Sunday, December 8, 2013

Show Your Stripes

The second Sunday of Advent.  We are getting closer - it is so exciting.  The anticipation of celebrating Christ's birth becomes ever more meaningful with each year. Maybe it is because I am getting older and certainly see things in a different light.  Maybe it is because as I get older, I enjoy reveling in a more simplified look of Christmas - one that focuses on Jesus more than anything else!! It hasn't always been that way.  My Advent season used to find me checking things off multiple lists that never seemed to end.  The "to do's" far outweighed the "take time".  

Often, we wonder why things happen in our lives.  That was certainly the case about 6 weeks ago when I broke my ankle and found myself unable to put any pressure on my foot.  Yet, for probably the first time in my life, I decided not to put a lot of thought in the "why".  I believed that there must have been a reason and that God was going to use this time for goodness.  He Has!!  I have realized that the shopping and such can be simplified (it's amazing what you can do from a laptop).  I always enjoyed the busyness of going to the stores.  Yet, this year, I haven't been able to.  All has had to happen from the comfort of my home. The wonderful part is that, with Christmas carols in the background that I can actually hear and appreciate, my viewpoint has changed.  The words seem to mean more.  Our decorations around the home seem to mean more.  Notes from family and friends have truly touched my heart.  The lights and trees, when I am able to get out, touch all my senses.  

Then, as I was sitting at my kitchen table looking at my kitchen Christmas tree, I realized the candy cane.  I remembered  the wonderful story I read many years ago.   It spoke of what the candy cane represents and as I looked at the simple candy cane dangling on the tree, a tear came to my eye.  The red & white candy represents so much of our Savior and the Advent season.  The cane (a symbol of a shepherd staff) symbolizes our dear Shepherd, Jesus, who was born in the lowly manger.  The red color, symbolizes the blood that was shed for all of us by our Savior, Jesus, as he hung on the cross that Good Friday for ALL of our sins.  The white represents the purity of Jesus -the one who never sinned, yet, took on the sins of you and me.  The purity of living at God's right hand - preparing a place that we can come HOME to for you and me.  The purity of being born of a virgin, dear Mary, through the Holy Spirit.  The sweet taste?  Yes, that certainly represents the sweetness we receive by being saved and believing in our Savior; the sweetness of eternal life in paradise, the sweetness of hope and unconditional love - sweetness.

So, as we prepare this Advent season and experience all that is around us, I ask that you look at the candy cane in a new (or remembered) sense of gratitude.  Show your stripes of the candy cane - display them proudly.  Find a way for you and your family to revel in the simple spirit that Advent and Christmas has to offer.  Spend time, special and precious time, to read the Christmas story right where it is most beautiful, from the Bible (Luke 2: 1-20).  Cherish each word.  All the stories of Christmas can't compare to that precious one.  Bring simplicity to this Advent season - simple faith in knowing that Christ is Coming- for each and every one of use.

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."   (NIV)  1 John 1:7

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope we can share how God's grace has been life changing and that SIMPLE FAITH, getting back to a life that is rooted in the basics, can truly set us free to achieve so much in our lives.