WISDOM

” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”  Proverbs 9:10

Dear, Lord,

You know all things.  Nothing is hidden from you. You are the only consistent in our lives.  I pray that you guide our leaders to proceed with dignity and fairness.  Two people have been dragged through the mud and may never recover from what’s happened over the past few weeks.  Please give the men and women in the position of passing judgment, the wisdom to do your will.  Help us all to accept what is happening and what will happen because of these events.  You are also with every one of us. You’ve judged each of us with fairness and abundance of grace, giving us a freedom we don’t deserve.  May your Word be upheld.  May your will be done, in Jesus name.  Amen!

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REACHING FOR THE SKY

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Your Word, Lord, is perfect, its teachings are true,

By faith we believe this, not by what we do,

The words can give strength to our weak minds each day,

Our path is made straight through the things that you say,

You reach out your hand and you touch me with love,

I long for the day you return from above.

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FROM CHAOS COMES ORDER

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

When fears and worries are so real,
We sometimes wonder why we feel,
The pangs of deep depression.

The weight’s extreme – we lose all hope,
Our hearts grow sad – for strength we grope,
To lighten this progression.

We look within and try to cope
There are no answers in our scope
It now becomes oppression.

We try so hard to rise above,
We search in vain for any love.
To deal with this obsession.

We cannot do it on our own,
We need one advocate alone,
To bring our full confession.

God takes our hand and leads us out,
Relieves our pain – our fear – our doubt.
He is our best possession.

His love is great – it sees us through
When there is nothing we can do.
Our words hold no expression.

He lifts us from the pit of death.
He died for us to give us breath.
To wipe out our transgression.

 

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HOW COULD IT BE?

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How could it be that God would send His own Son in the flesh to save the world from the captivity of sin?  How can it possibly be true that a little child, born in complete poverty, with no royal garb, became the King of the World?  Is this whole Christmas thing just a made up story to scare us into being good – something like a child waiting for Santa Claus?

I believe that the Advent season is a time of preparation for all of us.  John the Baptist called out to those who were longing for a king, to repent first.  He knew the King would arrive soon, but he was speaking to a crowd of sinful people whose eyes were on their earthly salvation.

Jesus was born in great humility.  The whole event was miraculous.  Here was a tiny baby – who cried – nursed – needed cuddling and cleaning up – a human boy, yet the Son of God Himself. How could that be?  There were angels and pageantry in the sky, but those that saw and heard were lowly shepherds.

In His early life, He scuffed His knees, just like other boys.  He calloused His hands as He worked along side His step father.  He felt hunger, thirst, weariness, joy and every other emotion known to man, yet He wasn’t anything like them.

When He took the lonely walk to the cross – scarred and beaten bloody and deserted by most of His followers – He did so willingly.  He could have overcome this humiliation, but He loved His people too much to do that.  He gave His life for us and overcame death so we could enjoy eternity with Him.

He is coming again and it will be very soon.  At just the right moment – in His timing – we will all enjoy the miracle of seeing His face.  Are we ready?

OH, COME, OH, COME, IMMANUEL!

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CALASTHENICS FOR THE MIND

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For the past year or so, taking some of my knowledge about acting to a lovely assisted living and memory care facility in my area.  Through the use of improvisation and sense memory, we are really making a nice connection.  Most of them are in need of memory care.  While working with them, I talk about the importance of keeping our minds sharp and our memories alive, by giving our brains a good workout.

Maybe I worry about some day losing my memory or being able to think on the spot and interact with others. As we age, so many things pile up in our minds.  It’s like putting so much data into a computer that it finally crashes.

So how do you exercise the mind?  First and foremost, don’t take the easy way out.  Escaping by falling asleep or planting yourself in front of a TV filled with mindless information is not the kind of workout I’m talking about .  Do crossword puzzles – sing the words of your favorite song – play bingo – do a puzzle – play a board game – play the piano – dance – or think on the spot through improvisation.

