CS Lewis wrote the Narnia Chronicles in the 50s, having converted to Christianity in the late 20s. It is based on kids finding a mythical world in a wardrobe and overcoming their own fears in the progress of the story. It’s certainly a series worth reading. Many see the books as a Christian allegory, with Aslan as the Son of God.
Nothing actually says Christmas to me like the story of Aslan in Narnia. Aslan the lion who teaches the kids in the story about unselfish love and self sacrifice. The Lion gave up his life to save Edmund in the story, who had betrayed the Narnians and his siblings. By the death of the Lion, the boy was free to live and repent. It all ends well, the Lion is resurrected and the kids reign over Narnia which they freed from evil.
That’s the story of Christmas to me. Jesus came to this earth to teach us how to live with each other. Ultimately we betray and hurt each other, and in order to give us an opportunity to reconcile with the Father, Jesus gave up His life for us. The story starts of course with the babe Jesus, born in a manger.
Christmas is now past, but remembering Jesus is not just for Christmas. We remember his birth, but it’s worth to also look at His life and the lessons He teaches us daily. Maybe that would be a great way to start the new year 2021, which is almost here. To care for each other, to live in harmony with those around us and put our trust of these uncertain times in the life of Him who came to show us how to live.
Another year has passed. It’s less than 8 weeks to Christmas. The US presidential election is still undecided. And we are back in a total lockdown… events just keep unfolding, and time just keeps on flying. It certainly gives me time to reflect and think about all that is going on in this world.
As I write this, I can hear the family walking up the stairs singing. So sweet, they are bringing cards and little presents. Still I can’t shake the feeling this is just another one of those days of which many have passed already in the last 9 months. I don’t know why I struggle so much with this forced lockdown. Even though I rarely go out anyways, when someone tells you you can’t do something it feels just worse!
Since I have come back from the US I have volunteered at the One Vision (link below) where I can. Sorting food, clothes, refilling the store etc. And by doing so I am focused on others more than myself. With each foodcan I put down or plastic bag I fill I am reminded how blessed I truly am. N
I have no financial struggle, a warm house, and still the ability to enjoy another birthday! It sure puts things in prospective.
Melody and I are also about to attend our first virtual Christmas market with our handmade crochet items. You can find the (growing) collection on our Shopify page (https://tapandco.myshopify.com). This will be a totally new experience, thanks to the lockdown. A little reminder that Christmas is coming!
With that, I can truly say I am thankful. And blessed.
I would encourage you to find light in this dark tunnel. And find a listening ear if you are struggling. There are many wonderful support groups that can be reached, and many individuals who unselfishly give up their time to care for others. It provides a different prospective. And I am also very willing to be the listening ear, or be the other face on a zoom social. Just contact me and let me know.
A Time for Everything
1Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.
2He sets the time for birth and the time for death,
the time for planting and the time for pulling up,
3the time for killing and the time for healing,
the time for tearing down and the time for building.
4He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy,
the time for mourning and the time for dancing,
5the time for making love and the time for not making love,
the time for kissing and the time for not kissing.
6He sets the time for finding and the time for losing,
the time for saving and the time for throwing away,
7the time for tearing and the time for mending,
the time for silence and the time for talk.
8He sets the time for love and the time for hate,
the time for war and the time for peace.
9What do we gain from all our work? 10I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. 11He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. 12So I realized that all we can do is to be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. 13All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God’s gift.
14I know that everything God does will last for ever. You can’t add anything to it or take anything away from it. And one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him. 15Whatever happens or can happen has already happened before. God makes the same thing happen again and again.
You can’t really visit Scotland and not visit at least some castles. Some are beautiful restored, some are now in ruins, some are still occupied and some are now museums. Visiting these is one of my favourite activities. A lot of footsteps have gone before me, walking along the hall ways, and I can always dream about what it has been like. I can dream about being in charge of the castle, or marvel at what those truly in charge have done with it. Castles are build on very strong foundations.
Castles remind me of past times, of era’s gone by.
There is another type of castle. Sand castles are those built on the beach, with a bucket and spade… An alternate meaning is dreaming of something but without a firm foundation, or living a life without a firm foundation. Walking along the beach I love looking at those castles built by kids… and I remember I certainly also have dreams built on nothing but sand.
There is a children’s song we used to sing.. A wise man built his house on the rock, but a foolish man built his house on the sand. Then the storm came and the house on the sand fell flat. The song is based on Matthew 7:24-27. In this passage we are encouraged to build our house on a solid foundation. On a rock. Not on sand, where it can crash.
“24 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain feel, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it”
Both castles are beautiful. But the big difference between a sand castle and a real castle is the material it’s built with and the foundation it’s built on. Castles are built to last, they are often in strategic locations, built on rock massive. Unlike sand castles/dream castles which can just blow away by the wind.
We are asked to build our lives on Jesus the Rock, so it can withstand the test of time. Just like the castles I have seen. It can weather a storm, where Jesus is the centre of our lives. We will learn to trust Him, and unlike the sand castle of dreams this relationship will stay strong.
“And I will build my life upon Your love, it is a firm foundation And I will put my trust in You alone and I will not be shaken And I will build my life upon Your love, it is a firm foundation And I will put my trust in You alone and I will not be shaken…
Holy, there is no one like You, there is none beside You Open up my eyes in wonder and Show me who You are and fill me with Your heart And lead me in Your love to those around me” (Pat Barrett)
Castles, dreams… what is your life built on? I hope it is on the Rock!
Today I was watching some wasps building a nest inside a cupboard on the balcony. Its fascinating to watch, even if the nest is not desired. The creatures just fly off and on, doing what they do and then coming back to build some more. Its an American style wasp and nest, so I can’t really relate to what its supposed to be like when its finished. And judging by the comments from my house mates, its not something I will see being finished.
