The Time is Now!

As we celebrate another Christmas, memories of the past are a common thread woven through our countless conversations. We truly are wired to dwell on the past or dream about the future, aren’t we? The photo challenge this week prompts us to think of the “now”, the present. And so I thought I’d share a sweet moment I quickly captured.

After being fenced off from the gifts for an entire week, it was finally time! Now! The blockade was removed and my littlest grandson scurried a quick path straight to a different kind of “present”!

I hope you enjoy your “present”.  And your presents, too!

And finally, may another kind of “present” fill your life.

The presence of Jesus Christ—Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”

Present.

Remember, His time is always “now“.

Peace and Merry Christmas!
Alexandria

 

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Joyeaux Noel!

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“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.”  ~ Harlan Miller

DSC_1514Remember
This December,
That love weighs more than gold!
~ Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

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“Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish.  Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself.”  ~Francis C. Farley

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“Christmas is for children.  But it is for grown-ups too.  Even if it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts.” ~ Lenora Mattingly Weber

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“Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.”  ~ Carol Nelson

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“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” ~ Andy Rooney

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“Fail not to call to mind, in the course of the twenty-fifth of this month, that the Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile and enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven’s making.”  ~ Leigh Hunt

 The Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week is Joy. Need I explain? 🙂
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Peace, Alexandria

Other favorites:
Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy
Merry Christmas in Many Languages, I See Beauty All Around
An Atheist Excerpt, Found
Christmas Favorites, Clicky Chick Creates
Christmas Family Traditions, This Man’s Journey

Welcome the Light

I“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

Here we go again! Another Christmas. What better way to start off than with a challenge about light. Whether one is a believer in the Christ-child or not, we all must agree—it’s the time of year we lay aside our differences and go all out.

IEveryone’s just a bit more kind as we take in all the wonder. There’s an abundance of generosity in the air. The young can’t contain exuberance. Those older contemplate years gone by, watching children with joy, and become child-like again. The return of Christmas reminds us of how fragile, fleeting, and precious every person and moment is.

As a devout Christian I have said Christmas makes us all believers. Something strange, almost mystical, no–miraculous–occurs.

I“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

We all celebrate. Does heaven gasp as the world wraps itself in Christmas—a spinning ornament studded with lights, glitter, and tinsel—another majesty of sorts—glistening from the most tasteful decor to the gaudy, even overdone? Or simple Charley Brown’s, from rich to poor, overdoing everything from lights to food to drink to family to travel to lavish spending?

IIt’s the celebration of the world—the glimmering earth spins in space, dripping in lavish everything. Is God upon His throne inhaling the wonder as His creation celebrates the greatest event in all of human history—Emmanuel—God with us?

IThat miraculous moment when the divine intersected humanity.

Skeptics and unbelievers try with all their might to squelch Him, to destroy Him, to snuff Him out. But try as they might, the world, believers and unbelievers, celebrate the mystery.
He cannot be silenced.

I“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ” ~ Roy L. Smith

Just gaze at the stars and sun above and you will see—night after night, day after day. Christmas is always there for you and for me.
You just can’t miss it.

“And God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.”” ~ Genesis 1:3

d“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” ~ John 1:1-4
“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” ~ John 1:14

DSC_1352-001“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” ~ John 8:12

This is why I believe. If you find your faith waning this Christmas, why not rekindle it with the Light?

I“God is here. This truth should fill our lives, and every Christmas should be for us a new and special meeting with God, when we allow his light and grace to enter deep into our soul.”  ~ Josemaría Escrivá, Christ Is Passing by
Peace and joy this Christmas,
Alexandria
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

Christmas Surprise

D

’Twas the weekend before Christmas and I was on hospital call.
This weekend is known for “when you think you’ve seen and heard it all” and suddenly there’s another outlandish story. It’s the weekend notorious for the unexpected.
Or rather …

It’s the weekend of expectation. And as part of the call team I prepared myself for any surprise.

But it was not what I anticipated. No nightmarish awakening middle-of-the-night-jump-out-of-bed-race-to-the hospital. We worked hard but no 14-hours-straight-in-a-row-from-the middle-of-the-night-into-day. And I got to sleep all three nights. For the call weekend before Christmas it was pretty routine and, for lack of a better term—kinda boring mundane.

No surprises at all.

D

Wait. What did I just say? Mundane?
How can I speak so bland for what happened—or rather what did not happen
this weekend before Christmas? A weekend like this before Christmas never happens in my universe. How did I miss the miracle and dare to call it mundane?

