A Christmas Blessing

Like the common shepherds, may we accept, with joy, the message that God loves us in an uncommon, spectacular way, NOW, as we are, enough to send his beloved Son to redeem us, and may the spreading of this word be our highest priority.

Like the tenacious wise men, may are heads not be turned by kings or the glittery things of this world, but may we seek God with all our might and worship him with the gift of ourselves.

Like the doubtful Zechariah, may our faith be strengthened and our tongues loosened to praise God’s steadfastness every day.

Like the joyful Elizabeth, may the truth that God has delivered us from disgrace be ever on our lips.

Like the humble Mary, may we gently, eagerly accept God’s will for us, may we dare to believe with Him all things are possible, and may we ponder and treasure His word in our hearts.

Like the indomitable Joseph, may we have the courage to be obedient to God even when it’s hard and may we face the travails of this life trusting, abiding in, and following Him.

Like the good donkey who carried a pregnant mother over many dusty miles, may we draw from the well of God’s strength to help bear the burdens of the suffering and the downtrodden.

Like the luminous star, may we reflect God’s glory wherever we are and may that reflection mark the narrow road for those who have eyes to see.

Like the bright angels ore the fields, may we be bearers of the good news of Christ, people of joy and peace, bringing love, light and hope to a cold, dark, weary world.

May it be so! Merry Christmas, friends!

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Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to follow me or sign up to receive my posts via email. Take a peek at my Redbubble store. Pollyeloquent.redbubble.com. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

A Question for the Christ

Jesus

What was it like

To leave the comforts of your heavenly home

The perfect love and fellowship of Father, Son, and Spirit

To put aside the unrestrained majesty and power

To dress your purity in flesh and stench

And take on helplessness and need

Did the angel’s celebration in the skies

Cause your little eyes to flutter

Suckling at your mother’s breast

Or nestled in the snuggly strips of cloth

Securely planted in the scratchy hay

Did the grunting and the snuffling of animals keep you awake

Did your parents get a wink of sleep

Or did dear Mary hover over you

In awe and yawning

Did the shepherds rest their dirty fingers

On your sweet smelling brow

How did Mary take this

Did she smile or flinch

Did Joseph chastise them to give you space

Because they clambered in, a noisy band they were

Breathless and excited

Did the glow of that fair star, the beacon bringing wise men, graze your skin

Lighting on you as you looked on wide-eyed

At those distinguished gentlemen who turned up at your door

Did their gifts at all enthrall you

Did their veneration turn your head

When they bowed before you

Did you understand they’d traveled from afar

A journey long and hard

Just to adore you

My brain cannot contain this strange idea

That God became a man, much less a babe

And when I ponder further

The reason that you graced this place

I’m floored

At your great sacrifice

Jesus

What was it like

I wonder

And I worship

 

 

Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 If you’re interested in reading other Christmasy posts I’ve written, scroll down to the bottom of the page and put the word Christmas in the “Look for Somethin'” search bar. You’ll find a couple that way, but scroll down to the older posts button from there and click on that and a few more will come up. You may also follow me there or sign up to receive my posts via email. Take a peek at my Redbubble store. Pollyeloquent.redbubble.com. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

A White Christmas?

I’m dreaming of a dry Christmas

Just like the ones I’ve rarely known

Where the trees are bare

And children stare

And cry because there isn’t any snow

I’m dreaming of a dry Christmas

With every trip I take outside

May your days feel more like July

And may all your Christmases be dry

Snow. I’m not a fan. Sure, it’s very pretty at times, even dreamy, when it’s wafting down slowly in flakes the size of feathers, forming a crystalline blanket of softness on surfaces. It shushes things. Traffic lessens, as a slippery sheen is laid down. People stay inside. They cocoon, wrapping themselves in wooly sweaters and self-administering hot liquids. They’re content to look at the snow like one looks at snowfall-16319_1920fish in a fish tank. It’s rather mesmerizing to watch the world fade to white and familiar forms, like vehicles, obscure to fluffy mounds. Unfortunately, snow’s beauty is fleeting. Try travelling in the open country in a blizzard where you can’t see 2 feet in front of your vehicle and, I guarantee, you won’t be so enamored with it. For a day, fresh and pure, it’s enchanting, but, as the winter drags on, driven snow clumped with salt, sand, and gravel is ugly, especially when the sticky stuff sticks around for months. Soon enough, most people can hardly stand the sight of it.

I wish I had a looney for every time someone said to me how important it’s to them to have a white Christmas. Many are more particular than that. They want snow on Christmas Day only.

“Jesus, we wanna thank you for coming to earth and all, but we know you control the weather. You stopped the storm in the boat there. So…. We’d like a little glitter on the actual day just to make it special. Don’t go overboard, now. We don’t need a blizzard, just a dusting.”

