Tag Archives: christmas

Shine On Award, Beautiful Mama Blog Award, Super Sweet Blogging Award

Greetings My Beloved Readers,

During my illness, and possibly before and possibly since (does anyone else ever lose track of time?) I was nominated for several blogging awards. Some awards I had already received, so I couldn’t accept them, though I am deeply appreciative that someone would think of me for an award. If I missed an award, or failed to acknowledge your nomination of me, please accept my humble apologies, and grant me your mercy and grace, because I truly got behind in reading communications while I was ill, and afterward, it was quite overwhelming, as I’m sure you understand.

Since I got so far behind, I’m going to attempt to just combine my acceptance for these awards into one acceptance. At almost 52 years old, I’ve learned to work smarter, not harder. 😀 Therefore, without further ado, what follows is my acceptance for the Shine On Award (It’s really pretty and shiney, and I love all things shiny and sparkly), the Beautiful Mama Blog Award (I am a mama, and as far as the beautiful part goes, my mama always said, “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone”), and the Super Sweet Blogging Award (It’s a pretty picture of cupcakes, now you know I love cupcakes, so I have to accept this one)…

shine_on

Shine On Award Rules:
Swift Expression

1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you – Swift Expression

2. Put the Award on your blog.

3. Share 7 little secrets about yourself.

4. Nominate 5 – 10 other bloggers who make others happy too.

Seven Little Secrets About Me:

  1. Image Credit: http://thepraiseandworshipconnection.blogspot.com/ 2010/12/hallelujah-factor.html

    One of my favorite sayings is “Hallelujah!”, which means God be praised, and if you were to meet me and talk to me in person, you would frequently hear that exclamation bursting forth from my lips! After all, there are a whole lot of things to praise God about, even when I’m going through a bad time.

  2. Coming from a small family, I’ve always longed for a large family, and God has seen fit to answer that unspoken prayer… While I only have two children, I am expecting my eighth grandchild in May, and my ninth grandchild in July – Hallelujah!
  3. Flower and Sparkle Cupcake
    Flower and Sparkle Cupcake

    My husband and I got one of our granddaughters a guinea pig for Christmas a year ago, and it turns out that we bought a pregnant guinea pig, who had four little piggies. My daughter decided they would keep one (another female, so there would be no more little piggies), and the pet store graciously accepted the other three little piggies when they were weaned from their mama, Hallelujah!

  4. My granddaughter named the guinea pig that we bought her “Sparkle Cupcake” and her baby was named “Flower,” and I’m not sure how it happened, but when my daughter and her family moved away, my husband and I came to be the proud owners of Sparkle and Flower – Hallelujah!
  5. mump_0409_01_z+1974_ford_mustang_ii_coupe+silver_exterior_side_viewMy first car was a white 1974 Ford Mustang II, which I was quite proud of, even though we had to turn the air conditioner off when we drove up a mountain, because it just didn’t have much power.
  6. I love to sing (though not everyone loves to hear me), and I can think of a song for just about any topic or situation, and sometimes in the middle of conversations, I will burst into a song about whatever it is we happen to be discussing.
  7. LOVE worshiping in dance, and over the years, I have started several dance ministries – the first one, Signs of Light, was comprised of teens who did sign language and interpretive movement to worship songs; the second one, Vessels of Mercy, began with a group of five of us, who ministered to female inmates first, and then to our home church – the group eventually grew to a membership of seventeen; the third group that I began was comprised of only two, and we traveled to many churches, colleges and seminars and ministered.

Beautiful Mama Blog Award Rules:
Musings and Rants

  • Click the award image, save it and use it in your acceptance post.
  • List 3 things you love about motherhood.
  • Nominate other deserving mamas; you may choose as many as you like. (And let them know of the nomination)
  1. Obviously, I love my children, and though they are adults now (my son, the oldest, will be 30 in May, and my youngest, just turned 28), they will always be my babies.
  2. I loved taking my children for rides. Often, when one needed to talk privately, we would climb into my mini-van and take a ride, sometimes parking beside a pond, or (on the rare occasions that I had money, we would go through the drive through and sit in the parking lot), while we talked about whatever was on their minds. I would always ask the Lord to give me the wisdom to know how to respond to their questions or issues, and He never failed me.
  3. I had the blessing and honor of leading both of my children to Christ.

