Archive for December, 2011

Whatever You Do

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas had barrelled down upon us like a northern blizzard. The season was a whirlwind of activity speedily blowing by us. Now New Year was upon us, but procrastination gripped me. Amid my retirement freedom from bosses, it was simply … Read more

Sharing Good News

Friday, December 30, 2011

The shepherds returned and spread the news of what they had seen. Who wouldn't, after seeing angels? What would you and I have done under similar circumstances? Here was a very special Baby which the angels had said was "the … Read more

The Angel Of His Presence

Thursday, December 29, 2011

As a small child, I had a fascination with angels, probably because whenever a nightmare woke me, my mother would come and pray for God to send His angels to guard me. Then she would say, "Darling, just look at … Read more

Our Hope

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

During the long, bitterly cold days of our northern winters, my ponies Frank and Mama wait and hope for a little consolation each day. They receive their regular rations of hay and oats morning and evening, but each day at … Read more

Finding Meaning In Christmas

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some of my close friends found it difficult to celebrate Christmas this year. Last year, I, too, found myself dreading the season. Normally, I really enjoy seeing the coloured lights, attending the various carol concerts, and tasting the mouth-watering treats … Read more

Black Friday And Boxing Day

Monday, December 26, 2011

This year, after we had our Christmas tree all decorated, we plugged it in, expecting the factory-installed lights to shine brightly as they had in previous years. But this year, they failed. Only the bottom half of the tree lit … Read more

Why Are We Celebrating Christmas?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

We've approached a time of bustle — shopping, baking, holiday greetings, and home for Christmas. Why? Why are we celebrating Christmas? How would the average person answer that question? Tradition? Family? Love for hearth and home? Let's go back to … Read more

Home For Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We all want to be home with our families for Christmas. In 1979, I wished I were home in Taiwan, but it was too distant and costly. I was in my second year as a visa student at the University … Read more

Preparation And Patience

Friday, December 23, 2011

Preparation and patience — often these two do not go together. Preparation suggests activity, getting things done, perhaps working through a "to do" list. Patience, on the other hand, suggests waiting and, perhaps, slowing down. Each year, my children and … Read more

The Gift Of Giving

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I have knitted a few sweaters, socks, and such for family and friends to open as Christmas presents. I am a steady customer at the wool shop, and while shopping, I meet other grandmothers selecting wool for baby shawls, afghans, … Read more

The Revelation

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our well water, though abundant and clear, is full of minerals which leave a scaly, cloudy, or yellowish film on everything. I am forever wiping and cleaning to keep ahead of the build-up. One of the cleaners that I find … Read more

In Bethlehem

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

As we approach Christmas in our town this year, we will all be looking for the roadside nativity scene set up at the main intersection. There will be Mary and Joseph, of course, and even some camels standing nearby. There … Read more

Conception And Birth

Monday, December 19, 2011

Recently, I watched a National Geographic television special on the conception and birth of human beings, dogs, elephants, and dolphins. As I watched, I wondered how anyone could be aware of the amazing miracles of conception and birth, and the … Read more

Amid The Chaos

Sunday, December 18, 2011

For the past several years, I have come to dread Christmas. The build-up to the day is huge! Streets and mall parking lots are crowded with people in search of bargains or this year's fad toy for their child. There's … Read more

Spotlight On Anna

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Perhaps you feel you've heard plenty about the Christmas story. But what do you know about the two often-forgotten characters, Simeon and Anna? Without them, the Christmas message is incomplete. Let's consider Anna: Did you see that! Anna proclaimed the … Read more

Born To Be Our Saviour

Friday, December 16, 2011

Those childhood days seem long ago, as I recall with some nostalgia the Sunday School concerts in that little white-frame church nestled near the Chippewa River in Ontario, Canada. One particular evening, we had prepared to celebrate the birth of … Read more

Not Counterfeit

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We spent too much time teaching our kids to believe in Santa Claus. We'd take them to the mall for the yearly Santa picture, the one where they scream and Santa cringes. We told them to be good or they … Read more

Shining In The Darkness

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Every winter, by late afternoon, darkness claims victory over our daylight hours, motivating us to string multi-coloured Christmas lights that twinkle brightly from decorated houses. Some of us use LED lights that cast luminous patches of reflected colour across the … Read more

Music Of Christmas

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A ceramic nativity set became a part of our family Christmas the year we moved into our new home, when I was four years old. Mama would tell folks that my favourite place to reside during the Christmas season was … Read more

Christmas Kettles

Monday, December 12, 2011

My buddy, Albert, and I team up for various musical occasions in our church. We especially enjoy the privilege of manning a Salvation Army kettle and playing music there each year at Christmastime. My musician friend brings his violin, and … Read more

Let Every Heart

Sunday, December 11, 2011

When I try to imagine what the shepherds witnessed, the best description I can muster seems totally inadequate: an awe-inspiring light show, an angelic proclamation, and a chorus of the army of heaven praising God and invoking His peace. What … Read more

The Light Of Truth

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Latvian friend told me this story that took place more than a half century ago when she was a little girl about 6 or 7. That year, her Christmas gift turned out to be two writing/drawing pads. As a … Read more

The Dawning

Friday, December 9, 2011

It had been a long day. It commenced at 3:30 a.m. when I was called into the jail and was just ending now at 5:30 p.m. Ending was not exactly the right word, however, as my daughter had taken over … Read more

My Best Christmas Present

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I can remember when I was a youngster that the first thing I would do when I visited my grandpa, with my parents, was to go to his closet where he kept his guitar. Sitting and strumming that instrument often … Read more

The Words Of Mary

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I don't even remember her name, but I vividly remember the conversation. She was a middle-aged woman, and I was in my early thirties. She spoke English as a second language. We were acquaintances and had agreed to get a … Read more

Previews Of Christmas

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Last year while shopping at a local thrift store, I was surprised to find a Christmas Bible study book with the odd title, Christmas from the Back Side, written by J. Ellsworth Kalas, a professor who teaches where my son … Read more

Christians And Christmas

Monday, December 5, 2011

I live in a diversified, multi-cultural area to the northwest of the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This area I now call home was only a small town sixty years ago. Now it has multiplied into the thousands. And yes, … Read more

Scenes Of Wonder

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This will be the sixth year that our church has presented "Scenes of Wonder" — a display of over two hundred crèches/nativity scenes from all over the world. The crèches are brought in by members of our … Read more

Simple Christmas

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Since my dad passed away three years ago, Christmas at our house has been very different. We do the family get-together about two or three weeks before Christmas, and the family comes for dinner. As Christmas approaches, though, our house … Read more

Learning Contentment

Friday, December 2, 2011

Their faces were solemn when entering the cafeteria, but smiles soon appeared as we welcomed them with "Merry Christmas" and loaded their plates with home-cooked food. When we offered them seconds, the entire group returned. As they shuffled through the … Read more

Lights, Cords, And Wires

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I've just finished putting up our Christmas lights. Every year, I usually have to untangle the green wires and check the bulbs. It's very time consuming, but last year I was very smart. I rolled the wires up carefully and … Read more


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