I love to think of improvisation as a necessary tool in the actor’s tool box, but it can also be useful for all of us.  The art of improv is like having an impromptu conversation and stirring the brain to interact and react. We have to think when we talk to each other – being mindful of the words we use and how we say them.  Improv sharpens communication in every area of life.

We’ve kind of lost grips on the art of talking to each other. Texting and emailing have taken the joy out of our lives, because we’re missing that interaction that is vital to communication.  You can’t see how someone really feels by looking at an emoji.  Body language also gives us clues as to how a person is responding.

One of the blessings of working with my memory care people is that they’re exercising their minds.  Most of them are living their current lives through their past memories.  They often believe they’re still living in their childhood homes or that long lost relatives are still alive.  When they do the exercises I’ve offered them, they seem to come back to living in the moment, which becomes more and more difficult as we age.  I should know.

Each one of these precious adults has a story to tell.  It may get a bit muddled from time to time, or the words don’t always come out as we intended, but we as a society must begin to revere the elderly like they did in the old days – even when their thought process gets confused.  They have a mountain of information in their data bases and can mentor, entertain or tell stories that can’t be communicated over the internet.

Remember, someday you will be one of the elderly in society.  Don’t become invisible.  Stay active and exercise your mind daily.  You still have a voice, you still have purpose and you are amazing.

 

 

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WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE

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Elizabeth was no spring chicken. In fact she was well beyond menopause and her prayer for a child had never been answered – a stigma for women of her time. She probably had given up.  When given the news that she would bear a son in her old age, it must’ve been more than a surprise.

When her husband, Zacharias came home from his duties at the temple, she had to see that something was different about him. Whatever it was literally took his voice away and it wouldn’t return again until his son came into the world.

After the first few weeks and even months, the signs were all there and she realized it was true. How long she had waited! Even the burden of morning sickness and swollen feet would be bearable through God’s intervention. I’m sure her emotions were flying like they would on a roller coaster ride. She had to be so happy that God hadn’t forgotten her, and yet to think about giving birth and raising a child at her age must’ve been pretty upsetting to her as well. The Bible says she spent the next five months in seclusion when she realized her prayers had been answered.

I can imagine her thanking God for this wonderful blessing and asking Him to give her the strength and patience to be a good parent. Isn’t it funny how God’s plans for us don’t always match our timeline? There is a purpose for everything in His master plan for our salvation. We just don’t know how we fit into the scheme of things. In fact we often visit that same roller coaster in our own lives and just about when we want to give up, God answers our prayers. Sometimes we wish He would answer them sooner and to our liking, but He always answers our prayers in His time and according to His will.

Elizabeth would give birth to John, the Baptist.  The child would grow to be the forerunner of Jesus.  He would preach the sermon of repentance to all who listened and remind them that their salvation was about to be obtained – that the true Messiah was on His way.

Thank you, Lord for keeping my future in your hands. The excitement of not always knowing what lies ahead can be thrilling, but knowing that you are putting everything in place for my benefit far outweighs the feeling of insecurity I often feel. Help me to look to you, for with you, anything is possible.  Amen!

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GOD & MAN IN ONE

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

The gift of love lay quietly upon a mound of hay,

His throne above was left behind so He the price could pay,

The King of Heaven came to Earth to wash our sins away,

A precious child, the Son of God, was born on Christmas Day.

 

The child was born of Mary, yet He was God’s own child,

The virgin was bestowed upon, to hold the meek and mild,

He came to earth to live with us, was holy undefiled,

This wholly man, was also God, through Him we’re reconciled.

 

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THE RIGHTEOUS BRANCH OF DAVID

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

The prophet said it plainly. The Son of God would come,

To be the perfect sacrifice for each and every one.

The words have been fulfilled. The Lamb of God was slain;

Our sins have all been washed away and we have hope again.

 

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,

“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;

And He will reign as king and act wisely.” 