Super Sweet Blogging Award
Musings and Rants

  • Answer the question listed below
  • Nominate other blog friends (if you want)
  • Post the award logo somewhere on your blog.
  • Send a link to the nominees so they are aware you are giving them the award and/or tag game.

Here is your question nominees to get your awards:

Name the one thing you are grateful for today (excluding this tag game/blog award.)

I am so grateful that God chose me to be His beloved daughter:

“You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.”

~ John 15:16 NLT ~

His word makes it very clear that He chose me, because He loves me, and because it gave Him great pleasure to choose me…

Long ago, even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the wonderful kindness He has poured out on us because we belong to His dearly loved Son. He is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

~ Ephesians 1:4-8 NLT ~

Hallelujah! Isn’t that a wonderful thing to be grateful for? 

And now, in no particular order, her are the five people that I would like to nominate for all of the awards above (yes, I really mean all for all – why not? And if one of my nominees is not yet a mother, perhaps she will be someday :D):

  1. Anna Bachinsky – if you want to be inspired, please take the time to check out her blog, A journey of faith… 
  2. Carri – this beautiful woman loves the Lord, loves her little “Muppin” and is a homeschooling mom (something I secretly longed to do, but did not have enough confidence in myself or God at the time) – go ahead and visit her blog, 

    Grace Unveiled

  3. Wendy – I love Wendy’s poems and pictures that glorify God. Her blog, GREENLIGHTLADY, is an inspiration… I should ask her what made her choose the name of her blog — regardless, her blog is a must read!

  4. Diana Rasmussen – What a beautiful, eye catching blog, Prayers and Promises is! Diana is a mom, gifted songwriter and poet who genuinely loves the Lord. You must visit this site and be blessed by it!
  5. Martha L. Shaw – this multi-talented woman is a teacher, writer and woman of God I encourage you to visit her site, In Love With The Lord Poetry and Prose as well as the other sites above!

Imagine the Angels…

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a Baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

    “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:9-14 NLT)

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/motions/16159/Angel-And-Shepherds-Loop
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/motions/16159/Angel-And-Shepherds-Loop

Do you ever think about how the angels must have felt on that first Christmas evening, so long ago? I do. Think about it with me and dream about what it must have been like to be an angel on that wonderful evening so many years ago…

Imagine living in heaven with Elohim, Almighty God, Maker of the heavens and the earth, God the Father, in all of the splendor of heaven. Every day of your life, since the time you were created, long before the earth and all that is in it was created, you stand in the presence of Almighty God. You not only call heaven your home, you have the honor and the privilege of standing in the presence of God. Can you see it?

Just imagine, You have seen and bear witness to Holy Spirit, as He hovered over the deep. You were there, as His breath was breathed into mankind, a curious being, created in the very image of God. You have beheld His glory, when He would fall upon the prophets of old, equipping them with power to speak the Word of the Lord in the midst of trials, tribulation and circumstances of great joy. You were there to observe Holy Spirit as He descended from heaven like a dove and lit upon Jesus. Do you see the image in your mind?

http://kidsworldag.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-characters-shepherds.html
http://kidsworldag.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-characters-shepherds.html

As Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, King of glory, was with His Father, while Holy Spirit hovered over the deep, you were there to see Him, the Word of the Lord, there in the beginning, going forth and creating. You watch as He even now, holds all of creation together.

Since the instant you were created, who knows how long ago, you have witnessed Almighty God, in all of His glory and magnificence. You are blessed to hear His voice as it thunders across the sky. You are honored to hear as He speaks in His still, small voice. You were present at the rebellious outrage of Lucifer and 1/3 of your fellow angels. You saw with your own eyes, how the Almighty God cast them out of heaven and threw them to the earth below, causing mass destruction.

