and, it seemed to me, surely tired, for the sake of her children. And I was uplifted by what I took to be a gift and encouragement to my faith, this visual depiction of Jesus' care for me.

"But it struck me that those chicks had come to the hen. I don't know if she chased them around the yard first, if some came more willingly than others, or if some were still out there half-frozen. (There were a few late arrivals perched on top of her wings.) I only know the chicks I could see had allowed themselves to be gathered up and protected. They had quit fighting what they had no control over in the first place and said, 'You do it, Mom.'"

Jesus did stand, looking over Jerusalem and wept saying, "
how often I have longed to gather you children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings".

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