Posted by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker text© 2011 on Dec 19th, 2009
Merry Christmas Dear Friends of the fellowship of the Blog,
Christmastime is here! This week, it brought plunging temperatures and frosty cold that made us welcome the season’s first cheery blaze in our fireplace. Kevin and I consider the lit fireplace almost another member of the family – “swaddling” us in the comfort of its warmth.
When I grew up in England, homes depended entirely on fireplaces for heat. Our coal man would deliver coal in 100 lb. sacks. The living room fireplace was indeed the heart of the home. This forever remained a symbol to me, especially when I encountered the snowy winters of Colorado. Later, when my husband Dale and I bought a house in Grand Junction, Colorado that had no fireplace, it seemed forlorn and entirely “unswaddled.”
So, being a man of many talents, Dale set to work to build a fireplace of his own design. It took nearly nine months! But, if you knew Dale’s penchant for “built-to-last” projects, you would not be surprised that the fireplace went through numerous architectural stages. It was the only fireplace I ever saw where the ashes could be emptied from outside the house. It also drew admiration for its sturdiness when our boys said it could withstand a tornado! The brick exterior concealed reinforced concrete that was poured around the firebrick flue chamber all the way to the top of the chimney!
By Christmas time, the fireplace was finished. And just before snow began to fall, the house was warmly swaddled with a big fireplace blazing cheerily. As we sat together around the fireside glow, we gave Father Dale a big round of applause for building this big “heart of the home.” Humpty Dumpty’s Christmas Song of “togetherness” fit right in to the happy scene.
On another snowy Christmas Sunday, when high drifts made the road to our small country church impassable, we found being marooned at home was a marvelous way to discover a child’s unique version of the Christmas Story.
It began with never-before-heard-of carols, when Keith, then age 6, jumped forward to lead the singing, and Kevin, at 9, immediately joined him with his Bible ready for preaching. The rest of us were a captive audience.
The first song is “Slow Elk,” Keith announced. That was the first revelation, as he robustly sang, “Slow elk, slow elk,” to the tune of “Noel, Noel.” And he hung on to his own Slow Elk rendition in spite of his congregation’s conflicting “Noel’s.” The next revelation was the “Dark Colony”, which turned out to be the Doxology, with praise from the “Heavenly Hoe,” and the admonition to preachers: “Praise Him all ‘preachers‘ here below.” (instead of creatures)
But wait! Revisionist history continued as Kevin earnestly opened with the King James Version of the Christmas story, beginning with: “And Joseph…with Mary his exposed (espoused) wife…. Then, pausing, he soared into his own free-wheeling recitation, taking us back to the Red Sea where, surprisingly, Nebuchadnezzar turned up to chase the escaping Israelites. Then, on to Jonah, who first headed for England instead of Nineveh. But, when God took him to Nineveh by whale, to preach the Gospel, the King there repented in a gunny-sack!
And so the Christmas story flew back and forth between Old Testament heroics and New Testament shepherds, angels, wise men, and finally arriving with Herod challenging the “scribbles”
(scribes) as to the birth of Jesus.
When Kevin finished with, “Ladies and gentlemen, friends, members of the church, I’ve preached the Gospel in South Africa and North Carolina, and…I’m tired,” Keith quickly led in the “Dark Colony” again, and we all clapped heartily.
I dare say that home-spun (i.e. mixed up), but heart-felt performance of two little boys on that snow-bound Sunday, was as precious to our Savior as the grandest service in the Canterbury Cathedral.
After all, it was not in a palace or cathedral that the shepherds made haste to find the One of whom the angel said to them: “Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ The Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)
The birth of The Lord Jesus Christ was not heralded with trumpets and a royal parade; not accompanied by a legion of angelic hosts on white horses. The shepherds were told to look for the sign of a Savior wrapped in swaddling clothes – a baby in a manger!
What a miracle! A Christmas miracle! The One Who lit the furnace of the sun, was the One the shepherds found wrapped in linen strips of swaddling clothes to keep warm. The One Who is the Word of God, they found silent in the first hours of His humanity! God incarnate: Jesus – very God and very Man.
What sacred mysteries surround the love of God, to pour out His love and redemption in the Person of His Son to this needy world.
At last, after thousands of years containing hundreds of prophecies foretelling His coming, The Christ child was born!
This Christmastime, God’s open invitation still rings out to all earthlings. No one is too high or too low to accept the free Gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
May this earth ring with: “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift!”
Now, here’s a Christmas invitation:
For many years it’s been a tradition of the Oasis Radio Network to invite the Decker family for their Christmas Road Show broadcast. If you’d like to listen in, My son Kevin and I will be on the Road Show, Noon to 1:00 pm, CST, Tuesday, Dec. 22nd with our host, and good friend, David Warren.
Just Click on the Oasis link above at the day and time just mentioned to join us on the Road Show!
Merry Christmas! And God bless us all!
Christian Mother Goose®
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