You watched in consternation as God has allowed Satan to prowl about the earth, like a roaring lion, seeking to destroy all of mankind and the earth as well. You watched in alarm, as Adam and Eve sinned against the Almighty, and you witnessed the Lord’s response to them. Were you surprised that He showed such mercy to them?

And, when the Lord chose Gabriel from among you, to deliver two separate messages, to two different people about the appearance of the Son of God, were you bewildered, or were you not informed of this mission until later? When Holy Spirit came upon Mary, overshadowing her in His presence, did you watch in wonder, as this meager peasant girl was granted an honor that no one else in all of eternity would ever experience before or again?

When Jesus stripped Himself of His heavenly garments, and clothed Himself in the frail flesh of humanity, were you confused? As you watched Him lay aside all of His heavenly privileges as the Holy One, the Son of God, and allow Himself to be carried in the womb of that peasant girl, were you curious to know what was going on? As you watched the girl’s perilous journey to Bethlehem with her betrothed, did you stand ready to leap to their defense for the sake of the One who was carried in her womb?

http://www.radical.net/blog/category/christmasadvent/
http://www.radical.net/blog/category/christmasadvent/

As the King of kings made His entrance into the world on that first Christmas, borne into the squalor of a filthy stable, were you amazed? And when the Lord commanded you to go forth and deliver the good news to the lowly shepherds who were in the field that night, were you perhaps just as awe-struck as they were? Did your heart pound with joy and wonder as you too, beheld the newborn King who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid to rest in a manger of straw?

Do you try to puzzle in your mind what the Lord’s plan is as you see the Ancient of Days, crying helplessly, as the girl gently lifts Him, kissing His holy face before nuzzling Him against her breast, feeding and sustaining the very One who gave her life and sustains her? Is it possible that you have not been informed about what God’s majestic plan is? Could it be that you don’t yet know of the suffering in store for this infant King?

Do you understand that this, not the presents, the commercialism, Santa Claus and all the other hype, is what Christmas is about? As people bustle about giving glory to themselves, their families, the merchants and the things that they receive on Christmas, do you give glory to the One whose birth is to be celebrated on this day?

While still others try to deify the angels who were merely witnesses to this miraculous event, rather than the Holy One who gave His One and Only Son as the perfect Christmas gift, do you honor Him? Are you aware that this glorious gift of salvation from God is so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen. (1 Peter 1:12 NLT)

This Christmas, let’s give glory to God with the angels, as we rejoice in the gift of Jesus Christ, Messiah, Son of the Living God, the Word of God, the Light of the World, King of kings and Lord of lords, Lamb of God, Lord and Savior!

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifextra: Week Forty-Six

This weekend we’re asking you to write 33 words that will make us laugh or smile.  Even a chuckle will do.  We look forward to the communal spirit lifting.  Good luck!
Trifextra: Week Forty-Six

http://blogdorf.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/the-little-blogdorf-santas-too-fat-to-be-a-role-model/
http://blogdorf.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/the-little-blogdorf-santas-too-fat-to-be-a-role-model/

Dear Mr. St. Nicholas,
You’re such a wicked Claus
You are so mischievous
Left me coal because
I said, “You look ridiculous
You should try a spa
‘Cause Your belly is so limitless”

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize Him: You will find a Baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others — the armies of heaven — praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.”

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this Child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished… (Luke 2:8-18 NLT)

http://creationrevolution.com/2011/12/the-angelic-proclamation-to-the-shepherds-2/
http://creationrevolution.com/2011/12/the-angelic-proclamation-to-the-shepherds-2/

Can you picture it? Some shepherds were out in the field one night, doing what shepherds do. When they got ready for work that morning, they weren’t expecting anything unusual. They had a job to do, much like each one of us has a job to do each day, whether we work outside the home or not. I imagine they woke up just like they did everyday, and made sure they had enough food, and enough clothing to keep them from getting cold, when the chill of the night set in.

