encouragement, faith, inspiration

Stoking the Embers of Christmas

UNashamedly, I admit I did not decorate a tree this year because the children and grandchildren were not going to be here until after Christmas, some not at all. I could not see the point in going to that much trouble concerning Christmas decor. After all, those decorations are for the kids, right? So, for ‘me’, I left Christmas in storage and made do with what was ready available in the house. I strategically placed the poinsettias which I tend to leave out until Valentine’s Day each year simply because ‘I’ like them. I cleared the coffee table to display ‘my’ Christmas books. I gifted, mostly shopping online for ‘my’ convenience. I began a Christmas project for the youngest grands who would eventually spend a few days with us before they went back to school, simply because ‘I’ wanted their Christmas here to be special when they finally arrived. Since the project took up the time I usually devote to baking, Honey graciously baked for ‘me’? I wrapped. I hung stockings, using the ones from Christmases past my sister had given me during the summer. However, two stockings were missing, one for our daughter’s boyfriend and one for our youngest granddaughter. My sister had never bought one for her due to the changes in family traditions that come as a consequence to growing families. And, of course, the boyfriend did not exist back then. How convenient for ‘me’ that I was able to use a little imagination in remedying this dilemma without digging last year’s stockings from storage. Nevertheless, the “stockings” were hung with care with no one unrepresented and without much inconvenience to ‘me’



After the initial disappointment began to wear thin, Honey and I reconciled to the facts of a few seasonal changes taking place in our lives. Not all changes are pleasurable at the time, not every change will be as enjoyable as the last or perhaps not even the next, and just because change affects us does not mean it is about us. Also, it is a personal choice how we react to these changes. We chose to be “Merry” and “Jolly”, literally adopting those nicknames for the ‘season’ along with a “Merry-Jolly Motto” to match.

We determined Christmas is not a “day”; it is a celebration of Jesus! We determined to celebrate Jesus with each other and with each person who walked through our door during the holidays, whether it was on December 24th, 25th, or just any other day. We determined to celebrate Jesus by appreciating each other. We determined to celebrate Jesus by appreciating the people whom He places in our lives, by appreciating each one’s time spent with us, by treating each one as the special gift they are! We determined to celebrate Jesus by demonstrating JESUS IS BORN AND LIVES IN US!

One evening, December 10th to be exact, I was resting from all the “doing”. While looking at the stockings hanging on the mantel, I began felling blessed to have the people represented by those stockings in my life. TheLORD spoke to me in a quiet and gentle, but firm voice.

WOE (2014-1210): Why is the fire out? The stockings are out, but so is the fire. A fire out of control, an uncontainable fire –like one you desire– all begins with cleaning the hearth and clearing the cobwebs from the deep, unseen places. Fresh oxygen is needed for those flames to reach new heights; the cobwebs and debris block the energy from going up and out~ smoke is all you will provide without Me. I AM is your energy source.
Where do YOU begin to build this fire? Begin with those stockings hung on the mantle.  Clean up those relationships closest to you. You did not place them there; I did. Care for them by clearing out the cobwebs and keeping debris from building up.
In doing so, I will remove the cobwebs from around your heart and rekindle the fire there, purifying and forming a more pliable heart within you. So, be still. Allow the setting of the fire until you cannot be still any longer. Then, feel free to move about, stoking the fire I have begun ~let it spread to those that come to see The Glow~ it is My Glory! 

In retrospection, my mind goes to the missing Christmas tree, the unlit lights, the unhung garlands, the undisplayed nativities, etc. This was not the first Christmas our home was without those decorations. For a few years we went without any decor in our home because family tradition changed when we moved 300+ miles away from “family”. The day school dismissed for the holiday, “over the river and through the woods, to grandma’s house” we went. Continuing tradition there dictates Grandma, as well as Aunt Kathy, will begin decorating their houses the day after Thanksgiving in such ways Mrs. Claus would be envious. However, this is far from the traditions of my childhood era. Our home, then, was filled with homemade decor~ not from fancy hobby stores, I might add.

Yes, children grow; traditions change as the do the seasons. We choose to grow and change too in order to keep the JOY of each season at hand. I learned from this treeless season. No matter where I end up on Christmas Day, and no matter how it is decorated, and no matter who celebrates with me, Jesus will remain my reason for celebrating. Therefore when Christmas Time comes once again, you can find ‘Merry’ hanging stockings and filling them with care. But most importantly, let’s all determine to keep our fires stoked so we can glow for Jesus’ sake when loved ones come through our doors~ all year long!

~ ♥ ~

 …Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them… here to announce a great and joyful event…  A Savior has just been born …a Savior who is Messiah and Master. …”
~Luke 2:8-12, MSG

“…the glory of the Lord was like a flame..”
~Ex. 24:17, BBE

“…the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house.”
~2Chron. 7:1, AMP

~ ♥ ~

Bible Versions:
– The Amplified Bible; MSG- The Message Bible; BBE– Bible Basic English
Photo: ag personal file~ all rights reserved.


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