Saturday, December 20, 2014

Good Tidings

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We have our very own Charlie Brown Christmas tree that sprouted up near our brush pile some time ago. Perhaps he is the offspring of one of our discarded Christmas trees of years past. We don't have many evergreens on our property, so I'm pretty fond of this little tree, especially when covered with the season's first snow.

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This school semester has been the hardest since we started homeschooling almost eight (!!!) years ago. I am worn out. My family is worn out. But when we woke up Thursday morning to a winter wonderland, our spirits brightened. Most of the area schools were cancelled, but the girls' school just delayed an hour because it was the middle of finals week. Ryne and I shoveled snow in the dark (Marc was out of town), but once the sun came up I had time for a little stroll in the woods. I soaked in the quiet beauty and then drove Anna to school (Grace, who doesn't have finals, was finished on Monday). We both just ooo-ed and ahh-ed the entire drive, except for the brief moment when my car skidded on an overpass and we thought we were going to go flying off a hill and crash land in a shopping center parking lot. It was a much welcome distraction from the day's physics and classical literature finals -- the snow, that is, not the near-death experience!

I've missed blogging and have written many posts in my head the last several months. I've also missed taking pictures. The other day I looked through my pictures for 2014, and discovered that if it didn't involve cross country/track, ballet, or a vacation, I took very few pictures this year. How sad! I clearly need more moments like this walk in the snow! If the pictures look funny, I apologize. My computer monitor has been sick all fall and I can't really see what my pictures look like. Right now they are all blue, so I hope that's not the case for you! I'm hoping a new laptop might be in my future, but that whole naughty or nice thing might be my downfall. : )

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I may be physically and mentally worn out, but my spiritual Hope has not worn out. It's been an amazing year of learning God's truths, especially through my weekly Bible Study Fellowship lessons. I wish I could go into more detail about those lessons right now, but I promised myself this would be a short post. I am, however, going to share one little nugget I came across a couple months ago in my personal reading. I starred it and made a note to post this on the blog at Christmas time, because it is so perfect for refocusing our weary minds on Who really matters this season.

The Gift of Gifts

O Source of all Good,

What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts,
thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
his self-emptying incomprehensible,
his infinity of love beyond the heart's grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to him he draws near 
on wings of grace,
to raise me to himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
he united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery;
he came, God-incarnate, to save me
to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer's face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mine and I am his.

In him thou hast given me so much 
that heaven can give no more.

The Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers and Devotions

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Have a blessed Christmas, resting in His peace!