We had a wonderful day yesterday – the day of Bob’s 81st birthday. It started at our son’s house in Placerville where happiness definitely knocked on our door and entered in full array!
We went to church with our family at “Jesus Culture” in Folsom. We filled a row in the congregation of more than 1,500 people. It was amazing! Every seat was filled. People were standing in the aisles. The music and the message were God-inspired.
After church we visited dear, long-time friends whom we had not seen in a decade. We learned that our friend has stayed in touch with us (between years of Christmas cards) by following my Facebook posts. She doesn’t click “like” or leave a message, so I had no idea that she was one of my regular followers. When we got together, the years dissolved … and it was like we had never been apart. Do you have friends like that?
After that wonderful visit, with a delicious lunch and memorable, heart-felt, warm conversation, we returned to our son’s house where we celebrated Bob’s 81st birthday. Our daughter-in-law and granddaughter made Bob’s favorite birthday “cake,” a Jamoca-Almond-Fudge pie. Mmmm!
I pray that the happiness we feel be in your heart today. May it knock on your door, stay late, and leave the gifts of peace, love, joy and good health behind.
John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His Glory… full of grace and truth.”
Meaningful Conversations help lead to Meaningful Relationships.
The grace and truth of “The Word” are two of the most essential elements of meaningful conversations.
“The Word” is Christ – His Love – and His Example to us.
The “thinking, talking, and acting” in faith are essential elements of meaningful relationships.
Importance of Intimate Words
Meaningful conversation is not small talk. It is heart-felt, genuine sharing from your soul. It’s transparent. It doesn’t have to be long. It has to be deep and authentic. It has to be free of intimidation, and opening intimate… knowing it is spoken in TRUST.
From “This Day’s Thought,” an anonymous quote reminds us:
“The love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, love isn’t love till it’s given away.”
Yesterday we went with Ty, Monika and Sam (our son, daughter-in-law, and grandson) to Amador County, California. Kevin (the one in the black jacket) was a high schooler – and friends with Ty in their teens. Distance cannot keep us from remaining friends with Kevin, his wife, Karen, and their beautiful daughter, Morgan.
Just as we stay connected with them through annual Christmas cards and occasional phone calls, and face-to-face visits whenever we can, we also stay connected with Kevin’s parents. Our honest, open, intimate sharing of life’s joys and struggles keeps our friendship alive and meaningful. It’s a blessing!
Just as “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we [see] … His Glory… full of grace and truth,” so it is that this son of our flesh, a gift from God himself, dwells among us full of grace and truth. We are so grateful for the way in which he and Monika open their hearts and home to the greater family … and allow us to converge on them en mass!!
We are a diverse group of people, connected by the Love of Christ, the Blessings of the Spirit, and the determination to remain open and honest with one another. It ain’t always easy. It ain’t always purrrdy! But, it is always worth it… and it is what God calls us to do.
Love One Another
I Corinthians … “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always TRUSTS, always HOPES, always preserves.”
May the love in your heart reach out in honest, intimate, trust-worthy conversation. May it protect and preserve your relationships. May it be
free of intimidation
openly intimate, and
shared in TRUST.
Tell me about a relationship you are keeping alive with intimate words of love and caring.
Christ First at Christmas Family, Food and Fellowship Fun Around the Tree
I hope you had a Christmas filled with Family, food, and fun, too. I pray your memories are as sweet as mine. Merry Christmas, my friends. May the spirit of the holidays live in your heart and bring you joy – all year long!
Time for kids and joy It’s Sunday before Christmas Church and friends and love
The sanctuary Is ready for the people The Son waits with us
Fifth Advent candle Waits with us for Christmas Day Hope, love, joy, and peace
All are brightly lit But not the center candle It represents Christ
Flowers decorate The stairs to the church’s front Poinsettias tell all
Kathy and Jaime Beautifully play the songs That ring in Christmas
The smiles of children Remind is of the Christ Child Whose birth we await
Today’s sermon was told by Elaine Hundley, in her husband Rev. Steve Hundley’s absence. The sermon focused on Joseph, the baby Jesus’ earthly father.
We pray for Steve as he sits at his dying mother’s bedside way over on the other side of the USA. We pray for Elaine who is experiencing her first Christmas apart from Steve in 42 years! She remained here to carry on Steve’s ministry in our church. God bless her!
I listened carefully to capture the message as Elaine delivered a sermon Steve had written some years ago. To understand the introduction, you need to know that Steve and Elaine are adoptive parents.
Here are my poetic renderings:
“Feeling Good About Christmas”
The adoption agency checked us out. They made sure we were okay. I wonder what God did to check out Mary and Joseph to parent Jesus His way.
Joseph was a righteous man who Believed the angel Gabriel who told: “The baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” So Joseph didn’t desert her – nor scold.
He took her to be his wife, And ignored what might have been said By the town folks as they gossiped. He knew she was pure and had not “gone to bed.”
Joseph was a good man, a believer, Who read and understood God’s grace. He saw through the Holy Spirit’s lenses, And was able to accept this Holy Child from God’s Holy place.
May we, too, know the Christ Child as God’s gift to us.Amen!
Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent. May the peace of Christ permeate your heart and give you a peace-filled week.
Winnie the Pooh said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
Yesterday at church, the smallest people there took up the largest place in my heart… and the hearts of the congregants. I didn’t have my camera with me to show you a picture of the “Terrific Tuesday” children who sang Christmas carols to the congregation and recited a memorized Bible verse into the microphone. But, you just have to imagine these three darlings along with five others ranging in age from 4 to 10 – – – singing and reciting praises to our Lord. It was glorious!
Ruby, Cord, and Hailey were joined by five others yesterday as they sang, “Father Abraham,” and “Silent Night,” and synced hand motions to “I’ve Got Peace Like a River”… Oh my! Every face in the church was bursting with God’s JOY as we watched these darling little ones.
Elaine Hundley, our Pastor Steve’s wife, delivered the sermon. Steve is off in Virginia at his mom’s side as she lies dying. As we pray for Steve and his mom, Faye, our congregation also is mourning the death of Reverend Jean Johnson, who died after a difficult surgery and related difficulties. She had been the pastor here in the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church for 32 years.
If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know I take notes in poetry as I listen and internalize the sermon. Elaine called her sermon, “Second Chances” as she talked about Zechariah’s muteness due to unbelief – and the second chance he received after acknowledging his baby boy’s name is John. In my notes, I focused more on the message to Mary – and her response to Gabriel and to God. Here is what I wrote as I discerned the message yesterday. I called it Believe and Trust:
Based on Luke 1:26-56
Think about Gabriel’s messages To Zechariah and to Mary. He told each their child’s name And spoke as if a voice from a fairy.
Zechariah was a priest and he Should have believed the voice. But he doubted – and became mute. Like Zechariah, we have a choice.
We can believe as Mary did, Or doubt as Zechariah chose to do. The result of Mary’s faith Was rich in blessings. So it is with you.
When God speaks to us, we know Blessings are ours – if we trust. Through faith, we are free to rejoice; We are free to believe – We must!
Mary’s song speaks as if God Already has done what He said. She praises the gift of His Son. She didn’t look on her fate with dread.
Sometimes, like Mary, we face unknowns. Like her, we are called to accept The challenges God gives us as gifts. Know God’s in charge, so have no regrets.
Christmas is a season in which, as we light the Advent candle – there is a new focus each week. We await the birth of the Christ Child with a focus on JOY this week. I pray you find JOY in this day – and project nothing but HOPE, PEACE and JOY to all you meet.
As Pooh said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” What’s taking up room in your heart today?
Look for the smallest ways to believe, trust, and spread the Good News! Wheeee!! Take JOY into your heart! (It’s no small thing.)
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. I hope it brought you JOY today. See ya later.