Friday, December 8, 2017

Celebrating Vs. Surviving

Just LOOK at what I read this morning.....

"Mercy, Peace and Love be yours in abundance."  Jude 1:2

Simple.  Powerful.  Longed for.  Offered.

I sat and pondered this scripture for a long time this morning.  Then I immediately set about trying to memorize it.  Those eight lovely words were exactly what my heart needed for today. That small passage offers in Abundance so much of what we hope for at Christmas:
  • LOVE
It really holds such an important Christmas message.  Sometimes this season can quickly move from being a time we celebrate to being a time where we simply hang on and try our best to survive.  I don't think that's what the Architect of the Christmas story had in mind.

Most likely your Christmas celebrations are in full swing just like ours.  Looking over my calendar has been daunting during these three weeks following Thanksgiving.  

Since Nov. 26th we've.... 
  • Held a dinner for Southeastern University students. 
  • Hosted our five oldest grands for dinner and gingerbread house building.
  • Hosted the all-church Christmas party.  
  • Spent two full nights sharing communion with individual church families.
  • All while keeping pretty regular office hours.
This weekend we have a wedding.  And on Sunday I'll prepare/serve a meal for our board members and ministry staff families.  

Now you understand why (in the last post) I encouraged you to select and schedule your Most Important celebrations early.

Our Most Important - time with the grand babies - was marvelous indeed.

Frank and I spent most of that morning preparing.  Although there were a few extra errands mid-day that threatened to derail us, the prep time paid off.  When they started arriving, we were ready!

It's still lovely, outside weather here in central FL.  So Papa and babies spent a good half hour on the swings while Noni got the pizzas and fruit ready.  (Yes, real fruit to keep mommies happy.)

After dinner, we painted ornaments.  Oh, what a glorious mess!

Then came the main attraction: Ginger Bread Houses!!

"How wonderful!  You baked authentic gingerbread?"  

Are you kidding?!  Not a chance.

Why do you think they invented Gingerbread House KITS?  And why do you think I would need to re-invent the wheel?  Besides if we had to wait for me to do all that baking, we'd have to miss the experience all together.

Some corners are okay to cut.

There were five children ages 6, 5, 4, and two 2 year olds all trying to capture Noni and Papa's attention at the same time.  It was chaotic to say the least.

We had pre-made each house on Friday.  When it was finally time to start decorating, Frank and I were both twirling frosting guns like the original cake boss. 

Unbelievable mounds of candy completely hid the center of the work table we had lowered to a kid-friendly height.  And everyone was talking at the same time - Loudly!

After about ten minutes of leaning over the table helping first this one then the next, I glanced at Zachariah's little house.  It had almost nothing on it.  I straightened up (slowly) and looked around to find him.

"Frank, where's Zach?  There's nothing on his house."  (We've already established in an earlier post that I have been known to lose a child. Please don't judge.)

At that precise moment, Zach brought his chubby little two and a half year old self around the corner from the playroom.

"There you are!"  I scooped him up, kissed his sweet face and he flashed his signature grin.  "Let's get going on your house."

His huge blue eyes widened and he pointed while saying his best version of "My Howsh?!"

"Yes, your house.  Do you want these skittles on the windows?"  He answered with another big smile and a serious nod.  So I started gluing skittles.

It didn't take long to get distracted by someone's need for green frosting on their Bugle chip tree.  And Zach went missing again.  This time, Papa knew exactly where he was.

"Don't say anything to him.  Just watch," Frank whispered to me as Zach strolled back up to the work table.

Our brown-haired boy glanced first at his sister's colorful house, then at Noah's.  His nonchalance was epic as he reached up and silently filled both little fists full of candy.  A slow, casual turn and he was on his way back to the playroom; candy-laden hands by his sides.

Frank and I both followed him around the corner just in time to see the second fistful of colored sugar being crammed into his mouth.  We struggled to stifle our laughter.

"Zach!" When I said his name, he wheeled around.  Can't you just see the little chipmunk cheeks packed to capacity and the wide-eyed innocent stare he gave me?  "Come on, let's put some candy on your house."

It was a stellar and memorable evening for sure.

Perhaps your calendar isn't as full this year as usual.  Maybe you're dealing with sickness or some life event that has altered your normal Christmas activities.

Dear friend, may I challenge you to still choose Celebrating over Surviving this season?  With the help promised us all in Jude 1:2, you can do it.  Even in the midst of difficulty, the Father longs to shower you with:

  • Mercy
  • Peace
  • Love

Knowing that the Creator of the Universe sees and cares for each of us is abundant comfort indeed.

Blessings on you and those you love as we move toward Christmas finding something to celebrate each step of the way.


  1. Good and timely word as always. Thank you!

    Debbie Mantik

    1. So glad it was an encouragement, dear friend! Merry Christmas!!