Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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True Christmas

The Christmas Season is on us. Are you ready? I’m not. Rarely am before Christmas Eve. And then, I’m usually afraid I’ve forgotten, missed, messed up or lost something important.

Because I want Christmas to be perfect like mine was when I was a kid.

Hopefully, though, this year is going to be different.

Yup. I say that every year. I know I do, but this year I mean it. (I hope!)

Since one definition of crazy is doing things exactly the same way and expecting a different outcome, I had to change something. So this year, I’ve added to what I’m doing this Christmas Season.

While some people might think doing anything extra during this hurried, harried time of year is just nuts, I’ve added in a new Bible study that’s not just something to get through. It’s a time to slow down and remember what the Christmas Season is truly about.

It’s called, The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. I bought it last year, and ended up saving it until this Christmas because I didn’t have time to catch up. Sigh.

Ann starts at the beginning of the Bible and leads us to Jesus. She teaches us about the Jesse Tree, which I’ve never heard of before. And about Advent, which I’ve heard of but never observed.

The funny thing about the study is that I can’t just zoom through it. If I’m in running mode, I can’t hear what she has to say. I have to slow down and breathe to read her words. (If I want them to make sense.)

Today, she talked about Jacob when he had the dream about the angels going up and down the ladder to Heaven, and the Lord was at the top. (Genesis 28: 10-16) Remember?

In her words for today she writes,

If, just for a moment, you stand in the doorway, linger a bit in front of the tree

(My tree isn’t up yet.–ss)

it’s strange how you can see it–how every Christmas tree is a ladder, and Jesus is your ladder who hung on that tree . . . so you have the gift of rest. When you are wrung out, that’s a sign you’ve been reaching for the rungs. The work at the very heart of salvation is the work at the very heart of Christmas: simply rest.

Here is holy.

The wonder of all this–God looks at you at your lowest and loves you all the way to the sky.

God carries you all the way home.

Like Heaven opening up slow everywhere.

Wow. Just, wow!

Imagine, someone telling us to relax through Christmas. No worries. No stress.

And she has a sticky note for each day. You can see them here.

I wish I’d read this study a long time ago, when my children were small or even when my mother was young and running herself ragged to have a perfect Christmas for all of her kids.

But maybe she didn’t need it. Mom worked hard to get Christmas right (even sewing dresses for all her girls most years) but she had a calm, inner peace that I sometimes forget and don’t think I inherited.

Some of us just need a hand from others like Ann Voskamp to have the real joy of Christmas.

I’m not asking you to buy her book. I’m just asking you to slow down and celebrate True Christmas.

 

 

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Favorite Things, AND People

One of the things I like best about Christmas, besides the celebrations and gifts and stars and sparkles and fun, is the people in my life. Family and friend. (Sometimes, that’s the same thing.)

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Have you met Omega?  This is she.

No, she’s not singing to me. (Looks like she’s singing “Holy,  Holy, Holy” doesn’t it?)

006This is the night of our company/family Christmas party. We all got together to celebrate on the night before Christmas Eve. (Would that be Christmas Eve Eve?)

Aren’t they gorgeous? I love these girlies!

I don’t love them just because they’re pretty. (They are.)  I don’t love them just because I’m related to them. (That, too.) And I don’t love them just because I’m smarter than the average bear. (I am, at least most of the time.)

I love them because they’re nice and sweet (sometimes) and fun to be with. They don’t kick dogs and they’re nice to old ladies. 😛 I like that a bunch!

They keep me in stitches nearly all the time. When they’re around, there’s never a dull moment. E-V-E-R!

This Christmas they were the best part of the C-Town Baptist Church’s Christmas play. They performed Dicken’s Christmas Carol with a Christian twist.

The girls’ daddy (aka Omega’s husband) played Scrooge.

play-noel-2This is Noel as Scrooge, hanging with Christmas Past. (He has nice legs, huh?)

play-hope

This is Hope. She played Scrooge’s girl friend, back in the day. (Was that character’s name Bell? I don’t remember. 😦  )

play-Faith

Here’s Faith,  (some people call her Ralph) who played Scrooge’s girlfriend when they were kids. (Was Bella the name, maybe? I can’t remember.)

While the Nation Clan dominated the action, they did let a few other people act in the play.

play-noel This is Christmas Present with Scrooge. She carried a pillow and lammed him with it every now and then. He carried a cane, but never did smack her back. He has to have a lot of self-control, because he’s the local middle school principal.

playOne of these guys is a local Highway Patrolman or Lake Patrolman as well as a trapper.  If you look to the left, you’ll see Christmas Future. (I think he’s the Baptist Preacher’s son. PKs always get the best parts. 🙂  )

That boy never did forget a line. The sad thing is, that kept Omega from doing her job. (She was a very prompt prompter.)

Don’t you love Christmas programs? Don’t you wish you’d been there?