How many miracles do we miss for mere expectation of other things?

Humming Christmas carols during the commute home I was lost in thought Sunday night as I pulled in the driveway. Nudging the car door open, I could not help but peer skyward. And I lost my breath. There it was.

My surprise.

A quick phone pic but I think you get the idea.

Gazing spellbound as clouds danced, swirling around the moon, I was wonderstruck. I sat in awe for a moment, taking it all in. The majesty of God. And I wondered …

What does earth look like down here from up there at Christmas-time?

Up there, amid blankets of swirling clouds and heavenly lights, stars glimmer and shimmer. But what about down here?
Does heaven gasp as the world wraps itself in Christmas—a spinning ornament studded with lights, glitter, and tinsel—another majesty of sorts—glistening from the most tasteful decor to the gaudy, even overdone? Or simple Charley Brown’s, from rich to poor, overdoing everything from lights to food to drink to family to travel to lavish spending?

It’s a celebration like no other. Smiling, I lugged myself in the door, feeling light as a feather.

Many said I got lucky this weekend. But it was not luck. It was so much more, or rather … so much less. Since much did not happen, I received what is nearly absent during Christmas—REST. I needed rest. Rest for the next night.

One of the most thrilling nights of the yearCandlelight Christmas Eve.

I

This is where I sing. A church filled with people from over eighty countries and all ages. And not just any music.

An orchestra accompanied by a glorious, ancient instrument—a grand organ with pipes from floor to ceiling, horns jutting from the walls. The form casts a breathtaking shadow for all who enter.

Walls of glass echo some of the most magnificent sounds ever heard.
For some it’s all about the music—multi-cultural and multi-generational, classics and contemporary. It is joyous, reverent, energetic, fun.

In the choir loft I have the best seat in the house. I get to feel the bass rumble beneath my feet, hear the horns lift, savor orchestral strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion surrounding sound—see the sanctuary fill with hearts full … or empty … or weary … or broken.

Children’s faces fill with wonder. Babies fuss. Families filling rows. For some people, it’s the first time they’ve entered a church for years. For others, it’s the only time of the year they come. And for some, they have never been at all.

But for all the sounds, lights, and rumbles it is long, hard, exhausting work.
Multiple services, focus, breathing, posture, presentation. I recall months of long practices, memorizing every word, note, count, and dynamic, climbing up and down to the choir room buried deep below to loft above, and I think—rest.

Yes, I needed rest for this night of all nights. To give the very best of myself to everyone. And to take it all in—majesty.

So we are all here tonight.
And so is He.

I

For tonight holds our greatest surprise. It’s the celebration of the world, as the glimmering earth spins in space, dripping in lavish everything.

As I gazed skyward the other night I imagined this eve—bathed in mysterious, glorious candlelight—inhaling the wonder of it all. Is God upon His throne inhaling the wonder as His creation celebrates the greatest event in all of human history—Emmanuel—God with us?

That miraculous moment when the divine intersected humanity.

Skeptics and unbelievers try with all their might to squelch Him, to destroy Him, to snuff Him out. But try as they might, the world, believers and unbelievers celebrate the mystery.
He cannot be silenced.

Just gaze at the stars above and you will see—night after night. Christmas is always there for you and for me.
You just can’t miss it.

I

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4

Merry Christmas from my home to yours,
Alexandria

Photos of church by family and friends
All other photos by Alexandria Sage

Referring Article’s:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-surprise/
http://scottamartin.org/2012/10/30/a-story-worth-telling/
http://eof737.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-surprise/

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

Christmas Reflections

I “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
I “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
I“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ” ~ Roy L. Smith

I“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie
I “I know it doesn’t make sense, but since when is Christmas about sense, anyway? It is about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of our hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simple-minded and terribly vulnerable to joy.” ~ Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

“For all our high and lofty talk,
We are but children heart-to-heart,
Seeking shelter from the storm,
Places safe and warm,
And love … Outrageous, messed-up, joyous, crazy love.
Just plain love. (Presents under the tree helps a lot, too.)” ~ Unknown I “Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall” ~ Larry Wilde

I

“God is here. This truth should fill our lives, and every Christmas should be for us a new and special meeting with God, when we allow his light and grace to enter deep into our soul.”  ~ Josemaría Escrivá,
Christ Is Passing by
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