When they got to work that day, they counted their sheep, to make sure that they were all there. If one sheep was missing that day, its shepherd would have gone to find it and bring it back to the rest of the flock. The shepherds guarded their flocks at night, protecting their sheep from the attacks of wolves and lions and other predators. Sometimes theirs was a tedious, thankless job, but it was how they made a living, and so they stuck to their job. Thus, while others were at home sleeping on that night so long ago, the shepherds were awake, in the fields, protecting their sheep.

Don’t you find it interesting that the first ones to receive the birth announcement of Messiah were the shepherds? Have you ever really thought about it? Just think about the awesomeness of this… The first ones to be informed of the Good Shepherd‘s birth were shepherds. Did you catch that? I’ll say it again… The first ones to be informed of the Good Shepherd’s arrival were the shepherds.

There is something so profound in this… What do shepherds do? They protect their flock. What did Jesus come to do? He came to protect His flock. “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NLT)

What do shepherds do when one of their sheep wanders away? They go and search for that sheep until they find it, then bring it back home to safety. What did Jesus say He came to do?  “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 NKJV)

The shepherds have a personal relationship with their sheep. Messiah came to have a personal relationship with us. For a shepherd enters through the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him, and the sheep hear His voice and come to Him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After He has gathered His own flock, He walks ahead of them, and they follow Him because they recognize His voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t recognize his voice.” (John 10:2-5 NLT)

Don’t you find it utterly important that God sent the angels to reveal Messiah’s advent, the coming of the Good Shepherd, to the shepherds watching their flocks that night?

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
“Fear not,” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind,
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.”
“To you, in David’s town this day,
Is born of David’s line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign:
The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid.
“Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God and thus
Addressed their joyful song:
“All glory be to God on high
And on the earth be peace,
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease.”

(Nahum Tate (1652-1715), ca. 1700)

Related articles

Story of Christmas

This Story of Christmas is the best, we are told.
It has tragedy, action and drama to boot.
There are gifts for a King – one of them gold.
And a wicked old king, a vile jealous brute!

Now, a long time ago, in a land far away,
The poor people cried for a Savior to come.
They cried out to God and they knelt down to pray,
They asked God to have mercy, and please send the One.

And the Lord who is kind, heard their cries and He said,
“I love them so much, Father, let Me be the One,
To save them from Satan, who wants them all dead.”
So the Father with love sent Jesus, His Son,

baby-jesus-mary-joseph-by-dewey
http://www.saviorsite.com/life-of-jesus/baby-jesus/

To a virgin named Mary to hold in her womb.
With Joseph beside her, to Bethlehem they did go.
She gave birth in a stable, for the inn had no room.
Surrounded by animals, while the cattle did low,

The babe laid in the manger, to rest His sweet head
While a star brightly lighted the way from above.
The shepherds cringed in fear and in dread,
While angels announced His birth and His love.

They followed the star to the stable so bright,
And knelt down to worship this glorious King,
Then left rejoicing with all of their might,
For the peace and good will that Messiah would bring.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/116649706/nativity-christmas-gift-tagsmini-cards
http://www.etsy.com/listing/116649706/nativity-christmas-gift-tagsmini-cards

From far, far away, wise men came from the east
To find the King of the Jews, the Savior of all.
They went to King Herod, that wicked old beast,
And he spoke a great lie with the greatest of gall.

“Please come back so I can go worship this King,”
While in his heart he plotted to murder the babe.
The wise men departed and gifts they did bring
Frankincense, gold, myrrh by the child were laid.

In worship they came, on their knees they did bow.
Then warned by the Lord in a dream they all had,
“We must return home another way,” they did vow.
They tricked wicked King Herod, oh my was he mad!

Then an angel visited in Joseph’s dream
And warned him to take Mary and Jesus and flee
To Egypt away from Herod’s evil scheme.
“Kill all baby boys two and younger,” he decreed.

