Be-YOU-tiful

Perhaps the best way to say I’m back is to say you’re beautiful.

Yes you.

The you all beaten back and wind knocking the sails out of ‘ya beautiful.

The you that did the right thing….and then with one turn around did the thing you wished not.

The you that is learning how to let go and let God.

And there is no one in the whole entire universe like you.

And there never will be.

Did you know that no one can shine quite like you?

That without YOU no one can BE you.

That you take the breath away with his beauty?

And all this beauty because you’re His bride.

 

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God With Skin

Gazing at our tree tonight smoothie in hand, wearing pjs that have become my new fashion statement, and I’m soaking it all in.

Norfolk pine Christmas tree

Because THIS was celebrated a mere few days ago!

Manger scene

And oh how quickly I forget.advent wreath with 24 candles

I love these notes and these words because they ground us by taking us on a journey back to the Middle Ages where saints ever since and before agree with one voice that our King has come! This God who was read about and who’s fame spread across the earth actually came. Came into our space, our world, and put on skin so we could know himSo we might be able to see his face for the first time.

And the world will never be the same. Your life and my life and the lives of our friends and families don’t have to remain stuck in the murky dark of sin.  There is hope! So much glorious hope for all our tomorrows and the missteps and tripping downs. Because with Jesus it’s not about our performance. It’s about basking in his presence. Him, our light our hope our salvation…our Christmas miracle. The best gift!

Don’t lose the beauty as we slip beyond glitzy holidays into the new year. Capture it.  Hold it close to your heart and whisper it to yourself in the dark.  The light of the world has dawned!

“Of the Father’s Love Begotten”
by Aurelius C. Prudentius, 413, cento
Translated by John. M. Neale, 1818-1866
and Henry W. Baker, 1821-1977

Of the Father’s love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.

Oh, that birth forever blessed
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.

This is He whom Heaven-taught singers
Sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the Long-expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.

Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.

Raw Unedited…a Campfire Hymn

HYMN

How great the tale, that there should be,
In God’s Son’s heart, a place for me!
That on a sinner’s lips like mine
The cross of Jesus Christ should shine!
Christ Jesus, bend me to thy will,
My feet to urge, my griefs to still;
That e’en my flesh and blood may be
A temple sanctified to Thee.
No rest, no calm my soul may win,
Because my body craves to sin;
Till thou, dear Lord, thyself impart
Peace on my head, light in my heart.
May consecration come from far,
Soft shining like the evening star.
My toilsome path make plain to me,
Until I come to rest in thee.

For When You Need to Know That Love Really Does Lead the Way

The text comes through.  Gone. In the blink of an eye.  So young, and yet so beyond his years.  A boy and yet a man who knew what it was to worship, to adore the Savior in whose footsteps he followed, whom he now sees face to face.  Hearts are shattered and yet we know, we believe with Bonhoeffer, as he was facing imminent death:

“This is the end–but for me—the beginning of life.”

Mark’s thoughts on heaven a few weeks before going home are worth pondering.  I know my heart is a little closer to heaven because he has gone before.

Made For Another World

We’d gather round dog tired after long days all six of us and Mom and Dad would pass out the black hymnals with the gold writing and we’d drown our souls in music until the clock ticked bedtime.  Eight voices as one singing songs of the ages and I caught a glimpse of it then, but only later as trials wore off the shine and glitz of life did I realize that this what we know, what we live, with the ache that never really goes away, is not our home.  C.S. Lewis says: “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that we were made for another world.”

I’d said goodbye to my man a few years back as he went off for training and I was humming this tune, a tune I remember from pig-tail and matching plaid dress days, and it was then he whispered in the ear that I was to have re-made it by the time he returned. And I labored and prayed and cried over it and sang the little ones to bed on nights when I was barely hanging on…just like I was sung to sleep so many years ago, and slowly it began to take shape, to morph just a bit from the original to the modern.  It’s a hymn with a haunting melody that mystifies and draws one in and I run to it on dark days when this soul needs to catch a glimpse of light.

So friends, here it is this great song by Andrew Young with just a bit added by me. May it give you the extra encouragement you need on this sojourn.

Roads Go Ever On….a walking song for you needing a lift on the journey

Roads Go Ever On

Roads go ever ever on, over rock and under tree,

By caves where never sun has shone, by streams that never find the sea;

Over snow by winter sown, and through the merry flowers of June,

Over grass and over stone, and under mountains in the moon.

The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way,

Where many paths and errands meet, and whither then? I cannot say.

Roads go ever ever on, under cloud and under star,

Yet feet wandering have gone, turn at last to home afar.

Eyes that fire and sword have seen, and horror in the halls of stone,

Look at last on meadows green, and trees and hills they long have known.

“Gandalf looked at him.  “My dear Bilbo!” he said. “Something is the matter with you! You are not the hobbit that you were.”

Thinking graciously over last year’s road and ever thankful that even though there were mountains, winter storms and bloody battles it was also sprinkled generously with summer flowers and green grass. And yes, I am changed, we are changed as we travel this road of life. Thank you Lord for grace new each day, present each moment. So cheers friend, and I leave you with this thought from J.R.R. Tolkien:

“There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.”

*Thank you for grace. Just a humble homemade video, squeals and laughter from the kids in the background (and a hamster too). An original song using the beautiful lyrics of Tolkien as inspiration for the melody.

The Gift Rings On…

boun·ti·ful

large in quantity; abundant.

This magnanimous, bountiful love laid low, unsparing, unselfish, giving all is here.  And in the winter grey and dim, hope lights the heart for birds are singing spring is coming! Resurrection arrives and redemption appears.  Immanuel, the Holy One is born.  And in the dark, unseen, something inside is being reborn, renewed.

Fire lit, cups warm, cookies brimming and then this… dulcimer notes lilting through the air! This Ukrainian carol “Shchedryk” now known as “Carol of the Bells” filling the room, filling hearts. She announces it, this kindred friend traveling the miles to be near, how this song sung high and low world wide is from the place she calls home. And we unearth the story behind the hymn never knowing it’s original version is about lavish blessings greeting the year and I think of the greatest gift given and how easy it is to forget after all the presents are opened. How is it that I cease to remember so quickly when all I have, all I am, all I will ever be only comes from the source of Life, Joy, Peace? I pause this heart bursting with bells ringing OUR SAVIOR HAS COME!