The Wonders of Christmas

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As Christmas is just now officially arriving at midnight I wish you a WONDER FILLED Christmas! Not just an occasion for gift giving and receiving, singing and feasting, but a really marvelous time of being caught up in the wonder of Christmas. I wish for you, and your entire family, the kind of wonder that is displayed in this photo (thanks Isha S.).  Do you see the beautiful blend of delight and awe, curiosity and joy that is seen as this young child reaches out for the Christmas tree ornament? THAT is the kind of Christmas I wish for you!!

Delight in the love and merriment of gathering our families and friends together. Awe at the fact that God; the Almighty Creator of Heaven, Earth and everything, sent His only son to earth that we might receive forgiveness and mercy and be allowed to have an everlasting relationship with Him.

The curious excitement at exploring the many sights, sounds, foods and traditions that accompany this special time of celebration. And finally the JOY, pure bliss, of learning that it is not our ability to buy loads of gifts, or give the best presents that make Christmas so very special. It is not the things that make this time most memorable. Rather, I have learned in the leanest of times, in the poorest of health, even when we don’t have the time and energy to participate in a lot of different activities that the modern world thinks typify Christmas celebrations; it is even at the darkest of times, that we come to learn Christmas is NOT about things… it’s about people.

Most importantly, as we center around the true meaning of Christmas, we learn that Jesus was more than just some baby born in a stable over two thousand years ago. Jesus demonstrated what Christmas is all about. It’s about giving of ourselves. Even in the poorest of surroundings, when it looks as though we have nothing of value to give, there remains this truth. There is no greater gift than giving ourselves for the sake of others.

So for those friends of mine who must rest up for three days to be able to have enough energy to be able to even attend a gathering of family for a few hours (and then need another day or two to recover), I say, “rest up. For your just being there is a great gift to your loved ones.” To those who are so very sad or depressed because the lack of sunshine or the reminders of dear ones who have passed on are causing your emotions to weigh heavy upon your spirit, I say, “take heart. Your loved ones love you; sadness included. Get dressed, chin up, and get out that door to your friend’s or families gathering. Allow yourself the grace of knowing that your emotions may be down, but that your heart and soul may be uplifted simply by purposing to go out and partake in the wonder of Christmas.”

You see, if God can take the form of a tiny helpless human child for the sake of bringing hope to others, we can follow this example. It cost Jesus greatly to forgo the ultimate bliss of heaven and enter into our world. Yet, because He did, we have been given the greatest gift of having our sins forgiven and an eternal relationship with the Holy God who created us and wants so much to have a good relationship with us that He sent His only son Jesus to accomplish this for us. He was an example of how to give of ourselves for the sake of others. And when we do give of ourselves it always costs us something. Yet, in so doing we receive back many more blessings than we could have even imagined.

Christmas joy and wonder are so very simple. . . it is in looking around you . . . intentionally opening your eyes to see the many beautiful things that God created, gives and shares with us. Just look at the children. Jesus Himself valued the simple way in which a child comes to understand his world; how they come to faith in Jesus. “Let the Children come to Me,” Jesus commanded as adults tried to keep them away from Him. Everyone knows that it is so much more fun to celebrate Christmas with a child in the home. The bubbly excitement, the many questions, the laughter and wide-eyed awe that are seen with children are good reminders for all of us to get back to the basics of what Christmas is all about.

As Christmas 2013 is now officially here, I wish you a Christmas filled to overflowing with the love that Jesus Christ brought to us that very first Christmas. May you discover it first-hand and then dare to share what you’ve found with others, so that your joy (and theirs) may be multiplied many times over as God’s presence fills the missing void. “Glory to God is the Highest!” the angels proclaimed on that first Christmas. Let us join in that song, now and forever.

 

Happy Birthday Jesus! O’ what a wonder you are!

Shepherds and wise men, paupers and kings;

all who would follow the star.

 

Coming as helpless babe. Your life for us to give.

Humble or sickly, poor or common;

ANY who sought you could live.

 

We celebrate you Jesus! All else put asunder.