Then sorrow and sadness was in Bethlehem.
Weeping and mourning, they cried to the Lord,
And prayed for His mercy and asked Him to save them,
From the evil of Herod and death by the sword.

http://www.amazon.com/Ron-DiCianni-WILDERNESS-Christ-CANVAS/dp/B0037K1XOW
http://www.amazon.com/Ron-DiCianni-WILDERNESS-Christ-CANVAS/dp/B0037K1XOW

But the Savior grew up strong to His mother’s relief.
Full of mercy and love, though despised by His own
Rejected, acquainted with bitterest grief,
They thought He was punished for sins of His own!

Oppressed, treated harshly, He said not a word.
Led like a Lamb to the slaughter, battered and bruised.
The Pharisees, Scribes and Priests all conferred.
Humiliated, tortured, yes, He was abused.

From prison and trial, He was led to His death.
But who understood, it was for their sins He died?
“Father, forgive them,” He gasped for a breath,
While He hung on that cross with His arms opened wide.

For God so loved the world that He gave us His Son
To suffer and die for the sins of mankind.
He paid that great price and our freedom He won,
Accomplishing the work that He was assigned.

http://pinterest.com/pin/461126449315912759/
http://pinterest.com/pin/461126449315912759/

To death, hell and the grave, He descended with power,
Preaching good news, dead saints fell to their knees.
Setting captives free, He made Satan cower
Conquering them all and taking the keys.

From death, hell and the grave, Christ in triumph arose.
Death now was defeated and Satan was too.
Saints no longer bound by sin and death’s throes.
In Christ, old things passed – Behold! All things are new!

At Christmas we celebrate the advent of Christ.
He rescued us once, and He’s coming again.
So, people get ready and look to the skies,
When He returns this time, He’s coming to reign!

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

 

Daily Prompt: Childhood Revisited

What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.
Daily Prompt: Childhood Revisited

I have to be honest with you. My earliest childhood memories are not very pleasant. I have some good memories, but you’re asking for my earliest childhood memory, and I don’t like that one. I didn’t take part in yesterday’s daily prompt, because I’m not ready to write my own obituary, and that just wasn’t something I felt like doing. 😛 However, even though it isn’t one of my fondest memories… (did anyone ever think about doing a prompt about one of our fondest memories?) I will dive in and take you back to another place and time in history…

It was Christmas time, 1964, and…

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
Though visions of sugar plums never danced in my head! 

English: Screenshot of Julie Andrews from the ...
English: Screenshot of Julie Andrews from the trailer for the film Mary Poppins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve often wondered, what is a sugar-plum anyway? The plum in sugar-plum doesn’t sound very appetizing to me, although I have to agree with Mary Poppins, a spoonful of sugar does help nasty things such as medicine go down much easier… But I digress… okay, back to the topic.

It was Christmas time, 1964. My mother had just given birth to my sister on December 14, and I loved that little bundle of joy, but I was really excited about what was going on in my Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom, where I could hear them talking and laughing. I could hear the sounds of paper ripping, and Christmas music playing on the record player.

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree.
English: A bauble on a Christmas tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was our first Christmas together as a family, and it was also the first Christmas that I had at least a small concept of what was going on. I knew that I liked the pretty Christmas tree in the living room, with the tinsel and garland, and its big colorful light bulbs. And oh! The shiny balls that hung from the tree were so pretty. There were red ones and gold ones and silver and green ones. I would have liked to play with those pretty shiny balls, but I wasn’t allowed to touch them.

Even though we only lived in that house a short time, and though I was only three when we lived there, I remember some of it vividly. It had quite an unusual set up, as I recall. I would love to visit that house again, to see how it compares to my memories of it, but it’s been through several remodels over the last forty-some years, so it probably wouldn’t be at all as I remember. Anyway, I digress again (do you get the feeling that I’d rather not think about this memory?). 

