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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 413 - The Meaning of Christmas

If you can give hope a toehold in your heart, you've found the true meaning of Christmas.

We treat Christmas a a completion, coming as it does at the end of the year, but it's really a beginning, a fragile green blade of sweet grass growing between the hard cobbles trodden to smoothness by the proud and cruel legions.

Christmas is Mary, holding her beloved child, knowing He will become through His Death and Rising our Beloved Lord, but hoping that days will pass slowly until that destiny is fulfilled.

I wonder if Mary was the first to coin Scarlett O'Hara's "I'll think about that tomorrow!"

And while she pushed the darkness away, she knew that she held the Hope of world in her arms.

I wonder if the infant Jesus looked up at her, and with a tentative and chubby hand wiped a tear from His mother's face?

And that's all I am up to writing today.

Music from Audio Adrenaline, Kings & Queens.


Please pardon my slow response to comments. I'm doing my best, and your comments are really precious to me.

I'm really not doing well at all.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.

Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.







22 comments:

  1. Andrew, you have no idea how you have touched my heart this morning. Christmas - a beginning and a completion. Our hope for all time. Bless you friend, as you hold onto The Hope!

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  2. I love reading how others imagine the people from the Bible might have felt at various points, Andrew. It always brings greater insight and understanding to me and the human struggles of people like Mary. I'm sure it was a heavy burden in many ways to love her son and yet know he would die far too early in a horrific way. But like you've depicted here, Jesus would have comforted her in that sorrow. That alone is a precious thought! Thank you for sharing and for putting forth the effort to bless us each day!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Beth! And so grateful for your sharing this journey with me.

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  3. I love this idea of Christmas as a beginning rather than an end of the year holiday.

    May that truth offer you a bit of hope today, friend ...

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda...and it is a source of hope.

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  4. Yes, I imagine Mary saying once or twice... "I'll think about that tomorrow." I love the how in Luke it says, "but Mary stored things these up in our heart like a secret treasure. She thought about them again and again." Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Rachel, I love that line from Luke, too! Thanks so much for bringing it to the conversation.

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  5. Dear Andrew & Barb: long-time listener, first time caller :) Have long appreciated your comments over at Books & Such, and have long and prayerfully (but silently; what could I have to say?!) followed your journaling here. In my heart, I listen to your posted songs while sitting beside the two of you, like Job's friends, except hopefully better at shutting up.

    My heart music is Handel's Messiah (the whole thing; "Worthy is the Lamb" is my requested funeral song)--I love Christmas for a million reasons, but a big one is that's when I sometimes get to hear the oratorio live. So for me, suffering is a natural part of the Christmas story, because the Birth sequence, both for Handel and in the Bible, is sandwiched between prophesied Messianic suffering, and the Passion of Christ. It's hope in the middle of suffering; Jesus' time wearing flesh accomplished the remaking of souls and the restoration of our relationship with God, but together we as his people are still waiting for the ultimate completion in his return. I guess I personally see Christmas neither as a completion nor as a beginning, but rather a wonderful, light-filled, deep, painful, hopeful interlude, maybe?

    With my daughter I was in labor for 27 difficult hours; and while laboring, I played Handel's Messiah's Suffering sequence on repeat. What an incredible honor that was to me in those long hours, treasuring in my heart Christ's suffering on the Cross, and the promise of life from death. It's a gift I still cherish.

    And this is my prayer for you today, that in the long, slow hours of your own terrible pain, you will KNOW, in your heart of hearts, the tender, active, all-empowering, intimate, precious, crazy insomniac love of God as he lifts a gentle finger to wipe the tears from YOUR cheeks. And the hope of seeing soon with your own eyes the beautiful completion of the work He began at the foundations of the world, and is continuing in your own beautiful, precious, so dearly beloved hearts.

    What I'm listening to at this moment: Messiah - A Sacred Oratorio. Blogspot isn't letting me HTML the link for you; but it's on YT, conducted by Sir Colin Davis.

    -Rebekah

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    1. Rebekah, thank you so much for this lovely, thoughtful comment! I too am a fan of Messiah; I was once privileged to hear it performed live, and the memory - and uplift - have stayed with me lo these many years.

      The description of how you faced labour is awesome. I am trained to render field-expedient obstetric service, and have some knowledge of how painful the process is. I salute you.

      I like your take on Christmas, as a juxtaposition of light and pain and wonder and hope. Really well-described.

      Blogspot doesn't really like links in comments (I'd move to Wordpress but I love the orange swirly background), but I'll look for that rendering of the Oratorio. Thanks!

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  6. What more could anyone say? This is (yet another) profound post.

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    1. Jan, thank you so very, very much!

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  7. Lovely. I'm sharing this one on my N. L. Brumbaugh facebook page.

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    1. Norma, you just made my day! Thank you!

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  8. I've tried three times now to comment. I hope this one will go trough. ;) Safari is not being very nice to blogspot.

    Anyway . . . this is what I've been trying to say:

    Andrew, I love how you portray ahold as a key element of Christmas. And the visuals in his post are moving. I love the image/thought of Jesus maybe wiping a tear from His mama’s cheek. Beautiful words here.

    I’m praying for you and Barb.

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    1. Jeanne, I'm so sorry about the commenting trouble! Others have had it, and I've been tempted to migrate to Wordpress but I love the orange swirls too much.

      Thank you so much for this lovely, kind comment, and for your prayers. Today has set a record in awful. Barb thinks I should be in hospital, but she does acknowledge that even doing the needed tests would likely kill me.

      Pain means you're still alive; I take comfort from that.

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  9. "While she pushed the darkness away, she held the Hope of the world in her arms." In the midst of dark pain, hope lights our way. Praying you and Barb see the light of hope in your dark pain. You always offer hope to me in your words.

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    1. Debbie, thank you so much for this...today was particularly bad (and the evening even more so) but the light is there.

      Sometimes, like a candle flame, it has to be nurtured. But it's there.

      We so appreciate your prayers!

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  10. Andrew,
    I wonder why we put Christmas at the end. But really, Christmas signifies there will be no more end. I cannot imagine what Mary must have felt, but most likely hope rose to new degrees. And I trust it is rising in you as you are in your own place of suffering. Hold tight to Jesus as Mary did. He is just as close now to you, even more, indwelling!

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    1. Mary, holding tight to Jesus is what this has has taught me, first and foremost. I can't imagine what enduring this kind of experience would be like without faith.

      I am so grateful that you're here!

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  11. I love this visual of Hope pushing the darkness away. I pray exactly that, Andrew, for you today!

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    1. Carol, your prayer for me is answered! It was a terribly hard ay - and this very moment is painful beyond any former reckoning - but the hope burns in my heart, and it's not dark.

      I can see the dawn.

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  12. Hope, isn't it all we have at times? A trying to push the darkness away and focus on Jesus. I like the idea of Christmas being a beginning, great perspective. God bless you.

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