Lights, gifts and presents, music and gatherings

YOU are the source of ALL wonder.

 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” — John 3:16    The truth is so simple. Have you believed?

I pray that you, dear reader, will discover the deepest and sweetest sense of wonder yet known to man . . . may you discover the sweet gift of Emmanuel ( God with us ) . . . Jesus Christ who came to be the Light of the World, the Prince of Peace, and should you choose, your Lord and Savior. Merry Christmas!

Snow Wonder

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❄️❄️❄️SNOW❄️❄️❄️- it’s something we take for granted. Sometimes we are complaining at shoveling and scraping ice. Other times we are relishing the thoughts of sledding, making snowmen or forts, throwing snowballs and days off of school.
I remember getting to be a high school helper to an exchange student; a young man from Brazil. As much as we taught him in his year with us, I will never forget the one day he helped teach all of us an important lesson.
Our English teacher suddenly stopped class and told us to quietly put on our coats and go outside with him for a few minutes. We saw the absolute awe on Sergio’s face. He was 17 and had NEVER seen snow before!
The sky is falling!! It first terrified and bewildered him. Then delighted him as we all tried to explain how it just suddenly appeared from “up there”. Why is it cold? It disappears when it hits the sidewalk! Why are they sometimes like tiny ice cubes and other times these giant flakes?
We who routinely experience snow no longer marvel at the occurrence nor ponder these many questions that someone who has never seen such a thing. Sergio helped me to better exerience the joy and wonder of discovery by simply looking around me.

It was a marvelous time, and one memory I cherish.

It’s at times like these when we can rediscover the delight in the ordinary. Do you allow yourself to enter into the awesome wonders that surround you every day?

What are some of your recent rediscoveries of delight?

Purpose Thru The Pain

Here is a link to the documentary which aired in the UK last Tuesday night on their national BBC-1 network. It is called “The Woman Who Wake Up Chinese” and stars my friend Sarah and a bit of Kay as well, some doctors and specialists and is EXCELLENT at describing the rarity of Foreign Accent Syndrome and how profound an affect it has on a person and those that love them.

Although the original episode cannot be viewed from the BBC site unless you live in the UK… there is a place to watch it free via YouTube. On YouTube you just search “The Woman Who Woke Up Chinese BBC Full) and you will see about a 43 minute video that you can watch from there. The entire video was closer to a full hour, so there is probably a few more minutes which we cannot see, however, the documentary is incredibly well done and is already having a profound effect on the WORLD! YES! More and more people are being exposed to Foreign Accent Syndrome’s existence which will help those not yet properly diagnosed, families and friends of the sufferers and especially the scientific community where so much of the doctor’s ignorance regarding FAS has actually done some harm to the people who don’t understand what is happening to them.

Since this videos airing, there has been a HUGE influx to the public Facebook Group called Foreign Accent Syndrome Awareness Group which I administrate as well as this Ellen5e.com site. This is very good for getting people informed. I cannot tell you how many people I have talked to in the last four and a half years who have been misunderstood, treated poorly and suffered greatly because of ignorance of so many people in regard to Foreign Accent Syndrome. It IS REAL!  It is VERY rare! And it needs more study by the medical community because of all that may be learned about the human brain and our ability to communicate.

Please take the time to watch this, and I would REALLY love to hear from you as to what your reaction is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_XZLbrrfRg

It is exciting for those of us who work together on the only known group for people who have Foreign Accent Syndrome (via a PRIVATE Facebook group) to be able to see the way in which those who are new to this journey will have better understanding and support than those who came before. God is really at work in the lives of people all over the world… right NOW… and I tear up with thankfulness that God is using some of us to offer comfort to others as only we can.

Here is a verse from the Bible that I feel explains how I am able to embrace the challenges in my life as a way of God preparing me to be of greater use to others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.   For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

I hope that this verse will become an anchor of steadiness to you as you go through various trials in your life. Yours may not be FAS, but ALL of us have troubles in this life. We cannot control their coming many times, BUT, we can control how we will respond.

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