What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

O Christmas Tree!

We finally got our Christmas Tree from the forest...

Before:


Yes, it was HUGE!  Kind of reminds us of the Griswold Family Christmas, doesn't it?

Well, anyway, we made it home safely with the Tree




And now, you might like to listen to this beautiful Christmas music on this YouTube video while you enjoy the pictures of our "Florida Cracker Christmas Tree", year Two! (for more about last year's adventure with the tree, click HERE)




After:


The Nativity of our Lord
 Our "Angel of the Woods" watching over us...
 And other special angels scattered throughout...






And so funny friends...


 Special memories of dear ones...








These are just a few of my favorite ornaments scattered throughout the tree.  Nearly every ornament has some kind of significance and memory attached to it.  Our tree would never win any prizes for perfection...but it wins all kinds of prizes for providing a sense of peace, hope and much love for those represented throughout this tree...and happy memories... 

Isn't that what Christmas is all about?  Peace...Hope...and LOVE for all of mankind?  Isn't that why Jesus came to us that day so long ago...to give us peace...hope and love?   And aren't we, who are called by His name (Christians), supposed to be sharing that peace, hope and love with everyone we meet?  It isn't always easy. We all have our personal challenges with situations in our families, friends, neighbors, work, even churches...but at this time of the year, let us each make an extra special effort to spread Christ's peace, hope and love to all...and then may it continue on throughout the New Year as well.  That is my prayer and my hope. May God give me the strength and love to do just that. How about you?


Sunday, December 10, 2017

"O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Here we are again...the 2nd Sunday of Advent...and the lighting of the "Bethlehem Candle"




As we lit the Second Advent Candle we read the following:

"Today we light the Bethlehem candle.  It is symbolic of preparation.  The prophecy in Micah 5:2 that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem has significance because it indicates how God prepared even the last detail of the coming of Christ."

The following scriptures were read:

Micah 5:2

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
the ONE to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting."


Matthew 2:1-6

"Now after Jesus was born in BETHLEHEM of Judea 
in the days of Herod the king,
behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?
For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together,
he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
So they said to him,
"In BETHLEHEM of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
"But you, BETHLEHEM, in the land of Judah,
are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel."

This was followed by the singing of another beloved Christmas Carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem"


Don't you sometimes wonder why God chose Bethlehem for the birth of our Savior?  Perhaps because God wanted us to realize that He is able to make something marvelous and magnificent come out of someplace seemingly small and somewhat insignificant. Much like what He does with us, we are seemingly small and insignificant in the eyes of the world...but Psalm 139:13-16 tells us we are "fearfully and wonderfully made"...and that God had a plan for our lives before we were even born.

"For you created my inmost being;

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be."



The marvelous thing about Advent and the Christmas story is that God sent Jesus, His Only Begotten Son, down to earth in the form of a tiny baby, to be born in an animal stable in the insignificant little town of Bethlehem, so that He could save ME (YOU) from all our sins. Read the following from the book of Matthew, chapter 1: 18-25 for more information...

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

"YOU ARE TO GIVE HIM THE NAME JESUS, BECAUSE HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS."

We are the people that He has come to save...little, insignificant you and me...because the God of Heaven loves us so much He was willing to sacrifice His Son for us...this is really significant...really big news!  And THIS is why we celebrate Christmas!





Friday, December 8, 2017

Getting Into the Spirit of Christmas...Listening to the Angels Sing...Sights and Sounds of Christmas



I am enjoying listening to the above rendition of "O Holy Night" by the Hillsdale College Choir.  It is so lovely and inspiring as I sit here typing and listening...I find myself singing along and becoming lost in the reverie of the music and the message it brings.  I hope you will enjoy it as well...

Perhaps you would like to sit and have "A Cup of Christmas Tea" with me while we listen?



And as we visit, let us "hear the angel voices" on this "night divine"....




When "O Holy Night" is finished, please continue listening to this beautiful presentation of
"Angels From the Realms of Glory"















 I hope you've enjoyed this little time of "Getting into the Spirit of Christmas" with me, with some sights and sounds of Christmas.   Tomorrow we plan to go out into the woods and cut our Christmas Tree like we did last year...so I am looking forward to placing these lovely angel ornaments on the tree again (pictures of angels in the tree here are from last year) along with all the other special ornaments that bring back happy memories of Christmases past. Be sure to check back later to see the results!!

Have a blessed and wonderful weekend as you continue to prepare your hearts for Jesus!!



Friday Foto Friends: Sing to The Lord A New Song -Again!

I actually wrote this last year at the beginning of Advent, but as I re-read it again this morning, I again found such peace and comfort as I quieted myself before the Lord and allowed His Presence to wash over me. There is such tranquility in the midst of the noise of the earth as I come before the Lord in reverence and awe, and enjoy again the beauties of His world surrounding me.

Today is Friday Foto Friends day, and I really didn't have anything new to share that I haven't already shared during the week...but these photos from last year have blessed me again this morning, so I hope you will relax and take time to prepare your heart for the Advent of our Lord.

Original Post 11/26/2016:
As I gathered together the fresh pine boughs and holly branches filled with bright red berries, and placed the cedar candle stands in the center of the wreath that will hold the candles for our advent services throughout these next four weeks prior to Christmas, my heart began to sing to the Lord "a new song"

"Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods."
Psalm 96:1-4

I sat down in the garden and allowed myself a few moments of rest and relaxation after the hectic pace of this past week...and reveled in the peace and tranquility of this beautiful space...
This is our memorial garden, dedicated to the memory of our son Matthew, who left this world far too soon at the age of 41 just a couple of years ago.  I turned on the fountain and let the rippling sound of the water soothe my soul...and watched and listened as the birds began to sing and flit to and fro,




gathering their afternoon seeds and catching a quick drink from the fountain and the bird bath. They, too, seemed at peace and yet excited to sing to the Lord a new song...

"Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring and offering, and come into His courts.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth."
Psalm 96:8-9

As the Lord ministered to me today in the garden, He reminded me again of the true meaning of Christmas...and why we should prepare our hearts for the Advent of the Lord as we proclaim Christ's birth and purpose for coming to the earth...


"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace 
there will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to order it and establish it with judgment and justice
from that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
Isaiah 9:6-7

What a precious time this was today...the Lord knew what I needed.  I needed a sit down in a quiet place and allow my soul to be bathed in His peace and comfort.  I needed to prepare my heart for the coming of the Lord....Christmas! I needed to make room for Him to enter into my heart and home and life again...and not just go through the motions of putting up all the decorations and shopping for gifts and baking and working and wearing myself out without enjoying the wonder and beauty of this most glorious season...

"Let the heavens rejoice,
and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful,
and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord,
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with His truth."
Psalm 96:11-13

I would like to close this post with this song of worship and meditation on the Lord...please click on the link "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" below, and worship along with me as we prepare our hearts for the Advent of our Lord... (be sure to turn on your sound and sing along for a true worship experience).


Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing is His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, Yet born of Mary,
As of old earth He stood,
Lord of lords, In human vesture, 
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful.
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
As Light of light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
as the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six-winged seraph,
Cherubim, With sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to His presence
as with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Lord Most High!



Now let's all gather over at Deb's place, "Breathing in Grace", and join our other friends for Friday Foto Friends Day!  Have a blessed and beautiful day!!