Friday, December 31, 2010

Newborn Year

Greg Asimakoupoulos has penned the following ode to a New Year.  We at Pilgrim Scribblings wish you a blessed New Year in 2011, filled with God's goodness and grace.

Greg writes:

Cradling Hope in Our Arms...
 
The old year's passed. Another's born.
But lest we grieve what's gone and mourn,
let's hold the baby to our heart
and dream of what's in store.

Let's contemplate what lies ahead
acknowledging the past is dead
without fixating on regrets
or paralyzed by guilt.

The birth of what we now embrace
is diapered in God's boundless grace.
Within the face of this new year
the gaze of hope is seen.

Here's to a new year just begun
that first will crawl, take steps, then run.
This brand new baby represents
all that the Lord intends.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Just Listen


Please sit back and listen to Chris Tomlin's "Emmanuel".  No further "blogging" words required.  LISTEN and THANK GOD for EMMANUEL.
Click here!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Departure Date

Our granddaughter Victoria Milligan has lived with us since she was 3 1/2 years old.  Now the time of her departure draweth nigh (to use King James Version language).

Victoria will be leaving on January 11th, 2011 on a missions trip to Belize in Central America.  She will be training with YWAM (Youth With A Mission), living on a catamaran off the coast of Belize and coming ashore for outreach opportunities.

You can still get involved financially in supporting Victoria by sending your gift to our/her home church, Auburn Bible Chapel.  All donors will receive a receipt for income tax purposes.  Please specify that your gift is to support Victoria Milligan.

Thank you to all those who have encouraged and blessed Victoria over the years in her Christian pilgrimage.

The address for your donations is:

Auburn Bible Chapel 
911 Armour Road
Peterborough, Ontario
K9H 7K5

Thanks again!

David & Carol

2,000 Posts

Wow!  After six years of blogging at Pilgrim Scribblings we have finally reached our 2,000th postThis is it!  Hard to believe, especially when I think of the writer's block that has beset me much of the past two years.

I'm grateful to God that mercy and hope have intersected (see photo) and He, the God of all hope, has been merciful and gracious over the years.
So, we move on, trusting Him to provide for every need.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..." - 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

Boxed In

This morning I took our granddaughter Victoria to WalMart at 7:00 a.m. so she could get some last-minute items before she leaves on her Missions Trip to Belize in early January.

WalMart was crowded but not nearly as congested as some stores in London, England were earlier today (see photos)



Boxing Day...a good day to be in church and NOT at the mall.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday

Another Christmas has come and gone!  

Hope you had a chance to think of the true meaning of the season in the midst of everything else that was happening!

Merry Christmas and...Happy Birthday Jesus!

CHRISTmas Child

Just watched a Christmas movie that I've seen a few times in the past.  Each time it hits me in a different way.  The movie is entitled Christmas Child and Steven Curtis Chapman is one of the featured actors.

The movie has an adoption theme so that has a special appeal to our family.  As Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife have championed adoption by adopting internationally themselves, he plays his part well.

The tragic loss of one of their adopted daughters in May of 2008 was on my mind as I watched the movie.  If you can find a copy of this DVD somewhere it will be worthwhile watching it.


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Merry CHRISTmas

As I said in an earlier post, I'm keeping all my post titles to two (2) words.  So, it wasn't hard to come up with something for today's greeting!  Merry CHRISTmas!

We hope you have a great day celebrating the birth of the Incarnate Son of God...JESUS!

Every blessing in Christ,

David, Carol, Victoria, Matthew & Nathan

Friday, December 24, 2010

Aussie Greetings

I got this Christmas greeting from my blogging friend, Rodney Olsen, in Perth, Australia.  It's the first one actually written and posted on Christmas day.  Have a wonderful Christmas Rodney and God's best in 2011.

Rodney writes:

It might be Christmas Eve 2010 where you are but here in Perth it’s well and truly Christmas Day.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy day as you celebrate Christmas wherever you are in the world. Many will be experiencing a white Christmas while here in Perth, Western Australia, we have a hot summer day forecast. At 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) I’m glad we’ll be in air conditioning.

Remember to pace yourself throughout the day so that you don’t regret it all tomorrow and don’t forget to take time out to reflect on what Christmas is truly all about.

Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men. – Luke 2:14

We went to a Christmas Eve service at church last night and we’ll be catching up with Pauline’s side of the family for Christmas lunch.

I’d really love to hear how you’ll be celebrating. Please leave a comment or two to let me know.

Rodney

Turkey Trees

Here's a post from Christmas two years ago.  We didn't have any turkeys in our tree this year so Carol bought a Butterball today.  God provided that though.