And do justice and righteousness in the land.” Jeremiah 23:5

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A GREAT ADVENTURE AWAITS

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When I was a child, I always thought it would be thrilling to be an archaeologist and explore long hidden civilizations – to see what people did in past times – to unearth relics and other treasures.  Of course as I grew older, I realized how much time and money it would take to educate myself.  The idea sat on the shelf, along with being a brain surgeon, psychologist, writer, actress and teacher.  Still the dream of digging up things from the past has always been an exciting dream for me.

It seems we find satisfaction in adventure.  The word actually comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” Other words were also formed from this root word, like “adventure” which means an exciting or unusual experience. The actual meaning of the word “advent” is the expectation of the arrival of something special. Some of the synonyms for this word are; onset, beginning, commencement and start.  All of these are perfect words to describe the coming of the King of Creation.

As we celebrate this Advent season, which is the preparation time before Christ’s coming, we can look forward to a very exciting adventure. It’s the anticipation we feel in knowing that our Savior God came to take away our guilt. The adventure is like none other.  The tiny child we worship would be like no other king.   He had no servants, but became one Himself. This was the child the Israelites were promised centuries ago. He came, He suffered, He died, He rose from the dead and He returned to His heavenly throne to take His rightful place next to His Father. There He will reign through all eternity and wait expectantly for those who believe in Him.

Our human nature always wants to know what will happen in the future. Where will we be – what will we be doing – will we be successful? We don’t always like to look at the past, because it’s often a reflection of the mistakes we’ve made. We want instant answers and a clear picture of the future. We also want the assurance that our lives are going to get better.  Part of the excitement of adventure comes from not knowing all the details.

Adventure comes in all sizes, shapes and form.  The One who was promised, Jesus, came to earth to live with us as a brother.  He is God incarnate.  He fulfilled the promise of the prophets and will come again.  As we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s first coming, let’s look into the future when He will come again.  That’s when the true adventure begins.

 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMY!

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She was born on December 8, 1921, the second child of eight.  Being part of a farm family, it was hoped she’d be a boy so they wouldn’t have to pay for farm hands. It took a total of five girls before that happened, but each of these lovely ladies was a beautiful asset to the family.  One of them died in a car crash when she was just a teen.  Another passed away after a long struggle with Leukemia in her early forties.  The three remaining sisters lived long, struggle filled years.

A lifetime is full of bumps in the road. As God refines each of us for heaven, it may take longer for some to get there, but when they do, they’re ready.  My mother was married at the ripe, old age of eighteen. Growing up in a rural community led to dreams of eventually moving to the big city and striking it rich.  She fell in love with my dad and he was the love of her life.  When he died at the age of 61, her world died too.  She was still a young woman and very beautiful.

She and dad never struck it rich, but they were blessed in many other ways.  They had two daughters, never went hungry, always had something new to wear for Christmas and there were always presents.  They went through difficult times of loss as mom’s siblings passed away, and her father became ill.  Funerals were a way of life for their early life together.  They also struggled to make ends meet and I recall my mom making great meals out of almost nothing.  She made her own pasta and some of my favorite dishes included hearty stews and casserole dishes.

She also had her share of health issues, went through several back surgeries, suffered extreme pain and rarely complained, but we always knew when she wasn’t feeling well when we’d find her cuddled up under a blanket on the couch.

She went through a long siege as my father suffered through chemotherapy, radiation and the pain of Cancer.  She remained at his side through it all.  When he passed away, she remarried within a couple years and eventually moved to Florida, where she spent her retirement and enjoyed being with people and socializing.  Her ability to make instant lifetime friends was one of her amazing qualities.

After her second husband died, she lived alone for a while – focusing on finding relief for her back pain.  She became dependent on prescription drugs.  At that point, my sister and I decided she needed to move closer. She spent one year living with us.  During that time, she went through withdrawal from all the pain medication, connected with a doctor who was empathetic and began to live again.

After that year, she moved into a senior citizen cottage and was self sufficient for the rest of her life.  I’m so grateful for the remaining eight years she had on this planet.  We got to spend time together, which I didn’t have when my family was growing up.

