Last night we were privileged to see the movie Les Miserables at a nearby show. I've seen an older version on a Classic Television Station, but this was on a "big screen" with color and action that enlivened its effectiveness. These were the insight of another time, the 1800's, in a place far away, but yet, somehow not much different than what is being experienced today.
Immediately, I thought of our Bible Study Class, where we learned the meaning of brokenness, being born into this world of sin, death and destruction. And armed with the decision of "free choice," we choose to become like Christ, walking in the Light, no matter how hard that is, or to choose the darkness, where there is no hope.
The end of the movie was most telling. The father of the young bride, was not present at her wedding, having fleed to prevent his daughter from finding out about his life in prison, which would have been too shameful to bare.He returned to a convent. She learns of his whereabouts through the identification of a "stolen ring" which was her husband's, now having the understanding that it was her father infact, who was the one who saved his life.
Initially, he was imprisioned for stealing a small piece of bread for his sister's hungry son. Nineteen years of torture was not enough as he was forced to carry "papers" which would not allow anyone to trust him enough to give him food or lodging, or a way to earn money to sustain him. A priest changed his lot, offering him food and shelter, to which he repaid him by stealing his goods. Upon being caught,the enforcers of the law, brought him to the priest to make formal charges against him. Instead, in a life changing act, the love,and generosity of the priest, showed him kindness, offering the thief two more candlesticks saying that he "gave" the items to him, without expectation.
The thief is "transformed" from bitter, and hateful, having been overwhelmed by the priests words and acts of kindness, as he placed an invisible sign of the cross on the former prisioners head. He sought repentance, from God to do good. In the end, he was called by someone a "saint." The priest earmarked him for Christ,by forgiving him and hoped that he would live to make a difference in an evil world. And, although he was constantly being chased to be returned to hard labor for tearing up his "papers" and failing to appear as ordered, he managed to escape. A young, mistreated lady of the night,lay sick and dying was given care in his charge. She sold her hair, and had teeth removed in order to have support money for her illegitimate child. He raised her only daughter as his own after her death. He was able to put people to work by running a business. He saved a man from being imprisioned in his place, by disclosing his true identity, at great risk to himself, by his revelation as the former prisioner. He released the one person who wanted him to suffer, who chased him without mercy, and lived to destroy him. This, a law abiding man, had been captured by the revolutionaries of that day, who were tired of being poor and hungry, while the rich rode around in carriages, indulged in luxury and endless parties, while the masses went without. Engaging them in battle proved fruitless-- being outnumbered and having superiority of weaponry. It was shocking to see the soldiers kill an innocent child. The freedom of the law enforcer, was unappreciated and was short-lived, as he, like the tormented Judas, jumped to his end, giving true freedom to the former prisioner.
The father who laid dying, saw the child in heaven with the many maryters who attained their peace--the only source of hope for any generation. And in his joy, the bitterness, pain and sufferings have all been wiped away. Those who now grieve, know the love of a man that they called father. He will be remembered as one, although overshadowed by grief, illumined a world of darkness by his love.
