Living life beyond Cerebral Palsy for God's glory.

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

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).

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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

Do you see what I see?

This is the account of the first Christmas: God gave His Son Jesus, the greatest gift of all, to mankind.

 

We read in Luke 2:1-7 …

 

“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 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”ESV

 

 

Christmas is a special time. It is mixed with emotions from excitement to depression and everything in between. We get wrapped up in gift giving and receiving, trying to find the perfect gift—but the perfect gift has already been given. The real meaning of Christmas is Jesus coming to live with the very people He made. He came to live a spotless life so He could give His life for you and me.

 

Do you see what I see? If you know Jesus, then thank Him for giving you His life. If you are not sure of what to do with Jesus, I invite you to explore His story. Read the book of John in the Bible or find a friend who knows Jesus and ask questions. Do not assume what the world tells you is right. If I did that, I would have not done anything with my life.

 

It is my prayer that you see Jesus, God’s gift for you in the manger and upon the cross. If you find Him, you will have the greatest gift of all.

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18 ESV)

 

Christmas

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favours.”

[15] When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:14-15 (NLT)

It’s Christmas 2011, our world is crazy busy: we have to get gifts, food and decorations to prepare for the big day. These things are not bad but if we let them take our focus off baby Jesus then Christmas is just another day.

Without the baby Jesus in the manger and Jesus the man on the cross we have no hope. Take some time this Christmas between the gifts, food and family gatherings to reflect on the gift of God’s son. He is the hope for the world!

What will you do with God’s gift this Christmas?

God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 1 John 4:9 (NLT)

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. 1 John 1:9 (NLT)