Here's what happened two years ago:


As Carol and I discussed our Christmas dinner plans she mentioned that she hadn't bought a turkey yet.

A few hours later Carol was startled by the sound of a mighty rushing wind. Actually it was a flock of turkeys which landed in the tree next door.

Our granddaughter Victoria captured a few pictures on her camera before the birds took flight. I didn't know that turkeys can fly as well as they do.

Not having a gun I wasn't able to shoot a bird for Christmas dinner. Of course I wouldn't shoot one if I had a gun.


Lucky birds! P. S. Carol just told me that there were 15 turkeys in the tree several hours after this photo was taken. Note: Click on the picture for a better view of the turkeys. You'll see some small red berry-like things on the tree. The turkeys thought they were cranberries. They know you can't have turkey without cranberries.

True Meaning

My friend Greg Asimakoupoulos has come up with another winner.  You can check out this and other works by Greg here.

Greg writes (and we all identify...):

T'was the Day After Christmas
Pondering the true meaning of the holiday

T'was the day after Christmas.
The in-laws had gone.
And out on the curb was the trash.
I pondered the piles
of crumpled debris
that cost me a mountain of cash.

The kids were complaining
about broken toys.
My wife had a throbbing migraine
and there in my bathrobe
I stood like a Scrooge
ashamed of the five pounds I'd gained.

We loaded up gifts
to return to the store.
Aunt Ethel still thinks I wear small.
The Wii game's the wrong one.
The perfume's not right.
And so we were off to the mall.

The crowds were disgusting.
The chaos unreal.
In spite of the Muzak that played,
my world was quite joyless.
The angels were mute.
And in the return line I prayed...

"Dear God, please remind me
your Son's special day
has little to do with this stuff.
Don't let me forget
that His presence means most.
The gift of Your grace is enough!"

God...Near

Pete Wilson, pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, posted the following article on his Without Wax TV blog this week.

He writes:

"My friend, Brad, posted a great quote the other day from Dietrich Bonhoeffer who reportedly said this from a Nazi Prison in 1943.

“God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment. No evil can befall us; whatever men may do to us, they cannot but serve the God who is secretly revealed as love and rules the world and our lives.”

I think I’ve heard the Christmas story so many times that sometimes I  allow this miracle to become commonplace. But there is nothing usual or routine about this miracle.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year as we celebrate the miracle of God coming to earth in the flesh to live among us; to be with us; never again to be separated from us. In fact, there is none like it and it’s uniqueness has far reaching implications to the realities of this very day.
God is in the manger.

God is near.

No matter how distant He may feel, He’s closer than the very air you’re breathing.

He rules the world, and your life.

God is in the manger.

God is near."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bookstore Obituary

The following article has been posted in the past but it deserves to be repeated...and repeated again.  Our local, independently owned Christian bookstores are dying at an alarming rate.

When I owned the local Christian bookstore back in the good ol' days I could sit in church and count a handful of parishioners who patronized our store.  Why didn't the others take advantage of what we had to offer?  I guess I'll never know.

I've been reminded again during this Christmas season just how important a Christian bookstore is in a community.  Sure, you might get a book cheaper at Costco but is the clerk going to pray with you, know your kids by name and brighten your day when you stop in for a visit.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORE.  When they are forced to lock their doors...for good...you'll wish you had.

In Peterborough, visit Emmaus Family Books on George Street in the Market Plaza.  In Cobourg, visit Searchlight Books on Division St. just south of the 401.

Here's that article:

The Late Great Christian Book Store…an Obituary

 “Where once it was Zondervan, Cook and Revell

            Today it was Samsung, HP and Dell…”

Back in 1970 a casual visit with R. Gordon Mitchell in Toronto led to a 15-year career as a Christian bookstore owner/operator.

My father, knowing my desire to be involved in Christian bookselling, had arranged the get-together with Mr. Christian Books in Canada, Gordon Mitchell.  After some discussion concerning the trade and my expression of interest, Mr. Mitchell posed the question, “why don’t you buy the bookstore in Peterborough?”  We responded, “is it for sale?”  When the answer was in the affirmative, the wheels started turning and I owned the Ambassador Bible Book Store in January 1971.

For fifteen years I lived on the edge, struggling to increase sales, satisfy customers, offer services beyond the norm and pay the bills.  As I look back on that period of my life I recall only the fond memories.  Lives transformed as customers came to know Christ.  Friendships forged that continue to this day.

Since the business was sold in 1986 I’ve continued to be a bookseller at heart.  Our local Christian bookstore is a favourite place to visit.  When traveling, and I’ve been around, I always seek out the local Christian bookstore.

Last fall, the business that R. Gordon Mitchell founded many years ago, R. G. Mitchell Family Books, filed for bankruptcy.  Fortunately the founder was not around to see the huge BANKRUPT sign draped over the front of the building.  He’s in heaven!  Mitchell’s was more than a retail outlet.  They had a huge wholesale business and represented many of the major Christian publishers.  I made many a visit to their Gordon Baker Rd. location during my 15 years in the book business to pick up supplies.

So what happened?  What led to their demise?  I can’t say for sure but I do know that a number of factors could have precipitated the events of the last few months.

Among them could be:

  • The general downturn in the economy
  • The proliferation of online suppliers of books…places like CBD (Christian Book Distributors, Amazon and Chapters/Indigo
  • The availability of many of the bestsellers at greatly reduced prices at stores like WalMart, Costco and other big box stores
  • The illegal pirating of music and videos
  • Unwise business decisions
  • Growing too quickly

Whatever the cause, it was a sad day today when I dropped by for the liquidation auction.  The retail sales area had been cleaned out of books, music, cards and the stock that was normally carried.  Over the last few weeks the discounts had increased and books could be had for less than a dollar.

Today the area was filled with electronic equipment, computers, printers, work stations, chairs, office equipment, telephones and other various and sundry items.  Shelving, conveyor belts and other warehousing materials were available out back.  As I entered the store, the sound of the auctioneer hawking his wares greeted me.  It was not a welcoming voice or a pleasant smile.  This was big business.  Get the most you can for whatever is left.  A sad day indeed!

Unfortunately Mitchells won’t be the only store that will have to close up shop.  The Christian bookselling industry is struggling. Many mom and pop shops have had to liquidate and clear out.  More will follow.

When I bought my store I picked up some helpful literature from our trade organization the Christian Booksellers Association.  One item was a brief article entitled The Late Great Christian Bookstore.  The title was a take-off on the popular bestseller at the time, The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey.  The article spoke of the struggles encountered by Christian bookstores and how they could be overcome.  Sad to say, too many stores didn’t take heed.

So what can be done to help prevent these tragic store closings?  I have a few suggestions for what they’re worth.

  • Support your local Christian bookstore.
  • Give them the majority of your business when possible.  The price might be cheaper if you order online but how many phone clerks have prayed with customers, taken them for lunch or spoken a word of encouragement during a difficult time?
  • Encourage others to patronize your local Christian bookstore.
  • Don’t expect your store to carry every Christian book available.  They can’t!  The smaller the town, the fewer the titles that can be carried.  Ask them to order the book.
  • Drop by even if it’s just to speak a word of encouragement.
  • Be a friend.

I’m committed to supporting the smaller, independent Christian booksellers.

I hope you will too!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Petes Perform

Check out this crazy version of The Twelve Days of Christmas by members of the Peterborough Petes.  I've been asked if I gave the guys voice lessons.  The answer is NO.
Check out their Christmas greeting here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Quotes

My friend Vicki Gaines shared the following notes and quotes on her blog, Light for the Writer's Soul, recently.  I pass them along to our Pilgrim Scribblings readers:

Such a busy season! Yet, we can be still and know . . . that He is God. Merry Christmas, dear friends. A few quotes to warm you this joyous season:
“The most vivid memories of Christmases past are usually not of gifts given or received, but of the spirit of love, the special warmth of Christmas worship, the cherished little habits of the home.” ~ Lois Rand
“Tradition gives us a sense of solidarity and roots, a knowing there are some things one can count on.” ~ Gloria Gaither  
“Some gifts are big, others are small. Gifts tied with heartstrings are the best gifts of all.” ~unknown
“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” ~ Washington Irving
“This is the great mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey. The God of love who gave us life sent us His only Son to be with us at all times and in all places.” ~ Henri Nouwen
“God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith; the warmth of Christmas, which is love…the belief in Christmas, which is truth; the all of Christmas, which is Christ.” ~Wilda English
“Because of the tender mercy of our God…the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness…to guide our feet into the path of peace.” ~Luke 1:78-79   
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” ~ 1 John 4:9

Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't Forget

Kid's Komments

Here's a cute video about the Christmas story from the perspective of various children. 

Click here and enjoy.  

You're allowed to laugh too!

Lofty Lookout









David's Diary...Day 1
  • Arrived safely at my destination in the mountains to begin a week long writing assignment.
  • Greeted by a herd of elk behind the cabin
  • Bittersweet feeling as the float plane disappeared from view, knowing that I'll be alone until next Monday with no communication with the outside world.
  • Set up my writing area in the loft looking out over the mountain lake.
  • Warmed up some wieners and beans and put the kettle on for some tea.
  • Read three more chapters of Yancey's WHAT GOOD IS GOD
  • Hopefully sleep will come easy tonight
  • God is good.
More tomorrow... 

