Daily Archives: December 14, 2013

remembering Sandy Hook…

I remember the day well…christmas-candle-for-alexis-blog-12212010

It was a Friday, just like any other.

December 14, 2012

I was at work when we got notification of policy activity near one of our locations in Connecticut.

None of us thought anything of it. It was normal day. Same notifications. Same issues. Same types of calls.

…a normal day.

Then, the calls starting coming and the entire room got quiet as we watched news broadcasts and tried to make sense of the statements that didn’t make sense (only to find out later that the media had gotten some facts incorrect…jumping the gun before they got the story).

Sadness gripped my heart that day.

I ached for those who had lost children and loved ones.

I’m not a mother (yet) myself, so I can’t even begin to comprehend the grief and the hurt bestowed upon those families and that commuinty that day.

I may not have been able to empathisize but I could sympathize with those people.

I could pray for them half a nation away.

I stumbled on this video yesterday in rememberance of Emilie, a six-year-old girl who lost her life that day.

And as I remembered, I prayed again for all affected by that tragedy and recalled that even in the midst of evil that trampled the ground on that day, Satan didn’t win. The video of Emilie proves it.

Take a few moments to remember them today…those who were lost, those who are hurting…and pray for God’s touch on all of their lives.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5.16

traditions: ribbon candy and the Christmas sack

Speaking of children’s Christmas pageants, I remember getting a brown lunch bag full of whole peanuts, hard candy and an orange after each pageant. They called it a Christmas sack. I also remember old fashioned hard Christmas candy.

Do you?

Christmas ribbon candy, old fashioned peppermint, grapefruit candy and more.

I remember it all.

My great-grandfather used to have a tin full of the stuff in his room at Edgebrook Care Center and he’d share his goodies with us when we visited. He’s also open that tin when local groups came through to sing Christmas carols during the holiday season.

I miss that…ac05f836f4ba1961a82404c8e8b08eb0

There are few things sweeter at Christmas time than those pieces of old-fashioned Christmas candy. Other than time spent with family, gift-giving and the focus on Christ, I remember those Christmas bags and my great-grandfather with fondness.

Oh, nostalgia…

Did you know that the first type of Christmas candy came in the form of candy canes?

In 1672, the choirmaster of Cologne Cathedral created white, sugary sticks to keep the children quiet in his church. Those boring, white staffs have changed some over the years into what we see on store shelves all around the world. They even come in different flavors. Remember the Starburst kind? My mother used to hang candy canes on our tree to be enjoyed throughout the season (within moderation, of course).

A few years ago, I stumbled on some sugar-free old fashioned candy and have since bought my grandmother a bag each year. Hmm…

49f1c6638715a4ea8476efdf270235f7And those Christmas sacks also reminded the children of the meager beginnings of Christ. They weren’t extravagant, by any means, and carried a small amount of candy (the riches found within).

That is what I remember when I think of Christmas candy and those Christmas sacks. I had all but forgotten about the latter until I was reading through a novel that brought those memories back.

How about you? What Christmas traditions and festivities do you recall from your childhood that aren’t around anymore?

Remember those.

And remember Jesus’ humble beginnings and reflect on what he came to accomplish.

December 14: making it real

Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant be mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. Hebrews 8.6

Christ is the Mediator of a new covenant, according to Hebrews 8.6. What does that mean? It means that his blood – the blood of the covenant (Luke 22.20; Hebrews 13.20) – purchased the fulfillment of God’s promises for us.

It means that God brings about our inner transformation by the Spirit of Christ.

And it means that God works all his transformation in us through faith in all that God is for us in Christ.

The new covenant is purchased by the blood of Christ, effected by the Spirit of Christ, and appropriated by faith in Christ.

The best place to see Christ working as the Mediator of the new covenant is in Hebrews 13.20-21:

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant [this is the purchase of the new covenant], even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The words “working in us that which is pleasing in his sight” describe what happens when God writes the law on our hearts in the new covenant. And the words “through Jesus Christ” describe Jesus as the Mediator of this glorious work of sovereign grace.

So the meaning of Christmas is not only that God replaces shadows with Reality, but also that he takes the reality and makes it real to his people. He writes it on our hearts. He does not lay his Christmas gift of salvation and transformation down for you to pick up in your own strength. He picks it up and puts in your heart and in you mind, and seals to you that you are a child of God.

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