Today we had a multi WhatsApp call within the family. We discovered this new feature a few weeks ago, and its kinda cool to chat altogether.. even if my dad thinks we sound more like a bunch of chickens, talking over each other and none of it very audible
It got me thinking though, as I am far away from my own home. Home has become a different reality in these last months. The stories from my own family, cooped up at home. Stay at home orders, not able to venture out. Stores deemed non essential shut (food is apparently the only essential store we need.. kinda hard for a crafter!) Getting a coffee at a favourite coffee place not possible. Churches closed and a pick and choose online reality. Sometimes home may sound like a prison instead of a place to feel relaxed.
Jesus said He was going Home, after he had died on the cross. Many countries celebrate “ascension day”, 39 days after Easter. He had mentioned that there are many mansions in heaven, with place for everyone (John 14:2 In my Fathers house are many mansions: If it were not so, I would have told you. I got to prepare a place for you) and that He was going there to prepare a place for us. I wonder what the houses will look like. The imagery in Revelation is all very grand, with streets of gold.
Many times in my in child hood when weve traveled so far
By nightfall how weary I’d grown
Fathers arms would slip around me and gently he’d say
My child were going home
Going home, I’m going home
There is nothing to hold me here
I’ve caught a glimpse of that Heavenly land
Praise God, I’m going home
Now the twilight is fading, the day soon shall end
Lord, I get homesick, the farther I roam
But the Father has led me each step of the way
And now I’m going home
Going home, I’m going home
There is nothing to hold me here
I’ve caught a glimpse of that Heavenly land
Praise God, I’m going home
I guess right now I would be very happy with a very humble house of my own though! A place to be myself and to be with those I love. Maybe I should ask that wasp to make me one for right here 🙂
Time has gone so fast, and I realise we have not written anything for some time! The new year started and the family is already back into the swing of things. It’s almost like Christmas never happened!
It’s now the 3rd Sabbath of the month and I guess it’s no longer appropriate to wish folks happy New Year!
However, that’s just what this is all about. New year, new beginnings, good intentions.
I did not really make any. I know I break them as soon as I make them. But still, reflection of the year past and figuring out the future year can’t really be escaped. So caught up in the hype, I did at least tell myself that this year i would try and think of my own needs a little more. Spending time doing things I love just because I love them.
If you ask how I have fared these first 3 weeks of the year.. Uhm.. not so good. However there is one thing I really love doing that relaxes me… Crocheting. I prefer not to do that alone though, it’s fun to do that together with my daughter. But as I am often away, I do find myself often crocheting by myself. Each stitch is done in a rhythm, while my thoughts freely flow. Maybe it’s just a daily reflection, going through the day, self examining and often praying for those around me.
Come to think of it, maybe that should be my good intention for the rest of this year. Starting each day with devotion, and finishing each day with reflection.
My current devotional is ‘my utmost for His highest’ by Oswald Chambers. I subscribe and daily the thought for that day is emailed to me. (https://utmost.org)
Maybe this year we can motivate each other to keep going?
There is something so magical about Scotland that it draws me year on year. Whenever there is opportunity, I want to go there. My favourite part is the Highlands, the remoteness, wild landscape. The chances of seeing wildlife, very few others.
This year we wanted to try a different part of Scotland, the Isle of Skye the destination. However, Christmas would be spend in the Highlands.
After the beautiful Candle service at Stanboroughpark Church, we set off to the north. After 4 hours we decided to stop at a service station and camp for the night. Our motorhome is self sufficient, and after spending the night we woke up Christmas morning, ready to go on to the Highlands. The goal was to find a spot in Glencoe to cook our Christmas meal, waking up to the beautiful mountains.
Spending Christmas in the beautiful scenery, surrounded by the mystical mountains, that’s the reminder for me of our God who created everything so perfect but then came to this earth to be able to restore the relationship between God and man which was destroyed due to our sinful nature. The mountains will burst into singing, according to Isaiah 55:12
Christmas has now come and gone. All I have as reminders are the little Christmas tree still on the table in the Motorhome and the many pictures I took and the assurance that I too can sing with joy about His Goodness.
One of my all time favourite things to do is to have a proper afternoon tea somewhere, with my daughter Melody. We have done simple traditional ones, special ones, in beautiful locations, or just in a farm shop.
It’s exciting to see what will be served, ensuring our typical dietary requirements can be met. The joy we feel leading up to the event, trying to decide what teas to try, thinking about the cakes that will be served and what the ambience will be like.
Yesterday we had the pleasure to have an afternoon tea at Waddesdon Manor, the former house of the Rothschild family. The house on the outside looks like a country castle in France! So beautiful. The inside is very opulent, and dark. Still, we were looking forward to our lovely cup of tea!
Often the cakes are the highlight, we were surprised as this time the savoury won! Lovely little goats cheese/spinach tarts, little smoked pieces of fish… all just delicious! As we had our tea late, we were the only ones left in the non descriptive room they use for this treat.
We will not likely go back to have tea there, but we can certainly say we have had tea at a Manor House!
Jesus loved to socialise around food too. He ate with people, associated himself with people. His first encounter to start His ministry was a wedding with food and drink! In the book of Luke are 10 stories of Jesus eating with people! He knew it’s was the perfect opportunity to learn more through friendship, learning about who He is.
John 6:35 ‘I am the Bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry , and whoever believes in me will never go thirsty’
Maybe that’s why I like having an afternoon tea so much. It’s an opportunity to share, talk about God and life, and reset our relationship.
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