Eternal Hope


Post Christmas check-in.

How are you doing? Are you rested and recovered from the blur of last-minute preparations? 

December 24, 7:00 pm

There is excitement in the air! Lights are twinkling, carols are playing, gifts are waiting. All is merry and bright.

December 25, 7:00 pm

Christmas is over. I ate too much. Tomorrow we have to clean up the mess, return and exchange gifts, and put all the decorations away. And where on earth is that gift for Uncle Joe that never arrived in the mail?

🎄🎄🎄

Beyond the Manger

The week before Christmas, my husband and I began watching The Chosen. (If you have not discovered this new series about the life and ministry of Jesus, be sure to check it out.)

Two days after Christmas, we discovered a special episode about Jesus’ birth. After watching it, I began thinking about the day after Jesus was born. What happened that day? The Bible doesn’t say specifically, but most likely, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus left the stable to pay their taxes. And the manger went back to being a feeding trough for the animals. Imagine that.

For one night, that manger became a humble bed for our Savior, yet over 2,000 years later, it still fills us with hope. So, as you begin packing away your decorations this week, and Christmas 2020 becomes a distant memory, remember that Immanuel — God with us — remains forever.

One Starry Night

Oh, my, it has been a busy week! I began my “joyful journal” on Monday and kept adding to it almost every day. Had I not been looking carefully, I might have missed some of the more simple joys of the season, such as seeing the Downy Woodpecker at our suet feeder, or the colorful twinkling lights on our street.

Heartwarming joys mid-week included delivering Christmas gifts to a homeless outreach program, and providing clothing for a young boy in need. There is no greater joy in this season of giving than helping others who are struggling through difficult times.

A very special joy came this weekend, as we participated in “One Starry Night in Bethlehem”. Now in its fourth year, this event has become an annual tradition — not only for our church — but also for many families in our community. For two nights, our church is transformed into the town of Bethlehem, as we imagine it might have appeared on the night of Jesus’ birth.

I was particularly excited last evening because our daughter joined us for the first time. She played the role of a potter named Leah, demonstrating how to fashion small bowls from clay.

My husband and I look forward to sharing the Christmas story with our visitors each year. Yes, we are the innkeepers — the ones who turned Mary and Joseph away because our inn was full to capacity. We tell the children how we led the couple to our stable, and there Mary gave birth to a son. She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and placed him in the manger, right beside the animals.

The children love hearing the story, and they sit wide-eyed as my husband shares how the shepherds followed the star and came searching for the newborn King. Later in the evening, the families will visit with Mary and Joseph in the stable, and see baby Jesus before leaving Bethlehem. It is wonderful that we are able to tell the Christmas story in a way that brings it to life!

Isn’t it amazing how one starry night brought such joy into the world, and continues to shine in our hearts today?