She was a great role model, a woman who loved and cherished her family, one who thought for sure that one of her daughters would become Miss America, was proud of every accomplishment we made.  She has been gone for ten years now and I still miss her, but I know I will see her again in heaven. Happy birthday, Mommy.

 

 

 

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Q & A TAG CHALLENGE

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Yesterday I received a challenge from Mark at hatrack4 Thoughts from Mark “Hat” Rack. This game, if you choose to participate has only 3 rules.

  • Answer the questions you receive (straight, funny, absurd, up to you.)
  • Provide three new questions of your own.
  • Tag three people.

The questions asked of me:

  1. What should a Christian’s (or church’s) primary focus be during the Advent season.

I believe that Advent is like the beginning of two new adventures. Each year as we approach Christmas, what leads up to it holds as much anticipation as the actual event. We prepare our hearts for the good news of the Gospel through special church services, beautiful choir music and the addition of orchestral offerings. We also need to look ahead to Christ’s second coming – which could be any minute now. God came to us at Christmas as a man. He lived among us and felt every emotion we do, yet He didn’t sin. He will come again to judge the world and take us home to heaven. Come quickly Lord, Jesus!

  1. What is your chief goal in your blog writing, for the present and long term?

I started writing my blog as a way to serve the Lord. I’ve always had a better way of stating my thoughts in the written word. When I try to vocalize my thoughts, they don’t have the same impact. We’ve all been called upon by Jesus to spread the Gospel message to everyone during our lifetime. Sometimes I go back and read some of my old posts and can see God’s direction in them. Along the way, I’ve made some truly good friends. At some point I would like to have some of my poetry and Paul’s art work put into book form. His paintings have always inspired the words I write. I have a novel waiting my attention, several short stories, a screenplay and a number of stage plays on the back burner. My goal for the future is to edit all of them and get them published.

  1. Who gave you the same thing every Christmas? What was the predictble gift and did you even like it?

Every Christmas, while I was growing up and still living with my parents we’d receive a large box in the mail from my maternal grandma. She packed many things, which I don’t really remember. There were cookies and homemade items, but I really recall getting a storybook full of Life Savers. I looked forward to that, because it held flavors that I’d never tasted before. It was a little thing, but it’s remained in my memory for all these years. I always looked forward to having that package come in the mail. I continued the tradition with my own children and my grandchildren

my own chidren and grandchildren. I wonder if they still make those Life Saver books.

Now for my nominations and questions:

Julie at cookiecrumbstoliveby

Mike at New Hope For Dry Bones

RobbyeFaye, Captive Dreams Window

My questions:

  1. How long have you been blogging and what is the greatest satisfaction you receive from doing it?
  2. Have you ever been bullied for your opinions – give examples – how did you deal with them?
  3. What was the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you during the Christmas holiday season?

 

 

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BIRD’S EYE VIEW

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

If we could soar like eagles and swoop down to valleys low,

If we could hear the voice of God, if we could make it snow,

If we could climb up mountains and disappear from view,

If we could sleep in grass so green and live where flowers do,

If we could swim through oceans or walk upon their floor,

If we could have minds clean and clear or open any door,

If we could launch a thousand ships, with just one tiny breath,

If we could finally lose our lives and wake up after death,

Each of these things is possible, when we trust God alone,

Our wildest dreams and hopes come true,  when we’re in His zone,

He never will forsake us and His promises are true,

He said He’s take our sins away, He died for me and you,

So when you face life’s obstacles, just lift your eyes up high,

God’s waiting just to hear from you, He’ll answer every cry,

Don’t hesitate to call on Him, He answers every prayer,

His love alone holds promise that He’s with you everywhere.

 

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THE YOUNG AND RESTLESS SHEPHERDS

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This is the time of year for Christmas Pageants – for children – a time of waiting and anticipation.  A number of years ago I wrote a play for my drama kids about the birth of Jesus, the Messiah from the perspective of the shepherds.  The play was serious at times and funny too, but the things that went on during rehearsal created the fondest memories.

