Archive for Christmas

Light One Star

“High on my list of favorite things is lighting the nativity star on our farm the day after Thanksgiving.

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The star is one of the most popular Christian Christmas symbols.  As a star shines light on a dark night, the nativity star represents the light of Jesus in a dark world. Since the beginning of time stars have been used for navigation.  Over 2,000 years ago, one particular star guided the wise men (astrologers) to the promised Messiah.  When they entered the house where the young child lived, they fell to their knees in holy awe and worshipped the Son of God. (Matthew 2).

There is nothing glamorous about the nativity star, but it radiates a silent holiness as it shines forth a message of remembrance, of hope and of promise.  Sadly, it has been removed from most Christmas decorations. It no longer has the place of honor on top of Christmas trees or shines from rooftops.  Santa has not stolen it’s glory, nor has it’s meaning been distorted; it has just simply, quietly, disappeared. The last several years I have looked for stars as we travel during the month of December.  You can travel hundreds of miles and see just a handful.

I am reminded of the song “Light One Candle” written by Peter Yarrow and sung by Peter, Paul and Mary in the turbulent 60’s. It was a protest song but I found myself singing the chorus this week.

Light One Candle

Chorus

Don’t let the light go out

It’s lasted for so many years

Don’t let the light go out

Let it shine through our love and our tears.

I have lit my star.

May I challenge you to light one star?

If every Christian in America lit a star there would be millions of glowing, radiant stars giving testimony to the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ.

I am the light of the world.

If you follow me, you will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.

Jesus

(John 8:12)

Don’t let the light go out!

The Magi’s Star

PP Verse-John 7 38 (Fall) Whoever believes in me streams of living water

The star is a well-known and beloved symbol of Christmas.  We put a lit star on the top of our star-decorated trees. Christmas cards show a star hovering over the manager of baby Jesus and sugar cookies are cut in the shape of a star.  Homes and businesses used to have lit stars for decorations and farmers sometimes had one on a silo 60′ feet in the air.

I love the star and we have one on the stable on the hill in our front pasture overlooking a major thoroughfare-Route 60.  I light it the day after Thanksgiving as a reminder to people the true meaning of Christmas. When we ride the roads in December I look for stars and wonder, where have all the stars gone?  Gaudy Santas, sleighs, reindeer, trees, candy canes and gifts have replaced the Christ-child, angels, stars, managers and worship.   Lies confuse truth, the fear of offense squelches the joy of the sacred and the holiday of gross commercialism  has stolen the “reason for the season”.

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In reality the star was not present at the stable where baby Jesus was born. Matthew 2 very clearly tells the story of Wise Men coming from the East when Jesus was about two years old. They were astrologers, wise men or magi who studied and gazed at the stars.  Since the dawn of recorded civilization, stars played a key role in religion and proved vital to navigation.  Ancient cultures saw patterns in the heavens that resembled people, animals or common objects.  Job 9:9 and Amos 5:8 mention the names of several stars; the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades.  The magi knew and understood the orbit of the sun, moon and planets. They also knew and understood the ancient prophecies about the coming Messiah.  

The star that the Magi followed to find the young Jesus was no ordinary star.  It beckoned them to follow, it spoke to them of something deeply sacred and profound.  Somehow it was interpreted to them as sign of the birth of the King of the Jews. It is thought that the star first appeared at the birth of Jesus and took them months to follow.  The star, an unexplained phenomenon, was a GPS system sent from God himself and directed these men on a journey of hundreds of miles to a house, until it stood over the very house where the young Jesus lived with his parents. They knew they had found the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah and they presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  They fell on their knees in worship of the Christ-child.  

And then they quietly slipped unnoticed out of the country. They had been divinely warned in a dream to not go back and report their findings to the wicked, jealous King Herod as they had been instructed to do.  At their departure Joseph was also warned in a dream to flee with the young child and Mary  immediately.  Under cover of night they quickly fled for their lives to Egypt.   This event set off a cruel and brutal massacre of innocent lives.  Herod in his desperate attempt to kill young Jesus had all males 2 years old and younger slaughtered. This story is recorded in Matthew 2. 

Neither the star or the magi are mentioned in scripture again.  To me the star represents something bigger and more profound than a lovely Christmas ornament. It beckons me to remember, to remember the story of wise men who obediently followed the star and in their wonder and obedience they found the Christ-child.  The star beckons me to also journey and search until I find Christ-the Messiah, my Savior.  And when I come into His presence my response is also to fall on my knees in worship.

Note: December 18.

Two years ago I felt God laid on my heart to encourage Christians to put up a star as a way of saying, “Christ lives here”.  I didn’t follow through and had planned to do it this year. I forgot. It suddenly came full force into my mind again over the weekend when we made a four-hour road trip and I did not see a single star.  And here we are just a few days before Christmas again!  I am asking Christians worldwide. Put up a star. Let’s light the dark evening with rays of joy that say, “Christ lives here”!

Piggy-Banks

I couldn’t share this “piggy-bank” gift idea until after Christmas since they were gifts for my grandchildren.

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Here is the story behind their “piggy-banks” (money-jugs).

This past spring at our Fun Day on the Farm, Ryan (who is 6) saw a customer pay for their purchase with a $100 bill. He was instantly hooked.  He became obsessed with wanting a $100 dollar bill,  even begging for one from what he thought was his sympathetic,  “soft-hearted” grandma.  He fretted about what he could make and sell at the next Fun Day so he could have one of those coveted $100 bills!  His obsession was so intense in the following days that his parents finally had to forbid him to talk about it.

