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?

Some Things Never Change

Fall is officially here! Welcome cooler weather and changing leaves, flannel shirts and frosty eves! I’ll take it all over the soggy, sultry summer we have had here in Virginia.

Even though my husband detests the cold weather, he is ready to put away his garden tools. It has not been a good summer for our vegetable garden. His tomatoes, in particular, have suffered from all sorts of disease and pests this summer, likely caused by all the damp weather.

I am grateful that I live in an area where I experience a variety of seasons, fall being my favorite one. I don’t think I would like living anywhere that has the same climate year-round. I would miss the emerging buds in March and the arrival of migrating songbirds and hummingbirds in April and May. I would miss listening for the first peepers, crickets and cicadas in the early summer months. And call me crazy, but I would miss the first feathery frost in October, and the first snow flurries around Thanksgiving.

In this ever-changing world, is there anything that remains the same?

Yes, there is! There is one truth that will never change:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:8‬

No matter what life throws my way, I am confident in the steadfast love of Jesus, who was, is, and ever will be — my unchanging Savior.