In the quiet of a home away from home, I kneel to pray.

Some of my appendages are walking in other time zones, breathing in different climates, watching the world through unique eyes.

As I lift their names up one by one I see their faces. I imagine the palm trees, and feel the heat radiating through her skin.

I see the cobble streets and damp London air swirling around him.

Here in the city I see a young mother resting with her child in the early morning hours, with another in her belly, getting in those last few seconds of shut eye that will carry her through the day and the night.

I see two men side by side with their hammers and frost in their beards.

This Christmas I ask for strange but wondrous gifts for them. Presents that first came wrapped in stars, and teeming waters.

I pray they will hear their Creator, and see him all around them.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

I pray that they will hear their Savior’s words…

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

I pray that we together, a family – whether near or far – will always acknowledge him, accept His mercy that came as a child in a manger, surrender to His authority, and become disciplined agents of His love.

 

“..in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6).

My heart wells up within me, with great joy because….

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

 

Mom/Cindy

 

 

 

Shopping with HEART and making SMART choices at Christmas Time.

Shopping with HEART and making SMART choices at CHRISTMAS time.

  1. Make your large purchases with small business, and your small purchases at big box stores. That way you are spreading the love around where it is needed the most.
  2. Buy second hand for yourself when you can, and treat yourself to a brand name product once a year (if you absolutely have to).
  3. Write and wrap gift notes for others, and then buy the actual product after Christmas when it is half the price. The amount saved could be given away to a neighbour, or charity.
  4. Decide to watch programs over the holidays that have zero violence.
  5. Boycott watching anything with guns or shooting.
  6. When you realize that means you can’t watch anything – go outside for a walk or call up a friend, and make a snowman together.
  7. Instead of playing a computer game by yourself, get together with a friend and play a board or dice game.
  8. Shut your phone for off for a whole day, and listen to your family. No cheating.
  9. Instead of giving someone money, give them your time and attention.
  10. Invite someone over for tea and dessert, you don’t always have to cook a fancy menu.
  11. Write a list of people you want to get to know in the New Year, and write an annual intentional date on the calendar.
  12. Support home grown talent by buying their music.
  13. Promote purchases and not pirating.
  14. Smile and make a point of wishing everyone you see a “Merry Christmas” (out loud, and not under your breath).
  15. Make time to look up inspirational vignettes on youtube, like Linus’s recitation about what Christmas is all about.
  16. Set up a nativity scene on Christmas Eve.
  17. Purchase a special Children’s Christmas book each year to read on Christmas Eve, even if all the children are grown up.

Have fun adding to this list. Make it your own. And may we truly strive to uphold what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8 and 9).

Pet Peeves at Christmas

A few discussions this December has me sharing a list of my pet peeves, they are more ridiculous than they are frustrating, I know our culture leaves much to be desired especially around this time of year.

  1. The Chevrolet commercial where an actress says in a mono-tone,”that’s the dream to have wifi in the car”. Apparently I am not the only one who is peeved, you can’t even find the commercial on youtube anymore, so many people have complained about this so called “dream”. In my search to find the commercial in order to leave you a link I saw one person tweet: “we have to dream bigger”. Amen to that. What made the commercial worth watching was our hysterical attempt to mimic the actress.
  2. Alien vs Predator Ad for the 12 Days of Spacemas, really thought this was funny more than aggravating, especially watching the two arch-enemies seated on civilized couches gawking at the neck ties in their hands, wondering what they were for?  Couldn’t find this link either…hmmmm.
  3. Talking with my wise nephew the other day with regards to how Star Wars has taken over Christmas brought my attention to this next pet peeve…..apparently we are more excited about the “force” than we are about the real power which is found in the most wonderful name “Jesus”. No hand phasers necessary folks, just the name of Jesus (spoken in reverence of course). Now that’s power.
  4. All the sappy Christmas movies, emphasis on ALL……if we were take the money spent on “spinning a love story”, and give it to those in need, we’d see love at work, and change happening before our eyes. That being said there are a few of them that have a good storyline, but very few, and there are millions starving. We should be striving for excellence.
  5. The complaining about refugees…. opening our country to refugees is more than a risk, it is necessary, and mandatory, otherwise we simply are not human. I’d rather die loving than leave someone die.

