Tag Archives: Love

The Deceptive Christmas Jingle

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

What is Christmas about? If we believe the media, it is all about family. Family togetherness. Feel- good-movies perpetuate this deception. “I’ll be home for Christmas,” the ideal father says to his ideal family before going off to war, or to save an emergency situation, or…

The movie ends on Christmas day when the hero, after battling horrific odds, arrives at the front door to be greeted by his adoring idealized family.

“I’ll be home for Christmas,” sings Frank Sinatra in heart-warming tones.

But that’s the deception. Christmas is not about family. Sure, it’s a wonderful time to get together with family because the kids are on school break, parents don’t have to work and, moreover, it’s traditional.

It only works if you have an ideal family. A father, happily in love with a mother, and two or three well behaved children. No fights, no squabbles, no “Which family are we going to visit this year” discussions. A perfect family. Except there is no such thing.

It doesn’t work if you are homeless, like so many people in South Africa. It doesn’t work if your children have all grown up and moved to other countries. It doesn’t work if you have lost your life partner. It doesn’t work if you have a job that requires you to work on Christmas Day and you feel guilty because you can’t give your family the ideal Christmas that the media portrays. It doesn’t work if you are divorced or estranged from your children’s other parent. It doesn’t work unless you are a perfect person with a perfect family.

I love this song by Casting Crowns.

So what is Christmas about then? Christmas is about Christ. That’s why it’s called Christmas. It saddens me when some churches, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, don’t have a Christmas Day service. Because it is our Summer holiday season, most people go to the coast over December. That leaves the volunteer group decimated and, after all, they want to get home to their families. I understand it but it still saddens me. I wonder if it is the same in the Northern Hemisphere.

The first Christmas was not about family. I am sure Mary’s mother would have loved to be part of the welcome ceremony for her daughter’s new baby. There were no fancy hospitals in those days. Mothers and female relatives were expected to help with the birth. Mary’s family wasn’t there. Neither was Joseph’s family. The people who celebrated the first Christmas with the family were strangers:- perhaps the innkeeper and his wife, a group of shepherds and later, a group of foreigners with a different culture.

Christmas is not about gifts. It is about a gift. God’s gift to a world enslaved by its own human nature. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Is Christmas about love, then? You bet! God so loved.

Because we are loved we can share love with others and then we will be known as Children of our Heavenly Father.

May we all be givers of love this Christmas.

Bubble-bath

Image by flockine from Pixabay

Eph 1:4-8

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us .

God loves me. Just as I was created for him and I have a God-shaped hole in my heart, so He has a me-shaped hole in His heart that only I can fill. That is so exciting. And it changes everything.

I was looking at my bubble-bath the other night and thinking what a difference it makes to an ordinary, routine bath. It does nothing to change the amount of air or water around, but just by trapping pockets of air, it makes the mundane special.

Knowing I am loved is like bubble-bath. It does nothing to change circumstances in my life, but it brings life to my circumstances. I can look around and see little bubbles of God’s grace all around me. I know He is in control and I can relax in His love. The more the water gets agitated, the more bubbles of grace appear.

May I always keep my eyes open to the wonder of God’s love for me.

Image by Richard Florian from Pixabay

Love Sonnet

This month’s challenge for my writers’ circle is to write a love sonnet after the style of Shakespeare. This is my attempt.

SONNET 1. The Rising Sun

The rising sun in all its radi’nt light

Is but a shadow set besides thy face.

The panoply of stars, all blazing bright,

Is merely trim thy glorious robe to grace.

 

When all the birds on earth with song rejoice

And waters roar and thunders clap with glee,

Combin’d they’re just the echo of thy voice,

My ear is dull ‘till thou addresseth me.

 

Thy touch upon my skin is dearer, far,

Than first sweet sunbeams after days of rain.

In thy embrace my heart glows like a star,

And gathers strength to conquer every pain.

 

When hearts forget to pump, or eyes to see,

This truth remains. Thou died for love of me.

