Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Christmas Challenge ~ Be a Blessing

For a friend who cannot get out much

For a friend who cannot get out much

Christmas has gotten greedy and selfish, especially in America.  It seems like fighting over who is first in line for the latest toy or hurting someone to steal their large screen TV is becoming the norm.

‘My’ child deserves this new X Box.  ‘My’ husband needs this i Pad.  ‘I’ deserve these new boots, not you.


Culture has taught that new is better and pampering ourselves rules.  All the while, the true message that Christ taught, of blessing others, gets lost in the shopping madness.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to give special gifts to our loved ones, or of wanting something new for Christmas.  However, when we do so at the expense of neglecting to give to others, we miss the truest blessings of the season.

In reality, by the time they trash the bows, the kids have likely moved on to what they want next.  The new wears off about as fast as they open the box these days.  Even the Grinch could vouch for that.

However, Christmas that is all about getting stuff doesn’t satisfy; it only temporarily thrills.  The secret to feeling true warmth at this season is giving.  By drawing near to Christ, then letting Him bless others through you.   Giving affords the way to be a blessing.

Most of us who already know this.  So, when you are out there frantically trying to finish your holiday shopping, allow the Holy Spirit to direct you about who and how to bless.  The needs are everywhere, but opportunities for giving are sometimes close to home, even right down the street. 

It may just be that those people God puts on your heart has a need that nobody else will meet.  For them, you could be their only Christmas blessing. 

Blessings to each of you today,

The Christmas Challenge ~ When Christmas Feels Broken

A close-up of the manger scene in our German Nativity pyramid windmill

A close-up of the manger scene in our German nativity pyramid

Christmas can sometimes feel broken.  Instead of being a season filled with warm feelings and special memories, it can become a time filled with heartache, from things like the death of loved one, financial woes, family turmoil, loneliness or divorce.

Since my childhood was wonderful, Christmas was the same; it never felt broken.  We were not wealthy, so Christmas was simple, but it was nonetheless always special.  The only thing broken about it was the occasional ornament that fell the tree.

Christmas Felt Broken

It was not until I married into a ready-made family, and experienced the holiday problems that come from being part of a blended one, that Christmas first felt broken.  It wasn’t due to lack of love for my husband and new family; rather, it was from the complications of trying to mesh all the different family traditions, and bridge the miles of separation from extended family members.

Right after our first Christmas together, I traveled alone to visit my family, since my husband could not go with me.  Lost in the hurt over the complications, I remember wondering whether there was any way that the season would ever be the same again.  Christmas as I knew it felt hopelessly broken.

How to Mend a Broken Christmas

As God would have it, He directed my attention to an in-flight magazine article about blended families at the holidays.  I never forgot one suggestion, about how to overcome the challenges that these families often face at Christmas.

If your former Christmas traditions can no longer work, begin new ones.

The idea was simple, but God used it in a remarkable way to help mend Christmas for me.  I could no longer hold on to what I had always expected, but instead needed to start something new.  After discussing the concept with my husband, it didn’t take long for us to decide on a new tradition.

On that first Christmas together, my husband’s brother gave us a wonderful gift: a handmade German nativity pyramid.

The original candle were small, but have long since been used, so now we make do with whatever candles we can find.

The original candle were small, but have long since been used, so now we make do with whatever candles we can find.

The next year, we started a tradition of our own, of gathering together for a special time of lighting our German nativity.  After the candles are lit, we listen to someone read the story of Christ’s birth from Luke, then dim the lights.  With favorite carols playing in the background, we watch as the heat from the candles causes the windmill above to spin the entire pyramid in a glorious display of light and blessedness.

As the years have gone by, we have come to treasure our candle lighting tradition.  We have many fond memories of other family and friends that have joined us in remembering Christ’s birth in this unique way.  It may seem too simple an idea to have helped mend something broken about Christmas, but it did.

Christ Mends a Broken Christmas

Is Christmas now perfect?

Absolutely not.  We live in a sin-stained world, filled with imperfections, so Christmas is never perfect.  Only Christ is.  But He knows how to heal the hurts that steal our joy in celebrating His birth.  He can use anything, even something as simple as a German nativity candle to help fix what is broken about Christmas.

We set it up around Christmas, but only light it once a year.  This was from 2012

We set it up around Christmas, but only light it once a year. This was from 2012

Do you feel like Christmas is broken?  Reach out to Jesus this year.  With His help something new can begin.  Something that can start the process of mending the hurt of a broken Christmas. 

Joy could be waiting around the corner.  Remember what the angel told Mary:

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
Luke 1:37

Sue Nash/2013

Does Christ Mean More?

Does Christ Mean MoreDoes Christ mean more
Than twinkling lights,
  Or choruses
Of O Holy night?

Does seeking Him
Have priority
Over Santa
And festivities?

Does lining homes
With wreaths and mangers
Take up more time
Than loving neighbors?

Does chasing dreams
Of Christmas magic
  Make holidays
For some feel tragic?

There’s nothing wrong
With decorations,
Or caroling
With exaltation;

Of silent night
And nativities
That shine His light

But seeking Christ
Amid Christmas-y
Must reign supreme
Above pageantry.

For mistletoe
And winter wonderland
Cannot replace
The warmth of Bethlehem.

A King was born,
And He came humbly
To show His love
For humanity.

Our greatest gift
To bestow on Him
Is rendered not
Through the Yuletide din.

What matters most
Amongst Christmas cheer
Is serving Christ;
To Him drawing near.

In Christ alone,
There is peace on earth;
His joy excels
Even Christmas mirth.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:14

Sue Nash/2013

For more of my poems, see Poetry Corner

Friday Feature ~ Christmas Carol Favorite

My husband and I have the same favorite Christmas song.  We both love O Holy Night.

Our favorite person singing it is also the same, but we don’t have a recording, since it is someone local at our church.  She sings it better than anyone we have ever heard. 

Our second favorite version of this classic Christmas carol is by Martina McBride. 

What is your favorite Christmas song?  Share it and a link, if you like, so that we can all enjoy.  Ms. Scrooge is trying to chill out about all of the holiday madness and get in the Christmas spirit!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand ~ Grands

One of our eight grandchildren

One of our grandchildren

This week’s challenge is grand.  Those of us who have them know that there is nothing much more grand than grandchildren.  Without question, ours are.

Since they live out-of-state, we do not get to see them very often, and sadly, we cannot all be together for Christmas this year.  However, we will get to spend time with some of them soon.

When we are together with our grands, we always have a grand time.  #can’t#wait!

Sue Nash/2013

For other challenges, see Weekly Photo Challenge.

From The Daily Post

Frosty ~ By the Breath of God

A frosty leaf

A frosty leaf on my mailbox post

When the chill first shows
And you shiver to the bone
With frost nipping at your toes

Although we had our first frost a few weeks ago, this morning it covered the ground more completely.  It brought a shiver to my bones.

Frosty the rose

Frosty the rose

The first frost sealed the fate of my summer roses.  They looked pretty with a dusting of chill, though.

Flip flop weather is definitely over for the year.   Brrr.

Flip flop weather is definitely over for the year. Brrr.

We don’t get a lot of snow in Mississippi, so usually our best chance of seeing Frosty is on television.  But God still sends the lovely frost.  

By the breath of God frost is given
Job 37:10a

Sue Nash/2013

The Christmas Challenge ~ Don’t Be a Scrooge

The December frenzy

The December frenzy

You may have noticed my lack of posting this month.  Just as with everyone else, December gets busy, so to maintain my peace during the holidays, I must carefully manage my time.  Unfortunately, that has meant infrequent blogging.

There is another reason for my lack of posting, though.  I often get disillusioned by what Christmas has become, so the days leading up to Christmas can start feeling like more of a challenge than a delight, for a number of reasons:

shopping, bargains, busyness, parties, wrapping, decorating, mailing, cards, cooking, planning, appointments, commitments, deadlines, to-do lists, activities, expectations, programs, productions, traveling,…….STRESS!

My struggle is in not allowing these reasons steal the simplicity of celebrating Christ’s birth.  Otherwise, I lose my joy and teeter toward apathy toward the season overall. 

I start looking and acting like a Scrooge.  Shocking, I know!

Deep down, I am not a Scrooge, though.  I absolutely love the true purpose of Christmas.  But somewhere along the way, the blessedness of the season has diminished.  My challenge (and I doubt that I am alone) is to avoid the trappings that steal the joy found in the Christ of Christmas.

The secret is in finding every way possible to get off the Christmas-frenzy train and stay in the peace-filled presence of the King who was born in a manger.

I wish that it were easy.  Since I am a Martha, though, it is always a struggle.  The enemy makes sure of that.  Yet there are ways to practice the simple wonder of the Savior’s birth.

In the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, I will share some things I have found beneficial.  I would also love to hear stories from you, of ways you keep the focus on Christ during the holidays.

Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luke 2:12

Sue Nash/2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light ~ In the Darkness

When it is dark outside, the light from inside our church gives the stained glass a colorful glow

When it is dark outside, the light from inside our church gives the stained glass a colorful glow ~ click on photo to enlarge

I love looking at this stained glass window while inside my church, but the colors are just as beautiful when viewed from the outside at night. 

My favorite part of the artwork is of the star’s light shining down on the manger. 

Jesus is the light of the world!

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.”
John 12:46

For other photo challenges, see Weekly Photo Challenge

From The Daily Post

Sue Nash/2013