To enter my little bedroom, you had to take one step up from the kitchen. There was a door separating the kitchen from my bedroom. It was just a small room, but certainly large enough for a little 3-year-old. Only a few feet away, on the back wall, was my bed. There was probably about three to four feet from the left-side wall and the foot of my bed. It was a twin bed, one side pushed against the back wall of the room, and the head of the bed was pushed up against the right-side wall, on the side farthest from the kitchen entrance. Beside the head of the bed was another door that led to my Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom. There was no closet in the little room, and there were no dressers either, as the room just wasn’t large enough for that.

Oh, and I remember that I really liked the door that led to Mommy and Daddy’s room, because it was one of those doors that was wooden on the bottom half, but the top half was windowed. This allowed the light from my Mommy and Daddy’s room to spill over into my room, which was wonderful, especially for a small 3-year-old with a vivid imagination, and a strong fear of the dark and being alone. Many nights, when I was frightened, I would stand up on my bed, and leaning against the wall by its headboard, I would peek into my Mommy and Daddy’s room, and seeing them made me feel safer. I would watch them for a while, until sleepiness would take over, and then I’d lay back down to sleep.

This night was different, though. There was excitement in the air, and as I heard the laughter and the music coming from their bedroom, I just had to look and see what was going on. So, from my usual perch, I peeked through the window into Mommy and Daddy’s room. Whatever it was that they were doing looked like a lot of fun, and I wanted to get a closer look, so, jumping down from my bed, I walked up to the window of the door, and standing on my tip-toes, I peeked into their room once more.

merry christmas
merry christmas (Photo credit: katie-landry)

Oh my goodness! It was every child’s delight. There were bright shiny ribbons, and packages, and beautiful bows strung about the room. And there were Mommy and Daddy, laughing and dancing, and Mommy was singing at the top of her voice, each occasionally taking a drag of his/her cigarette, as they would wrap the beautiful paper around the boxes. Oh, it looked like they were having such fun! I wished I could join in their fun, but some instinct within me warned me not to let them see me watching them.

I only wished that instinct had warned me a little sooner, as the laughing and singing came to an abrupt halt they spotted me. I quickly jumped back into my bed, covering myself up, as Daddy, followed closely by Mommy stormed through the door and began yelling at me. My earlier joy quickly melted into fear, as Daddy grabbed my left arm and lifted me from the bed, beating me with his open palm, cursing and swearing all the while. And then Mommy, grabbed me and started beating me, threatening to take all of my beautiful packages back to the store.

All of those beautiful packages were for me? My confused little mind tried to wrap itself around the thought of it, but I couldn’t, as my Mommy and Daddy continued to beat me and scream at me, accusing me of ruining Christmas for everyone. I didn’t mean to spoil Christmas for everyone, but it was obvious that I must have, because they had so quickly gone from laughter and joy to bitterness and rage.

As they commanded me to return to my bed and not to get up again, I laid there trembling, trying to be quiet my breathing, which came in gasping little breaths. I could hear Mommy and Daddy talking in their room again, but their joyous laughter and singing had ceased. Their conversation now consisted of grumbling about the stupid little b@!&# in the other room. I knew that I was the stupid little b@!&# they were referring to, and I was so, so sorry for taking away their laughter and their joy, and for destroying their Christmas.

It was then that I began to believe that there must be something terribly wrong with me, and it wasn’t until many, many years later that I came to realize the truth. How sad that I don’t remember that Christmas, although I’m sure I still received presents, because old pictures show that there were presents. I only remember this sad event, and as I sit here writing this earliest childhood memory, I can look at the little girl inside of me, the girl that I once was, with love and compassion. And I remind her of the words our heavenly Father spoke to us, “Can a woman forget her child at the breast, not show pity on the child from her womb? Even if these were to forget, I would not forget you. I have engraved you on the palms of My hands, your walls are always before Me…” (Isaiah 49:15-16 CJB

Little girl within, your heavenly Father loves you with an everlasting love, and He promises that even though your father and your mother may forsake you, He will always care for you, and He will never leave you or forsake you.

