Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas Traditions and Lottie Moon

It seems no matter how hard I try to keep things simple at Christmas we always seem to be running from one event to another. Again life has gotten in the way of just sitting with my kids and talking about Christmas and in the way of posting. Well, today is a new day and a new week so I will try to maximize the opportunities that I am given.

In the events that led up to Christmas there are certain ones that I just love and that I have become a tradition. The first is The Sanctuary Milton ladies cookie and ornament exchange. This is an evening for the ladies to get together for a couple of hours and share in food, laughter and fun! This year my sweet friend Bev had everyone share a favorite memory, a story about Christmas or a way that they keep Christ in Christmas. This year many of the stories made me laugh, some of them made me cry but one in particular touched my heart.

One of the ladies, Leah said that Christmas is her favourite day of the year. She is from a different country and Christmas is the one day out of the year that she knows that her parents who are not Christians are in church back in their home country. She looks at Christmas as a new opportunity for her parents to come to know Jesus and as she prays that one day or one Christmas that will happen. This Christmas I too will be praying that somewhere halfway across the world two people that are dear to my friend will open their hearts to Jesus.

One of the traditions that we began a few years ago was to give an offering for our church's Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Who is Lottie Moon you ask? Charlotte “Lottie” Diggs Moon was born Dec. 12, 1840, in Albemarle County, Va. She rebelled against Christianity until she was in college. In December 1858, she dedicated her life to Christ and was baptized. In 1861, she was one of the first women in the South to receive a master’s degree. Edmonia Moon, Lottie’s sister, was appointed to Tengchow, China, in 1872. The following year, Lottie was appointed and joined her sister there.

Lottie served 39 years as a missionary, mostly in China’s Shantung province. She taught in a girls’ school and often made trips into China’s interior to share the good news with women and girls. Lottie frequently wrote letters to the United States, detailing Chinese culture, missionary life and the great physical and spiritual needs of the Chinese people. Additionally, she challenged Southern Baptists to go to China or give so that others could go.

Lottie Moon died at the age of 72. Her commitment to sharing the good news of Jesus with those who have not had an opportunity to hear it continues through the Lottie Moon offering. Every penny given to Lottie Moon is used to support Southern Baptist missionaries as they share the Gospel overseas. This allows our church and individuals to join in a strategic global effort to reach the whole world. It also enables missionaries to spend their time working to reach lost souls instead of raising their own support.

This year our family will be making an extra gift in honour of all those who prayed for us and supported us during Liam's recent surgeries and hospital stay. We could not think of a more appropriate way to honour you than to support the work of sharing the gospel across the globe. Our prayer is that others will come to know Jesus.

If you would like to more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and ways that you can give please click on the link.
Pray for us. Liam has been chosen by McMaster children's hospital to be the poster child for this year's telethon. The photo shoot is this Wednesday with a couple of TV news anchors. The Public Relations division of the hospital will also be doing a five minute television documentary on Liam and on our family and we will be on a live television show in May 2009. We will let you know exact dates when they give them to us. Pray for opportunities for us to share what Jesus has done in our lives.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Jesus in a Barn

So the first step in being intentional about keeping Christ in all we do for Christmas is looking at some of what we do now. There are many things that we do with our immediate and extended family and of course our church family but today I will just talk about one of the simple traditions that we have. Besides the fact that I have been known to listen to Christmas music in July, I love to decorate the house with the kids and Jason. It has become a tradition that everyone looks forward to every year. When Liam first came out of the hospital we asked him what was one of the things he wanted to do first and he said "Get the house ready for Christmas." So that first weekend he was home we started. We made some hot chocolate, turned on the Christmas CD's, sang along to the music and put on our Santa hat's....well the kids and I did, Jason is a little more reserved!

This year Caroline wanted to decorate our Nativity scene. I usually do this and tell the kids the Christmas story as I set it out. Caroline took great pride in telling the other kids who each of the figures were and then placed them exactly where she wanted them in the scene. Trinity was in awe. After Caroline had finished placing all the characters we took some Christmas lights and placed them on the roof of the creche. "It is beautiful!" breathed this little voice that came from our youngest. She could not take her eyes of the picture.

I am not sure if it was the way that her older sister took the time to tell her about the manger scene or if Trinity is just at the age where is enamoured by all babies but she seems to have taken a liking to our little Nativity set. Yesterday, we were in a store and one of the clerks asked her what was on her list for Santa. TJ said "I asked him for a Dora for my dollhouse and I thanked him for being so nice." When the clerk asked her if that was all she wanted she said, "No, I also want my own Jesus in a barn." Every time I think of it I smile and giggle a little. Maybe this year she should have a nativity set that she can play with and set up herself.

