1016. For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. ~W.J. Ronald Tucker

Let us remember that He(God) has given us
the sun and the moon and the stars,
and the earth with it forests and mountains and oceans–
and all that lives and moves upon them.
He has given us all green things
and everything that blossoms and bears fruit–
and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–
and to save us from our own foolishness, from all our sins,
He came down to earth and gave us Himself.
~Sigrid Undset,
Nobel prize-winning Norwegian novelist

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The babe born in a manger in Bethlehem was no mere human.  He was the fully divine, blessed Messiah who was sent to restore the rhythm in Creation’s rhyme and to save the lost.  Tonight as we worship and celebrate when the Word became flesh, I’d like to share with all of you an excerpt from a Max Lucado book.  I pray that it touches you as it did me and that in so doing you feel the Breath of Heaven blow through your world.

MARY’S PRAYER
God. O infant-God. Heaven’s fairest child.
Bask in the coolness of this night bright with diamonds.
Enjoy the silence of the crib…
Rest well, tiny hands.
For though you belong to a king,
you will touch no satin, own no gold.
You will grasp no pen, guide no brush.
Lie still, tiny mouth.
Lie still, mouth from which eternity will speak…
Rosebud lips–upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness
to those who believe you…
Rest, tiny feet.
Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power.
Rest. For millions will follow in your footsteps.
~Edited excerpt from
IT BEGAN IN A MANGER by Max Lucado

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.  ~Luke 2:11  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1014. I love at least one night by the Christmas tree to sing and feel the quiet holiness of that time that’s set apart to celebrate love, friendship, and God’s gift of the Christ child. ~Amy Grant

Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream:
a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star,
the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men
falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby,
the incarnation of perfect love.
~Lucinda Franks

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When everyone had gone
I sat in the library
With the small silent tree,
She and I alone.
How softly she shone!

And for the first time then
For the first time this year,
I felt reborn again,
I knew love’s presence near.
Love distant, love detached,

And strangely without weight,
Was with me in the night
When everyone had gone
And the garland of pure light
Stayed on, stayed on.
~May Sarton

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” ~Luke 2:8-11  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

729. 
Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message. ~Malcolm Muggeridge

Is there a green too green
Is there a wet too wet
In a land that has
suffered long, a drought.

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Is there a heaven too high
Is there a ground too low
In a world that has
suffered much, for a Savior

Is there a Father too loving
Is there a God too merciful
In a heart that has
suffered long, afflictions

Shake not your fists at the heavens
Shake not your fists at the world
Seek instead the One
who came to make a way for all
through the wilderness
through the darkness
through the confusion
through the suffering
~Natalie Scarberry

The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed in gladness. ~Psalms 65:12   ✝

717. A whisper in the silence; it’s grass having some fun, rustling in the sunshine… ~Excerpt from poem by Olivia Kent

Where is that secret glade?
The one where time seems to fade
In that place of magic pools
Where ladybugs and fairies lounge on the toadstools…
~Adapted excerpt by Will Justus

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Dumpy toadstools grew close by
Our old peach tree: some were high,
Peak’d, like half-shut parasols;|
Others round and low, like balls,
Little hollow balls; and I
Called my father to the tree:
And he said, ‘I tell you what:
Fairies have been here, you see.
This is just the kind of spot
Fairies love to live in. Those
Are their houses, I suppose.
Yes, those surely are their huts!
Built of moon and mist and rain…
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Madison Julius Cawein

**The “lady” in ladybug refers to the Virgin Mary. Legend has it that crops in Europe during the Middle Ages were plagued by pests, so the farmers began praying to the Blessed Lady, the Virgin Mary. Soon, the farmers started seeing ladybugs in their fields, and the crops were miraculously saved from the pests. They associated their good fortune with the black and red beetles, and so began calling them lady beetles. In Germany, these insects go by the name Marienkafer, which means Mary beetles. The 7-spotted lady beetle is believed to be the first named for the Virgin Mary; the red color represents her cloak, and the black spots represent her sorrows. ~Image via Pinterest; information about the ladybug via the Internet

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call be blessed. ~Luke 1:46-48   ✝

