The First Coming

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have a fun, safe, happy time with family and friends. See you next year!Christmas 2012

The First Coming
by Madeleine L’Engle

He did not wait until the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time,
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait

till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!_MG_4771

{Advent} God Makes a Way

First of all, ‘Happy birthday, Jeanette!’

Sometimes it seems that no matter which way we turn, bad things will happen (or are). I like how Moses put it to the people when they cried out about Pharaoh coming after them at the Red Sea in The Jesus Storybook Bible: ‘Don’t be afraid! God knows you can’t do anything! God will do it for you. Trust him. And watch! … God will make a way.” I like the song of praise the Israelites sing after their rescue that it is included after the picture.

“What were God’s people going to do? In front of them was a big sea. It was so big there as no way around it. But there was no way through it – it was too deep. They didn’t have any boats so they couldn’t sail across. And they couldn’t swim across because it was too far and they would drown. And they couldn’t turn back because Pharaoh was chasing them. … So they did the only thing there was left to do – PANIC!”

God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to turn around and make camp at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp on the shore of the sea opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are lost; they’re confused. The wilderness has closed in on them.’ Then I’ll make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn again and he’ll chase after them. And I’ll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God.” And that’s what happened.

God made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, determined to chase the Israelites as they walked out on him without even looking back. The Egyptians gave chase and caught up with them where they had made camp by the sea. As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them! They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. …

Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.

God will fight the battle for you.
And you? You keep your mouths shut!”

God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.Meanwhile I’ll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I’ll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”

_MG_4334

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to God, giving voice together,
I’m singing my heart out to God—what a victory!
He pitched horse and rider into the sea.
God is my strength, God is my song,
and, yes! God is my salvation.
This is the kind of God I have
and I’m telling the world!
This is the God of my father—
I’m spreading the news far and wide!
God is a fighter,
pure God, through and through.
Pharaoh’s chariots and army
he dumped in the sea,
The elite of his officers
he drowned in the Red Sea.
Wild ocean waters poured over them;
they sank like a rock in the deep blue sea.
Your strong right hand, God, shimmers with power;
your strong right hand shatters the enemy.
In your mighty majesty
you smash your upstart enemies,
You let loose your hot anger
and burn them to a crisp.
At a blast from your nostrils
the waters piled up;
Tumbling streams dammed up,
wild oceans curdled into a swamp.
The enemy spoke,
“I’ll pursue, I’ll hunt them down,
I’ll divide up the plunder,
I’ll glut myself on them;
I’ll pull out my sword,
my fist will send them reeling.”
You blew with all your might
and the sea covered them.
They sank like a lead weight
in the majestic waters.
Who compares with you
among gods, O God?
Who compares with you in power,
in holy majesty,
In awesome praises,
wonder-working God?
You stretched out your right hand
and the Earth swallowed them up.
But the people you redeemed,
you led in merciful love;
You guided them under your protection
to your holy pasture.
When people heard, they were scared;
Philistines writhed and trembled;
Yes, even the head men in Edom were shaken,
and the big bosses in Moab.
Everybody in Canaan
panicked and fell faint.
Dread and terror
sent them reeling.
Before your brandished right arm
they were struck dumb like a stone,
Until your people crossed over and entered, O God,
until the people you made crossed over and entered.
You brought them and planted them
on the mountain of your heritage,
The place where you live,
the place you made,
Your sanctuary, Master,
that you established with your own hands.
Let God rule
forever, for eternity!

Exodus 14-15

I am following my friend Amanda’s Advent Stitch-A-Long. You can find instructions for today’s ornament here. Prep instructions by Amanda are here.

The book used for the Advent reading is The Jesus Storybook Bible. You can find more information the book here or buy it on Amazon here.

{Advent} God to the Rescue

How often does it seem that things get worse before they get better? Before Moses went to Pharaoh, He knew that life was going to get worse for His people. During this time God came to His people in a way their ancestors had not known him: I-Am-Present. How cool is it to realize that God is present in hardships we go through? Things are always a bit better when I remind myself that God is with me even in ‘this.’

“So Moses went to Pharaoh. ‘Pharaoh,’ Moses began, ‘God says -‘ ‘God?’ Pharaoh said. ‘Never heard of him.’ Moses kept going. ‘God says, let his people go free.’ ‘Why should I?’ Pharaoh said. ‘Don’t want to. WON’T!’ So he didn’t.”

Moses went back to God and said, “My Master, why are you treating this people so badly? And why did you ever send me? From the moment I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, things have only gotten worse for this people. And rescue? Does this look like rescue to you?”

God continued speaking to Moses, reassuring him, “I am God. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as The Strong God, but by my name God (I-Am-Present) I was not known to them…But now I’ve heard the groanings of the Israelites whom the Egyptians continue to enslave and I’ve remembered my covenant. Therefore tell the Israelites: “I am God. I will bring you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I will rescue you from slavery. I will redeem you, intervening with great acts of judgment. I’ll take you as my own people and I’ll be God to you. You’ll know that I am God, your God who brings you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I’ll bring you into the land that I promised to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and give it to you as your own country. I AM God.” But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn’t even hear him—they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions.

_MG_4331Exodus 3-13

I am following my friend Amanda’s Advent Stitch-A-Long. You can find instructions for today’s ornament here. Prep instructions by Amanda are here.

The book used for the Advent reading is The Jesus Storybook Bible. You can find more information the book here or buy it on Amazon here.

{Advent} The Girl No One Wanted

For the past year, I have been thinking a lot about Leah, because I’m not particularly pretty. Yet, even though people did not find her attractive, God used her in such a HUGE way. It is through her son Judah that the line of King David was born and through this heritage that Jesus was born. Through someone who was not considered beautiful and who was not loved by her husband, God did great things through.

“‘No one loves me,’ Leah said. ‘I’m too ugly.’ But God didn’t think she as ugly. And when he saw that Leah was not loved and that no one wanted her, God chose her – to love her specially, to give her a very important job. One day, God was going to rescue the whole world – through Leah’s family. … You see, when God looked at Leah, he saw a princess.”

“[God’s people] wouldn’t need to be beautiful for him to love them. He would love them with all of his heart. And they would be beautiful because he loved them.”

When God realized that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb. But Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben (Look-It’s-a-Boy!). “This is a sign,” she said, “that God has seen my misery; and a sign that now my husband will love me.”She became pregnant again and had another son. “God heard,” she said, “that I was unloved and so he gave me this son also.” She named this one Simeon (God-Heard). She became pregnant yet again—another son. She said, “Now maybe my husband will connect with me—I’ve given him three sons!” That’s why she named him Levi (Connect). She became pregnant a final time and had a fourth son. She said, “This time I’ll praise God.” So she named him Judah (Praise-God).

_MG_4328Genesis 29-30

I am following my friend Amanda’s Advent Stitch-A-Long. You can find instructions for today’s ornament here. Prep instructions by Amanda are here.

The book used for the Advent reading is The Jesus Storybook Bible. You can find more information the book here or buy it on Amazon here.