Disclaimer:  

If only...

Today I bumped into a writer/editor who is a good friend.  We both spoke of the joys of being sequestered in a cabin in the mountains.  Just a dream but sometimes...dreams come true.

More dreams tomorrow!

Gettin' Old


Last Christmas I posted the following poem and it was funny then.  Now that I'm "officially" a Senior myself it's even more humorous.  

Hope you get a laugh or two.





'Twas the  night before Christmas at Rock-Away Rest,
and all of us seniors were looking our best.
Our glasses, how sparkly, our wrinkles, how merry;
Our  punchbowl held prune juice plus three drops of sherry.

A bedsock was  taped to each walker, in hope
That Santa would bring us soft candy and soap.
We surely were lucky to be there with friends,
Secure in this residence  and in our Depends.

Our grandkids had sent us some Christmasy crafts,
Like angels in snowsuits and penguins on rafts.
The dental assistant had  borrowed our teeth,
And from them she'd crafted a holiday wreath.

The bed pans, so shiny, all stood in a row,
Reflecting our candle's  magnificent glow.
Our supper so festive -- the joy wouldn't stop --
Was  creamy warm oatmeal with sprinkles on top.

Our salad was Jell-O, so jiggly and great,
Then puree of fruitcake was spooned on each plate.
The social director then had us play games,
Like "Where Are You Living?"  and "What Are Your Names?"

Old Grandfather Looper was feeling his oats,
Proclaiming that reindeer were nothing but goats.
Our resident wand'rer  was tied to her chair,
In hopes that at bedtime she still would be  there.

Security lights on the new fallen snow
Made outdoors seem noon  to the old folks below.
Then out on the porch there arose quite a clatter
(But we are so deaf that it just didn't matter).

A strange little  fellow flew in through the door,
Then tripped on the sill and fell flat on  the floor.
'Twas just our director, all togged out in red.
He jiggled  and chuckled and patted each head.

We knew from the way that he strutted  and jived
Our social- security checks had arrived.
We sang -- how we  sang -- in our monotone croak,
Till the clock? tinkled out its soft  eight-p.m. stroke.

And soon we were snuggling deep in our beds.
While  nurses distributed nocturnal meds.
And so ends our Christmas at Rock-Away  Rest.
'fore long you'll be with us, We wish you the best!

Author  Unknown

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blue Christmas

Last night in my dream I heard a massed choir of billions of voices raised in a mournful anthem of emptiness and despair. 

They were singing of Jesus, the One they had never heard of or, having been told of His love, had turned their backs on His kindness and grace. 

They sang such an eerie dirge and as their voices faded at the close of the song my heart ached for them. 

They had just voiced those sad, sad words, "It's going to be a blue Christmas without YOU."

Yes, multitudes will have a "blue" Christmas without the God who came to live amongst us.  Jesus, the Incarnate Creator of the universe, came and sacrificed everything so we could have the greatest gift ever, peace with God through Him.  Yet billions refuse the Gift and continue to live apart from His gracious person, presence and peace.

Will yours be a Blue Christmas without Him?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Humpty's Fall

Recently a Christmas pageant in a West Palm Beach church went awry when a live camel being led down the aisle fell over into several rows of startled attendees.

When the air had cleared and they got over the hump, nobody was injured and the camel proceeded down the rest of the aisle.

The moral of this true story?

Not sure!  Have you got one?

Maybe this..."a wise man sitteth not by the aisle when the camel cometh!"

Check out the video clip here.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Faith's Mystery

Rebecca Stark from Rebecca Writes posted the following article earlier this week.  It bears repeating.  I love mystery and I rejoice in the mystery of our faith.

Rebecca writes:

At the right time, God sent his Son, and the Word who is from the beginning came into our history. The Word who was with God became God with us. This is a mystery of our faith: God who is eternal spirit became God in mortal flesh.

According to God’s plan, as the centerpiece of history, God the Son emptied himself. The One who created thrones and dominions and rulers and authorities, and who upholds them all by his powerful word, emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant. God-with-God and God-equal-with-God made himself nothing by adding rather than subtracting. This is a mystery of our faith: The Creator took on the likeness of his creatures.

For our salvation, the omnipotent One became weak and the self-existent One became subject to death. To make us rich, the heir of all things became poor. To destroy the one who has the power of death, the radiance of the Father’s glory veiled himself in humanity so that he could die. 

