Archive for December, 2017

Christmas is Coming, Again.

By Kathy NickersonDecember 27th, 2017mercyNo Comments

One of our grandchildren became ecstatic the year he realized that Christmas comes again. Every year! What a revelation. After more than sixty Christmases, I still remind myself of that when I’m packing away the decorations. Don’t be sad, it will come again next year.

But, next year seems so far away when the wind chill factor is five below and the bank account is as bare as the mantel. That is when I remind myself that someday, Christmas is coming forever. Not just a twinkly lights kind of Christmas, either. This one will be dazzling.

The first century writer, John, tried to describe it to us. God gave him a little peek of the new Heaven and the new Earth that God’s people will inherit someday. It was beyond words. John tried. He told us about streets made of gold and a gate of pearls. About a river that flows with healing. And a light that never gets dim. That city will make Christmas in New York look shabby.

All the expectation, excitement, hope, and glitter of our annual Christmas celebration is really a shadow of that day. For those of us who love Jesus and keep Christmas in His honor, a forever Christmas is coming. I can’t describe it. Nobody can. But I can see it by faith, and I long for it more every day.

Remember that, Dear Reader, when the days are dark and cold. Christmas is coming again. Forever. In the meantime, we don’t have to wait even for next year. Those of us who have seen the Light shall be like old Scrooge at the end of the play.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Let’s do the same, shall we?

Read More

In Case You Need Some Christmas Spirit

By Kathy NickersonDecember 22nd, 2017mercyNo Comments

Hello, Dear Reader. In case you are feeling a bit Grinchy from all the last minute shopping, wrapping, cooking, and cleaning (not to mention the tasks of daily life) I’m reposting a little video I did last year for Christmas Eve.

Grab some hot chocolate, turn on the Christmas lights, and sit back for three minutes. Although the phrase has become over-used, this actually is the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas

 

Read More

Three Reasons Why We Need More Twinkle Lights

By Kathy NickersonDecember 19th, 2017mercyNo Comments

 

You may not share my love of all things bright and twinkly. But please consider these three reasons why we might need a few more Christmas lights this year.

One: Because winter is dark.

I’m writing at my day job while I wait for the last patients to be seen. It is 4:50 pm, and the automatic lights just popped on in the foyer. The sun has set. During these months, some folks in the Midwest leave for work before daylight and return home after dark. That, Dear Reader, is not fun. We desperately need twinkling points of light to hold back this darkness. Nothing is better on a long, evening commute than seeing Christmas lights flicker on all over the countryside. It is a little bit of hope that the darkness can never win.

Two: Because we need to be merry.

You may not have noticed, but life is tough sometimes. Taxes, terrorists, Tuesdays. They all add up and try to steal our peace-on-earth and joy-to-the-world. Decking the halls is a great anti-dote for despair. It is hard to believe all is lost when you sit in the glow of Christmas lights and listen to the words, “And it came to pass in those days.”

Three: Because they point to the future.

I think the true reason we love Christmas lights is because they give us a small taste of what Heaven will be. If you read the last two chapters of the Bible, you will see the apostle John trying to describe his supernatural vision of the new Heaven and new Earth where we can live someday. This is where we get the idea of streets of gold and a pearly gate. John was using precious gems and metals to describe something indescribable. The beauty, the light, the dazzle. It was actually beyond words. Life in Heaven must be the greatest Christmas light display ever created. And, we don’t have to take it down in January!

 

 

 

Read More

When It Isn’t a Wonderful Life

By Kathy NickersonDecember 11th, 2017mercyNo Comments

Life on this side of eternity doesn’t always have a Frank Capra ending. (If you haven’t seen Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, I give you permission to bookmark this blog, go watch the movie, and come back later. It is that good.)

But, and old black and white movie isn’t reality. At least, not exactly. My own childhood was pretty lovely. Even now, the troubles our family has faced seem small in comparison to the trials of other people we know and love. But, none of us escape, do we?

So, what do we do when life isn’t so wonderful anymore? When it is painful and sad and sometimes downright heartbreaking? Occasionally, I watch an old black & white movie simply to remind myself that angels are real, family is precious, and the richest man is the one with friends. Other times, I sing Christmas carols. I love to sing the archaic words and phrases and remind myself of the eternal truths.

“God rest ye merry, Gentlemen, let nothing ye dismay. Remember Christ the Savior was born upon this day. To save us all from Satan’s power…” God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

“Then rang the bells more loud and sweet, God is not dead nor does He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth good will to men.” I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (My favorite version is Here)

I know  the holidays can intensify feelings of depression, loneliness, and despair. If that is true for you, I pray you will find a way to “keep Christmas” this year as Mr. Dickens once wrote. Because it is the Good News the angels sang to the shepherds on that dark night outside Bethlehem.

Jesus came to bring Peace on Earth, even in the hard times. Even to the broken places. Even when it hurts. He takes the horrible, awful, no good situation and shines His light on it. And suddenly, we discover that, through Him, we can have a wonderful life.

Read More

How I Stay Calm in Christmas Chaos

By Kathy NickersonDecember 2nd, 2017mercy2 Comments

 

I love all the trimmings and trappings of Christmas. And, I love silence and solitude. The more I have of the second, the more I enjoy the first. Experts say this is rather common. In case you find yourself caught in the chaos of Christmas, here are three places I find some time for silence. Maybe you will find some, too.

Sunrise – Rising even fifteen minutes before everyone except the dog buys delicious silent time. This one works best if you like coffee, have an excellent view of a city skyline or a winter forest, or if you were not up three times in the night with a baby. But sunrise is pretty dazzling under the worst of circumstances. It tends to put everything into perspective. Even the to-do list or the lack of funds for gifts. Creativity might burst through with the light.

My car – Driving to the bank sets my soul free! Of course, my bank is twenty-five miles away along peaceful country roads. If you are fighting six-lane traffic, you might need to consider an alternate route. The trick is to silence your phone (for safety), choose low intensity traffic, and have a destination that meets some goal so you feel productive at the end. Take the long way to and from the mall, for instance. Use those extra minutes on your commute to breathe. And think.

The Dish pan – We own a wonderful, automatic dishwasher. Brilliant invention. But, I promise you, nothing guarantees solitude like the sound of water running in the kitchen sink. Squirt in a few bubbles of Dawn, and family members will disappear as if they have been abducted by aliens. I’ve had some of my best times with God while my hands were swishing around in the dish pan. Disclaimer: This tactic does not work with small children. They think any kind of water is playtime. The upside? You might get a chance to go to the bathroom alone if you let them wash dishes.

I have several other quiet spots in my life. But I’m not going to write about them here. Because, if I do, they won’t be quiet anymore. Not that I think you are going to come knocking on my closet door, Dear Reader. But, I’m sure you understand my reluctance to invite you in, figuratively speaking. I’m sure you can add to the list on your own.

Here’s wishing you the first of many Merry Christmas Moments this year. May some of them be silent.

 

Read More