Our family’s Christmas decorations include trees and lights, candles and wreaths, and several nativity sets scattered throughout the house. This year, I thought it would be fun to have my two-year-old grandson, James, help me set up the manger scenes, partly because he enjoys animals so much. While we worked, he named the animals and the sounds they made, but one thing that surprised me was his fascination with Baby Jesus, not only then, but also during the days leading up to Christmas. Continue reading “Captivated by Christ”
The background photo on our website speaks hope to me. The vibrant flowers catch your eye at first, but behind them in the distance towers the remains of Mount St. Helens, a volcano which erupted in May 1980, covering the area in lava and filling the air with ashes. I recall as a child witnessing on TV the devastation caused by its powerful eruption, and in 2017, my family visited the site to see it for ourselves. Continue reading “Hope from the Ashes”
At this time of year, nearly everywhere we go we see signs of Christmas. We like to drive through our community, turn on some Christmas music, and enjoy the decorations that adorn the yards and houses. Twinkling lights of various colors hang on bushes and trees and outline the houses. There are evergreen wreaths embellished with red and gold ribbons, candles glowing in the windows, and Christmas trees overflowing with gifts of all sizes and shapes. Yards are filled with large plastic or inflatable characters, from Santa and snowmen to the Nativity with Baby Jesus at the center – the baby who was also known as the King of the Jews.
What’s that smell? Cookies baking in the oven? Popcorn popping in the microwave? Burgers on the grill? Those aromas can create a hunger in me even if it isn’t mealtime! But while these scents can make my mouth water, there are other food-smells that have the opposite effect. I’m not a fan of collards. They give off a distinctive, strong odor while cooking. It is such a strong smell that I’ve heard some people cook them outside so that the odor will not permeate the whole house. I wouldn’t want my house to smell like collards, but you may love the way collards smell. The way we evaluate scents depends on our own preferences – it is very subjective.
Like foods emit aromas to us, if we are Christians, “we are the aroma of Christ to God” (2 Corinthians 2:15). Continue reading “A Pleasing Aroma”
By Sheri Ellington
Like many others, we are facing our first Christmas without close family members. My mom and my husband’s brother died this year. She died after a short battle with cancer, and he died at the hands of a murderer. Both sides of our family are hurting. Each person is dealing with the grief in his own way. If you are in a similar situation this Christmas, dealing with the mixed emotions that come with grief and holiday festivities, my prayer is that this will be a blessing to you.
First of all, it is helpful to acknowledge that we all grieve differently, and that we cannot look at others from the outside and know how they are coping on the inside. From my own experience and observation, there are many ways to process grief. Some cry, while some are quiet; some stay busy and try to get out of the house as much as possible, while some long to withdraw into isolation and avoid all celebrations.