And in the mysterious wisdom of God, it is in the veiling of his glory that the Son showed God’s glory to us. “No one,” God told Moses, “can see me and live,” but in the Son, the image of the invisible God, we see the unseen One. In Jesus, who came to us from the Father’s side to show us God’s glory, we see “all God’s goodness pass before us.”  This is a mystery of our faith: We see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

In the mystery of God’s will, for our sake, the exalted Son chose to make himself nothing and be born as one of us.  The one for whom and by whom all things exist came to die to free us from the fear of dying. This is a mystery of our faith: The Lord-of-all was born as Mary’s little son, bringing us salvation.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Special Delivery

One of the most popular, newer Christmas songs was penned by Christian comedian, Mark Lowry.

These are serious lyrics written by a funny man.

Imagine, the One who Mary delivered would one day become her Deliverer.

The Incarnation!  What a miracle!  What a spectacle!  What a Savior!

Mark writes: 

MARY DID YOU KNOW?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.
 
Click here to hear Mark sing this great song! 
 

Heavy Heart

The following post appeared on Lori's It's All In The Heart blog recently.  It's one of those instances where she was writing exactly how I was feeling...if you know what I mean.

Anyhow, I thought I'd share it with you.

Lori writes:

I wonder if heaviness is the cloak we wrap ourselves in when we find we cannot change the mind or the heart that is going down a path that we see is not good.

Often when wandering down a path, we know where we are going but our view of what is ahead is blocked. Still, we press on. It would be easier if we could see the outcome, but we don’t always get to. If the path is short, it seems easier. If the path goes on so that you walk it many days without seeing the end of it, you might get tired and forget the end. 

A cloak of heaviness comes and sits on shoulders, wrapping you up in only what you can see and not in Him, in what He is doing now, and up ahead on the rest of the trail. It is hard to see and hard to go on when all you can see is short term and in your face, like branches that slap you in the face as you move forward.  Thank God we can’t see all that He is doing. It may be right before our eyes yet we miss it because somehow we can’t see beyond the next bush in our face. We have a “down here”  perspective but thank God He sees it all.

That cloak can get even heavier as we look circumstantially, or it can be a cloak of choosing to believe that He has wrapped us up in His love and is doing His will and purpose in our lives and the lives of those entrusted to us.
I suppose we have all wanted someone to see what they needed to do, but they didn’t or don’t. That cloak of heaviness carries that heavy burden on our shoulders. We want changed hearts and circumstances. We say things like, “some things never change,” but chiseling takes time. God works, we look for some change but we see nothing. Maybe that is because the one being chiseled and the one watching the chiseling don’t know what the Artist is doing or what He has in mind. The work of the Artist doesn’t always appear as it will in the end. It may look terrible in the making but God knows what He is doing.  Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. We are His work of art. The process often is pretty messy in the making. Sometimes we just don’t want others to feel pain. We can’t make people see or change, but we can pray, wait, and keep looking ahead and walking.

God handles the details of our lives and the lives of others just as much as He handles the growth of bushes on the path that smack us in the face as we walk along the path and block our way. Maybe our job isn’t to make someone see or even understand. Maybe we are just supposed to try and love them and trust God with the outcome. That cloak of heaviness can turn into a cloak of thankfulness and blessing with each step. God takes care of the preparation of the heart and He takes us in the way we should go.

When your heart is broken because you see heartache, it is an invitation  to trust. Being called to rest always seemed to happen in the midst of heavy things in the bible. It is work to enter into His rest. That is how we get from here to there, by resting in Him.
  
 Thank God we can’t see all that He is doing. It may be right before our eyes yet we miss it because somehow we can’t see beyond the next bush in our face. We have a “down here”  perspective but thank God He sees it all.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

That Night










What we celebrate:

Mary conceived
Joseph protected
Innkeeper accommodated
Straw cradled
Baby slept
Cattle lowed
Shepherds watched
Angel announced
Shepherds trembled
Angels sang
Shepherds visited
Mary pondered
Salvation birthed
Mankind delivered
Prophecy fulfilled
God smiled.

~ David W. Fisher - December 19/07

Friday, December 03, 2010

Christmas Love

Here's a post from 5 years ago that garnered a lot of comments.  I share it again for your encouragement.  The author is Candy Chand and this is a true story written when her son was in kindergarten.  Enjoy!

"Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations...extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.

Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas. My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season fora six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant." I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room.

Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas", I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment...songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love", I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row - center stage - held up large letters, one by one,to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing "C is for Christmas", a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love".

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W". The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: 

"CHRISTWAS LOVE"
 
And, I believe, He still is!"

