{ True Theater: The First Christmas }

 

greyson-joralemon-dDvR7eD6pf8-unsplash

Curtain opens / Scene appears peaceful

Middle-Eastern baby in dimmed spotlight

(a real baby, wrapped in livestock rags) 

Nestled in rough wooden feeding trough

Country setting. Clear night with stars. 

Mother exhausted. Sleeping.

Father watching. Thinking.

After miles of sweating and praying

After the end of the journey

After the labor

Just sitting

Just gazing

Now cue the angels.

The shepherds.

The wonder.

The starlight.

Behind the stage and unseen by the audience:

A fierce and ugly dragon – yes, an actual beast – has been trying to walk out on center stage.

He’s been trying to ruin the show.

He grabbed the script and stuffed it into his flaming mouth.

(It didn’t matter, because everyone already knew their lines.)

He tried to tear down the curtain with his talons (that’s supposed to happen anyway — scene three)

His demonic buddies brought an assassin to kill the baby. They stormed and burst down the side stage door. (He wasn’t a good shot after all, and the baby was whisked away.)

The director just sat there. Directing. 

He knew this was going to happen.

It was all actually in the script. 

***Spoiler alert: It has an ending that’s out-of-this-world***

Curtain.

~~~~~

Inspiration from Revelation 12 and Luke 2.

Manger photo:Greyson Joralemon

{ No Selfies in Bethlehem }

God had it planned:

Jesus was born into a

non-digital,

less mobile,

less global

earth.

 

That meant:

No shepherds Instagramming.

No angels captured on YouTube.

No Mary & Joseph taking selfies.

No wise men following a GPS.

No paparazzi hovering.

 

How peaceful.

 

 

nativity
“O Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from everlasting ages past!” Micah 5:2 (written about 700 years before Jesus was born)

In the Bleak Midwinter

This is my favorite Christmas carol, based on a poem by Christina Rossetti:

“The only people who soul can truly magnify the Lord are…people who acknowledge their lowly estate and are overwhelmed by the condescension of the magnificent God.”

-John Piper

{ Hello 2018 }

Right now, It’s 5 below zero F. / -20.6 C.

One feels layered, puffy and fat.

One is fat, because I ate too many goodies between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

les-anderson-213236

Thankful Things:

  • Lots of winter sunshine lately.
  • A good heating system and a cozy new down comforter.
  • No mosquitoes.

Frozen Mosquito 2

Hopeful Things:

  • In 2018, I want to….
  • Look into my children’s eyes more when I talk to them.
  • Spend less time checking my phone.
  • Renew and redecorate [in non-extravagant, budget style.]

bottle-2747759__340

How Cold Is It? 

-10 degrees - You need jumper cables to get the car going.

-25 degrees - You need jumper cables to get the driver going.

-30 degrees - You plan a two week hot bath. 

-40 degrees - Californians disappear. Minnesotans button top button. Canadians put on sweater. 

-50 degrees - Congressional hot air freezes. Alaskans close the bathroom window.

-90 degrees - Lawyers put their hands in their own pockets.

taken from homeutah.edu

Photo credits:

snow — Les Anderson

frozen mosquito — Lens & Life

coins — Pixabay / Padrinan

 

{ If I Planned the World }

If I planned the world, I wouldn’t have left Adam and Eve to themselves in the garden.

(I might have started the world over — from scratch.)

I wouldn’t have sent the Rescuer to earth as a mild & helpless baby — born in an animal barn.

I would have sent Him as a prince, born in a palace.

I would have sent bodyguards to make sure the Son of God would never get lost, overtired, tempted or hurt.

I would have planned His itinerary; insisting that He sleep in approved hotels, fed with the finest food.

I would have screened His followers with thorough background checks.

I would have demanded justice: a fair trial with plenty of evidence to display His innocence.

He never would have died at all.

But Jesus Christ came into the world to die — to save sinners.

It was God’s perfect plan.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

joshua-earle-234850

If I ever think I can figure God out, or get what he’s doing, or ask “why did God allow….”

I can remember this:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord…” Isaiah 55:8

So, this is the season to celebrate His humble birth, perfectly planned by God.

And this is the time to get ready for His glorious return.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.” (Matthew 25:31)

 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
     call upon him while he is near;
 let the wicked forsake his way,
     and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
 let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
     and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
  For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
     so are my ways higher than your ways
     and my thoughts than your thoughts.




Isaiah 55:6-9

© Lisa M. Luciano

Photo credit:

Cross: Joshua Earle

{ Chicken Pox Christmas }

Fourteen years ago, we were starting to get ready for Christmas…and then six of my children got the chicken pox.

We have photos of everyone reclining on sofas, trying not to scratch.

We didn’t go shopping, didn’t play outside and didn’t visit friends.

Instead, we listened to audiobooks, like The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Treasures of the Snow.

That was a quiet and special December. I was present with my children, listening to the stories, offering liquids and resting while they napped.

josh-boot-177342

Maybe that’s the quiet, restful spirit I was yearning for when I broke out The Best Christmas Pageant Ever on Monday. I listened with my two youngest — and of course, cried at the end of this hilarious, touching story.

Now we’re listening to Treasures of the Snow – another one of those stories that adults can learn from, too.

Sketch (2)
Armed with cranberries, we made a cheerful chicken pox snowman that year.

First Photo credit: Josh Boot

{ Who Am I? }

I was ready for Black Friday this year. I bought the:

Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker and Warmer.

instant pot

My tech-savvy son told me the most popular item throughout the cyber weekend zoo was the

DNA Ancestry Test Kit.

dna

With this kit, you can:

  • “Uncover your ethnic mix” and
  • “Connect with relatives you never knew you had.”   (Is that a positive thing?)

 So, people are curious about themselves and their background.

And the Bible is full of background.

It lists more than a few genealogies.

And the records don’t leave out the unsavory relatives. They inventory the kings, the scoundrels, and the heroes.

If church people today were given the task of writing Jesus’ background, we might be tempted to skip a few people on the list.

It doesn’t look holy to include:

  • Rahab the harlot
  • Tamar the schemer
  • Ruth the foreigner

Yet, there they are.

Jesus’ arrival turned everything upside down.

  • He didn’t come to earth in a golden chariot, he came as a helpless baby.
  • He wasn’t born in a palace, but in an animal barn.
  • He didn’t boldly grab power, he chose to give up his life.

 

The Bible tells me about my background.

It says:

  • I’m made in God’s image — Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image…
  • I’m a sinner by nature —  Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 
  • He chose to redeem me — Ephesians 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace… 
  • He calls me His child — Galatians 3:26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 

So, I don’t think I will purchase the DNA kit. Black Friday is over and besides….

…I already know I’m half Norwegian, a quarter German and a snippet of English, Irish and Scottish.

Deeper than that, I’m a redeemed image-bearer and a child of God.

© Lisa M. Luciano 🙂

Word Prompts:  snippet and zoo