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Braking Points

Exploring the Adventure of Aging

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Christmas

Christmas Without or Christmas Within 2015

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It is just not Christmas without…
You fill in the blanks

Snow or at least frost in air

A spouse, parent, a child, a friend, someone you loved

Who is not there

Health, wealth, or just enough money

to put presents under the tree

or maybe not even a tree

being home to celebrate with family and friends

without clothes to keep warm 

or a home in the storm

You fill in the blanks…
It is just not Christmas without. . .

Yet the truth of it all, it is all those with outs 

That speak to what Christmas’s about

The broken places in our lives and hearts

The empty spaces at the Christmas table

The health issues, the presence of sin

Christ came to a world filled with doubt

The promise of love, peace, hope within

In spite of all the with outs

It is Christ that Christmas is about.

I pray the world, especially the ones that I love take time to figure that out.

Two Days After Thanksgiving

Two days after Thanksgiving
Boy, am I grateful now that day has passed
For turkey and dressing, a bountiful feast
For family, for friends both far and near
For the sweetness of life
For the wonder of love
For surviving the cleaning with nary a scar
For the couch that provided well needed rest
Two days after Thanksgiving
And now that day has passed
For time to reflect, on the paradoxes that day brings
For some are still lonely
For some are still hungry
For some have no place to rest rear end or head
For some have no wonder of life or of love
For some have just anger not a thing from above
Two days after Thanksgiving
Boy, now Christmas shopping
For family, for friends, and dwell in the world
In the dark corners, times and places
In captivating emptiness
In human tradition
To chose roots of bitterness rather than love
To walk in the footsteps of a commercial god
So Two days after Thanksgiving
I read these four verses from an ancient letter

Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, (‭Colossians‬ ‭2‬:‭6-9‬ NET)

And I choose to live in the One Who saved me
For to be thankful is more than a day
For to really live requires more than external cleaning
For the Wonder of THE LOVE, For Deity Incarnate
For the sweetness of life dwells only in Him
Two days after Thanksgiving until the world ends.

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Deserving Christmas

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Good tidings, Great joy
Wrapped in rags, Baby Boy
Heaven’s offering, God’s plan
Infant Jesus, Son of man

“Listen to me! I deserve to have my family together for Christmas!”
“I deserve a little respect.”
“I deserve to be able to relax a little this Christmas.”
“I deserve to be with my friends.”
“I deserve that diamond ring.”
“I deserve to be able to avoid going to grandma’s house, with the heat turned to 90 degrees and the television at full volume.”
“I deserve time with my grandkids.”
“I deserve not to have everything I ever did to disappoint thrown in my face at Christmas.”
“I deserve not to be hassled by my Dad to come home this Christmas.”
“I deserve being able to establish our own Christmas traditions.”
“I deserve a Mom who bakes cookies, not one who lounges on the sofa with a drink in her hand.”
“I have come a long way and sacrificed a whole lot, I deserve at least one perfect Christmas.”
“I deserve to have things my way….MY WAY at Christmas.”

For several days now as I recuperate from chest congestion, two thoughts have plagued my mind, one is expressed in the concocted statements above, and the other maybe tomorrow. I feel sure anyone reading this could add to the list. Perhaps in my feverish state my focus turned inward, because while whining about NOT deserving to be sick at Christmas, it hit me,

I DO NOT DESERVE CHRISTMAS AT ALL!

In every role of my life, as a daughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a wife, a mother, a co-worker, a friend, I have failed or as scripture says I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I suspect I am not alone although my sins are many. I am not saying all this to be a downer at Christmas, BUT in this season to look outward and upward, Outward to the needs and cares of other and Upward to the ONE whose birth we celebrate. As long as I focus on myself, I will never experience Christmas and will get exactly what I deserve, but God doesn’t want that for any of us.

And so I am thankful to God who knowing

I DO NOT DESERVE CHRISTMAS AT ALL, GAVE IT TO ME ANYWAY!

CHRISTMAS IS A GIFT, OPEN IT AND RECEIVE THE BLESSINGS!

And then SHARE with others!

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Spiritual Arrhythmia–Christmas Reset

Along with my physical issues this morning as I coughed most of the night, I realized my spiritual issues were greater. As I read the scripture from the #She Reads Truth devotional two days ago, I knew it was time to let God do a little heart surgery, so I can truly carry the Christmas heartbeat wherever I go…today not far from this couch, but hey! it is a start.

Even if my letter made you sad, I am not sorry I wrote it. At first I was sorry, because it made you sad, but you were sad only for a short time. Now I am happy, not because you were made sad, but because your sorrow made you change your lives. You became sad in the way God wanted you to, so you were not hurt by us in any way.

The kind of sorrow God wants makes people change their hearts and lives. This leads to salvation, and you cannot be sorry for that. But the kind of sorrow the world has brings death. See what this sorrow—the sorrow God wanted you to have—has done to you: It has made you very serious. It made you want to restore yourselves. It made you angry and afraid. It made you want to see me. It made you care. It made you want to do the right thing. In every way you have regained your innocence. (2 Corinthians 7:8-11 NCV)

Imagine that, letting God in, seeing my sin as He does and longing be all that Christmas can be to the world…read the last sentence again…He sets our heart in rhythm with His and restores our innocence. No white washing my sin, but resetting within.