Ancient Augustine

You have to read this quote slowly and thoughtfully to catch its full meaning.  Profound!  Deep!  True!

"He, through whom time was made, was made in time; and He, older by eternity that the world itself, was younger in age than many of His servants in the world; He, who made man, was made man; He was given existence by a mother whom He brought into existence; He was carried in hands which He formed; He nursed at breasts which He filled; He cried like a babe in the manger in speechless infancy - this Word without which human eloquence is speechless!"

- Augustine of Hippo

Blog Bog

'Tis the season to be bogged down when it comes to blogging.  For me at least!  As I typed those two sentences I realized that the 2nd sentence wasn't a "real" sentence.  Oh well!

I've been stuck at post #1975 for a week and I'm suffering from writer's block or bog or blog bog.  So much to write about...so little time.

So...I'll re-post something from the past...a Christmas poem from several years ago.  

Here it is:

There was no song
In David’s town that evening;
Where God incarnate
Graced a rustic stall.
Tired and taxed they came
For Caesar’s census;
So unaware that roy’lty
Would call.

Then angels told
The shepherds of His coming;
They came to see
Emmanuel, God’s Son.
That dark, cold night
Welcomed Christ the Savior;
And glory reigned
Before the night was done.

He came to bring
Salvation and forgiveness;
For which the world
Had waited oh so long.
The Christ of God
The Hope of all the ages;
Brought peace on earth
And birthed a brand new song.

And now by faith
In Christ the King of Glory;
We are assured one day
In heav’n a place.
‘Til then we’ll journey
On our way rejoicing;
And some day soon
We’ll see Him face to face.

The trials endured
As pilgrims heading homeward;
Are temporary and
Will not last too long.
So hand in hand
We’ll cross the final valley;
Eyes fixed on “home”
We sing redemption’s song.

© David W. Fisher – December 13, 2004

Friday, November 26, 2010

Komets Blazing

The Kawartha Komets Special Needs Hockey Program that Carol and I launched back in April 2009 is blazing ahead...almost out of control.

We now have two teams, the Juniors and the Intermediate/Seniors.  The Intermediate/Senior team is so large now that we will have to divide it soon.

The public awareness is increasing daily and we are excited that girls, boys, teens and adults with physical, emotional and/or neurological challenges can now play the game they love...HOCKEY.

Most of these players never had the opportunity to play on a team before due to their challenges.  They are having a ball!

Please check out our web site/blog for more information.

The following is our more recent post from the web site:

Two of our sponsors, Cathcart Trucking and the Liftlock Stars, are teaming up to promote our Kawartha Komets. Our friend Bryan Cathcart, owner of Cathcart Trucking and the Liftlock Stars Junior "A" Hockey Club, has kindly offered to showcase the Kawartha Komets at the Stars game on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Evinrude Centre.

The Stars will be facing off against arch-rivals, the Lindsay Muskies.


Gate receipts from the game will go to the Kawartha Komets to help BUS THE BOYS TO BOSTON for our Special Hockey International Tournament in Boston, April 28 - 30, 2011.

The Kawartha
Komets will stage a brief scrimmage between the 1st and 2nd periods that evening.

Come out and support three great area teams...the Liftlock Stars, the Lindsay Muskies and the Kawartha Komets.

For more information please call David & Ca
rol Fisher @ (705) 750-0655.

See you on December 7th!


Blaze, Komets, Blaze!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Getting Ready

Friend and fellow writer from our writers group, Jan Stobie, posted the following article on her blog regarding the Christmas season...what everyone's doing to prepare and what we should be focused on.

Jan writes: 

Christmas Preparations

Ever since Halloween, the stores have been shouting “Buy this. Buy that. Get your Christmas shopping done early.” Society hammers home the message that Christmas is about buying the latest expensive toy, article of clothing, and so on. In the church, we hear a different message. We call the time of Christmas preparations Advent. For four weeks leading up to Christmas, we light candles and think about the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love that came with God two thousand years ago, when Jesus was born. We tell the ancient story about God, a young couple, a baby, a star, and three kings. We ask questions in order to learn.

One important question is: Why did God come as a baby? If God wanted to take on human form, why not come as a man or woman, grown and ready to be a leader? Certainly, the Bible emphasizes Jesus’ ministry, not his childhood. For me, the answer to this question becomes evident when I think about holding a new born baby. My heart fills with wonder and joy when I cuddle a tiny baby, a precious bundle of new life.

I believe God came first as a baby because God knew that babies have the ability to creep in through a crack in the most hardened of hearts. God knew we would want to reach out and hold the baby Jesus. God knew that baby Jesus can help us let go of our busyness, our sadness, our skepticism, if only for a few moments, and make room for God in our lives.