Merry Christmas everyone, and may the love of Jesus truly change us.

Cindy

Sacrificial Offerings

Usually every church you go to has a certain way of doing things, a structure to the service. Our church always has someone present special music while the offering plate is passed, but there are many sacrificial offerings going on in a service simultaneously. You need only be still and sensitive to the Spirit to see them.

This past Sunday a lovely woman got up to sing “Breath of Heaven”, which tells the story of the mother of Jesus. Even when the Christmas story gets clouded, most people know Mary was a young person with a scandal to deal with. She accepted her sacrificial call stoically, only to lose her son years later at the hands of an angry mob. She gave birth never really knowing the full extent of what her sacrifice would be.

I closed my eyes and and prayed for our friend who was singing, and the tears began to roll down my cheeks when the lyrics came “breath of heaven hold me together”, because I remembered how the vocalist lost her son years ago. Jesse would have been in his early twenties today.

Once the service concluded I found my eyes drift over to the far left of the church, to the front pew. There I saw another woman sit down to ready herself for prayer in case anyone needed to come to the front and pray. She too had lost a son years ago. Shane was a father at the time of his death, leaving a wife and three children behind.

I marveled at these women, and their sacrificial offerings, pressing on in faith despite their broken hearts, and the fact there will be missing family members at their Christmas table.

Thank you for being real, courageous and faithful, Bonnie and Val. Please know that there are people watching and learning from your example, and people praying for your strength as you continue the journey of faith God has called you to finish.

May the family of God hold one another together in Christ’s sacrificial offering of love, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we look forward to a family reunion one day in heaven.

Merry Christmas!

Cindy

 

 

God is Near

Merry Christmas to our friends, and our family. The video below is to remind us all of how Immanuel came to be with us. The message also helps us to strive to be instruments of Christ’s love, to think of others before our own needs.baby jesus

Our economy, new government, and tragic world news threaten our hearts with fear, but remember God never changes, and HE IS NEAR. He is no stranger to what is happening around us, and He is still in control.

Matthew 1:23

From Lloyd and Cindy Palin and family

God is Near Lullaby

images are from http://www.heritagemakers.com

Mercy and the Magi

If you are use to hearing history presented the same way year after year, it is very plausible you may miss the mystery, and the wonder, and the MERCY.

The account of the wisemen for example:

While discussing the Magi with my small children one Christmas, I was astounded to hear our middle child question whether there were just three of them. How did we know for sure? If such an amazing King had just been born, perhaps there were many more wisemen, too many to find enough camels to ride?

“Maybe they had to take a bus?” he suggested.

As I was reading in Matthew, and my corresponding class notes for 103 Gospels with Briercrest Seminary and College, I was struck by something I have been taking for granted for years, since Sunday School even.

We are so use to hearing about the wisemen seeing the star, that we forget to realize what an act of mercy it was, that God would get the attention of foreigners about the birth of his son – amazing!

We learn in the Bible that Jesus came for the Jews first. Yet, his own people were not excited about his birth, or what his Kingship meant.

We also learn that  his plan of salvation includes the Gentiles. Right from the beginning of Christ’s life God was inviting other nations to be part of his merciful plan. Even before Christ was born God was setting the stage, as he merciful made room for Gentile believers within Christ’s lineage.

The wisemen knew Jesus was a King, and they travelled far to worship him.

I can see now God was calling me as well, the night the Magi saw the star. This Christmas season as well as all year round, I want to run to him each morning, and marvel at him and acknowledge him as King, as exemplified by the three wisemen.

Thank you Jesus for including this Gentile in your merciful plan.