Everywhere the sounds of Christmas
Fill the streets, the stores, the steeples
Christmas music everywhere

Everywhere the looks of Christmas
Cover homes, churches, people
Christmas lights city squares

Everywhere the feel of Christmas
Peace, love, and joy know no equal
Imitations are everywhere.

Little Drummer Boy
Little Drummer Boy

There is a rhythm to Christmas
The sound of a little boy’s drum
There is a heartbeat to Christmas
That announces a savior has come

In me is the heartbeat of Christmas
But it gets out of sync now and then
Overwhelmed by imitations of Christmas
It falters, it misses, it sins.

Everywhere the sounds of Christmas
Hear a baby’s cry in the night
Christmas sounds everywhere

Everywhere the sights of Christmas
In the darkness there is a new light
Christmas sights everywhere

Everywhere the feel of Christmas
Christ resetting our hearts to do right
Christmas action everywhere

So here in these morning hours
Considering Christmas without and within
Shock my heart back into rhythm with yours, Lord Jesus
Clean out my spiritual arteries of all the debris
that threatens to steal the joy of Christmas
like the Grinch stole Whoville’s presents and trees
I don’t care if this rhymes
Or follows Poetry guidelines
I haven’t got the time
My heart needs a reset right now
So I can carry Christmas with me everywhere.

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, preaching the Good News from God. He said, “The right time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Change your hearts and lives and believe the Good News!” (Mark 1:14, 15 NCV)

Whole for Christmas Almost Home

Jonathan Kisler
Jonathan Kisler

Lord, make us whole this Christmas Eve
gather us round your tree
the one from which the manger came
the one carved for the sea of Galilee
the rough one hewn for death’s decree
Make us whole Make us family

This morning dawned clear, bright (sun on the icy grass and paths) and very cold. Everyone in this household seems to be fighting off coughing and hacking or stomach virus. We had planned a trip to Oklahoma next week. Main purpose was to connect with our family there. It has been 6 months since we have been together. But it doesn’t look like it is going to happen. Another icing is predicted and none of us feel healthy enough to brave the weather, the roads and the distance.

Joshua Kisler
Joshua Kisler

I worry that my children and grandchildren will not feel connected at all to us, but I must have faith that God will keep us close, if not in physical presence, then in heart and spirit. Terry and I have nine grandchildren and I want each of them to know how much I love them. So, I am sad that I cannot make this trip. I am delighted that I have three who are in proximity and that we can be involved in their lives, but even that is changing as they grow up with one of them already off to college.

The little bit of verse above came to me this morning in part influenced by The Tale of Three Trees by Angela E. Hunt. As I wrote it some of my sadness dissipated as I realized how wide the arms of God are and that He makes us whole, he makes us one, and he makes us family. So whether near or far apart, this Christmas we will be Whole because of the One who is Holy!

Zoie Engels, Larry Neeley, and Adalyn Kisler
Zoie Engels, Larry Neeley, and Adalyn Kisler

Gabrielle Kisler
Gabrielle Kisler
Abigail, Jordan and Graham Foster
Abigail, Jordan and Graham Foster

Preparing for Christ–One Tiny Seed

The whole of creation in one tiny seed
From the womb of a virgin to meet the world’s need
Came a root and a shoot from one tiny seed
The wonder of Christmas to fill the world’s need
Overcoming our sin, our hunger, our greed
One tiny seed, one was enough to meet all my needs.
One tiny seed
One baby King

Fertilization happens when a sperm meets and penetrates an egg. It's also called conception. At this moment, the genetic makeup is complete, including the sex of the baby. Within about three days after conception, the fertilized egg is dividing very fast into many cells. It passes through the fallopian tube into the uterus, where it attaches to the uterine wall. The placenta, which will nourish the baby, also starts to form.
Fertilization happens when a sperm meets and penetrates an egg. It’s also called conception. At this moment, the genetic makeup is complete, including the sex of the baby. Within about three days after conception, the fertilized egg is dividing very fast into many cells. It passes through the fallopian tube into the uterus, where it attaches to the uterine wall. The placenta, which will nourish the baby, also starts to form.

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Isaiah 11:1

In our yard in Tulsa, Oklahoma we had a beautiful ornamental Crabapple tree. In the spring enormous blossoms exploded on every branch, in the summer lush green leaves shaded the house, but in the fall, the time of crab apple fruit, little dry inedible fruit let us know that for all its showiness, the tree had no sustenance.

In one of those typical Oklahoma thunderstorms, lightening and wind struck the tree down, leaving only a small stump after we cleared the debris, but you know what happened, shoots appeared in the spring and today there is a Crabapple tree in that yard. Not the flowery showy tree it had once been, but a tree that produces real fruit. You see it went back to its original seed.So in the womb of a willing Mary, God planted his original seed. A seed that would meet all our needs, If only we concede that we have a need and He can meet it.image

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