Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mystery In The Manger

Christmas Joy is never-ending
When humble hearts receive
The gift of cradle and the cross
The moment they believe

The Mystery in the manger
Was truly God made known
The eternal gift of heaven
Through the cross of Christ alone

©  Julie Jablonski

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. . .an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,
because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will give birth to a son,
and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”

- Matthew 1:20-21

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mary's Son

Silent snow so gently falling
Peace within my spirit calling
Remembrance of a winter night
So long ago, star shining bright

Leading to a manger low
Winds of change began to blow
In heavenly peace, an infant sleeping
Adoring mother, softly weeping

Holding close the Holy Child
Blessed Savior, meek and mild
One day her heart will ponder why
For her sins too, her Son must die

Songs of angels fill the night
Lifting up their praise in flight
Holy, Holy is God of Heaven!
Unto man His Son is given!

Truth that echoes through the years
Transforming hearts, calming fears
Mary's Son, born to be
The Sacrifice to set us free
 ©  Julie Jablonski

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, 
keeping watch over their flock by night. 
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, 
and the glory of the Lord shone around them, 
and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, 
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings 
of great joy which will be to all people. 
For there is born to you this day in the city of David 
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 
And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe 
wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel 
a multitude of the heavenly host 
praising God and saying:

 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, 
that the shepherds said to one another, 
“Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, 
which the Lord has made known to us.” 
And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, 
and the Babe lying in a manger. 
Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known 
the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 
And all those who heard it marveled 
at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
 - Luke 2:8-19

Sunday, December 6, 2015

His Arriving

Christmas is a time that always finds ways to inspire me. 

Often that inspiration comes from witnessing more peace, more love, a little more goodwill toward men in the days of December, and the repeating sound of joy all around us as we walk through the weeks of Advent.

There’s a whisper that comes on the wind gently reminding, “He’s coming.” 

A whisper, that brings a thrill of hope to me and to so many in this tired and weary world.

The hope, joy, and songs of the season can cause many thoughts to whirl around in my heart and mind and sometimes I just feel the need to release them – to piece them together in a way that gives at least a glimpse of the wonder that was stirring deep inside.

Quite a few years ago, I began to think deeply about these words from a favorite Christmas hymn…

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King.

Let every heart prepare Him room,
and heaven and nature sing."

Can you imagine the wonder of it? Of the earth that God created, receiving her King once again with joy, and then all of heaven and nature singing and rejoicing along with her?  

The thought of it just makes my heart beat a bit faster and sends so many pictures tingling through my mind.

God is such a beautiful mystery! 

The unexpected wonder of Him becoming small, coming to live with us, so that He could die for us, to rise again, and then live within us? 

That is jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, amazing truth, that will for all ages cause men, including me, to fall down on their knees to worship Him and to continue to sing all about the “wonders of His love.” 

There are so many of these wonders we love to sing about at Christmastime and it was the words of the song “Joy to the World”, that were the inspiration for this poem:

With His glorious arriving
On the first Christmas night
The earth must have been glowing
Renewed by His Light

And radiantly beaming
Through the dark midnight mist
So long she’d been waiting
For her face to be kissed

With the light of His Love
As again God came down
Not to Garden of Eden
But to a small town

On this night like no other
She welcomed her King
Every mountain and valley
Lifting voices to sing

Their praises to God
The Almighty Creator
The Light of the World
And the One who had made her

With a joy bursting forth
From the rocks and the trees
And sweet music from heaven
Carried soft in a breeze

Oh so gently – she held Him
As only earth can
So amazed by her God
Who had made Himself man

Coming to save
Men He’d made from her dust
The Savior and King
God with us

©  Julie Jablonski 
Joy to the world ~ the Lord has come!
Immanuel ~ God with us!

I’ve written many poems relating to Christmas over the years and I'm hoping to share one here each week during this season of Advent.

If you missed the new short poem I posted last week, you can click here to read: 

This week’s post is also part of a monthly blog circle
"Circle of Faith in Words and Image" 
I've had so much fun linking up with this wonderful group of friends and you may have guessed that our theme this month is Christmas. :)

For more Christmas wonder please visit their pages too:

Patricia at:  Pollywog Creek
Marty at: What Marty Sees

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Love Child

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      Starlight ~
      On a silent night
      Piercing the dark
      Lighting a path
      To where wonder lies
      Heart-beating love, love, love
      For God so loved
      That He gave
      Wrapped Himself
      Small enough
      To be held
      To behold 
      His glory
      In the face. . .
      Of a child.              

            © 2015 Julie Jablonski 

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For God so loved the world that he gave
His one and only son, that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
 - John 3:16

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
 - John 1:14

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Be Still

As we enter into the season of Advent,

This slow walk to Bethlehem where a brilliant star will soon appear over a lowly little manger pointing us to the greatest gift ever given,

I want these words to continue to resonate in my heart:

Be still . . .

Be still . . .

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.  
(Psalm 37:7)

Beautiful words ~ ancient and true ~ and I pray they will sink in deep --- so very deep.

How I long to be still this year and wait patiently for His coming.

And I will try to be still, but inside my heart there’s an increasing angst as I’m reminded that Christmastime can be so very loud.

The world will constantly tell me to shop, buy, wrap, add lights and bows and garland and tinsel, to bake sweet treats, and make the first 25 days in December sparkle like the prettiest things I can find on Pinterest.

Sadly, it can be a convincing voice, but I hope for this year to be different.

I pray that I will not give ear to this beckoning call to chaos, but will allow the sacred call to stillness to overwhelm me instead.

As I wrestle with this inner struggle, (that I feel guilty about having at all), I’m reminded of the story of Mary and Martha of Bethany, found in Luke chapter 10.

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As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, 
he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. 
She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me 
to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, 
“you are worried and upset about many things, 
but few things are needed—or indeed only one. 
Mary has chosen what is better, 
and it will not be taken away from her.”

(Luke 10:38-42)

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On this day after Thanksgiving, 

The biggest, craziest shopping day of the year, 

I did choose to be still. 

I did not leave my house at all, but took time to sit in quiet devotion, to read His word and listen to His voice, and I did not worry one bit about all of the preparations.

But this is just one day. 

There are many more days to come before I’ll be singing Silent Night by candlelight at Christmas Eve service, and Christmas morning is sure to arrive as well, when I do plan to have gifts to give my family and a lighted Christmas tree to place those gifts beneath.

Honestly, I know there will be times from now until then when I will be much like Martha, “distracted by all of the preparations”, and surely there will be instances when I’m, “worried and upset about many things”, but I pray I will still find many moments to be like Mary.

To choose the one thing that is needed.

Sitting still at the feet of Jesus and waiting patiently for Him.

For that alone is the one thing that can truly satisfy.

And it will never be taken away.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Ever Hope

No matter the dark days that may lay ahead,
there is a Light shining ever-bright, ever-true.

A Light that will guide my path.

A Light that warms me from the inside-out.

A Light that can never be extinguished.

Because God, 
who is the source of that Light ~

Always is,

Always was,

Always will be.

And He is living in me.

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He is my Ever Hope who I fall into again and again.

And forever I am caught in the

unending glory of His Love.

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The quote in the photo above is from a wonderful book which 
I highly recommend:

If your heart longs for beauty and a closer walk with the God who created it all,
you'll want to hold this book in your hands 
and let the words Tim has written
spill all over your heart.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thank-full --- A Family Tribute

It was a grey October day, the day you left us.

Gentle rain was falling in short little bursts, much like our tears that fell with each wave of sorrow, knowing that soon you would be gone.  

As we made the short drive from our home all four of us sat mostly silent, staring far off through the window, holding our breath, holding each other’s hands, holding you so close in our hearts.

Just moments before we had each lifted you, held you tight to our chests, whispered our love into your ears, kissed your nose, and your sweet little head --- your soft little head that you could barely lift anymore. 

Yes, sweet-one, you were so weak and tired --- it was time to let you go.

For 16 years you showed us unconditional love --- such a gift you were to us and for that we are forever grateful.

We are thankful that you were ours to have and to hold for all of those years.

Thankful for each snuggle and kiss.

Thankful for the joy you brought to our family and for the joy you showed each time one of us walked through the door.

Thankful for how you loved to play and how much you could make us laugh.

Thankful that you were part of our world, and that really, we were your whole world.

Thankful can seem like a small word sometimes, not quite big enough to convey the depth of gratitude, but where words fail, hearts feel, and because of you, our hearts are full. . .


Madison Brooklyn Black

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I’m linking up this post in a blog circle with a wonderful group of friends. 
Our theme this month is “Giving Thanks”.  
‘Tis the season to give thanks and I am ever grateful for each one of these 
brave and beautiful people and how they have blessed my life.

Please click each link below as they get added to visit their blogs. 
I know you will be blessed by all of their thoughtful words 
and beautiful photographs.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Seasonal Goodness - Counting Gifts

I’ve noticed that I tend to write a lot about the seasons, so I hesitate to write one more post related to a certain time of year, but this one may be more about the changing of my heart, rather than the changing of the seasons.

I’ve said it before…

I’m not a big fan of fall. 

The daylight hours growing shorter, the breezes that blow becoming colder, once bright flowers have dried up and blown away, and the obvious notion that the long sleepy winter will soon cover our part of the world with frozen blankets of white?

Well, its coming can make me want to throw down on the ground in a full-blown tantrum like a spoiled child and then pout about the fact that I was born in the South in the middle of summer, but here I am now living in place where it’s possible to get some measure of snow 9 months out of the year.

Winter can be absolutely stunning in its beauty, but around these parts the deep bone-chilling cold can last way, way, waaayyy too long.

I’m pretty convinced that there was no winter in Eden since Adam and Eve had no need for clothes, but then came. . .

 the fall. 

And look, there’s that word again – fall.

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It’s silly, I know, and I just need to get over it! And lately, I’ve been feeling very convicted regarding my attitude towards it.

I was struck by these words I saw posted by a pastor on Facebook the other day, 

“Grumbling and complaining is anti-Christian.”  - Scott Sauls

And I’m also reminded of these words I saved many years ago from the wonderfully wise Ann Voskamp,

“Does my life testify to my belief in the power of complaint — 
or the power of Christ?”

Ouch! I sure hope the people in my life do not see my complaining spirit before they see Christ in me. That would be devastating.

So I’ve decided in these beginning days of autumn, I’m going to change my tune from low grumblings, to songs that lift up praise.

And as Ann so graciously taught me as well, the easiest way to do that is to start counting gifts – 1000 gifts and more. . .

So I will begin with the ones I found just today on a lovely walk.

1. Vibrant red leaves set against a pale blue sky

2. The reflecting beauty of a still pond

3. Flower remnants – exquisite bronze sculptures

4. Silky white milkweed seeds blowing in the breeze

5. A sleepy bumble bee atop a purple aster flower

6. A symphony of praise rising up in my heart 

And the list will continue to go on and on and on, because really, 
the gifts of God are endless.

And no matter the season, there is always a reason to be grateful and to count

each wonderful gift!

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Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.
~ Psalm 95:1-2
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I am linking up once again with a talented group of photographers, writers, and friends 
in the "Circle of Faith in Words and Image", blog circle.

Our theme for this month is, "Seasonal Goodness".
Please click on the links below to visit each one: