Monday, December 30, 2013


Christmas Day.

The Aftermath.

Do you feel like I do after a rather frantic pre-lim, followed by a full day of family, fun, and food? (Lots and lots of food??)

A little tired, a little worn out – truth be told, a little let down.

There's so much excitement building up to Christmas Day.  There's the decorating and gift-getting, the buying of the tree and hanging of ornaments, the grocery-shopping and cooking and baking.

And then, before you know it – The Day arrives.

Eating and talking, eating and opening gifts, eating and watching television, eating and napping – and whatever else your family does traditionally! 

But, I always feel a little disappointed when it's all over. 

Did everything measure up to my expectations?

Sometimes, things fall flat – I've had years when sickness stole some of the joy, and when family tension cut into the fun. I've had years when someone didn't receive that special gift.

I'm chagrined to admit this – but the Norman Rockwell picture I have in my mind of the *perfect* Christmas Day sometimes ends up looking like a Picasso.


This year was quiet and enjoyable. 

But, after the day is done, I am wistful and a bit sad. 


I got to pondering about this…(seems that I like to ponder over a lot of stuff, huh?!)

Wasn't the first Christmas Day like this, too?

The prophets had predicted the coming of the Messiah for centuries.  The nation of Israel had suffered under slavery, oppression, conquest, and exile. The Jewish people had groaned forever, it seemed - as they longed and looked for their Deliverer.

The one who would rescue them from it all.

And then, it's time – and God performed a miracle.  He became a human.

Except, for most of the world, most of humanity, The Day was more like any other day. It wasn't ushered in with trumpet blasts and angels surrounding the world in a loud chorus.  There weren't crazy earthquakes or darkened skies - there wasn't a coronation, or even a christening. 

There was just a manger – and a baby wrapped in cloths.

A letdown.

No hoopla, no hero, no high and mighty king.

Jesus didn't measure up to expectations.

People didn't even know about Him – the HIM, with a capital "H" – for years. And even then, when Jesus began His ministry, most people were angered or disappointed or apathetic. 

I take a look at my own life.

Does Jesus disappoint me?  Does He let me down?

What about when the casks of water stay water, instead of turning into wine?

What about when the storm is not stilled, and the waves just get bigger and stronger?

What about when the healing doesn't come, or the prodigal doesn't return home, or the net doesn't burst with too many fish to count?

What about then?

Does Jesus disappoint me?  Does He let me down?

Truth? – Sometimes He does.

He does when I make Him into my own image.  When I try to shape Him and mold Him to make Him fit into my life.  When I squeeze Him in among all the "important" things that I do.  When I look for something from Him, in my way and my timing.

He does when I neglect to know Him as He really is.

The REAL Jesus is the unpredictable, the surprising, the mysterious – the out-of-the-box Savior.

You see, when it comes to Jesus, you have to know Him – really know HIM– underneath the selfish definitions you might come up with.  Because He doesn't fit when we compare Him to our expectations. 

But when you truly open your heart to JESUS – hold on to your hat!

He's like a heavenly optical illusion.

Look at those swaddling cloths – they're really the robes of a King.  The lowly manger was really a throne room.  Look closely - baby fingers and toes were one day destined to receive nails for the sins of mankind. Unfocused eyes had once, and would again, behold the glory of the Almighty God the Father face to face.

The promised Messiah had truly arrived.  The Deliverer that the world really needed – not just the temporary ruler they were looking for.


You know, the more I think about it, the Aftermath of Christmas Day is what it's all about.  Everything that happened AFTER.  Like the cross and the resurrection…

And the truth of the matter is this – Jesus really doesn't disappoint. 

It's me.

Thinking I want more from Him, I settle for less of HIM. Thinking I want to do more for Him, I settle for less of HIM. Thinking I need this and that right now, I settle for less of HIM.

Trying to wrap Jesus up in cloths that I have made to swaddle Him...

...I end up binding the King.

Oh dear Lord Jesus, how I just want more of You in my heart and my life. I do not wish to limit You, I do not wish to fit You into my expectations.

Surprise me, disturb me, challenge me, whittle me.

Make me into something worthy of a King.

The unfailing love of the LORD never ends!
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day.  

"Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
He will delight in obeying the LORD.
He will not judge by appearance
nor make a decision based on hearsay.
He will give justice to the poor
and make fair decisions for the exploited.
The earth will shake at the force of his word,
and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.
He will wear righteousness like a belt
and truth like an undergarment... the earth will be filled with people who know the LORD.

In that day the heir to David’s throne
will be a banner of salvation to all the world...

He will gather the scattered people...from the ends of the earth."

(From Isaiah 11, NLT)

"'Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?'" (Isaiah 43:19, ESV)

"'And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.'" (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)

How do you handle the aftermath of Christmas Day?  Will you let the surprising Savior start something new?

(SIDENOTE:  Next Monday I will be officially *announcing* my Word for the Year, 2014!  Please come back and find out what God laid on my heart!)

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BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, December 27, 2013

QUAINT WORDS - For The New Year

Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!


