We approach this new season with a lightness in our hearts. New life comes up from the ground as new flowers begin to show their faces. The air is warmer and we enjoy outside more. We open the windows to breath in fresh air and thankful for the brightness around us.
Where we have fun at Christmas while we celebrate His birth, the celebration of His rising at Easter brings us all new life, new hope and the strength to carry on. Even if you are not a believer in Christ, the understand of what it means is somewhat familiar to all. It is fun to share the newness of life about the resurrection and be able to relate it to children with the newness of spring.
New flowers who have been dead all winter are not waking up to new life parallel with the resurrection story. The trees and bushes coming back to life with the new leaves of new life.
New wildlife babies are born representing the newness of life as created by our Father in heaven.
Then there are those who love to decorate their home to show a newness of life or the welcoming of spring, like door wreaths.
This pair of purple house finches are the first to visit my feeder this year. They are really pretty.
I also like to show off some of my mothers fun Easter stuff as it makes me smile and remember the fun parts of her. The silly waving rabbit family I painted for her when I was in college.
So while Easter is a celebration that should never be taken lightly for its true meaning, we can enjoy the newness of spring as it also bring us new life and new hope for the coming year. And as you take in the new life, let it send out kindness roots that spreads kindness seedlings wherever it goes.
Do you ever really wonder what the Bible is? Where did it come from? Is it real, is it true? I have very strong, foot standing my ground beliefs to all of these questions and I think all of us need to think on these questions to figure out where we stand individually on these questions as it balances us on where our priorities lay.
My answers are – The bible is the very word of God, given to His prophets by God and the disciples to tell the world who He is, what His plans are, the history of His people Israel and how to prepare the entire world for His abundant love.
The month of December I am reading through the book of Luke and trying to stay to one chapter per night as there are 24 chapters which carries you to Christmas eve. On Christmas eve we as a family always read Luke chapter 2 to praise the birth of Jesus.
To help me not read too far ahead, I also add on the study notes at the bottom of the pages as they give you a way to wrap your head around what was happening then and how I can apply it to today. I use the NIV study bible, studying first the word and then referencing the study notes to help me understand what I am reading. And for me, each time I read the same passages I have read many times before, I get different insights depending on what is going on in my life at the time. The bible is a living document, ever teaching and ever loving.
Chapter 5:36-39 of Luke has the parable of the old wine skins verses the new wine skins and while I vaguely understood what they were saying I went to the study notes to see what they could explain to help me correlate to today. What the parable tells us is not to put new wine in old wineskins as they will burst spilling you wine onto the ground. We all understand that things get worn out but lets study that for a second. Wineskins were goat skins where the edges were tightly sewn together to create watertight bags. As the bag ages, the skin becomes hardened and less pliable. The aging process of new wine requires expansion from the gases created so you need a pliable bag, therefore, you need a new bag. If you put new wine in old bag, it will be stiff leaving no access or room for expansion and the bag will split spilling it contents.
What Jesus was teaching with this parable was the comparison of the Pharisees being too rigid to accept His new teachings of Christianity. The old teachers of the Law could not turn lose their traditions and rules to be able to accept the new approaches and structures Jesus was explaining to the people. How does that apply to us today? Well, we as Christians must always follow the word and be careful that our hearts don’t get so hard and rigid with our traditions that it prevents us from from accepting the new way of thinking that Christ brings. We need to keep our hearts soft and pliable, always ready to accept His teachings of life changing messages. You can never tell when he may drop an opportunity to share Him in your lap. Use wisdom, discernment and love in applying His truths so that others may want to come and learn.
Galatians 5:22-23 reminds us that God’s love and showing of His love to all is compared in my mind like sweet succulent grapes hanging from the vine for all to enjoy and share with others – the Fruits of the Spirit. The top of the list is of course Love. Why love? Because God is love. My favorite of the fruits is kindness. To me you cant give kindness without love, so I always close with encouragements of kindness – for those needing it and for others to remember to share it.
Fruits of the Spirit = Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control
Ma is generally thought of as a shortened name for the mother in the family as in mama. But there are other uses for ma as in gauging your mental age. According to this below, I am 12.
And of course the state of Massachusetts is abbreviated as Ma. And let us not forget the learned folks with a Master of Art, MA that goes with their title.
My favorite use though refers to the matriarch of the family which is usually the grandmother, normally referred to as grandma, as that is what I am, a grandma. Generally it is the first grandchild that sets the precedence of what the grandparents are called unless of course the grandparents have something to say about that or in the lucky marvelous situation with multiple grandparents still alive and being enjoyed.
In my siblings situation, my sister was the first to have children so my parents were chosen by the first grandchild to be called Ma and Pa as Grandma or Grandpa was too hard to get out, and the grand was dropped. Actually it was my father who was first named as my nephew was asked who that man was and he was certain that it was Pa. The standard was set for my parents.
When you get into the grandma names, the variation are amazing. Some off the top of my head that I have heard are:
grandma, granny, gamaw, memaw, mimi, and we cant leave out the formal grandmother.
It’s all fun stuff and movies depict these women from sweet ladies that have mastered the kitchen to power matriarchs that dare you to breathe.
As we go through this life remember we generally don’t get but one chance to show our inner love and peace as the Stream of Consciousness icon displays, so let’s embrace the peace and love of family and be that cookie baking and sweet loving grandma.
And in closing, I remind all the wonderful opportunity we have in sharing kindness. Express the kindness we envision with love towards all creatures and warm cookies from the oven only like grandma.
Christmas is filled with religious meanings and family traditions that echo our love toward the season and mankind. There are many stories or ideals we all share that originally came from myth or folklore and then get sprinkled with embellishments that make us love the story or the tradition even more. One of these for me is the candy cane.
There are so many stories about their origin of this coming from a Christian perspective but they always seem to get debunked as untruths. Lets go through a few of these myths and at least enjoy them for the tale that they are.
In Germany over 250 years ago a white straight stick of candy was created for the supposed holiday season. There was some stories that were told the the white symbolized the purity of Christ but that evidently can not be substantiated. Then in 1670, in the USA, in the state of Indiana, a choirmaster made similar candy using the same symbol of white for purity but he added a “J” shape to the cane to represent the staff of a shepherd and the “J” of Jesus’ name. His thought was to give the children something to remember about Christ and to help keep them quiet during the nativity play.
It was not until the 1900’s that the stripes and the peppermint were added and the Christian meanings/myths were increased and are believed as true.
The white represents the purity of Christ. The “J” still represents the shepherd staff for us lost lambs and for his name as well. There are two types of stripes on the candy cane, a large thick stripe and three small thin stripes. The small stripes represent His scourging for by His stripes we are healed. The large stripe represents His blood that was shed on the cross for us. The peppermint represents hyssop which was used as purity in biblical times.
I don’t understand why someone wants to worry so much about proving the factual truth of a wonderful story concerning Christmas instead of enjoying the beauty it represents today. At the end of the day it is a candy cane. Especially when people use this to look for extra reason to show their love of Christ or find was to energize the imagination of a child to help them understand the intricate details of the meaning of Christmas. It a joyous time of year. Have a candy cane.
And remember this season of thankfulness as it springboards us in the joyous season of Christmas. Its a time of year where we can share extra doses of kindness to all creation. Remember that no act of kindness is ever wasted but can create a ripple effect that spread across the world.