For any who read my earliest childhood memory and have their own sad childhood memories, I would encourage you to take time to talk to that child who still lives within you, and comfort him/her. Many times in our lives, people speak lies to us, causing great harm within us, and oftentimes, causing us to hate the children that we once were. I encourage you, to seek the truth about what God says about His children. He is the One who reminds us that we are not accidents, not someone’s mistake, but that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. We are so precious to Him, that He carefully knit us together in our mother’s womb. He says that He knew us before we were even conceived, and He promises that He will not abandon us, but will be with us always, even to the end of the age.

I pray the Lord blesses each one of you, and that you can see that even in the midst of sometimes painful memories, He can do turn them into something good.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

The Long Awaited Promise

There was also a prophet named Hannah Bat-P’nu’el, of the tribe of Asher. She was a very old woman — she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and had remained a widow ever since; now she was eighty-four. She never left the Temple grounds but worshipped there night and day, fasting and praying. She came by at that moment and began thanking God and speaking about the child to everyone who was waiting for Yerushalayim to be liberated. (Luke 2:36-38 CJB)

She grimaced in pain as she awakened that morning, the inflammation of old age searing through her hips and lower back. Groaning, she stretched her legs carefully, before rolling to her side and pushing herself up to a seated position gingerly. “Oh Yahweh,” she groaned as a sharp burning pain shot through her legs, “How much longer must I tarry?” Grabbing her cane from the ground beside her, Anna awkwardly hoisted herself up, standing hunched over, as the burning, tingling pain again radiated from her lower back down her legs. She used the cane to steady herself, breathing deeply from the exertion of getting up. As her labored breathing slowed, her palpitating heart also slowed to a regular rhythm, and her pain settled to a dull ache.

With each day that passed, it became more and more difficult for Anna to move about, but she firmly set her face like flint as she determinedly forced herself to get up each morning and worship Adonai. After rolling her bed mat into a neat bundle, Anna placed it in the same spot she had been placing it in for more than 6 decades. Cane in hand to steady herself, she then walked toward the Beautiful Gate, as she did every morning, briefly leaving the Court of Women behind, as she went to relieve herself and then wash up, singing softly to the Lord as she did so…

Kadosh kadosh kadosh
Kadosh kadosh kadosh
Adonai Elohim tz’va’ot
Adonai Elohim tz’va’ot

“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?” Anna softly whispered as she rinsed her face, wiping the sleep from her eyes. After filling her flask with fresh water, Anna combed through her long silver hair, and plaited it before covering it once again. Then she continued worshiping the Lord as she walked back toward the Beautiful Gate and once again entered the Court of Women.

This was as far as Anna was allowed to go on the Temple Grounds, as women were forbidden to go any farther. It didn’t occur to Anna to be upset by this law. That’s just the way things were, and this is where she had made her home for many years. Long ago, when she was a young girl, she had once been married to a man she had loved passionately, but after only seven years of marriage, Elohim had called him to Paradise, and Anna had been alone ever since.

Well-meaning friends had told Anna that she would find another love and remarry, but Anna knew that she would never marry another man. She had given her heart to one man, and that was the only man she would ever love. When he died, Anna made a vow to be Elohim’s bride and to serve Him and worship Him for the rest of her life, and so she had. She had given all of her belongings away, save for her bed mat and a few personal items, and she had made her home on the Temple Grounds, in the Women’s Court, where she worshiped night and day, praying and often fasting. She trusted the Lord to take care of her needs, and He always had.

As she worshiped the Lord in spirit and in truth, He had given her the gift of prophecy. He had also promised Anna that she would see Israel’s Messiah before she died, and she clung to that promise. “O Adonai,” she would whisper each day, “how much longer till I see Him? Will it be today?”

