Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. Maundy is derived from the Latin word for “command,” and refers to Jesus’ commandment to the disciples to “Love one another as I have loved you.” He showed his disciples his servant love by washing their feet and having one last meal together known as the last supper. This is the time that Jesus told the disciples of his death, and that one of them would betray him. They still at this point did not see the big picture or the purpose of Jesus’ mission. I have always wondered if the angels understood what was happening. They are messengers and do the tasks needed as directed by God. But do they see the big picture. We know they were joyous at his birth but did they understand the purpose of his death? I have written a fictional short story to give ideas of what I think may have gone on. Please do not be offended by my imagination, it is not meant to prove any point of truth but only to spark a question of wonder what they were going through.

A Celestial Perspective

Over in the corners you could hear all of their hushed and frantic whispers. “Did you hear what they said He was going to do?”

“Yes. This makes no sense. Why is He doing this? He knows that all He has to do is call us and we would be there in an instant,” one angel said. “Legions of us.”

“I am going to disrupt this nonsense right now,” said a large, impressive angel with brilliant white wings and flowing robes.

“No. Stay your thoughts,” said the Father quietly as he raised a loving hand.  “While your motives may be admirable, they do not serve my purpose.”

“How can His dying serve a purpose?” the angel tried to lovingly argue as some other angels crumbled weakly on the floor. “These creatures are killing Him because of their ridiculous lies.”

“And you and He are…well, Father and Son. Don’t they understand who He is?” said another angel as he wrestled with the unfathomable actions they were all witnessing.

“You…He…are Elohim,” a different angel pleaded, “majestic ruler of all creation.”

“He is their Lord and Master as well. He is Yahweh. Don’t they see that?” pleaded yet another angel as he ran back and forth between watching and pleading at the throne.

“He is Adonai, creator of everything, the heavens, the earth, us…even them. He is in charge of all of creation. Don’t they get that? How dare they do this horrendous deed!” anguished another angel in tears.

“Are you seeing what they are doing?” they asked the Father as they huddled together, fearfully watching the events unfold.

“I cannot,” said the Father as he slowly and sadly turned His back.

“Then why?” they pleaded in total disbelief of what they were witnessing trying desperately to understand how this could ever serve a good purpose.

“It’s all part of the plan. It’s how it has to be,” the Father said quietly. “It’s the only way…for I love them. I must save them from themselves.”

The panicked murmurs stopped as they stood helplessly staring first at each other, then turning their attention down at the horror below. They moaned quietly, for over three hours, as they paced back and forth. Mentally they were not able to watch the entire event. With each passing minute of agony on the cross, they watched with fear and trembling as their beloved suffered, with an unattainable ability to understanding why.

Finally, just before Jesus took His last breath, they watched in anguish as he looked up to heaven and spoke one last time. “It is finished.” As His last words left his mouth, the air with them flew to the heavens and rushed past them. They could feel His love and warmth as the air flew by them and then circle around the throne.

“What was that?” an angel asked quietly as he looked toward the throne.

“His spirit,” said the Father with a deep sense of loss.

Shocked gasps went through the crowd of angels that were standing watching the earth below. Then in amazement, they watched as total chaos broke out with the earth splitting apar. Some of the buildings were crumbling and falling. And deep in the temple, the curtain that separated the sanctuary from Holy of Holies was ripped in two. This was a place of ultimate honor only used for the presence of God, and now it was destroyed.

The angels were scared, shocked and lost in knowing what to do as they slowly gather near the throne. “Now what?” one angel dared to quietly mutter.

“We wait,” was all the Father said as he quietly stood and left the throne room.

The angels looked at each other as the Father left the room. “Wait for what?” they bewilderedly asked each other.

So, the vigil of watching and waiting began of a cold tomb sealed with a large boulder. Each hour a different set of angels came to watch and wonder what was to happen. As day 1 slipped by in time, the angels quietly looked down in wonder of what possibly could happen. His spirit had returned. They felt it as it flew by them on its way to the throne. What were they waiting for? Their hearts were broken and sad at this tragic loss. And what did this mean for the Father. They thought they understood the Trinity. But now a part of it was no more. What did all of this mean?

Day two was more of the same as that of day 1. Quiet groups of angels changed places as they were watching and waiting. The quietness of heaven could be felt, as a coldness seemed to engulf them. And nothing was being heard, no sound at all. Total quiet stretched all through the mass existence of the heaven. The beauty and brightness were now dull and lifeless.

