Two Fridays ago, I was one very happy girl! My deck is finally finished!! Watching the guys pack up all their gear and leftover materials filled me with a giddy feeling as I realized the project was completed. It took longer than expected due to some unforeseen circumstances and a few rainy days, but the end result is a sturdy, well-built beautiful deck which we will enjoy for years to come. Yes, there’s some landscaping waiting for spring, but before too long a fresh blanket of snow will cover the muddy ground. A few weeks ago I wrote about keeping the end in sight and now that it’s done, I find it pretty easy to visualize a green lawn and pretty flowers skirting the new deck.
I’ve been thinking about some other things that are finished for the time being…the grass stopped growing, so no more mowing until spring…the leaves have fallen and the trees will rest for the winter months…my gardens are sleeping until the warm sun returns and awakens tender shoots…our winter tires are installed and summer ones stored away…we finished cleaning up the garage after its seven-week stint as a temporary storage/work area for the carpenters…my lawn ornaments and gardening supplies are put away...and I also finished the shopping necessary to fill two Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes that will be sent to children in needy areas of our world (a very worthwhile cause which we have enjoyed contributing to for many years).
Usually by this time I have most of my Christmas decorations up but I’ve been having trouble feeling the “Christmas spirit”. However, with deck completed and the clean-up done, I find myself gradually thinking about other things. On Thursday, I helped decorate Christmas trees at our church and that did it! I came home suddenly anxious to start my own decorating. Since I now have a kitten that longs to be into everything and everywhere he’s not supposed to be, I may have to modify the decorating somewhat.
Attending our church’s “Sights and Sounds of Christmas” ladies event Friday evening ensured my mind and heart were geared up for season preparations. What a delightful time of singing familiar Christmas carols, learning how to make beautiful while inexpensive wreaths out of coffee filters, sharing lots of laughs as two ladies and their children entertained us with their “cooking show” (I plan to use the recipes), “ooh-ing” and “awe-ing” over tablescaping demonstrations, and chatting between mouthfuls of delicious cheesecake. Many thanks to the women who organized such a festive evening!
As I prepare for this special celebration, I’m always reminded to keep the true meaning of Christmas forefront in my thinking and inner spirit. It’s so easy to become caught up in the gift buying, parades, baking, decorating, parties, chocolate truffles, apple cider, ribbons and bows that I need to pause often and realize why we even have this season. Truly it is the time we rejoice over the birth of Jesus Christ some two-thousand years ago. We focus on Mary and Joseph, the virgin birth, the manger, the shepherds, the Bethlehem star, the wisemen, and the angels. We light candles, sing Christmas carols, visit loved ones and friends, share in gift-giving, and enjoy family traditions we associate with the season.
I believe it’s necessary to go one step further, however, and reflect on why Jesus came to earth as a little baby. Why did He take on human form, subject Himself to the most humble of birthplaces, and grow up in the home of a carpenter? He was born into Jewish heritage yet His own people didn’t recognize He was the One prophesied by Isaiah, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) They expected Him to come as a King, a ruler of their people as verse 7 says, “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever; the seal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
Isaiah further foretold the reason for Jesus’ coming, “…Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Saviour comes!” (62:11) An angel appeared to Joseph, who was engaged to the virgin Mary, and said, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” That was His purpose in coming! When Jesus met with the Samaritan woman she said, “…I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, ‘I who speak to you am he.’” (John 4:25-26)
When Christ died on the cross for our sins, He cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) The work He had come to do was accomplished. Although God’s plan had been in motion since before the beginning of time, the earthly fulfillment began with ...a BABY!
Until next Sunday,