One by one the sands are flowing,
One by one the moments fall,
Some are coming, some are going -
Do not strive to grasp them all.

One by one thy duties wait thee,
Let thy whole strength go to each;
Let no future dreams elate thee;
Learn thou first what those can teach.

One by one (bright gifts from heaven),
Joys are sent thee here below;
Take them readily, when given,
Ready too to let them go.

One by one thy griefs shall meet thee,
Do not fear an armed band;
One will fade, while others greet thee,
Shadows passing through the land.

Do not look at life's long sorrow,
See how small each moment's pain;
God will help thee for to-morrow -
Every day begin again.

Every hour that fleets so slowly,
Has its task to do or bear;
Luminous the crown, and holy,
If thou set each gem with care.

Do not linger with regretting,
Or for passion's hour despond,
Nor, the daily toil forgetting,
Look too eagerly beyond.

Hours are golden links, God's token,
Reaching heaven one by one;
Take them lest the chain be broken,
Ere the pilgrimage be done.

(From The Changed Cross, by Henry Altemus, c. 1897)

"No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT)

*How will you spend your *moments* - one by one - in 2014?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, December 23, 2013


OK, so I just got a new phone.

I had owned my previous phone for like 8 years (maybe even longer) – it was definitely "new" in the Jurassic Age, for sure.  (Scientific name - Phonius Dinosaurus).

But, it was time to upgrade – way past time to upgrade.

And, my family helped me with the whole process.  I opted to get a phone made by a certain *fruit* company.  

This phone required a significant *learning curve* for me.  I stayed up until 1:30 AM that first night, learning how to navigate my way around on my touchscreen!  However, I was never alone.  If I longed for the voice of humanity, I had "an intelligent personal assistant" to talk to.  (She's very polite, by the way!)

But, one of the best features was discovered a few nights later, when a late-night call arrived requesting - well, you know - "Face-to-Face Time".

I accepted, and was instantly treated to the sweet faces of my youngest son, and my precious grandbeagle, Marty.  Marty was wearing my son's eyeglasses!  (Poor Marty – that sleepy dog was subjected to more shenanigans as the conversation went on…)

Oh my goodness, how I laughed!! 

I have to admit, it was pretty cool being able to see their faces, live and in real time.  However, I do pity them having to see ME in my fuzzy pink robe, with my hair askew, wearing no makeup, and my reading glasses perched at half-mast!

I got to thinking about it the next day.

About how God always found a way to talk to His people.  He chose representatives like Moses.  He employed priests.  He sent judges and prophets and kings.

He called John the Baptist.

But, at some point in time, in God's perfect timing, He decided to do something more.

God decided that it was time for some "Face-to-Face Time" with His people.

You know, that's what the manger is all about for me.  It's about God choosing to come face-to-face with His people.  Live and in real time.

Have we lost the impact of this??

You know, I just love the image of the Lord as a knight in shining armor, coming to rescue us out of the darkness of this fallen world!

But, the fact that He humbled Himself to come as a baby stops me in my tracks.  He didn't just rescue us, He rescued us as one of us.

I can vividly remember each of my sons when they were first born. They were so tiny, and helpless, and fragile.  I remember being so very afraid that I would accidentally do something to harm them.  

To think that the Master of the Universe deigned to come to this world in the form of a human baby is amazing.  Humility doesn't even really capture it.  It's sorta like you or I becoming a gnat! 

So, I'm thinking about "Face-to-Face Time" this year.

I'm thinking about Jesus' eyes.

How His tiny, unfocused baby eyes greeted the world He had created.  How His child's eyes saw the wonder of it, even though it was a broken and fallen world.  How His adult eyes focused unflinchingly on His mission to save that same sad world.

How His swollen and beaten eyes closed in death on a Cross meant for me.  How His eyes full of Life, now resurrected and living in eternal glory, are continually watching over me.

Why do I forget that?

I think I'm like everyone else.  I think we lose focus at Christmas because that's what the enemy does.  He takes a good thing and twists it around.  I have known people who are proud of their *busy* – and activity can become an idol.  

And sometimes, the moments of *winter* that cloud our lives make things a little blurry.  Sometimes our hearts just feel overburdened and weary, and our perspective suffers.  Sometimes life has a way of snowballing on us. Sometimes we're caught in an avalanche of difficult circumstances and painful suffering...

But, we would be wise to stop and be still.  

I am reminded of how quiet and unobtrusive the manger was.  The world hushed at the sight of a newborn sleeping.  

A newborn who arrived because God had something BIG in mind!

He desired "Face-to-Face Time" with His people.  

He wanted them to see Him up close and personal.  He wanted them to know that He cared.  He wanted to experience what they experience, so that they would know that He understands.  He wanted to touch them, to talk to them, to eat with them, to fellowship with them.

He wanted to die for them.

No longer can we ever deny the fact that God is a God of love.

A manger, a cross, and an empty tomb shout out the unending, undeniable, and unchanging truth of His love.

Because of that, I can cling to the sure knowledge that my friend, Jesus, walks every step with me.  He is always by my side.  