This is a rewrite of a post originally written 11/12/14 on atimetoshare.me  One of my favorite teachable moments.

A few years ago, I was rehearsing a short Christmas play with my after school drama class.  The boys would be shepherds and sheep and the two lone girls, angels .  While writing it, I realized that these children already knew about their Savior, but it was still a  great opportunity to share some things with them.

The shepherds and sheep were antsy after a day of school.  Their only thought was to let off steam.   I reminded them that shepherds would not have been so boisterous and rowdy if they were trying to keep their sheep quiet.  The angels sat quietly and waited for their time on stage and one worried if she would be able to say the word – Alleluia – without getting her tongue tied.

I wondered what those first shepherds did as they watched their sheep that night.  They most likely were bored and tired of working all day.  Some of them probably fell asleep, but most of  them were ready to cut loose.

The script led to discussion on what the shepherds thought about the Messiah’s birth.  In order to connect this to an exciting upcoming event, we talked about  a super hero coming to wipe out their enemies.  Suddenly those little boys settled down and ears perked up.  I knew I had them.

We talked about how long the shepherds had been waiting for a Messiah.  With a class of ten boys and two sweet girls the conversation quickly turned to John the Baptist. One boy said, “He’s the one who got his head cut off,” which completely turned everything 180 degrees. I was able to wrap it up by saying that Jesus came to take away the sins of the world – even the guy that chopped off John’s head. You had to be there.  It was a great teachable moment.

We shared thoughts on why Jesus came to save us from our greatest enemy – the devil.  He could’ve come like a muscle-bound super hero, but He chose to be born in deepest humility.  He came to take our place – to carry our sin to the cross and  rise again in pure glory – just like we will do someday.

ALLELUIA!

 

 

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WALLY’S FRIDAY FRYDADDY FUNNY

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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CHRISTMAS CLASSICS – THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL

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This poignant tale was written by Hans Christian Anderson and published in 1845. The author came to life on the movie screen as Danny Kaye recreated some of his stories.  He was portrayed as a wonderful story teller who delighted children down through the ages.  His most favored stories came in the form of fairy tales with a moral at the end.

The story of “The Little Match Girl,” is one of those tear jerking tales that really tugs at your heart strings.  It’s about a young girl who sells matches.  This was a time before child labor laws were in effect.  This young girl  came from an abusive home.  Her father would not let her return home until she’d sold every single match. She was overlooked by the elite in the city – viewed as a vagrant – doing whatever she could to survive.  In other words, this child had a crummy life. Her situation is unfortunately like many children today who live in poverty – move from place to place to avoid the law – sometimes homeless and often starving, for food and/or affection.

As the story progresses and the winter blizzard continues to bear down on her, she uses the matches to keep herself warm.  She no longer wears the shoes that once were worn by her mother.  As the child slowly freezes to death, she has visions of her dead grandmother and all the wonderful things she can muster from her memory.  Those thoughts sustain her as she eventually dies and enters heaven.

As we go through life, we can be like this child.  We may be going through a rough patch.  Maybe our problems are about material things. Everything seems to intensify during  this season. Our emotions are at an all time high.  Our thoughts turn to a car that may not make it through the year.  You may experience job loss or property.  Maybe you’re going through Cancer treatments or trying to figure out why you’re in pain.  You could be having relationship issues, parenting problems, feelings of depression and sadness at a time that should be filled with joy. You feel guilty for feeling any of these things.

The beauty of this story is that she never gave up hope.  Hope, to this girl, meant she would no longer have to suffer through poverty and abuse.  She’d be with those who had died before her.  She realizes that this life is not the end of living.

She dies at the end of the story, but she with a smile on her face.  Because of her faith, she now experiences perfect peace.  What a blessing to know that our salvation has already been won for us.  Jesus was born for every human being that has, does, and will live.  He took everyone’s sin to the grave and buried them so we could have eternal life in paradise.