I challenge you to use December to prepare your heart for Christmas. Each week, set aside a few moments to sit quietly and imagine holding baby Jesus. Feel the peace, joy, and hope that comes to you. Let God’s love seep into your soul. Make room in your heart for God.

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)   

Check out Jan's blog here.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

We wish our Pilgrim Scribblings readers south of the border a Happy Thanksgiving as they take time off to celebrate God's goodness and His bounty.  God has blessed you richly and we praise Him for all He is and does.

My friend Chuck Giannoti has a web ministry call eMed (-itations).  He posted the following today, American Thanksgiving Day:  

It is good to give thanks to the Lord And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; (Psalm 92:1)

Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. (1 Chronicles 16:8–9)

Hymn:  We Gather Together

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing:
Sing praises to His name—He forgets not His own.

Beside us to aide us, our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine.
So from the beginning the fight we were winning:
Thou, Lord, wast at our side—all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
and pray that Thou still our defender wilt be;
let Thy congregation escape tribulation:
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!


Click here for more information on how you can subscribe to eMed (-itations):

   

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Burden Bearer

Blogging buddy Vicki penned the following lines recently at her Windows to my Soul blog.  Her words bear repeating.

Vicki writes:

He opened my eyes. My role is not to relieve other people's pain.

Oh, but I've tried. Anything less, at the time, seemed uncaring. To care is to stop your own life and take on all their problems - I thought. I prided myself in never letting a soul down. Only I did. Time after time. Then came all the self-loathing. When other burdens became my life, I sank like concrete. Something had to give.   

There is only one true Burden Bearer.  He has liberated us from codependance and ushered us into a place of true compassion. Surely we bear each other's burdens, but not in our own strength, nor all alone.

My role is to identify with a person's pain. When I do that, it's like offering a 'cup of cold water' to the thirsty. If I start fixing, meddling, or worrying - I become useless. And sometimes the worry is about my inadequacy. I forget that in my weakness, He is strong. I forget that He's already taking care of them. So I'm free to be me. Free to relax. I can let the presence of Christ express Himself through my personality type and work through my own human-ness. We have this present help in times of trouble, remember? 

No one needs another fixer to the rescue. They don't need a theologian. What hurting people need is love and acceptance; compassion that stems from Christ's love, not our need to be needed. To actively listen and let others release pent-up emotions is healing.

When people sense they're loved and accepted, their burdens become lighter because Jesus is there. 








"We love because He first loved us." ~ 1 John 4:19

The Justus Encounter

Two years ago I wrote a short story for publication in a book that our writers' group put together.  The story was entitled The Justus Encounter.  With Christmas coming faster than I wish to admit, I thought I'd share this story with you.

The Justus Encounter
 
Greetings, friend. My name is Justus. Each year at this time my mind drifts back to that bitterly cold night when deity took on humanity in a musty animal stall behind an inn in Bethlehem.

We were the last family to secure lodging inside the bustling hotel. When my wife Sarah, my daughter Eunice and I arrived every room was spoken for. The innkeeper graciously lent us a small cot, one blanket and a resting place in the corner of the entrance hall.

Our family had journeyed to Bethlehem to be accounted for. Caesar Augustus had ordered a census be taken throughout the Roman empire requiring citizens to travel to their ancestral hometown. We lived in Bethany, a little to the northeast of Bethlehem, and had traveled by foot to “the city of David”. I was thirty years old at the time and little Eunice was just an infant.

Exhausted from the trek, Sarah and Eunice quickly dozed off. I sat on the floor by the cot but sleep eluded me. About an hour later another road-weary couple burst into the inn. The woman was obviously “great with child” and her husband – I assumed they were married – requested a room. The tired innkeeper advised them that there were no vacancies but that they could find shelter in a stable behind the inn. He offered them a horse blanket or two to ward off the cold but they declined. As they left I felt constrained to hand them our only blanket, the one the innkeeper had lent us. They hesitated momentarily but accepted my offer. I finally nodded off to sleep, my head resting on the corner of Sarah’s cot.

After a brief nap I awoke to the raucous clatter of a dozen or more shepherds. Some even had lambs in their arms as they burst into the inn. They were talking excitedly and inquired where the Saviour, the Messiah, could be found. The innkeeper, hearing the commotion, stumbled to the counter. “Where’s the Messiah?”, they queried. “A host of angels announced on a hillside outside of town that a baby has been born in a manger and He is to be our saviour.”  The bewildered innkeeper re-directed them to the stable out back. 