And, He has promised that this life is not the end of the story.

He came to this dark and fallen and broken world to write a new ending.

An ending in eternity with Him.

Face-to-Face Time.

With the Almighty.

Now THAT is a happily ever after!!

GOD BLESS - this is a wonder-full CHRISTmas! 

Gracious Lord Jesus, thank You for what You did when You became one of us. The love that it took to stoop so low is beyond my comprehension. Thank You for dying as a man, so that You could raise each one of us believers to Your glory one day.  Your love is more than I can comprehend.

I can't wait to see Your face…

Away In A Manger 

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17, NLT)

What does *Emmanuel* mean to you this Christmas?

Some final thoughts (from the Word of God!):


Yet a ruler…will come.
And He will stand to lead His flock with the LORD'S strength, in the majesty of the name of His God.
He will be highly honored around the world.
And He will be the source of peace.
(From Micah 5)

For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on His shoulders.
And He will be called:
Mighty God
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end.
(From Isaiah 9)


The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means "God is with us."
(From Matthew 1)

"Don't be afraid, Mary…for you have found favor with God!
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.
He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
And He will reign…forever; His Kingdom will never end!"
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.
She gave birth to her first child, a son.

Glory to God in highest heaven,
And peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.
(From Luke 1 and 2)

So the Word became human and made His home among us.
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
And we have seen His glory.
(From John 1)


Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory.
And He will send out his angels to gather His chosen ones from all over the world – from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
(From Mark 13)

For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God.
Then we will be with the Lord forever.
(From 1 Thessalonians 4)

I am coming soon.
Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.
(From Revelation 3)

Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(From Revelation 22)


Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!
And He who sits on the throne will give them shelter.
They will never again be hungry or thirsty.
For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.
(From Revelation 7)

Praise the name of the Lord!
Praise Him, you who serve the Lord.
Praise the Lord, for He is good.
Your name, O Lord, endures forever!
(From Psalm 135)

AMEN! Come, Lord Jesus!

May the wonder of a starlit night,
The power of our Savior's might,
The glories of His merciful love,
Bring blessings to you from above.

Wishing each of you and yours a very Merry CHRISTmas!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

QUAINT WORDS - Jesus, The King

Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

"And remember...the King whom you are seeking is not to be found in a palace, nor among the rich and powerful...the light for which the world is waiting is a new light, the glory that shall rise out of patient and triumphant suffering. And the kingdom which is to be established forever is a new kingdom, the royalty of perfect and unconquerable love.

I do not know how this shall come to pass, nor how the turbulent kings and peoples of earth shall be brought to acknowledge the Messiah and pay homage to Him. But this I know. Those who seek Him will do well to look among the poor and the lowly, the sorrowful and the oppressed."

(From "The Story of the Other Wise Man" by Henry van Dyke, c. 1899)

"There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
...he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the LORD laid on him
the sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
Unjustly condemned,
he was led away.
No one cared that...his life was cut short in midstream.
...He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.
But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins."

(From Isaiah 53, NLT)

*How is Jesus a surprising Savior to you?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, December 16, 2013



The light and shadows play today
One moment sunny, the next moment gray,
The wind does its work, sculpting the air
One moment gloomy, the next moment fair.

It's much like the way it is with my life
One moment calm, the next moment strife,
I'm never quite sure how the wind will blow
One moment high, the next moment low.

Sometimes I wish the wind would cease
And bring me some quiet, bring me some peace,
But it continues to blow and blow and blow
Taking me where?  I just never know.

There must be a way to control the air
So that every day dawns sunny and fair,
There must be a way to control my life
So there never exists a day with strife.

But I have never found a way
To control what happens in the course of a day,
I do not know how to harness the wind
Nor how to alter a world filled with sin.

So each day I wonder what the wind will bring
Will I be crying, or will I sing,
Up and down I'm carried and blown
Twisted by forces completely unknown.

Oh, I am tired, and in much need of rest
I need a day when with peace I am blessed,
But where to turn, I cry out in pain
For after all, today it might rain.

Then a Voice so quiet, a Voice so still
A Voice that works outside my will,
Speaks to the wind a word of peace
And tells the storms, "No more, now cease."

The light and shadows will always play
One moment sunny, the next moment gray,
But the Voice does His work, sculpting the air
While always keeping me under His care.

Yes, that is the way it is with my life
One moment calm, the next moment strife,
But though I don't know how the wind will blow
The Light always leads me where I should go.

© Sharon Kirby
January 7, 2013

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 

"The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes." (Psalm 19:8, NIV)

"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." 
(Psalm 119:105, NLT)

"For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light." 
(Psalm 36:9, NIV)

"I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." 
(Isaiah 42:16, NIV)

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" (John 8:12, NIV)

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." (John 1:5, NLT)

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned." 

"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.'"

(Isaiah 9:2 / Luke 2:9-11, NIV)

Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Sounds through the earth and skies.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

(Christmas Carol - We Three Kings)

How does the Light shine in your shadows?

Linked today with:

Jen at UNITE
Darlene at TITUS 2SDAYS

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"