On the 9th Day ’til Christmas . . .

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This is the sight we woke up to on Tuesday. No, that’s not snow – that’s ice, folks! And when ice covers the land around these parts, everything shuts down – the local schools were closed and Jeff worked from home. Our plans outside the home were postponed and I was left to replan the day once again.

Here are a few more pictures – just because I think it’s pretty and it’s always exciting when anything white covers the ground –

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Tommy and Sarah left early to go “sliding” down hills with some neighborhood friends. The littles were happily playing upstairs and Jeff and Laura were both working on computers, so I locked myself in my bedroom and began this year’s Christmas gift wrapping. With Christmas music playing on the CD player, I worked for several hours wrapping up beauties to put under the tree, much to the joy of the children who have been begging me to wrap for over a week.

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The day went by pretty quickly, and soon it was time for dinner. We had planned to go out to dinner for Laura’s birthday, but the temperatures had not climbed above freezing all day, and the ice still lingered, so we heated up some frozen snacks and fried a few eggs and called it dinner. Dessert was Laura’s choice of ice cream sundaes, which we had thankfully already purchased before we were stuck at home. We put in a candle and sang “Happy Birthday” to her, and enjoyed her choice –

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Laura opened her birthday presents and then it was time to get children off to bed. We watched the new Batman dvd (one of her birthday gifts and a departure from my usual rule of watching only Christmas movies for late-night in December), which I did not enjoy. The Joker was a very disturbing character – his actions were extremely violent and his lack of respect for human life made me shudder. We had a conversation after it was over about the message that he was sharing – that every man is really evil, no matter how they act, and will show his true colors when pushed far enough. He wanted to prove that everyone is really just like him on the inside and there was great despair and depression in that fact. This made for a very dark movie, because that is where they left you. The movie tried to show that it wasn’t true for most people – that the good in most people will conquer the evil, but this point was so immersed in the violence that it seemed to be a minor statement compared to the evil going on in the city. The problem I felt was that there was some truth in what the Joker was saying – the Bible says:

“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
-Romans 3: 10-12

But that is not the end of the story, praise God! We are not left there, as the Joker would have us believe. The realization of the fact that we are evil and sinful, (the result of the Fall of man in Genesis) is the starting point to our realizing our need for a Savior outside of ourselves – our need for Christ. And this is the whole point of Christmas – we celebrate Jesus’ coming, but forget why He came – it was to save us from our sad condition – to grow up and to give Himself, sacrificially, as a substitute for us – to pay the penalty for our sin, because we cannot do it ourselves. For those who choose to accept His free gift of grace, there is no longer despair in our sinful condition, but hope and joy the Lord, as God changes us into the image of Christ.

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
-Ezekiel 36: 25-26

Oh, all of the trimmings of Christmas are wonderful! But let us not forget that this is the reason we celebrate – this is the reason for our joy!

Blessings,
Nancy

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