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Posts Tagged ‘Magical’

It is the season of Saint Nick and he is everywhere.images-3

So, Santa is everywhere at this season of the year, and he is not new, and not North American. The story of Saint Nick goes back to the fourth century. In various times and his name has been Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, Père Noël and Saint Nicholas.

I admit that, as a Christian parent, it is not always an easy thing to try to empathize the birth of Christ, while at the same time all the world around me shouts of Santa Claus. It is a very difficult thing to try to teach of the greater value of the eternal gifts that Jesus brings while Santa Clause brings Barbie and Lego. Hubby and I have agonized over how to deal with Santa Claus in the life of our family.

When speaking with a teacher friend recently, she shared what she had been dealing with in her kindergarten classroom; two children who did not believe in Santa Claus, and whose mission it was to cast all those who did into a fiery pit. I have to say, her experience confirmed for me that the middle ground perspective on ‘the Claus’ that hubby and I chose to take was a wise one!

For us we chose to neither encourage nor discourage the belief in Santa Claus, just like we neither encouraged nor discouraged the belief in the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Narnia, Secret Garden, or Fairy Tales. Those magical things, places and people take us to delightful, wonder-filled fictitious escapes into our imaginations that help us to grow and develop with with ability to dream.

But, Saint Nicholas was not a fictitious character, he was a very real person.

Saint Nicholas was a Greek Christian bishop in modern day Turkey in the 4th century. He was known for giving extensively to the poor, to children. His most famous gift is believed to be to a family with three daughters. The family was terribly poor and had no financial way to provide dowries for their three daughters of marrying age. Such a situation could result in these three young ladies being forced into slavery, prostitution. The story goes that Nicholas reached his hand into a window of the house, leaving enough money for the three to have dowries to marry. The story further goes that the money fell into stockings that were hanging by the window to dry … yet another rational for the tradition of Christmas stockings.

Although Nicholas was never officially canonized (the process that the Roman Catholic Church utilizes to recognize it’s saints), the day of the Feast day of St. Nicholas (December 6) continues. Much more can be read about Saint Nicholas.

To believe in him is delightful childhood, to know of the God-loving man behind the beard is essential for the imagination to take root, and blossom into putting that faith into our own works of love for others.

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“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can faith save him?
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them,
“Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,”
but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.”
Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
Do you see that faith was working together with his works,
and by works faith was made perfect?

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says,
“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
And he was called the friend of God.
You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works
when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
James 2:14-26

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As my two week Spring Break comes to a close, I feel refreshed and ready to return to work, and schedules, and earlier mornings (after all there ARE only nine more work days until a four day weekend … but, whose counting? 😉 ). When the break began, all I desired was a weekend away with hubby, regular walks on my favorite trail, and time with each of my kids.

It began slow, well no, it began busy, with a weekend full of activity for both hubby and I (church related). Once hubby’s time off began, four days into mine (really his time off began with him doing a full day of work-related paperwork 😦 ), I finally had time to get much needed groceries. To me, time off is not really time off until we are all off!

I had a delightful luncheon with a dozen lovely ladies, and three coffee dates with some of the sweetest women I know. Moments that refuel and encourage me, as a woman struggling to understand life.

There was the morning (oh yes, the entire morning) of ironing … it had not been done since September … sigh). There was the search for fabric for my daughter, that led to a five hour storage closet cleaning, ten bags of goods to the thrift store, and many giggles by my daughter over the photos of yours truly and hubby way back in the days leading to our wedding. Giggles that led to conversations about life, and hopes, and dreams.

There was a haircut, and lunch with my eldest daughter. There was a lunch and thrift store shopping day with my younger daughter. There was a movie date with my son. Moments with each of my kids, with no other disruptions, refills my momma heart like no other.

There were the deaths of two co-workers moms. There was the death of the fifty year old husband and father of six, two of his daughters are friends of my daughters. Moments that make you thankful for the mercy of another day.

There was more cleaning, and more purging, and more trips to the thrift store to dump another load. Another reminder of how much we have that we do not use, do not need … what I really NEED in my life should last longer than a trend?.

There were walks on my favorite trail. Walks in the sun, the rain, the snow and the hail (and that was just one day!). There were walks with hubby, with our Chinese son, with a daughter, and always with my beastie. Walks that refresh me from the inside out, walks that remind me of my Creator, and how fine His handiwork is.

There was the day of culinary therapy … something that my household was thrilled with the results of! How wonderful to create something(s) that I can watch others take delight in!

Then there was the Passion (Passion 268) concert featuring two great musicians, who led a sold out Rogers Arena in worship to God, and a calling to end human trafficking. Although I am a generation beyond their organizers intended attendee, I was reminded again, that we are all responsible for what we do, or do not do, to end such a horrific thing as use and abuse of fellow human beings.

And then there was my birthday, a delightful day when the sun was bright, and I was celebrated for my thirty-nine (with, now, four years experience) years, by family and friends, near and far.

Somehow, when when hubby and I are busy we function like a well oiled machine, but once the calendar is more cleared, the cracks in our relationship show a need for more oil, more attention, and a going deeper than “what does your day hold?” conversation. This resulted in a beautiful twenty-four hours away, to a beautiful, waterfront Hotel, where we watched the sun set at night, and the horizon lighten in the morning. A good reminder of what we already knew, but life can keep you from if you succumb to it’s demands, that time spent alone, as husband and wife, is the best thing you can do for your kids, for your health, and even for your ability to do your daily work. Lesson learned, and our next getaway is in the planning stages!

It has been a wonderful break. One that has refreshed my body, mind and spirit, refueled me for the days to come, and one that has given me much needed variety and options each and every day.

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