Did you know there are people across the globe who celebrate Christmas without snow ever? For Christians, Christmas can’t be about the trappings, the twinkling lights, the fresh-cut, no longer Evergreen, the baubles and bows, the bustling shopping malls and bedazzled gifts, the big family meals and fresh-baked goodies, the snow. If it is, if that’s our focus at Christmas, we’re idolaters. The very idea that gift-1008894_960_720Christian people require something more than Jesus, precipitation or otherwise, to make Christmas “perfect” is bizarre thinking to me. Christmas isn’t a scraggly, Charlie Brown Christmas tree that needs propping up and decorating. Christmas is Jesus. Period. It’s so much bigger than us and our puny preferences. It’s a call to reflection and wonder, not an invitation to overspending and overeating. It’s the glorious, astonishing roll out of God’s redemptive plan. It’s His Son humbling Himself by valiantly casting off His royal robes to don decaying flesh for stained-glass-4473087_1920the sake of every human soul. It’s the brightest, best day on earth when hope was literally born, forgiveness was offered, and new life was promised. What could be more special, more perfect than that? If we make Christmas about the trappings, we have grossly undervalued the incarnation and set ourselves up for much disappointment, especially this year when Covid will wreak havoc on all our festivities. When we don’t get the gifts we want or our people can’t come home or the weather doesn’t cooperate, do we rail or complain or pronounce Christmas a bust? May it never be so!

The angels announced the coming of Christ to the shepherds as “good tidings of great joy for all people”. (You can read last year’s post about the angels and shepherds here). They added no caveats. Christmas, as it is, as the angels expressed it, is about joy for everybody no matter who you are, what you have, or your circumstances and it’s not the fleeting kind of joy that evaporates when the party’s over or with the dirtying of snow. It’s a living, deep, lasting joy. It’s one of the reasons Jesus came that we may experience His joy in its fullness. (John 15:11).

Last Christmas, the most unusual one I’ve ever experienced, I had a taste of this unexplainable joy. On Christmas Day, my family took a ten hour drive through the mountains. We shared a meal in a hotel. We spent the latter part of the evening singing Christmas Carols in a hospital room with my dying father. (You can read about that here.) This was obviously not like the Christmases we’ve known, the ones with merriment, food, and presents. It was tinged with sadness, but it was by no means ruined or any less Christmas. Maybe it was more so. Singing about Christ’s birth with a man standing on the joy-1823939_1920doorstep of death was a poignant reminder of our need for a Saviour, but also our hope in a benevolent King. I’ve never had more joy singing those Christmas Carols than I had singing them one last time with my dad.

I’ll wrap this up with another famous Christmas Carol, the words of Isaac Watts published in 1719, still so relevant for today.

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love

That’s my wish for you this Christmas, for all of us. Joy. Take courage! Be bold! Even in the midst of all this turmoil, grief, and uncertainty, celebrate the wonders of His love! Joy to the world, snow or no! 🙂

Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 If you’re interested in reading other Christmasy posts I’ve written, scroll down to the bottom of the page and put the word Christmas in the “Look for Somethin'” search bar. You’ll find a couple that way, but scroll down to the older posts button from there and click on that and a few more will come up. You may also follow me there or sign up to receive my posts via email. Take a peek at my Redbubble store. Pollyeloquent.redbubble.com. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

Hangin’ in the Comfort Zone

I’ve always been nervous around needles. In college, I joined a group of my fellow students to donate blood. The nurse pricked my finger and I stumbled like a drunk into the other room where another nurse intercepted me, steering me to safety. “We won’t be taking blood from you today,” she said wryly. In University, while enrolled in the Dental Hygiene program and after being immunized, I was told I stood up and abruptly fainted, smacking my head on some nearby equipment on my way down. I wokevaccination-2722937__480.jpg up lying in a bed, unsure as to where I was, and, most unfortunately, pantsless. I was informed that, once on the floor, my bladder let go. Poor, prone, pony-tailed Polly lying in a puddle of pee in front of her peers! To this day, I use the restroom before any sort of procedure involving a needle. I couldn’t even watch my daughter get her ears pierced in the mall at Claire’s without sitting down next to the table and putting my head between my knees. Continue reading “Hangin’ in the Comfort Zone”

Impervious: Pondering the Pandemic

Let fear dictate your path and there won’t be a path to dictate.

In 2019, we visited our neighboring province at the end of October. “Why on earth would you do that?” some may ask, as Saskatchewan is not known for being a vacation destination due to its austere scenery. We happened to be on our way back from Manitoba, where we attended a seminar for my husband’s work as a pastor. We decided to take a day and explore Regina. Even though it wasn’t very wintery where I live in Alberta, I decided to throw in my winter wear as a precaution. Canadians know that winter often shows up unannounced, without regard for your preparedness, especially when you’re still sporting shorts and flip flops. On that note, last winter I did something I haven’t done in 20 years. I bought a new winter coat and not just any winter coat, but the mother of all winter coats. It’s a burgundy puffer jacket with a faux-fur trimmed hood that effectively turns me into the lion king. My daughter has informed me that it makes my head look like a shriveled pea, not a very attractive thought, but, let me tell you, I put that baby on and go outside and, despite the cold, I still feel nearly, and delightfully, feverish. Continue reading “Impervious: Pondering the Pandemic”