Foreign Currency

My son is working on a contract in Russia. He phoned us last week to tell us that, because of tightening of restrictions and legislation, his bank can no longer transfer money into his South African bank account. It reminded me of a time when I was a student at Rhodes. An engineering students organisation arranged exchange working trips to Germany for two months. The only time I met the other international students in our group was during an organised tour in Berlin for a couple of days.

One of the trips organised was to East Berlin. In those days East Germany was a communist country and we had heard stories about people being shot while trying to escape. We all went through Checkpoint Charlie with some apprehension. We had  to exchange a certain number of West German Marks for East German Marks and we were not allowed to exchange any money in the opposite direction. It was a matter of having to spend everything in East Berlin. You couldn’t take it out with you.

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:19-21)

I battle with this command because it is not specific. What is the currency of heaven? How do I lay up treasures? Is it by doing good deeds? Improving the life of others? Building strong relationships? Loving God above all else? I would welcome other people’s input.

Bottom line is clear. I am not to set my heart on money. I can, after all, not serve two masters. I can’t take it with me, unlike Charles Obang who tried.

One Liner Wednesday

Nobody’s perfect. A marriage is just a union of two imperfect people trying to help and support each other as they pick their way through a hostile world in an attempt to make some kind of worthwhile life.

This is part of One-Liner Wednesday by Linda G Hill.couple-260899_640

Coffee with Wings June#1

Monday is time for a quick coffee fix to start the week. In this case it is a verse of scripture to take me into the week.

coffee take away

Today’s verse is from 1 john 4:10 (New Living Tanslation)

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

This is just the beginning

This is part of Flash fiction for aspiring writers. by Priceless Joy. Thanks, Joy, for hosting this challenge.

 

The photo prompt for this week is supplied by Barbara Taylor.

Well, here I am in the city. It is more beautiful than I expected, and not as cold.  It took six months to sell the farm and all the animals. It broke my heart. I hope it was worth it. I hope I find her, the girl that stole my heart in a short weekend before she moved to the city.

All I know is her name and that she works for a newspaper. How many newspapers can there be in one city? If it takes another six months I will keep looking. I never told her I loved her.

100 words

Valentines Day

For Valentine’s Day a fund raising committee at our school organises  Valentine’s roses and other small gifts. You pay up front and they deliver the roses for you. On Monday I found such a rose in the dustbin. Somebody was making a statement. What story of unrequited love was behind it? It inspired me to write a 300 word flash fiction story. Hope you like it.

red rose

Valentine’s Rose

 

Mom is crying again.  Noah blocks his ears and rocks. Rock, rock, backwards and forwards. Noise. Sobs. Talking? Who is with Mom?  He stops and stands up awkwardly then lumbers to Mom’s closed bedroom door.

“O Lord, you know how much I love him, but I am so tired” he hears Mom whisper.

Noah doesn’t understand much but he likes the words. “How much I love. How much I love,” he repeats to himself.

He thinks of his red flower. He found it in a dustbin this morning when he was walking past the school with Mom. Mom always says, “Don’t take things out of the dustbin, Noah. They are dirty.”

Mom wasn’t looking. He stumbled to the dustbin and took the flower. Dirty. It didn’t look dirty. It was red and had a long stem. Red was the only colour he knew. Red. It was wrapped. Like a red sweet. On the wrapping was a red heart. He grabbed the flower. The paper crinkled. He scrunched it with glee and listened to the noise again.

Rotten banana smell came from the dustbin and bothered his nose. The flower had no smell. He stroked it. It felt comforting, like his jacket. He had rescued it from the smell.  Dirty.

“Come on Noah, walk faster,” said Mom. He lifted his jersey and stuffed the flower underneath. Scratchy jersey, crinkly paper.

 

Noah remembers the flower. Red. How much I love. He fetches it from the other red things arranged on the table in his room.  He walks to Mom’s door and listens.

“Lord, please just give me some sign that we’re making progress, that the new programme is working.”

Noah opens the door. “What do you need, Noah?” asks Mom.

“How much I love,” says Noah, thrusting the flower at her.