The Hope of Christmas

The Hope of Christmas | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

 

Unto us a Child is born,

unto 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,

JESUS

for He will save his people from their sins.

 

Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬; Matthew‬ ‭1:21‬‬‬

 

May each of you enjoy the blessings of Christmas and find the Hope, Joy, Peace, Comfort and Love that is wrapped in the gift of God’s Son.

Merry Christmas!

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Happiness in Imperfection

Wonderfully Made

She walked in the room and looked down at me. I wasn’t surprised by her serious expression nor was I surprised by her remarks.

“Your pics are bad,” she reported. She glanced over at my husband and reiterated, “They’re bad.”

I simply nodded my head in agreement for even though I had not seen what she had, I knew her assessment was correct. She was my doctor, after all.

No, the pics she was reviewing were not head shots for my blog (although I could use a new one of those!). The pictures to which my doctor was referring were x-rays of my spine.

When life gives you Lemons…

Lemons and Grace

My scoliosis was detected in my preteen years. I was no stranger to physical malady, however. I had been living with a genetic muscle disorder all of my life. Scoliosis was just another lemon to add to the pitcher. But I have to tell you, these lemons were pretty rotten. How do you make the best of a muscle disorder that prevents you from living a “normal” life and a spinal condition that disfigures your body and promises even greater complications in the future?

Grace. My only answer is Grace.

God’s sufficient Grace

The way I see it, my life has been one big miracle. From walking when the neurologists said it wasn’t possible to roller skating, bike riding and tree climbing, a diagnosis didn’t seem to stop me. The typical activities of children were challenges that I faced with the love and support of family and friends. Some activities were (and still are) more challenging than others, like climbing a flight of stairs (Check out my post about the stairs of life here.), but I did it. I pushed myself to live a “normal” life. None of it was normal, though. I had to learn to compensate my weaknesses with my strengths. I had to take advantage of railings or whatever was available (including people) to pull me along or assist in climbing or getting up after a frequent fall. I had to adapt to make it through life. It hasn’t been easy and I know that if it weren’t for God’s grace…

Well, I try not to think about that.

God’s Work on Display

My Weakness

So, here I am, a few decades down the road from its first detection, and I find myself facing the inevitable. The scoliosis has progressed along with all of its lovely side effects – deformity, labored mobility and pain. I’ve been ignoring it, telling myself that it’s my norm. The reality is I didn’t want to admit that I needed medical help. It’s discouraging to face my imperfections and dependence head on (Have I ever talked with you about my stubbornness? 😉 ) but I’m doing my best to keep it all in perspective. (Really, I am.)

You see, I don’t believe I was cursed. I don’t believe God gave these problems to me. None of us are perfect. We all have something in our lives that makes us feel abnormal whether we admit it or not. What I do believe is that God can use my medical issues to display His mighty works. In fact, as I look at all He has enabled me to accomplish, in my physical growth and in every area of my life, I realize His Grace has always been shining brightly in me, through me and around me as a miraculous beacon of hope – a hope that will carry me through all that is to come.

Finally, Lemonade!

Since I began this post, I have had my first visit (in 18 years) with a chiropractor. He showed me my x-rays and as I already mentioned, my doctor was right. It’s not good. (I’d show them to you but that’d be taking transparency a little bit too far, don’t you think? 😉 )

On the bright side, though, I have learned that I am the topic of conversation throughout the entire doctor’s office. It seems I’ve presented them with a case unlike they have ever seen. In the words of the chiropractor, “There is no textbook for [me].” Well, what d’ya know! I’m one of a kind.

Now how’s that for lemonade! 🙂

A Year of Smiles – Day 359: The SMILES of Christmas

Adobe Spark (67)

Christmas SMILE #25 (Reason to SMILE #359): THE MIRACLES

He became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 (ESV)

The miracle of God With Us began with Christ’s advent to earth as a baby but it is not constrained to one day in the past. The miracle of God With Us is experienced every day in the life of the Christian. From the moment of salvation, Christ fills us with his Spirit and continually fills us with his character, his forgiveness, his love, his grace and his mercy.

Have you experienced the miracle of Christ’s birth in your life? If not, there’s no better day than today.

Does it really matter for me that Christ was born if Christ is not born now in my life and my time?

– Author Unknown

May we always remember the miracles of Christmas – Christ’s coming to earth as a baby, to our lives as Savior and Lord and again to earth one day as our Victorious King.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Adobe Spark (69)

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 352: The SMILES of Christmas

Adobe SparkChristmas SMILE #18 (Reason to SMILE #352): THE QUIET REFLECTIONS

Can you imagine what Mary, the mother of Jesus, was thinking on the night she gave birth to Jesus? What an awesome privilege was bestowed upon this “highly-favored” woman yet this privilege was surrounded by controversy and uncertainty. The impossibility of a virgin birth, a secret plan of divorce and a government edict to displace an entire nation threatened the promise delivered to Mary by God’s angel. How strong and courageous this young girl must have been to proclaim in the midst of all the chaos, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 (ESV)

By the time of Jesus’ birth, Mary had plenty of new experiences to reflect upon and as she watched her newborn baby lying in the feeding trough, Mary may have had these thoughts:

There he is, lying in a manger. What a beautiful baby boy. The angel hadn’t said anything about being here in this place. Oh, God, are you sure? Listen to him. Oh, I wish there was some other place to spend the night. Well, the hardest part is over now. We can all get some rest. Joseph has been so strong through all of this. He’s going to be a good father. Look at him. He’s just standing there looking at the baby. I wish there was more light but when the morning comes, there will be plenty of time to see our precious son. Oh, I am so tired. Maybe the baby will sleep a while now. I have to get some rest. At least no one knows us here in Bethlehem and we won’t have any visitors tonight.

Dear God, thank you for a healthy birth and a beautiful baby boy. I’m still struggling with all your angel has told us but He’s so perfect! Jesus is the perfect name for our son. Thank you, God! And, oh yes, God, if you will, help these animals around us keep quiet through the night so Jesus won’t be disturbed and I can get some sleep. Amen.

– written by Rev. Charles S. Jones (my dad!)

Check out his music on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/JesusSinger10/videos

Boy, was Mary in for a surprise! For soon she would be visited by an excited group of shepherds anxious to see their Savior. And you can be sure that these shepherds were shouting praises and singing the song of the angels which was just heard in their fields, “Glory to God in the highest!” It was a visit to be added to Mary’s collection of priceless treasures – all her thoughts of wondrous revelations and miracles which she “pondered in her heart” (Luke 2:19 ESV), I’m sure, for a lifetime.

We all have special memories of Christmas that we hold dear in our hearts. Each recollection of loved ones no longer with us, time spent with family and friends and excitement of little children who are no longer little brings warmth to our spirits and a SMILE to our faces – though often accompanied by a bittersweet tear or two. These memories are priceless treasures worth more than any present found under the Christmas tree.

Of all our wonderful reflections at Christmas, though, none can uplift the spirits more than remembering the reason for our Joy. The birth of Jesus and His presence in our lives makes every moment of every Christmas and every moment of every day worth experiencing. And when our quiet reflections of Christmas begin with Jesus, enjoying the rest of our priceless memories will be so much sweeter.