Instead of looking back at our lives, we should reassess what’s happening in the here-and-now and the future.. We can’t change what happened before, so we move on with confidence that our eternal home is waiting for us.  God’s promise has been fulfilled and now we wait for His second coming.

 

 

 

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SHORT SANTA

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL  KATHY BOECHER©

This final little Santa Claus is on the shorter side,

He has no arms or legs you see, but surely he is wide,

His face is bright, his cheeks are red, his eyes are blue as sky,

His hair and moustache white as snow, he’s such a happy guy,

Each piece of art created by a master carver’s knife,

And given as a Christmas gift to his adoring wife,

I treasure every single one, because they are from him,

Displaying them at Christmas, my heart fills to the brim,

Even though they’re chunks of wood created for my pleasure,

I know that Christmas is much more, than gifts that we treasure,

Old Santa Clause is just a myth, but in this special time,

We hold the baby, Jesus close, the greatest gift sublime,

He is our priceless treasure, we love Him without measure,

He came to be our brother, to love us like no other,

To live a perfect life for us, to take away our guilt,

To go through pain and suffering and by the blood he spilled,

The greatest gift at Christmas time, lies on a bed of hay,

This tiny child has come to us, to take our sins away.

 

 

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NORDIC SANTA

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

This bright and cheery Santa Claus lives in the icy north,

It takes him quite a lot of time, to travel back and forth,

The weather doesn’t bother him, he’s used to  snow and ice,

His wife is known to wait for him, because she is so nice,

She’s worked all year to help him make the toys for girls and boys,

There is no minimum wage for her, she does what she enjoys,

When Santa finishes his rounds, she’s there to say hello,

With hot chocolate and cookies, her eyes of blue will glow,

Hot chocolate on overflow and cookies a no no,

He ate so many Christmas treats, but he won’t let her know.

 

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THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

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The story, “The Gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry is a lovely story of a young couple living in a small apartment in New York.  The story was published in 1905.  It tells of how both of them made sacrifices so that they could buy the perfect gift for their spouse.  The wife decided to sell her hair so she could purchase a platinum watch fob for her husband’s pocket watch.  He in turn, sold his watch so that he could buy some beautiful combs to adorn his wife’s hair.  Obviously their thoughtful gifts were useless because of their sacrificial giving.  However the story shows that their love endured in spite of it.

Ironic isn’t it.  We sometimes think we’re buying just the right thing, but it doesn’t always turn out that way.  The fact that both of these people made sacrifices to purchase something special for their significant others.  This is really the point of the story.  When we buy those gifts with the complete focus being on the other person, we are giving a perfect gift.

In the Biblical version of the wise men coming to Bethlehem to pay homage to the new king, we may get the wrong idea about those guys.  In the song, “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” we’re told that they were kings.  Truth – they were more likely astrologers who viewed the Christmas star and realized something extraordinary was taking place.  They were also more likely from Babylon than the Orient, because it was the site of the practice of astrology.  We don’t know how many there were.  There could’ve been three or thirty three.

The O. Henry version of “The Gifts of the Magi,” is like many stories of sacrifice that pop up at this time of the year. There was “The Juggler of God,” and “The Little Drummer Boy” which in like manner show gifts of the givers being gifts of their selves.

We don’t know all of gifts the Magi brought to Bethlehem, but apparently they were very expensive. We’re told of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We assume they were expensive, because they allowed Mary and Joseph to flee from Bethlehem to Egypt so Jesus wouldn’t be murdered with all the newly born children of that area. We’re also told that Mary held these things in her heart, and thought about them often, so they were not only memorable and expensive, she knew that her Son was worth all of them.

When we give gifts at this time of year, we may hope that our gift has special meaning for the person receiving it. We may be trying to make an impression. We might even look at our gifts as sacrifices because they come at great cost to us. The greatest gift of Christmas was offered in the form of a little baby – a child born in poverty – a seemingly insignificant gift, but one which would prosper the entire world and give it everlasting peace.

