Saturday, December 21, 2013


Emmanuel......God with us...

That has been echoing in my heart for a number of days.

It all began as I was reflecting upon the Lord's Supper.
Communion, which is what I grew up calling it and which I feel is most appropriate.

Jesus instituted this Supper at the last Passover that He ate with His disciples.
We find the description of that meal in the Twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew.
"And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take eat; this is My body."  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.'"
Luke adds to this in the Twenty-second chapter of his gospel writings.
"Do this in remembrance of Me."
Communion is a time for us to stop and meditate on Jesus' great sacrifice for us.
A time to stop and thank Him afresh for this great gift.

For me there are added dimensions.
It is a reminder that what unites us is that blood which was shed for us.

Many years ago I had attended a women's retreat held by the New England district of the C&MA.  The final session brought us all back into one room where we shared communion together.
The district superintendent had come to administer it.  It so happened that this man had been my pastor for a few years in New York, so I knew that he always brought a sense of the holy to the table and that day was no different.

God revealed something fresh to my spirit that day.
As the cup was shared, a vision came to me of a river of blood flowing through and encompassing everyone of us.
It was the life giving blood of Jesus.
The blood that cleanses us, sets us free and unites us.

It was a very solemn experience for me and I was humbled by it.

Papa also uses the Lord's supper to remind me of His Presence.
You see, the One who willingly shed His blood for us, also promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us.  I believe that what Jesus was inferring about the bread being His body and the cup His blood was that He would, indeed, be very present as we partake of that bread and that cup; that He wanted us to stop and take in the fact of His Presence.

The fact of His Presence...
 His Presence which arrived in that manger over two thousand years ago.

Luke reminds us in his first chapter that this truth was foretold by Isaiah.
"Behold, the virgin shall be with Child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel," which translated means, "God with us.'"
The final step in my thought process settled on the fact that not only is He with us, but within us!
Hear Jesus' words found in John fourteen, verse Twenty-three,
"Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him."
  A song was popular many years ago has joined the chorus in my heart.
"Emmanuel, Emmanuel,
His name is called Emmanuel
God with us, revealed in us
His name is called Emmanuel
We love Him so, we love Him so,
His name is called Emmanuel"
God is with us!
Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Every Day is Christmas!

Each year my honey and I host a party to celebrate Christmas with some of our family and friends who are nearby.  I always looked forward to it and enjoyed the preparation...until last year.

December seems to fill up to overflow and year after year I just go with it.  However, with age comes wisdom they say and way less energy.
Last year I found myself less excited about the prospect of preparing for our party.  Yet, this year I automatically put it back on the calendar.  While making my plans the thought came that it wouldn't be such a bad idea to move the event.  I love the gathering of so many dear to me, it is just the timing of it.

The plan was for the next go around was to be put on the calendar for mid-January, when there isn't much going on.  But you see the idea really was from Papa, who loves His girl and knows what is best for her.
Enter the snowstorm.
We wouldn't expect anyone to venture out in all that white stuff, would we?  So the party is moved!
Moved with a new title..."The Reynolds' Annual Every Day is Christmas Party"!

A few days ago I was reading Scripture and writing in my journal, as usual.
My reading had taken me to that wonderful passage in Isaiah, chapter nine, verses six and seven,
"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.   There shall be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this."
A child...THE CHILD...given to us.
That is Christmas.
Papa giving His Son to us.
Out of His Love.
Out of His mercy and grace.

This gift of His Child keeps giving.
Every day!

Each and every day we have Him, the gift of Heaven.
We have Him for all eternity!

This gift of Jesus is one that...

One of my sons just called me, as I was sitting here writing.
He had a question.
"Mom, who is Jesus to you?"
Funny he should ask, as I was about to answer that question right here!

He is the gift that we find needs more and more unwrapping.
If anyone thinks that their first encounter with Jesus tells the whole story, they are wrong.
And if they settle for that first glimpse, they will be cheating themselves of so much more!

Who Jesus was to me upon my first encounter was the Son of God, who loved me.
Who love me just as I was with all my junk.
That truly was enough for me, for then.

With time I have discovered that He is indeed the Wonderful Counselor.
He never fails to guide me to the right path.  He is Wisdom itself.

Life has offered many challenges, some very daunting, but He has shown up in all His Might and Power every time!

The Eternal aspect of my God is something I cannot wrap my brain around, but I do find comfort in the fact that He will never disappear, nor will He ever leave me or forsake me.  He made that promise in the thirteenth chapter of Hebrews!

He is my peace.  Jesus said that He was giving us peace that the world knows nothing of and I can say that He has kept His Word to me.

The future is bright because of Him.  One day He will return and set all things right.  Then the world will know peace, true peace.  The world will learn what justice and righteousness really looks like.
Meanwhile, those of us who continue to unwrap the gift of Him get a taste now!

That gift, which was given to us on Christmas day continues to give every day.
So, yes, every day is Christmas!!

Sounds like a good reason to throw a party!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Grace Steps In

Papa, it seems, is always calling us to grow up a little more.  At least that is my ongoing experience!

For most of my life I have avoiding driving in the snow, as much as possible, and when given no choice would whine my way through the ordeal.  Yes, ordeal because that is what I made of it!

These days I have little choice.

Yesterday morning Ray had to get to the gym for his exercise class and then to two separate doctors’ appointment in the afternoon.

For those who don’t know…it was snowing.  The biggest challenge was the other drivers.

As I was carefully wending my way through the ice, snow and slush I realized that I was not experiencing the angst that accompanied such experiences in the past!

What made the difference?  Papa, of course.  I am grateful to Him for His Presence, which is pure peace and also for providing my little Pearly the Subby!  Both give me added confidence.

It was a long day, nevertheless.  We fit in some errands between the various appointments.  (Shopping is much easier when many stay home!)

I do not wear well and by the time we arrived at the pharmacy for Ray’s shingles shot it was nearing dinner time and I was very grateful I had felt prompted to pick up that little cooked chicken!.  (Thank you Medicare for making life more complicated…  It seems that the doctor is authorized to give flu shots, but not the shingles shot!  Thus the extra stop where there were forms to fill out and then a wait for his turn.)

I wandered the store to pass the time, as sitting down to wait would have made it difficult for me not to nod out and standing in one spot causes my back to complain.

Did I mention that I do not wear well?  Well, I don’t and I was growing more tired as the minutes passed.  The recovery programs all have a little acronym that they use to remind us of when we are most vulnerable to stumbling.  It is HALT (I add an “S” to this).

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and Sick.
When we are any of those we are never at our best.  I have learned that I need to keep my mouth firmly closed because one cannot be sure of what will escape from those lips of mine!

So there I was in the aisle of the pharmacy feeling very grumpy and put upon as I was feeling hungry, lonely, tired, which could easily feed into angry, when the piped-in music, which I had not given much attention to began another tune.

It was a lovely instrumental of “Amazing Grace!”  Imagine that!  Right out there in our definitely secular world!

There were no words to be heard, but my heart heard them!

“Amazing Grace, how sweet a sound that saved a wretch like me!”

Grace....unmerited favor extended to me by the LORD of the Universe!

What a timely reminder.  A reminder that He is always with me!  One that stirred my heart to give thanks right there in my weariness.

His Grace steps in no matter whether I am hungry, angry, lonely, tired...
 or sick or all of the above!