Saturday, December 24, 2011

God With Us

On this Christmas Eve, I'd like to share the words of John MacArthur from his devotional book, "Truth for Today," because they so perfectly sum up what we have to rejoice in at this Christmas time.

"For there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."  Luke 1:45

"Isaiah 7:14 says, 'The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.'  That virgin's name was Mary.

The name Immanuel, however, is the key to this verse--and the heart of the Christmas story.  It is a Hebrew name that means literally,'God with us.'  It is a promise of incarnate deity, a prophecy that God Himself would appear as a human infant, Immanuel, 'God with us.'  This baby who was to be born would be God Himself in human form.

If we could condense all the truth of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: 'God with us.'  We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ.  The greater truth of the holiday is His deity.  More astonishing than a baby in a manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!"

May you find joy and peace in this wonderful truth that the Creator of all heaven and earth is with us this Christmas season and every other day.  Rejoice!  God is with us!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Spirit of Christmases Past

I received a wonderful Christmas gift this evening.  I had just pulled the first batch of Christmas cookies out of the oven and was reaching for the second cookie sheet when my phone rang. 

If I'm being honest here, I have to admit, that for a brief moment, I was irritated at the interruption.  But then I heard the voice on the other end of the line say, "Hello, Laura?  This is your Uncle Dan!" and every bit of irritation melted.  I was overjoyed to hear his voice!  He was just calling to say a quick "hello" and to wish us a Merry Christmas in lieu of sending out Christmas cards.

My Uncle Dan is my dad's younger brother.  He and his wife, Pat, are the last of that generation in our family. We don't see each other very often anymore.  The large, extended family get-togethers have pretty much ceased as our own families have become "extended."

But hearing his voice tonight on the phone took me back to the Christmases of my childhood.  In that brief conversation, I was reminded of Christmas dinner at my grandparents' house with all the aunts, uncles and cousins.  I was a child again surrounded by my mom and dad and sisters. It was such a sweet moment.

This fleeting memory lasted only for the short duration of the phone call.  But it was a gift!  I'm so glad that my Uncle Dan and Aunt Pat chose to connect through a Christmas conversation rather than through a Christmas card.  Their words were sweeter poetry than anything Hallmark could have composed.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I decided I'd better do a little something about my recent vacation to Southern California before I totally forget what I did there!  Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I returned from a wonderful week-long visit with my daughter, Elizabeth. And while I could go on and on about it, I think that I'll let a few pictures tell the story!

The first of several trips to old times!  However, I learned that not everyone who frequents Starbucks in California is nice.  Yes, there is a story behind that!

A little cheap entertainment and relaxation!  When was the last time YOU did a jigsaw puzzle?  It's been years for me and I loved every minute and every stiff neck that resulted from it.

So this was "Burger No. 1"  after church on Sunday at the "famous" In- N-Out Burgers. Delicious burgers; wimpy fries!

This was "Burger No. 2"...mind you, that's half an order...from a cute little restaurant in Claremont. By the way, there is no picture of "Burger No. 3" since it was from a McDonald's outside an outlet mall...not really photo-worthy. :)

Surprise!  A free trip to Disneyland, courtesy of Elizabeth's wonderful neighbor, Mike, who works there and shared his Friends and Family passes with us.  Yep, it is still the happiest place on earth...especially when you walk in for free!

What can make the happiest place on earth even better?  Decorate it for Christmas, of course.  This was only the third day that the park had been all decked out for the holidays.

My first trip to California Adventure...also free!  We rode the Mickey ferris wheel but got short changed on our ride. Oh well...did I mention it was free?

The nice lady who took this picture for us didn't quite get the concept.  We wanted the castle right behind us.  You'll have to use your imagination...

Waiting for the Christmas parade for a VERY long time while sitting on a VERY hard curb.  But it was worth it, just to feel the Disney magic again.

And finally, a little crafty relaxation at home, making a Christmas wreath for the door. Truthfully, those were some of my favorite times, just being with Elizabeth in her own home.  That and the dozen or so trips to Target and various other shopping expeditions.  What can I was the perfect vacation!