Jesus is our Christmas present. We all need to start remembering that. Our gifts pale in comparison. The greatest gift one can give for another is his life. This little child became Immanuel (God with us) so that we would someday inherit His kingdom.

 

 

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CHRISTMAS CLASSICS – A CHRISTMAS STORY

ralphiebbgun

Though “A Christmas Story,” was written as a screenplay based on a series of monologues by Jean Shepherd a radio commentator for many years, it has taken the place of many of the old Christmas movies, like “White Christmas,” and even “It’s A Wonderful Life,” as one of the classics.

The thing I most enjoy about this film, is that it was almost exactly like my childhood Christmases.  I didn’t want a Red Ryder BB gun, but so many of the incidents in that movie are things I can totally relate to.  For example, the fanciest restaurant we dined at was a Chinese restaurant in downtown Milwaukee.  We didn’t go there for Christmas dinner, but it was a special place, because we could eat food we didn’t normally eat, use chopsticks and be served by people in starched white shirts and black pants.  They didn’t sing “Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra,” but if we came on Christmas Eve, I bet they would have.

Almost every little vignette in this movie is something we can hitch our own hats to.  There was the washing out of the mouth with a bar of soap.  I never actually experienced it, but was warned about it and believed it to be a possibility if I ever were to use a bad word.  There was the Santa visit where we waited in long lines to see this man that we knew really didn’t exist, but hoped he did.

My dad won a prize for bowling one year.  It wasn’t a lamp of a woman’s leg, but because he scored an almost perfect game of 298, he was awarded an onyx ring with the score imprinted upon it, along with a case of Wheaties, the Breakfast of Champions.  I learned to love the cereal and still enjoy a bowl of Wheaties from time to time.  I was very impressed with my dad and shared my bragging rights with everyone.

When a huge Christmas box arrived from Grandma, we knew there would be lots of fun things to enjoy – including  her special home made cookies.  There would be coloring books, books to read, socks and Muck Lucks (stockings/slippers all in one.)  I loved wearing those toasty socks.  I never got a bunny suit, but there was always something I didn’t particularly like, but I knew grandma had spent a lot of time thinking about what to get us, so I appreciated it.

The “triple dog dare” was probably instituted during my childhood.  Almost every year we’d hear about someone who got his tongue stuck to the flag pole.  There were the snow suits that made it impossible to walk.  Instead we rolled our way to school.  I also remember writing essays on what we wanted for Christmas.

When I was dating my now husband, my mother wanted to impress him by making his favorite meal – turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings.  The first time, she forgot to turn on the oven before going to work.  The second day she tried again and forgot again.  On the third day, we all sat down to a wonderful feast.  I’m surprised we didn’t get salmonella poisoning.

My dad was much like Ralphie’s dad.  At the time, I didn’t like him much, because he was very stern, but when I became a parent, I realized why he was that way.  He would always wait until the day of Christmas Eve to buy our tree, because he could get a good deal on it.  Then my sister and I would spend hours decorating it – filling in all the empty spaces with silver tinsel – under his watchful, critical eye.

I don’t think the classical literature compares to this kind of reality.  So many times we see the poverty of people – the lack of money for gifts or special food – the sadness of the holiday.  There are other times when we simply must enjoy the laughter, the fun, the excitement of this special time.  The message of Christmas hasn’t changed down through the centuries, but the memories and traditions often do.

I give this movie five stars for stirring up some great nostalgia.

 

 

 

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SLEEPY SANTA

SLEEPY SANTA

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

This Santa shows his weariness, from flying through the night,

He can’t wait to park his reindeer, and sleep so warm and tight,

He’s had his fill of Christmas treats, hot chocolate with whipped cream,

It won’t take long to fall asleep and wrap up his own dream,

His work starts again tomorrow, when he wakes up to find,

That there’s no end to Santa’s work, it’s back to the old grind,

But for just a fleeting moment, he finds some needed rest,

As he recalls the greatest gift, the finest and the best,

He dreams about his Savior, King, who came to earth one day,

Who died for him and all of us, to take our sins away.

 

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