The Fullness of Time

Merry Christmas!

I’m thinking of my time in Israel today.  I neglect this blog far too much, and have not even found time to write about my incredible trip to the Holy Land, but here are some pictures from Bethlehem, where our Creator, Lord, and Savior came to this earth, in the flesh, as a humble servant!

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Church of the Nativity, built upon the spot where tradition claimed Jesus to have been born.

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The hillsides of Bethlehem

 

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One of my favorite Scripture verses about Christ’s birth is written by Paul in his letter to the Galatians.

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons [and daughters].”

From the very beginning, when God created the Heavens and Earth, he set the world in motion so that his Son would be born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem at the appointed time. God sent His son to send Him to the cross to redeem His children from our sin.

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The Garden of Gethsemene on the Mount of Olives.

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Skull Hill, otherwise known as Golgotha, or Calvary in English–the hill where many Christians believe Christ gave his life for us on the Cross. A bus stop sits next to it.

The gifts under the tree tonight are wonderful gifts, but the gift of salvation is the sweetest one of all!

Advent Now and 'Till He Returns

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” – Micah 5:2

I’m not an Old Testament scholar, but from what I understand, 400+ years transpired between the prophet Micah’s prophecy –  that the awaited King, the Son of God, would be born in Bethlehem. This is just one of the many prophecies that the people of Israel were waiting upon to be answered.
But God was faithful and He sent His Son to earth. The years leading to the time may have been dark, and filled wih questioning of his intent but The Lord fulfilled his promises.
The beauty of Christmas is celebrating the birth of our Savior and treasuring that season of Advent – of waiting for Him. Let’s not forget we are now in another stage of waiting – for His return. The world is dark and evil, but our Savior – who came to earth as both God and man- has a perfect plan for all of history. His birth was foretold and The Lord knows when he will come again.
We can’t lose hope, but must press on for His Kingdom. His Birth is cause for reflection and celebration as his period of Advent concludes. May our hearts always be in a state of Advent for his second coming.

 

Morning Glory

I knew it had been a long time since I did an updated blog post, but almost a year!?!?! Where does the time go?  Life was so slow and wonderful when I was a child…there is still much wonderful-ness to my life but…there are also children being murdered with chemical weapons in Syria, Christians in the Coptic community in Egypt are being killed and their churches burned, and musical entertainment in this country has reached a new low.  Sigh, okay, sorry for the downer, but we can’t keep our head in the sand!

Being a news, history, and culture junkie, I can’t keep from getting sucked into the headlines and analysis.  Unfortunately, that has left little time for my little blog!  Hopefully this should change.  I’ve already got a really fun post in the works, so stay tuned…

In the meantime, I wanted to share these lovely photos of a beautiful sunrise this morning in the Nation’s Capitol…because, well, they’re beautiful!  I’ve seen many late nights at the Capitol, but I’m not often out this early to start the day!  Many years ago, when I was a young pup working in Congress, I gave Capitol tours (history heaven for someone like me!) and would always point out that Lady Freedom atop the Capitol dome faces east – thus, “the sun never sets on freedom.”  I always thought that was so poetic and a reminder of how blessed we are in America!

But this beauty invokes another kind of poetry that will never fade – from Lamentations chapter 3, verses 22-23: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  That is cause for joy!  No matter what else we might face.

The Colors of Fall

How many colors belong in the palette for fall foliage?

This past weekend, as I drove back to D.C. from a beautiful wedding of dear friends in Buffalo, New York, that was the question on my mind.  For about 5 hours I drove through the Allegheny Mountains in PA and the colors were G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.  And it was such a pleasant surprise, for all the time I’ve spent in my beloved Pennsylvania (including lots of hours of driving) I was not familiar with this drive so it was fun to see some new sights!

I found an absolutely quaint and picture perfect roadside stop where I picked up some pumpkins. It was soooooooo beautiful. That’s probably annoying and obnoxious to read, huh? I mean, really how many “o”s do I need? Well, try spending anytime in nature with me…every single o is needed for emphasis!

The best part, though? 2 large pumpkins, 3 small pumpkins, 5 gourds, and 3 ears of fall corn…all for $17!

So I was just going to post 1 picture, but the colors are just too vibrant and gorgeous not too share!

Have a wonderful fall!

Christmas in the OBX

Snow on the beach is a very funny thing – actually, it’s quite beautiful! While tradition is comforting, and I’m so thankful to have spent most of my Christmases at home with my family, it was really a neat experience to spend Christmas in Duck, North Carolina. We went out to the beach three different times – at sunset, to see the stars, and to see the snow!

The sunset was beautiful – not exactly the vibrant colors you might see during the summer, but beautiful pale blues, pinks, and purples. Our God is amazing with watercolors in the sky!

Nigtht-time was equally magnificent. Earlier in the evening we stepped out on the porch of our beach house (well, one of the four decks!) to see the stars, and they were absolutely vibrant. That was actually Christmas Eve, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it must have been like on the night of our Savior’s birth. What would it have been like to have been a lowly shepherd out in the field, to have an incredible host of angels visit you declare the arrival of the King? What would it have been like to have seen the awaited star of Bethlehem?

Later we walked down to the beach that night – the stars weren’t as vibrant because the moon had lit up the dark sky. In fact, we could see our shadows the moon was so bright! The waves were powerful and never missed a beat. It was an awe-inspiring reminder, the the God of the universe, who created the stars and the moon – which controls the oceans – also cares for, and loves me.

On Sunday, the 26th, we were snowed in! When the blustery winds had subsided, a few of us went out to the beach to see the snow and sand mixture. It was quite a sight – incongruous yet beautiful. Although I must say, I prefer sand when the sun is out, and the thermometer is far north of 20 degrees!

The beauty of the beach brought peace to my soul. It helped me to remember the absolute audacity of Christ coming to the world he created as a human – a mortal, yet without sin. One of the lines from Hark the Herald Angels sing, especially stuck out to me during our family’s makeshift church service in our beach house on Christmas Eve – “born to give us second birth!” He was born to die – to die and be raised again, so that I – you – we, can know Him as Savior and have our sins washed from us – like the pure-driven snow I witnessed on the beach.