A Prayer for the World

Our Father

You who are light and love, purity and power

Creator and sustainer of this whirling ball of rock and soil, sloshing blue, and leafy green

Whimsical mastermind of all humankind and creatures wild and wonderful

I normally do come to you with petty problems, small concerns

I dare to pray this day for the whole world

There’s a microscopic killer on the loose

But you know this

A tiny terror that has us by the throat

To take our breath away

And we’re getting crazier than usual down here

We’re taking

When giving is what’s called for

We’re worried bout an ever-growing list

Our health

The health of family and friends

Our mortgages

Food on the table and bills stamped paid

Clean hands and butts

Yes, we’re a little nuts in this regard

It’s hard

To know what to believe

With all the cautionary and, at times, conflicting chatter we’re bombarded with

The only news in town for quite some time

And some of us do fear will lose our minds

Sequestered in our homes for endless days

Reluctantly withdrawing from the human touch we crave

To quell the spread of said uncaring, merciless bug

Oh, God, take out this miniscule thug!

You who’ve always been the champion of the vulnerable and weak

Come to our aid for some have no defense

You who healed the masses when you walked upon this earth

Do so again

Stretch out your hand and let your healing power flow

Allow the suffering among us to draw near and touch your cloak

You who give the breath of life

Exhale

We need a fresh infusion

Yes, and more

Our scientists and doctors need your wisdom to advance against this wily invasion

Our healthcare workers need your strength and shielding in the fray

We all need your assistance, your divine provision

For every day, businesses are shut and jobs are lost

Our costs are soaring

Our children need tending

Our nerves need calming

As chaos threatens to engulf us

Please give us the peace you promise

Renew our trust in you and your great love for us

And fill us with compassion for our neighbours

Help us do what must be done to see that all of us get by

In this most troubling time

In Jesus’ name I pray this,

Amen and amen

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Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

Later, Dad! A Reflection on the Death of my Father

Note from the Author: I’ve received permission from my family to share the story of my father’s passing. Some of you may have read parts of this on Facebook. I believe it’s so important that we share our stories with each other to draw comfort, inspiration, and wisdom from them and to help us better navigate life.

 I always knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when. Death, that is. It’s rudely brushed past me before, but it’s easy to distance yourself when it’s someone else’s loved one. When it’s your lovedheart one, when someone from your inner circle exits, death is no longer a curiosity and an occasion to show empathy, but a piercing of the heart. I had no idea that I would be consumed by it, that my dad’s face would take up residence in my mind, and that his departure would so ravage my thinking that keeping track of anything would become a considerable challenge. Continue reading “Later, Dad! A Reflection on the Death of my Father”

Hark

For my Dad, Ron Mayforth, the one who led me to the light.

Every year for the last four years, our church has had the opportunity to share a Live Nativity Production with the people of our city at a local Christmas Craft fair. Along with a couple of goats, volunteers are gathered from every age group. We usually have a real baby Jesus, a gaggle of kids playing either scruffy shepherds or cherubic angels, young adults to flesh out the roles of Joseph and Mary, and seniors of both sexes to play the Wise Men. This year, as I participated, I was struck once again by the story that marks the coming of God to us. So often, the lowliness of his birth is emphasized, the fact that he came as a helpless baby to an unknown, unwed teenager and her tradesman fiancée from a little town of little regard. There were no premium cotton sheets waiting, not even a proper crib or, for that matter, a sanitary, comfortable place for Mary to give birth. She hunkered down and grunted in the hay, not unlike the farm animals surrounding her. Hardly the dignified procession with the requisite pomp and splendor befitting the King of kings, but, if we look elsewhere, his arrival wasn’t completely without fanfare. Continue reading “Hark”

Sayonara, Social Media

I’m giving up Social Media. After a good and maybe not so good 10 years or more of posting, scrolling, skimming, perusing, liking, and commenting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I’m done. I’ll leave my accounts up for the purpose of contacting people. Otherwise, I’m putting my phone down.img_9450

I’ve only had a cell phone for five years. I remember the days when I left the house and the now antiquated payphone was my only means of communication. I always liked being unreachable, which is why I resisted getting a cell phone. Every day, I free floated through a beautiful, bustling collage of sights, sounds, and smells with all my senses firing. It’s a rich world we live in. It’s too bad we’re so often tuned out. Continue reading “Sayonara, Social Media”

Move it and Lose it: A Former Fatty on Going Lean

The word fat has been in my vocabulary since I was a child. I’m sure there was a time when I was small in size, but I don’t remember it. I was never a wisp of a girl, it’s not how I’m built. When I see pictures of myself in preadolescence, the first word that comes to mind is stocky. I’m reminded of an impish boy pointing at me on the playground, hismoveithotdog eyes flashing, as he sang, off key, the popular, Ball Park Frank’s jingle, “They plump when you cook ’em”. He wasn’t inaccurate. Plump. That’s me, for most of my life anyway. Continue reading “Move it and Lose it: A Former Fatty on Going Lean”