Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Love’s Pure Light

In order to save my ceramic nativity set when my daughter was small, I crafted a play nativity set out of plastic canvas and yarn.  Elizabeth would spend hours rearranging the pieces and acting out the Christmas story.  I would laugh to myself when I would inevitably hear her say, “Hey Mary, can I hold your baby?”

I just couldn’t picture the work-roughened hands of a shepherd cuddling an infant, or a royal king stooping down to embrace a poor child in a manger.  It made perfect sense to her, however, that if these people were going to make a trip to see a baby, they wouldn’t want to leave without holding it.

She wasn’t really so far off.  When you see a young baby, it’s only natural to admire them and comment about how cute he or she is.  But if you actually pick up that baby, a whole other phenomenon takes place.  Somehow, holding that child, gazing into his or her eyes, connecting with that uniquely God-given personality — that baby just gets into your heart!  Perhaps the shepherds and wise men were drawn in the same way to embrace the infant of Bethlehem and experience the miracle of His love in their hearts that first Christmas.

As we make the journey to the stable in Bethlehem again this year, let’s not just gaze on the Child in the manger and turn away unchanged.  Let’s embrace the Child of Bethlehem — the pure light of God’s love — and let Him shine into our hearts and make us new.

Don’t leave without holding the baby.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

Copyright 1999 – Mary E. Egidio — (Originally published in “A Christmas to Remember — Advent Devotionals“) Permission is granted to share this post, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.

Are You Growing?

When my children were little, I would sometimes eye them suspiciously and ask, in a teasing voice, “Are you growing again?”  To which my daughter would often reply, “Mommy! I’m supposed to do that!” 

It seemed that my teen-age son would go to bed at night and wake up a few inches taller in the morning.  This actually didn’t stop until after his first year in college, when he reached 6 ft 5 inches.  As he rested his chin on my head, I announced that I was going to have a ‘growth spurt’ and would be as tall as he was soon.  Obviously, that didn’t happen.  The only growing I seem to do anymore is around my waistline.

In Paul’s letters to the New Testament churches, he encourages the new Christians to grow.  He tells the Colossians, “… we pray… that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good word, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:10-12 (NIV)

Growing in the knowledge of God.   It doesn’t matter how old I am, or how long I’ve been a Christian, I always seem to have something else to learn in the God department.  And as my pastor mentioned lately, most of that growing and learning has come during the most dark and difficult days of my life.  Those are the days that I’ve had to dig deeply into His Word and learn to trust in His truth.  In uncertain times, I’ve experienced the richness of fully surrendering my will and my life into His everlasting arms.  I can point back to those days and say that was a growing time.

Hard as it might seem some days, I want to continue growing in the knowledge of God.  After all, like my daughter said, I’m supposed to do that!

Copyright 2010  Mary E. Egidio   – Permission is granted to share this writing, but only with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.  (You can share this, but tell who wrote it, where you found it, and please don’t sell it)

Wiener Water Soup?

“I’m bringing your dinner in a little while, but go ahead and make something.”

It was Elenor on the phone, a dear woman who was part of our congregation in our first church.  Her own children and grandchildren lived far away, and her daughter was married to a pastor, so she felt a certain kinship for us, and we for her.

“If you need to go to the hospital in the middle of the night, just bring the baby over and she can sleep on my couch,” she offered when we first arrived.  She loved on our kids, and they affectionately called her and her husband ‘Nana and PapPap.’

My first encounter with Elenor was the Monday after our first Sunday.  The house was still piled with boxes, our three-month-old, who had been with her grandparents while we moved, had arrived on the scene.  I was back to balancing the needs of an infant and still trying to get settled in. It was late afternoon, and I hadn’t even thought about dinner.  Then the phone rang:

“I’ve got your dinner, but I’m not inviting you to eat here.”  It was Elenor.  “Bring some pots and pans, and come over. I’ve got your dinner.”

Okay…I thought.  I got directions to her house, and before I knew it, I was leaving with a pot of homemade ham and bean soup, slabs of cornbread, and a container of rice pudding.  I didn’t even think I liked ham and bean soup, but I graciously accepted the offer.

The food smelled so incredible and we were both so exhausted and hungry from the move and new experiences, we literally inhaled the soup, sopping up the bowls with the cornbread.  And the rice pudding?…. mmmm, heavenly.  So, this was Elenor.

We spent many a Sunday evening in her home, sharing sandwiches and ice cream with her and her husband.  Harold was a mechanic, and always made sure his pastor’s car was well cared-for.  Once she told us, “You have a standing invitation to dinner at our house. ”  Then she added, with a twinkle in her eye, “that way, if someone invites you out and you don’t want to go, you can say you’ve been invited to our house.”

So when Elenor called that day and said she had my dinner, but that I should go ahead and make something, I wasn’t sure what to expect — but one never did with Elenor.

Soon the doorbell rang, and in she came, with a small paper bag in her hand.  She greeted the kids and giggled as she set the bag on the dining room table.  “Here’s your dinner!”  She laughed.

She opened the bag and produced a canning jar, full of a murky-looking liquid, laughing again.  When she saw my quizzical look she explained.  “It’s wiener water soup!”

“It’s what?”

“Wiener water soup!  I heard about a pastor’s wife from another denomination.  The story went that they were so poor, that one night they would boil wieners for dinner, and the following night they would use that water to make soup… wiener water soup!”  She giggled again.  “So I made wieners last night, and decided to bring you the wiener water for soup!”

We laughed together, and soon she was out the door.  I shook my head and said to myself, “Only Elenor…”

To this day, I can’t make hot dogs without thinking of Elenor.  I feel bad for that pastor’s wife who had been so poor she’d had to eat ‘wiener water soup.’  Obviously, she’d never had an angel like Elenor to take care of her.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  Philippians 4:19-20