The sheep herders had awakened Sarah and little Eunice with their exuberance. Eunice was crying and Sarah was frustrated by the interruption. Me? I was wishing they’d hurry up and go out to the stable to find this promised Messiah. 

Imagine a band of angels announcing a newborn King to a motley crew of shepherds. Sounded kind of crazy to me. Guess I’m a sceptic at the best of times. I get irritated by people who get their directions from heavenly voices. The commotion died down as the shepherds went to investigate but then built to a crescendo as they discovered that the Messiah had, in fact, been born in a cattle manger of all places. They woke everyone in the inn, the whole town I’m sure.  We didn’t get back to sleep. What a night! 

The next morning we registered for the census after sunrise but I was grumpy for the rest of the day. You know how you get when you don’t have a good night’s rest, when you’re in someone else’s bed or on the floor.

This Messiah, Jesus, grew up in his father’s home in Nazareth. Mary and Joseph were his parents, the couple I had given the blanket to. I discovered later that they weren’t even married that night. Scandalous! I learned that she had become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Now that was hard to believe! I’d never heard anything like that before but, as I said, I was sceptical of everything.

Back in Bethany we heard a lot about this man called Jesus. He helped in His father’s carpenter shop until he was about thirty years old. Then he began preaching around the countryside. He visited our town several times. Mary, Martha and Lazarus, neighbours of ours, were friends of his. One day Lazarus died and his heartbroken sisters sent for Jesus. They were upset when Jesus didn’t arrive until four days later. According to the townsfolk He supposedly raised this man Lazarus from the dead. If you ask me, he was likely just asleep, unconscious or in a coma but not dead. Raising a man from the dead was a little far-fetched for an unbeliever like me.

That all changed one day, an event that’s indelibly etched on my mind. Our daughter Eunice was about thirty-two years old at the time. She hadn’t married, was still living with us and was working as a seamstress. She became violently ill one evening and we thought she would die.  She was bleeding profusely and was very feverish. Several times we thought we had lost her. 

Sarah ran to Martha’s house and was surprised to learn that Jesus was staying with them.  Hearing of Eunice’s condition, Jesus came quickly. Our eyes met as He came through the doorway and I knew in that moment that He was more than just a man. I was strangely moved!  He quickly made His way to the room where Eunice lay and gently placed His hand on her forehead. Immediately the fever vanished. The bleeding stopped. Eunice sat up in bed, instantly healed and I bowed before this man called Jesus, a changed man. 

Belief filled my heart where scepticism and doubt once ruled. Jesus prayed with our family, pronounced His blessing and quickly was gone. I’ll never forget the look of compassion in His eyes.

The next morning the thought crossed my mind briefly that I should tell Jesus that it was my blanket that cradled Him on that cold, frosty night in Bethlehem but I quickly realized that He already knew. He was God and He knew everything. I was changed forever by this encounter with the One I had rejected for so long.

Don’t be a doubter like me. Investigate His claims. Read the biblical account of Christ’s life.  Seek out a Christian pastor or friend if you want to know more. Jesus Christ is everything the angels said he would be and He will change your life.  Just give Him a chance!

Ultimate Priority

Often, while going through "old" documents in my computer I will come across something I wrote in days gone by that hits me over the head...all over again.

The following post fits into that category and I re-post it as much for my benefit and consideration as anyone else's.  But...if you are challenged by these words...then I am grateful.

Here is that post:

The renowned writer/preacher, Dr. A. W. Tozer, wrote a searing indictment of Christians entitled, "WORSHIP, the Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church."

John MacArthur refers to worship as the believer's "ultimate priority".

Tozer goes on to say, “In the majority of our meetings there is…

- scarcely a trace of reverent thought
- no recognition of the unity of the Body
- little sense of the “Divine Presence”
- no moment of stillness
- no solemnity
- no wonder
- no holy fear

So how do you feel about his assessment? Is he "right on" or was he exaggerating?

Personally, I feel that I've lost much of the sense of awe and wonder that I once had. Worship at times has become too commonplace thus making it counterfeit and without value. Jesus is desirous of "true worshipers" who worship Him in Spirit and in truth". (John 4)

This week I penned a few lines as I lamented the lack of awe and wonder in my own experience:

“Lost in wonder, awe and beauty
While upon Your face we gaze;
May the glory of Your presence
Draw from us a song of praise.

Waiting here in solemn stillness
As your people seek Your face;
Quiet, reverent, sober, resting
In the warmth of Your embrace.”

My prayer is that I (and all the Body of Christ) would rediscover the missing jewel of worship and, as Ravi Zacharias writes in a recent book, Recapture the Wonder.

May it be so for His name's sake! AMEN!