Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Christmas Afterglow

Christmas feels like that time of year when so much of my work blooms. Even though the leaves on our Boston Ivy are falling and the Avocado is very confused about what season we're in, the children are stretching their minds and using their little voices in new ways. They fill my hands with colorful leaves on our walk and say, "Here Mommy-Bird, some pretty leaves to decorate." They squeal with excitement about the chance to stomp in the fuzzy-looking winter rye or the ankle-deep clover, and they race up and down the slopes of our neighbors' front yard. 

Everything is a treasure to them: the limes that fell off a neighbors' tree, the junk-mail in the mailbox, a handful of change in their stockings. I was inspired by Laura Ingles Wilder's Little House on the Prairie.

"And in the very toe of each stocking was a shining bright, new penny! They had never even thought of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny. There never had been such a Christmas." 

Inspired to not rush my children onto bigger and better things. Inspired to fill their miniature stocking with toothpaste and an automatic toothbrush and pennies. And to make them wait all through a candy cane making demonstration and dinner too before allowing them to eat their one individually wrapped candy bought for thirty cents at Logan's Candy shop in Ontario.
















It's the thrill of saying yes after days upon days of saying no. Finally, the presents can be unwrapped. Finally the tape can be torn off and the paper crumbled and the box opened, not for the joy of the gift inside really, but the discovery of the hidden. Indeed the gifts that brought the biggest reaction were the used books that I bought off half.com. These were stories from the library that the children knew. 
And then there was the treasure hunt for Lee that lead him to his big wheel that we salvaged from the curbside in Friendly Hills. We were delighted to find that some of the buttons on the thing still work. And we were delighted when Lee without prompting handed the big wheel over to Rose to have a go after him.















They are asking for oatmeal for breakfast and tea when the rain falls and a blanket to play with during their quiet times. They think a box filled with sand is the next best thing and balloons and kitty shoes and an inflatable pink bed.




And the best of all are the grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts, great-grandmas and great-grandpas and the cousins and friends too, who have built the foundation of love and grace being passed down from generation to generation. Here grows little plants in rich soil.


And I too consider myself delighted when I delight in the simple things.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Sermon on the Mount

Jesus has just called some of his disciples to follow him. So they did and he says to them, “How blessed are those who are here in this kingdom. They are different than the world. They are like light in a dark place. They not only do what is right, they feel what is right too. They do the right things for the right reasons. They aren’t afraid. They don't try to play at being God, and they are always asking God for wisdom. They are perfect.”

Well at that moment, I’m sure the disciples looked at one another and wondered, “Who’s perfect? I’m not perfect. Neither are you. Maybe we’re in the wrong place.” Or maybe some of them started to think, “Gosh, I’m pretty far away from that perfection. I better start getting my act together so I’m good enough to stay here.” Still others might’ve said, “That’s impossible! No one can live like that. We’re human after all. Not only do we do wrong things, we have wrong thoughts and motives.” And I think that Jesus could’ve taken any of these wonderings to the place of truth. 

Jesus has invited the disciples into his kingdom, and his only requirement of them so far has been that they follow him. They are in. Now Jesus is explaining to them what is to come, the operation that will now commence upon their hearts. He is saying that to be part of his kingdom is to be transformed from the inside out. It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of surgeries, a lot of time, but God will not stop until he has made us. Perfect. We are in the right place. For we are where the sick people are made well.

For the followers, and anyone who heard these standards of perfection and tried to follow them, they would’ve soon discovered the shocking truth. Effort is not enough. They’ve tried to be perfect, and it didn't worked. Indeed we all must try because it is through trying that we’re reminded that we simply cannot. We need someone else operating the controls inside this stubborn heart. We need new hearts really. We need a heart that wants to obey for that is what we owe God. It’s our obligation to him. An obligation that we find we cannot keep. 

What gives? We are lost! No one can keep this obligation!

And if Jesus’ disciples came to this conclusion by the end of the Sermon on the Mount, then they were in a good place. Because these teachings of perfection lead us to see that while we cannot, Christ can and did. What is left to do, but for a man to say, “Okay. I can’t. I see that now. But you can. So do it. And do it in me too.”

Then Christ will look on that person and say, “How blessed are you for you are part of this kingdom, and your foundations are built on this rock. Now let the building commence!"

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 12

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Twelve spinners spinning,
Eleven fighters fighting,
Ten fingers opening,
Nine spherules dangling,
Eight panes a glowing,
Seven persons wondering
Six bells a ringing,
Five pink rose buds,
Four boxy flakes,
Three hidden cones,
Two bobbing heads,
And the marmalade boiling down for thee.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 11

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Eleven fighters fighting,
Ten fingers opening,
Nine spherules dangling,
Eight panes a glowing,
Seven persons wondering
Six bells a ringing,
Five pink rose buds,
Four boxy flakes,
Three hidden cones,
Two bobbing heads,
And the marmalade boiling down for thee.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 10

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Ten fingers opening,
Nine spherules dangling,
Eight panes a glowing,
Seven persons wondering
Six bells a ringing,
Five pink rose buds,
Four boxy flakes,
Three hidden cones,
Two bobbing heads,
And the marmalade boiling down for thee.


Friday, December 9, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 9

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Nine spherules dangling
Eight panes a glowing
Seven persons wondering,
Six bells a ringing,
Five pink rose buds,
Four boxy flakes,
Three hidden cones.
Two bobbing heads,
And marmalade boiling down for thee.



Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 8

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Eight panes a glowing
Seven persons wondering
Six bells a ringing
Five pink rose buds,
Four boxy flakes,
Three hidden cones
Two bobbing heads,
And the marmalade boiling down for thee.



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 7

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Seven persons wondering,
Six bells a ringing,
Five pink rose buds,
Four boxy flakes,
Three hidden cones,
Two bobbing heads,

And the marmalade boiling down for thee.




Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 6

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Six bells a ringing,
Five pink rose buds,
Four boxy flakes,
Three hidden cones,
Two bobbing heads,
And the marmalade boiling down for thee.


Monday, December 5, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 5

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Five pink rose buds,
Four boxy flakes,
Three hidden cones,
Two bobbing heads,
And the marmalade boiling down for thee.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 4

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Four boxy flakes,
Three hidden cones,
Two bobbing heads,
And the marmalade boiling down for thee.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 3

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Three hidden cones,
Two bobbing heads,
And the marmalade boiling down for thee.







Friday, December 2, 2016

The Days of Christmas: Day 2

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Two bobbing heads 
And the marmalade boiling down for thee.

The Days of Christmas: Day 1

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
The marmalade boiling down for thee.