But Ryan has not forgotten and sometimes will mention that he is still trying to think of something he can make and sell to earn money. He is highly motivated with “earning” money so he can spend it on his beloved legos.

This summer when Karla and Ryan were at the farm they found lots of things in the farm store they wanted to buy but didn’t have enough money to do so. Finally I made them a “Christmas Wish List” paper and told them to write down what they wanted for Christmas.

Karlas Christmas List-2012

1) lego’s-restrant, stable (for horses) and a petacure place

2) Beverly Clearly books

3) horses for me! (real ones)

4) pretend horses from Grandma Hurzlers farm.

5) A night gown for Saly. (doll)

6)  D.S

7)  Games for D.S  like Mareoi

8) MONEY!!!!!!!!! Check 999,999 or less to 90 dollars

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Ryans Christmas List-2012

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Legos

X Box

Legos Bookxs

100 Dolr

Motor Scooter

Watch

Check as  ahaf to pay for thae 16 logos

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Through the fall and winter, money continued to be high on their Christmas list so I decided money they would get but I wanted a creative way to do it!   One day a customer came in the store and handed me a cardboard box with 4 empty one gallon glass vinegar jugs. (Remember those old-fashion jugs?) He said, “I figured maybe you could do something with these or know of someone who can.”  They sat in the store for weeks while I wondered what in the world I was going to do with them.   One day the idea hit me-money jugs for the grandkids!  I have a friend (Sheila Schaefer) who very creatively painted their names on the jugs for me.

I put $20 worth of coins in each jug.  I told them that when they get $100 worth of change I will match it and then they have to put the $200 in their savings accounts for college.  (They are not allowed to let anyone “stuff” their jugs-they have to save or earn the money).  After that their parents can set the rules for their money.

When I was a little girl I received a glass bear “piggy-bank” which still sits on my dresser. It stays full of change  I “find” in  pockets, the washing machine or left laying on the dresser.  Periodically I use the collection for “Penny Power” at church or some other worthy project.

Pat's Piggy

This is one of my childhood treasures. The right hand toe has broken out and I have to put quarters in the bottom or the smaller change will fall out.  Hopefully these jugs will become treasures and hold memories of a special Christmas that they can share with their children.

The Star

Each year it is with great anticipation that I plug in our nativity star. I love the star!  The 7′ tall star sits on top of the horse stable on the hill of our farm and shines it’s brightness into the dark night for all the Route 60 travelers to see. When we come home on a dark evening, I love seeing it off in the distance-one lone, brightly shining star. When you get closer you can see its light glistening as it reflects off the roof. There is something so peaceful, so serene and so holy about that star!

The star that the wise men followed in search of Jesus has become a symbol to represent Christmas even though the journey of the wise men was not completed until one to two years after the birth of Jesus. There was no special star marking the bustling inn in Bethlehem the night Jesus was born in spite of what Christmas propaganda portrays. In my mind, I envision a cold, dark night with millions of  stars winking and twinkling with glee over their heavenly secret.

We love to tell the story of the wise men (magi) riding on camels following the star as they bring their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the young Jesus. They came from a far-away eastern country and history suggests that they may have first spotted the star on the night of Jesus’ birth.  But there is more to this story.  These men were astrologers and they also knew the prophecies of the Messiah’s coming.  There was something about the “new” star that caught their attention and beckoned them to follow.  Was it brighter than all the rest?  Could they only travel at night so they could follow it’s glow? Did it hang lower in the sky?  This was no ordinary star as stars don’t move.

The wise men stopped in Jerusalem and went straight to the palace of King Herod.  They asked him, “Where is he who is born, King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the East and have come to worship Him”.   What appeared to be an innocence question would have dire consequences as it posed a serious threat to King Herod.  After searching the ancient scripture they found the prophecy by the prophet Micah written 500 years prior, ” And you, Bethlehem, Land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler, who will shepherd my people Israel.” (Micah 5:2)

Herod sent the magi on their way to search for this “king” with the request that they come back and report to him where they found him so he could also go and worship the young king.

The star guided the magi to the very house where Jesus lived with his parents. After leaving they were warned in a dream to not go back to the wicked Herod.  When Herod realized he had been betrayed, he became enraged and ordered all baby boys two years old and younger in Bethlehem and the  surrounding area to be killed.   What followed was the tragic slaughter of many baby boys as they were ripped from their screaming,  terrified mothers’ arms and killed before their eyes.

When I think of that star-a star sent by God to guide magi to His Son, I realize that the star also set off a series of events instigated by the devil that lead to horrific tragedy for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocence babies and families. These families would bear the scars of that suffering forever.

The star had significant purpose as it guided the magi to the Son of God.  Today it is a symbol of beauty and light for Christmas.  It minds us of the wise men bringing their gifts and worship to Jesus. It also reminds us to seek the Messiah, the Son of God, as diligently as the magi and to bring Him our own gifts and worship.

When we travel I look for other stars.  It appears that most have disappeared and have been replaced with reindeer, Santas, sparkling trees, sleighs and candy canes.  Satan is still trying to deny the birth of the Son of God.  He is deceiving our society to the truth of the gospel.  Our society is losing it’s spiritual conscience and awareness to the true meaning of Christmas but the truth of God’s word still shines clear to those who chose to seek Him….

“For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

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