Living life beyond Cerebral Palsy for God's glory.

Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

A Trek to Bethlehem.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)

 

On December 2nd my friends took me on a long-awaited trek. Every year on the first Saturday in December the town of Bala hosts a “Trek to Bethlehem,” and I have wanted to go for the past 13 years. But because it has been too snowy, too cold, or both, I have not been able to go. My wheelchair does not go far in the snow.

This year was different. There was no snow and it was a balmy five degrees. This was my chance. So Elaine called to see if we could get in easily and early. The organizers were very helpful and even reserved a parking spot close to the venue.  Elaine and Heather went in my van. (Heather drove as I cannot.) It took an hour to get there. We easily found our parking spot. Brian and Yvonne followed in their car. Brian also uses a wheelchair. So they joined us on this adventure. We were shown a side door where there were no steps. Heather bundled me up so I would not get cold. It’s harder to stay warm when you sit all the time.

As we waited for our group to go through the trek, we listened to choirs singing Christmas carols. When our group was called, we gathered with our leader, Rebecca, who led us through the streets of Bethlehem and kept us safe from the Roman solders. We saw travelers on a donkey, angels singing, Roman soldiers questioning our travels, sheep with shepherd. Our leader kept us on track and we had to stop at the tax collectors to pay our taxes and have our papers stamped.

The highlight for me was arriving at the stable, seeing Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus. It was simple, too cold a place for a baby to be born. It was stark and bare. My King and Savour, the God of the universe, born in a barn with animals, came to live then to die on a cross.

Jesus, thank you for coming to earth to save sinful people. I can never repay you but am very thankful you came.

I left with the awe of what Christmas is about.

 

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

Advertisements

Christmas Greetings from Steph Beth Nickel

 

Graphic for Deb's Blog

When Deb asked me to write a guest post for her blog, I said, “Sure!” And then I sat down to write. “Shall I give step-by-step insight into the writing process?” “Shall I make a list of some of the lessons I’ve learned since first meeting Deb?” Or . . . “Shall I share the story of a family who, long ago, also lived beyond their circumstances?”
Here is my poem “’Twas the Day Before Christmas,” based on Clement Clarke Moore’s classic.

’Twas the day before Christmas and all through the land,
The people were traveling, some hand in hand,
No stockings were hung, no chimneys in sight,
Just walking – keep walking – until it is night.

Some people were nestled all snug in their beds
While others had nowhere to lay down their heads,
And Mary was slowly plodding along,
Not knowing the angels were prepping a song.

Then up ahead they saw the bright lights,
The small town of Bethlehem coming in sight,
“Ah, now at last, a place we can rest,
“Perhaps they have room at the inn for a guest.”

But, no, the inn’s full; the owner is sad,
He knows Mary’s tired; he feels really bad,
But he offers a stable and freshly strewn hay,
“I hope it’s enough” is all he could say.

The smiles on their faces touched the man’s heart,
Surely he wanted to do a small part
To make the babe welcome whose coming was near,
The baby whose coming would drive away fear.

Now Mary and Joseph, their Sweet Baby Boy
Whose coming would bring oh so much joy,
A tiny young fam’ly on top of the world,
Such glory and wonder around them was curled!

And out in the pasture, where shepherds kept sheep,
Talking and working, not falling asleep,
A strange thing did happen; they trembled in fear,
A voice from the heavens boomed very near.

It was an angel sent from above,
To speak of God’s glory, to speak of His love,
To send them to town, away from their lambs,
“Leave behind ewes and leave behind rams.

“For something most wondrous has happened this night,
“Go now to Bethlehem; do what is right,
“The Promise of Ages has come now to you,
“The Saviour, Messiah, is born; it is true.

“He’s dressed not in splendour or a king’s royal cloth,
“He’s just wrapped in swaddling, and that is enough,
“But go now and worship your Lamb and your King,
“And as you will journey, all heaven will sing.”

Their eyes how they twinkled and glistened with tears,
For the One that they spoke of had been promised for years,
And now they would see Him and give Him their praise,
This surely would prove the most glorious of days.

Their staffs they would carry, gripped firm in their hand,
The best gift of all had come to their land,
And they got to see Him, simple shepherds no less,
They saw the new Saviour; they were so blessed.

Maybe chubby and plump, snuggled in hay,
Wonder of wonders, what a great day!
The shepherds were awestruck, the babe’s family too,
The Promise of Heaven had that night come true.

He spoke not a word but went straight to their hearts,
His work lay before Him; this was the start,
He’d come down from heaven, left angels behind,
Entrusted to shepherds, this message we find.

They sprang from their knees, went out from that place,
Sharing the news of God’s goodness and grace,
We hear them exclaim to this very day,
“The Saviour has come; now walk in His way.”

2015 Headshot 2 (small)

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor and was honoured to co-author Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. This fall they met to discuss ideas for Deb’s second book, tentatively titled Still Living Beyond My Circumstances. Steph looks forward to this next phase of the adventure. Photo Credit: Stephen G. Woo