Before the light of dawn broke for the third day, they were all quickly and quietly summoned to the throne. They stood with bated breath as the Father began to speak. There was light back in His eyes. There seemed to be joy back in His voice. He spoke of renewal, of new life, a new beginning. The Son was not gone but was very much still alive. He would come out from the tomb before the dawn broke. The warmth of heaven began to be felt again and joyous melodies were again being heard throughout all of heaven.  The Father spoke of important tasks for his angels, as key messengers would be needed. He would need two to three angels to roll away the stone for the Son to emerge out from the tomb. Then He would need one or two angels to remain behind to meet the women that at that moment were on their way to the tomb. The proper burial rights were not made per their customs and the women knew it was a must to perform this duty.  And they were chosen to be the first to know the great news. They were the first to witness and to inform the others that a new way of life had begun.

The brightness and love of heaven was again making its presence known as some of it reflected its way down to earth in the brightness of a new day. But earth itself had no clue what was about to happen. The people had no clue of the beauty that was about to be witnessed on earth. They had no clue of the tasks that were now ahead of these men and women, these followers of Jesus. They had no clue of how God’s love would now always be there for them. They had no clue of their importance of spreading the good news of a joyous way of life. They all had no clue of the love and joy that was about to surround the earth, and always be available to anyone just for the asking. They just had no clue.

Each angel had hoped that they would be one of those chosen for these magnificent tasks. Their joys and duties of heaven were now fully back in place. Light was flashing all through heaven and the sounds of rejoicing echoed everywhere. But the angels still wondered…who would be that extra special angel that would get to announce…     “He is not here. He has risen.”  Matthew 28:6

Today the earth is still unsure of the beauty and majesty that happened on that third day when the announcement was made, and the time of newness had begun.  All of mankind would now be able to feel the love of God when they allow Him to dwell within their hearts.  From that day onward they would also be able to share in the beauty and rejoicing of heaven.

People, even back then, did not understand that this new beginning is also the beginning of the end. The beginning of the end when Jesus again would, one day, come back to earth to start His reign. People today, still do not understand this phenomenon of love that one day will come. This day will be a time of separation of hearts, a time when astounding love will fill the earth as it does in heaven for all of those willing to accept it. This love was God’s initial plan.

Remember the importance of today as it starts a chain of heart breaking events that ends in a glory we could never fully comprehend. Have a safe and blessed Easter and remember as always to show the kindness as Christ did in giving us salvation when we did not deserve it.

What Is It I Ask?

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The tree in my sunroom

What is it all about, this season that makes me love it so?

Is it the hustle and bustle of the people as we hurry to and fro?

Maybe it’s all the lights that sparkle and twinkle and glow,

Or the funny old man in red when he giggles Ho, Ho, Ho. 

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Santa(56 years old) chatting with Chris Moose and Friends on Grandmother couch

Maybe it’s something totally different as we zoom to our many places,

The joys of seeing and greeting others with the smiles on all of our faces

As fresh cut evergreens fill the air, a wonderful smell the season embraces

With glittering balls and tinsel aglow and angels draped in laces.

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Angel, 29 years old

Are these real reasons, to enjoy this season, a season surrounded by love,

The birth of a baby, the birth of our salvation, as soft as a coo of a dove

Laying in a manger, a food trough for animals, a precious gift from above

Although he was King, he came as a slave, to show us the fullness of love.

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1 of 27 different Nativity Scenes of varying sizes on Grandmother China Cabinet

Anita Neal

As you enter this holiday season, remember, its not Happy Holidays, although it is a happy time, its Christmas – Christ Mass – a time for celebrating His birth, remembering why He came, what He has done for us and we should reflect His love through the season. And always try to be kind.

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The Oldest but Always the First

Our lives are generally setup  by our priorities, our goals and things that move our hearts. For me Christmas moves my heart as I watch people be more loving, more compassionate and overall kinder to each other. So I push it’s envelope a bit by decorating early but I know the average person wants to get through Thanksgiving first before throwing all the Christmas out. I kind of do that as well, but since I have so much stuff that moves my heart over the years, it takes me awhile to get it all up so that the week of Thanksgiving, all lights go on. I have less than 2 weeks and so much still to do as I have added outside features this year.

So this post features old much loved traditions involving how we decorated our (only) tree when the children were very young.

The very first item that got put on the tree, even before lights, is the Christmas Nail.

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The Christmas nail is placed on the tree near the trunk where is really is not seen. It is not meant to be seen. It is meant to be felt, honored and remembered for what it symbolizes…one of the nails that pierced our Lord when he was hung on a tree(cross made of wood). I put it on my large 7.5′ tree.

The hidden nail is lost in the bright lights of the tree, representing that as Christ died for us, His light shines on us and we in turn should reflects his light to anyone needing the light of hope to shine in  their darkness.

The other old but another first is the angel for the bedroom tree.It is an irreplaceable angel made by my oldest child when he was 3 in 1981. This one is a true heart ornament and until he left home to create his own life, he made sure it was the first thing on the tree, after the nail. The nail was always first.

Sometimes the most valuable things we have are made with wooden clothes pins and wrapping paper. As you start off the beginnings of the holiday seasons, remember the reason for the season. After all, its a marvelous birthday party. Spread the love and the cheer to all. And as always, be kind, it more important now than ever as so many people are hurting.

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Angels Among Us

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Finding amazing thing in clouds

Man has been forever curious about angels. Are they real or just some made up hope of  some much needed help and Godly intervention during fearful times. I think if I were to see one face to face, I would behave much the same way as the earlier peoples of the bible who saw them and fell flat on their face in fear.  But I do very much believe in angels and while I have probably been assisted on more than one occasion by angels not realizing it, there is the one specific time where I have no doubt of them coming to my aid. But that is not what this post is about. I am in research mode. In doing the research for book 2 of my Home of Love series, I am delving into the angels described during the visions of John  and Ezekiel, as in the living creatures. And of course as with any extensive research, you get taken on many rabbit hole chases of similar information but not necessarily what you are needing. I do love the story of Elisha in II Kings where God opens the eyes of the servants to ease their fear of the army on the hill that was coming after them. And as God open their eyes to see God’s army of angels surrounding them he also blinded the eyes of army on the hill so that they could not attack. It ties in with a picture on the bulletin board at church to encourage people that they are never left alone.

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This army is always ready and accessible to assist

The is the usual mental picture of angels when we think of them as in human type form with wings assisting children or people to safety or the glorious views of angles we see depicted during the Christmas holidays.

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The angels, ie living creatures, spoken about in Revelation and Ezekiel are more on the scary side because we do not understand the imagery depicted. So lets back up a bit and try to get some understand that may help us wrap our heads around these creatures. Sometimes when we think of angels, our mind also goes to the cute little cherub like being at Valentines day, naked baby floating around, all cute and cuddly. But cherubim are actual creatures in scripture. Cherub (single) or cherubim (plural) are mentioned in Genesis and Ezekiel. In Genesis they are somewhat fearful creatures with flaming swords banishing Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden because of  sin; far from the Valentine Day or greeting card image. Cherubim were also placed on top of the Ark guarding it and statues of cherubim were placed in the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies is the most sacred high holy place in the Jewish temple. In heaven, cherubim guard God’s Holy domain and presence from any sin or corruption. They are also known as throne angels. Another creature listed along these lines are the seraphim. Cherubim are different than Seraphim as seraphim seem to be the ones constantly flying above the throne calling “Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord Almighty, who was and is and is to come” while Cherubim are guards.

In Ezekiel there seems to be an additional type of angel or living creature, that is in the form of man with four face and four wings, and there are four of them. Through my study, it seems that the living creatures have some of the features in common with cherubim and seraphim. The four faces represents all of creation with one face being of a man, one face being of a lion, one face being an ox and one face being an eagle. The man face represents the intelligence of man and Christ as the perfect man. The lion represents the creation of all wild beasts and shows the strength of Christ as the Lion of Judah. The ox represents all domesticated animals and there service, also depicting Christ as the servant. The eagle represents all flying creatures of creation and represents divinity as Christ is the divine son of God.

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These creatures are also depicted through the four gospels of the new testament. Matthew(Lion) presents Christ as the lion of Judah, Mark(Ox) presents Christ as the servant, Luke(Man)Presents Christ as the perfect human, and John(Eagle) represents Christ as the divine son of God.

But in  Revelation the living creatures look a little different in that again there seems to be four of them but each being has only one face. They still represent that same meaning as those in Ezekiel, Man, Lion, Ox and Eagle. Another difference in John’s, if taken on the surface, can be like something Hollywood would create, as the creatures are covered in eyes. But if you dig into that meaning you understand is the eyes represent “seeing” as in understanding the past, present and future, not so much as visual. While this is not really a place for humor but this reminds me of the idea of mom’s having eyes in the back of their heads. We generally had a pretty good idea of what our knot-head kids were doing. Another difference between Ezekiel’s vision and John’s vision is the wings. Ezekiel saw 4 wings where John saw 6. John did describe what the wings did which I thought were interesting. Two covered the face as the beings are constantly in the presence of God and His brilliance and God is always refereed to as bright lights; even Moses came back from Sinai with a brilliance to his face from the reflection of God’s light. Another set of wings covered the feet as the feet were always considered unclean. Remember the importance of Jesus cleaning the disciples feet. And the 2 wings were used to fly.

As a whole, angels, cherubim, seraphim, living creatures are all created to serve in  some fashion. They serve God and do His request for the good of creation, all of creation. Hebrews 1:14 tells us “Are they not all ministering sprints sent out to serve…”

While I have given you a lot of information that I have read, understand I am no pastor or  biblical scholar. This is just what I have gleaned from my research. If you disagree with me, then I challenge you to research this as well and come to your own understandings and conclusions. I would love earnest discussion on this subject.

And remember my motto for everything you do. Even on you worse day you can still be kind. So I ask you to remember others are hurting just as much as you so spread kindness as you go and I promise it will make you both feel better.

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Hope, Joy and Love

The fear and wonder the shepherds must have felt to see the heavens open with bright light and creatures they had only heard stories of but have never really seen. They knew from the prophets that He would come as a child from the lowly town of Bethlehem.

I wish you all the joy, wonder and love this season can bring us. A reminder of what did come and a foreshadowing of what is still to come. May you feel His love, peace and comfort and carry it with you to share with others as you go.

   Have a very Merry Christmas.

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Advent Continues, Weekly Prompts

GC and Sue W have created a prompt that is so up my alley.  The joys and traditions surrounding Christmas are my most favorite of the year. See their prompt below to join in on the fun and share your photos.

http://weeklyprompts.com/2018/12/14/advent-continues

For me and my daughter, we start preparing the week before Thanksgiving but this year we started the 1st week on November as I was due for surgery the second week and I was not going to miss out on my decorating. We are also major college football fans, so every year there is an off weekend where our team does not play. That is the designated day for Christmas decoration shopping day. Sometimes we find something and sometime we don’t but it has become a yearly tradition we look forward to with love and fond memories.

When I decided to move from the deep south to the midwest for a new job, my daughter wanted to come. He job was going nowhere and her last relationship had crashed and burned. So we moved together. We were fortunate to find the perfect house with a walk out basement and a kitchen on both floors. So she is downstairs where it stays cooler to her liking and I am upstairs. Close to each other but separated as well.

My daughter and I are both suffers of the same…”illness?!?” – YCHTMC – An acronym for “You Can’t Have Too Much Christmas”.

Upstairs I have are 3 full size trees and 3 table trees. Down stairs my daughter has 3 smaller full size trees and 1 table tree.

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Dining Room Tree / Village

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Living Room Tree

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Bedroom Tree with Santa and Chris Moose

Below are the downstairs trees in her large living area.

I have 6 multiple pieced nativity sets in  various styles, colors and sizes with many single unit nativity scenes.

My biggest set has individual lights for each house and my smallest is actually a fountain.

My daughter has 2 multiple pieced nativity sets and several single unit scenes.The reason I have more is I have been doing it longer. It is a sickness I inherited from my mother and I have several ornaments that were hers. It is a family affair. With my sons, their wives keep them in check.

I am also an angel collector and most of those stay out year round; they just get located in a different location allowing other and numerous table decorations. Plus there is the village that grew this year and now has a section located in a different spots which houses the country scenes and the Christmas tree village.

 

There are traditional decorations, whimsical decorations and some just silly decorations but laughter and the love of Christ is what Christmas is to me. Through November I have displayed some of my pictures so I will repost a few but you are interested you can review my other post from November.

I sincerely hope you all have a marvelous Christmas regardless of your religious affiliation. It is a season of love hope and caring and we must always be considerate and kind to each other, especially at this season. There are many hurting during this time of year and will need and extra hand of kindness shared with them so please share kindness when you can.

Enjoy my love and fun of the season.

 

Do You Have a Favorite Ornament?

We have now crossed over to December so it is a perfect time to add more pictures of my over zealous indoor Christmas. I do hope it is not a total bore to you. Since I knew my surgery would prohibit me from decorating in December, I got to get ready by the second week of November. So I have been enjoying my 3 trees already along with my village and other Christmas cheer. I will display some that you may have seen and some new.

The first pic is my tree on the dining room table with my 40+ piece village beneath the tree. The second pic is the tree in my bedroom bump out window. Santa and Chris Moose had different opinions on how to hang lights on the tree. The last one is the tree in the living room.  So you see I have lots of enjoyment surrounding me. Next week I may be walking(sort of) and I will get that small trees up in the kitchen and bathrooms – no room left unattended.  But with all this decoration, is there a favorite? I dunno – maybe each tree has one, but not really. I do know some are favorites as they bring special memories to mind. For instance, my bedroom tree is the fun tree which holds my silly ornaments and ornaments my children made when they were young. Of those my favorite is the clothes pen angel my oldest made when he was 3. (He turned 40 this year) And of course this tree has all the S’more ornaments, over 30 of those. You can see the angel S’more behind Jimmy’s angel.

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The first ornament placed on this tree 

The other 2 trees are harder to find a favorite as they are all wonderful. Each year I  try to find 1 or 2 special ornaments that are different or extra special. So I will give you a few samples from each of the other trees. The tree on the dining room table is all white, glass or silver.

The tree that is in the living room is the so-called formal tree but my idea of formal probably differs from other ideas of formality as I am a pretty laid back type person. Since I was an art major in college, some of that bleeds through on this tree.

As the month goes onward, I will also share my nativity scenes. Yes, there are more than one, not including all the nativity type ornaments hanging on the tree that represent the true reason for the season.

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Even Santa knows that true love comes from the manger

In the gentle  mindset of the holiday season remember the value of being kind. Even Charlie Brown understands the gift of kindness.

CB Christmas

If you have a favorite ornament or like sharing the Christmas decor from your house, do share. I so enjoy looking to see how others decorate. Have a marvelous week.

 

Angels on High, Reflections of Christmas

“And the angel answered him saying ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God and I was sent to speak to you about the good news’.” Luke 1:19

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Gabriel

Gabriel was the main messenger angel that is mentioned several times to tell the world the good news of the coming Christ. Angels are personal creations of God that serve Him and carry out His purposes.

I believe angels are around us today and that sometimes we engage with them, not realizing it, until after the fact, as somethings the outcome can be explained no other way. I have had one major event in my life that can be explained no other way but I am sure there are others that I did not recognize. I am also sure and for certain that my oldest son’s guarding angle worked overtime when he was young and very possibly my youngest as well. Boys!

We see a lot about angels at this time of year as we reflect on the scriptures, Luke 2:9-14 telling the story of the angel of the Lord announcing to the shepherds of the birth of Christ and the sky being filled with heavenly hosts singing and praising God. Debbie Smyth posted a magnificent article of the Angels in London. If you have not see it, please go review. It is truly marvelous.

I am a major collector of angels and some of these creations stay out year round to remind me of their love of God, their love of me and their focus on the purpose of God’s ways.

Some people like stars on their tree top as the reminder of the star over Bethlehem but I like angels. I have several that I use, some are beautiful and ethereal but I like the one I call Gabriel with his robe flowing around him. Some have told me I should call him Michael but Michael is an archangel. An archangel is a leader of angels and Michael is listed as a warrior archangel and is his story is told during battles with satan and during the end times of Revelation. Gabriel not an archangel, he is a messenger angel and very prominent in the birth of Christ. Therefore…

My children know of my love for angels and have given me several over the years. My oldest made me one when in high school, art class.

The picture of the three at the top were given to me by my youngest representing his love for me as he thought I was his angel during a very hard time when they were young. It shows angels with all three of my children, the oldest son, the girl in the middle and the baby boy. That group stays out year round. Below are other pictures of my angels that I thought you may enjoy. Later I will share all of my nativity scenes….yes I have lots of Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of year.

Baby Angels…..

Kissing Angels…these were my moms, so they hold an extra memory.

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Table Top Angels….

Ornaments…too many to show but here are a couple. Several styles of hand blown glass.

 

And as always I throw out my encouraging thought on being kind. Instead of the hustle and bustle of the holidays control your energy, let kindness be a large part of it. It will make the holidays seem brighter. Follow suit and be part of being RACK.

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