714. A few minutes ago, every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like in worship. ~John Muir

The little reed,
bending to the force of the wind,
soon stood upright again
when the storm had passed over.
~Aesop

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What was that? Did you see it? There it was again! Late in the day yesterday lightning began flashing high in the eastern sky. Soon we heard distant thunder grumbling west of us as the heavens grew ominously darker and darker. Overhead cold northerly air was colliding with warm southerly currents, and with that always comes the potential for dangerous storms and high winds that spawn tornados. Even the birds who are normally chattering and feeding at that time of day were becoming silent or absent from the yard. The cat inside as well sensed a mounting threat and anxiously headed for shelter under the bed. Before long the winds began picking up, heavy rain started to fall, the lights inside flickered off and on and off, and we scrambled to find candles. And then, wham bam, all hell broke loose! Winds in excess of 70 mph blasted the yard and pushed forcefully against the house testing the fortitude and flexibility of the mightiest of trees and the sturdiest of structures. At first all we could do was stand there staring out the window almost in disbelief at what we were witnessing, but when the warning siren went off, we headed for shelter in the hallway. So it goes sometimes in the spring here in Texas; the usual peaceful hush of twilight evolves into the worrisome madness of turbulent extremes. Fortunately this time around the tornado that was seen about 5 minutes from our house did not touch the ground, the winds that huffed and puffed did not blow our house down, the rains that rushed in brutal, sideways torrents did not wash us away, the power was only off until the next day around 10 AM and then again around 5 for a couple of hours instead of days on end as it has before, and it didn’t take us but about half a day to clear away all the leafy, twiggy, and branchy downed debris. As for all the rose petals that were blown off before their time, they laid a lovely, colorful layer over patches of the green grass. So thank you Lord for these and all your tender mercies.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. ~Psalm 25:4-6   ✝

**To all my readers: because of the storm and our subsequent power outages, I’m way behind now on reading yours posts and answering comments and/or emails.

693. Once more to new creation, awake, and death gainsay, for death is swallowed up of life, and Christ is risen today! ~George Newell Lovejoy

Angels, roll the rock away;
Death, yield up thy mighty prey:
See, He rises from the tomb,
Glowing with immortal bloom.
~Rev. Thomas Scott

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It is by the blood of Christ’s “immortal bloom” that we are washed clean and saved. Should we invite him into our hearts, His body and blood, the “bread of life,” will feed our souls while the Father’s Creation continues to provide the “bread” or “manna” that nourishes our physical bodies. We are invited guests at the Lord’s lavish table, and whilst we partake of His feasts, we are lovingly watched over by the Holiest of Holies. A supreme sacrifice has been made for our presence at this table on which our sustenance and salvation have been laid; our very presence at the banquet is a holy blessing, a gift from God in whose image we are made. So it is fitting and right that we spend every day and each meal in awe and wonder and praise of our Savior, Jesus. All our days are wondrous new invitations to grow into the fullness of our potential, and the privilege to do so was paid for by the Messiah’s immeasurable agony. Christ is Risen! Praise be to God! Happy Easter!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:1-5   ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage by Natalie

578. Wisdom sails with wind and time. ~John Florio

There’s a whisper in the wind,
there’s a star agleam to guide us,
and a voice is calling, calling…
let us go.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from a poem by Robert William Service

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The Sabbath dawned in gray attire and blowing gusty winds that sent scores of fallen leaves scampering across the lawn or swirling in checkered little eddies. Then down, down, down the grayness lowered until at last it began to shed its rainy tears, tears not wept in sadness but in joy. The birds who’d been darting back and forth to and from the feeders and the sheltering bamboo were gone, and now except for the rain, the yard was still and silent. However, empty it was not for in the midst of it all moved the ruach, a mere breath, the holy breath of Yahweh, the Ancient of Days. This wind, this holy breath was whispering that it was He who had used the phrase Ruach Yahweh in His promise that the redeeming Messiah would be empowered by the Holy Spirit; so come let us prepare to behold and adore this Messiah, this Savior, this Christ, this Immanuel, the Lord of all Creation.

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). ~Matthew 1:23   ✝

** Edited image via Pinterest with added Scriptural text by Natalie