Feeling melancholy, Anna sat down in front of the fire in the Women’s Court and thought back over the years, remembering when Rome had conquered Jerusalem, shortly after her husband had passed away. She was glad he hadn’t been alive to see the destruction caused by these brutes. That was a time of great horror, for the Romans were a cruel, harsh people. Anna looked beyond the Temple towards the hill of the place called Golgotha, and shuddered. When they gained control of Jerusalem, the Romans had brought a cruel new form of punishment with them, and the hills were often covered with crosses. This shameful, barbaric death penalty was horrifying to watch, as many Jewish men were stripped and hung on a wooden cross, arms and legs held in place by large crude nails driven into the victim’s hands and feet.

As God’s chosen people were brought low under the weight of this oppressive government, they cried out mournfully for their Emmanuel to come, and Anna cried out for Him too. She tried to comfort the people with the promise that she had been given by Adonai, but most refused to believe, often treating her as though she was a crazy old woman, rather than a prophet anointed by God. “Lord,” she often cried, “Your people are so frustrating! They see, but they don’t see, and they hear, but they don’t understand!”

Anna often wondered and asked the Almighty, “What will happen when He comes, O El Kadosh? Will they see Him and not recognize Him? Adonai, please tell me they won’t miss Him!” Sadly, the Lord was silent when Anna shared these fears with Him. Still, Anna tried to prepare the people, and her impassioned pleas for them to, “Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. In all Your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path,” had grown even more urgent, as she shared the imminence of Messiah’s coming.

For she had heard of the birth of the son of Zechariah, the priest, who was said to be the forerunner of Messiah, and in her spirit, Anna knew that this was true, and so now, she looked for Messiah even more ardently than before. Her heart quickened this morning, as she worshiped the Lord, hoping and praying that today would be the day. “O Adonai,” she cried out, unmindful of what others might think of her. “You said that if I would delight myself in You, that You would give me the desires of my heart.Yahweh, You above all others know that I do delight in You, for there is none that I love any more than You. So hear my cry, O Lord, and attend unto my need. How I long for Messiah’s arrival. Please, Elohim, let today be the day that I look upon His face. Please! Let this be the day!”

As she worshiped, Anna looked around, and it was then that she saw Simeon rushing into the Temple Court, and when she saw Him, her spirit quickened, and she knew. “This is it!” she whispered to Adonai, as she struggled to her feet and cane in hand, walked as briskly as she could to Simeon and the young couple he was speaking to, watching as he gently and reverently lifted the infant and gazed into the baby’s face.

There was deep reverence on Simeon’s face, as he lifted the child to Yahweh and said, “Lord, now I can die in peace! As You promised me, I have seen the Savior You have given to all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and He is the glory of your people Israel!”

Anna drew her breath in sharply, as she felt the power of the Almighy hovering over all of them. It was breathtaking to gaze at the young couple, who stood there listening respectfully to all that Simeon said, as they bowed their heads in reverence when he blessed them both. Anna felt indescribable joy, mixed with overwhelming grief and heartache as Simeon looked at the mother of the child and spoke again, “This Child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing. But He will be the greatest joy to many others. Thus, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

The young mother looked frightened and confused at these ominous words, and Anna wanted to comfort her and tell her not to worry, that all would be well, but the old prophet knew that Simeon spoke the truth. A sword would pierce this young mother’s soul, and most of the people of Israel, the very people who continued to cry for their Emmanuel, would miss His arrival, and they would reject Him, the One born to be their King.

Still, it was not yet time to mourn. It was a time of great rejoicing, because Emmanuel, God With Us, had come! And so Anna lifted up her voice, crying out to the people that on this day, in God’s holy city, God was indeed with His people. And those who lived in darkness have now seen a great Light, and for those who lived in a land where death cast its dark shadow, the Light has come! “Rejoice!” Anna cried, “Rejoice! For the long awaited Promise, Emmanuel, Yeshua, the Messiah has come to you, O Israel!”

In the light of her joy, suddenly, all of the years of pain seemed to melt away, as Anna continued to sing and shout praises to the Holy One of Israel. She had seen Messiah’s beautiful face. She had looked into the face of glory. All was well, and it had all been worth it, for she had received the long awaited promise.