As I struggle to be more intentional about our Christmas traditions I realize that each of you probably have a tradition or two and if you share, it would enrich us all! I would love to hear about what you do to focus yourself or your family on Christ for Christmas season. Please post a comment. I would really love to hear about what you do.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

No More Stitches

He was walking so quickly beside me I had to tell him to slow down. He was excited. He wanted to show Dr. Singh how well he was doing. As we walked by the gift shop he said, " I remember that place." "They have a Christmas tree, now!" We took the stairs up to the second floor and he reminded me "We used to take these all the time before I had my surgeries. Now I can do it again." As we entered the 3F clinic the receptionist smiled. "Dr. Singh was just asking if you were here." We walked into the exam room and Liam exclaimed, "Hey, this is the first room we were ever in when we meet Dr. Singh."
So many memories came flooding back this time as we visited McMaster Children's hospital. It was neat to see that he was remembering too. It has been quite a journey. One that we will not forget and I hope that we will talk about again and again.

Our appointment with Dr. Singh was great. She removed Liam's stitches. There was 42 of them so it took a bit of time but he said it did not hurt. He asked her if he could sign up for basketball again in January. She said he could play but he has to avoid hitting his head as the bone will not fully fuse for at least three months. I want him to wear a helmet but it was decided that just the skills would be fine and to avoid the scrimmages where he could get get hit by accident. I still like the helmet idea but so far I have voted down. Dr. Singh gave us the final pathology report on Liam's tumour and it was a benign choroid plexus papilloma. There wasn't anything abnormal about the tumour so that is also good news. Liam will have another MRI in January followed by an oncology consultation at the end of January or beginning of February. It is the hope that at this consultation they will be able to tell us that no further treatment is required. Liam will then have to have a yearly MRI and check-in with Dr. Singh at the oncology clinic just to monitor the tumour remnants. It was the news that we had been praying and hoping to hear. Liam took it all in stride but I breathed a sigh of relief.

We were all excited to hear that this will not be our last visit with Dr. Singh and we will continue to have opportunities to meet with her. She went out of her way to thank Liam again for her bible and the cookies that he made her. She told us her youngest son said, "Liam is a good cooker!" We will continue to pray for her and her family. We took a picture of Liam today with Dr. Singh. We thought we would share it with all of you since so many of you have been praying for her too.

I am so very thankful tonight. Words can not express my heart. My prayers of thanksgiving are inadequate. My words of praise are not enough. I am amazed everyday at the miracle that God is working out in Liam. I wish you could watch him jogging for physio or working hard on his squats to build his strength back up. I wish you could hear him drumming, or singing his favourite Toby Mac song or hear him pray for kids that he knows are still sick. I wish you see what I see and know that you are witnessing a miracle that not even a brilliant surgeon like Dr. Singh could have predicted. We cried out to the Lord with all that we had for Liam. You lifted him in prayer. The Lord heard our sincere cries and He answered in a way that has amazed us and glorified himself. He is a mighty God and He will always answer those who earnestly seek Him.
"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."
Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)
I will not forget.

Monday, 1 December 2008


The pitter patter of big and little feet has finally settled down and I believe my precious little children are off to dream sweet dreams. I have been asked so many questions by their inquisitive minds today that I think my ears are sore. It is nice to be able to just sit in the silence and to really think about the day.

If you read my post from yesterday you know that I have been pondering the following questions:

"Do others see why we celebrate? How will our home look if our celebration is a picture of anticipation and waiting for God's plan to be completed, a picture of joy in the salvation he has begun for us? What visible things will fill our house as we celebrate what God has done through Jesus?"

So to begin to formulate an answer I started to think about the context in which I am asking the questions. Where are we currently in God's story? Well, we are are no longer waiting for the Messiah. God sent his Son to live among us. That is why we celebrate Christmas. It doesn't mean though that we are finished waiting because we are still waiting for Jesus to come again. So where does that put us in God's story? Well, I think we are in the middle somewhere. I spent sometime earlier today looking at a scripture that Noel Piper suggests is a clear description of what we look back to during the Advent season.

"Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things."
1 Peter 1:10-12 (NIV)

It is a great passage, even cooler if you start at the beginning of the chapter and read right until verse 12. Or if you are like me and you see that verse 13 starts with a "Therefore", you read on. I love it when it says "therefore" in the bible. I think it means in light of what you just read pay attention you are now about to learn something exciting! So all day I have been thinking about the "therefore" in this verse. It's exciting because I think it gives me some insight into my questions that I have been pondering. I have read it in all different translations today. I know I am geek.

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;" 1 Peter 1"13-15 (NIV)

Today's reading was a good reminder for me that yes, the Christmas season is remembering those that waited in faith for God's salvation while at the same time we are waiting to meet Jesus when he comes again. Nevertheless, what I learned the most today was that I have things to do while I wait I need to "prepare my mind for action" and as the message paraphrase puts it "let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness." Those are some of those things that I should be incorporating into our Christmas traditions. Not an easy start! Oh well. Tomorrow, I am going to look at how we currently put Jesus in the centre of all our traditions.

I will leave you with a song that Jason wrote a few years ago called "Waiting." Enjoy: