December 3, 2009

Christmas Countdown - Day 3

Matthew 2:13-15-The Flight to Egypt "Now when they had departed, behold,an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet (Hosea 11:1),"Out of Egypt I called my son."

This is part of an Advent devotional guide from Christ the King Presbyterian Church, and gives reflection on the above Bible verse:
The Lord cares for his people and his plan. We often struggle to believe in God on both counts. We doubt that he knows our struggles and pain, and we doubt that he has a plan for our life, much less for all of creation. But we see (in this verse) that not only is God aware of the thoughts and intentions of Herod, but he also has a specific plan for Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to go to Egypt until it is safe to return.

1. I searched our book shelves and pulled out a few of the publications we've collected over the years for our advent devotions. They range from photocopied pages from magazines, to homemade booklets produced by churches we once attended, to more professional publications. All offer rich food for the spirit, and point us to the perfect gift of redemption!

2. Heading out to Des Moines today to possibly finish up Christmas shopping. I have my coupons and discount cards in hand - and my list of course!

3. I ordered another of my three gifts from the internet yesterday - I know it's not a very romantic notion to order your own gift, but there you have it! The contents of my Christmas stocking are always a surprise, so that element is not altogether lost! The packages have started to arrive, and the day before yesterday, the FedEx man was actually batting away a bee at the front door - weird weather year, but the frost and cold are finally here and helping to set the mood for the season.

4. I watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, which has been a favorite of mine since I was 5. The four of us kids watched it every year and I still can't break the habit -the songs alone are therapeutic for me! This year it was sponsored by Macy's, but remember when it was sponsored by Norelco, and Santa would come riding down the hill on an electric shaver? - oh, so nostalgic!


5. Got our first Christmas card from my crafty cousin Holly. Not only did she make her own charming cards, but on further inspection, I realized that she drew the wreath on the front of the card - way to go!!


6. I have a number of options when it comes to decorating for Christmas (no snickering from my family please!), and this year I made my choice in a slightly backwards way. I have a stash of after-Christmas-sale wrapping paper, and I like to coordinate it with our other decorations around the house (again, no snickering please!), so yesterday I picked out the papers to use first, and then decided on the decorations for the house - sort of Christmas botanical.

7. We'll be visiting my grandmother on Christmas Day, Lord willing, and I've decided to make tray favors for all the residents. I'm also going to see if there might be someone at the home that could use a special gift of some sort. I don't mention this to appear to be some sort of hero, but just as a way of mentioning that these residents often feel very much out of the loop at Christmas especially, since most can no longer celebrate in the same way they did for years and years. Even the smallest acknowledgment can mean so very much to them - just to be remembered.

8. My husband and I have a very special holiday date tonight - more about that coming later - and my brother and sister-in-law have the same holiday date tonight in Denver, at the same time - can you guess where we're going???

So far, my balance of sacred vs. worldly observation of the season feels on track. I find that purposely celebrating Christmas in a Christ-centered way leads to a virtually stress-free holiday. You say "no thanks" to the unnecessary events and obligations much more easily - and we already have!

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