I find myself full of anticipation as in years past, for the coming of the celebration of Christmas, the birth of Christ the Savior. Yet we hear predictions of impending doom from sources such as the extinct Mayans, scientists and some so-called experts. What can we conclude from all that we witness going on in the world today? Simply this: The earth does not offer us sure footing, it never did. Death and devastation have been our lot, since the beginning of time. Simply, we have been born into this condition, a result of disobedience-- having been alienated from our Creator, but not without God having a plan for our salvation, one of God's design, based on faith, and our choices. "Free will" is the gift that He offers us. This plan of salvation includes full restoration, that which was intended for us initially, before our fall and our brokenness. Looking at other voices in history, John the Baptist is the voice of one crying in the wilderness. He comes with a special announcement, "prepare the way of the Lord." John knew of the presence of the Lord when he lept in his mother's womb, before he was born, having foretold the coming of Jesus. Sound predictions can be useful, depending on the source. In order to determine the source for the predictions of John, we refer to bible prophecy, and the the prophet Isaiah 40:3. "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord: Make straight the paths of our God. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill humbled; the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places into plains. The Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God; for the Lord has spoken." This prediction of the Good news has come to pass in the birth of our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ. John came with the announcement, from the womb and then, as he baptised, he made known the coming of the Lord, saying "He is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matt:3:11). Other messengers announced the coming--The angels confirmed the birth of Jesus to the sheperds. While, the kings proceeded by way of the leading light. The star that led to the Light of the World, in a perilous and lengthy journey of about two years. This, to reach the true Light, the Light that overcomes the darkness, who illumines us through each and every generation of tribulation, a light of love. Jesus is born for us as predicted in Isaiah 9:5. "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. His name will be called the Angel of Great Counsel, for I shall bring peace upon rulers, peace and health by Him. Great shall be His government, and of His peace there is no end. His peace shall be upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order and establish it with righteousness and judgment, from that time forward and unto ages of ages.
Put away all earthly cares, come hear the voice of angels rejoicing, "Peace, Good will toward men."
Go out and proclaim it by helping those who are needy today. Share your love with those who are lost, for ours is a great promise of Hope, not of gloom. Great joy has been fortold to us as read in (Rev. 11:15),the message of the seventh angel. "And there were loud voices in heaven saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" Further in Rev. 21:4 it is given; "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
It could that the anticipation of Christmas rests differently within each one of us. Why settle for nothingness, more of the same, when you have the ability to look a little deeper. John:7:37 "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
All scriptural passages have been taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
There is no tree set up in our front room. On Sunday, my husband John bought me a new Nativty, not one with baby animals not even the three kings, but the three pieces that comprise the Holy Scene. I couldn't wait for my little two-year-old grandson to come over, and as I knew he would, notice the three figures, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Above the wooden characters, I placed the large star of Bethlehem. It would have been nice if it had white lights on it, but being gold, with an open weave it seemed to go with the wooden figures. As I knew, it wasn't long after he sighted it, that his little hand just had to reach up to touch it. He spent some time looking at the cradle, then he said Jesus. Ryan knows who Jesus is as well as his mother Mary. He must have guessed that this was special to me as he didn't ask to play with the characters as he does other things I leave in the livingroom, like shells and candles which he likes to smell. Joseph is present with his staff, having a lantern in the other hand, while Mary kneels, bent slightly over the manager. None have faces, yet in its simplicity, we do not get any other message than Christ is Born having a real mother and Joseph. Time will allow facts to present themselves, but for now, there is Baby Jesus. Ryan was quiet in his observance, then finally, the question came. Grandma, where are their shoes?
Although the Holy Family is the focus of the Nativity Scene, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, the story encompassed so much more than this. It begins with a great light, the Star of Bethlehem, one that led three wise men to the "place". This journey was anything but easy. It was at great peril that they came, because they believed this star would lead them to find a king, and they would go to worship Him. Would the star have been enough for them to believe, it appeared to be so, as the trip took several years journey. When they saw the star they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. The same star that went before them in the East, stood over the place where the young Child was. It is important to note what the Kings said, in Matthew 2:2 we learn-- "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." Strong was their belief coupled with determination. Shepherds nearby also, having received a message from the angel, standing before them, said (Luke 2:15) "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." So there we have it the message physically given to three seekers, (very wise men), and the unlearned, humble shepherds who tended the sheep. This is the awaited Good News of the Gospel, that Christ has come to save the world, a world of darkness for every generation, to give to us who believe in Him, the Everlasting Light, as He is the Light of the World who has come to give us a present, Himself. Today, strangely enough, I heard a song that stuck in my head. It is one that I've heard on a CD some time ago. The words at the end of the song said, "For He is your God, You shall worship Him." Let us put aside all thoughts of darkness, gloom and sorrow, replacing them with joy and knowledge. Christ IS COME and He will illuminate every heart and lead us to the place where we will, like the three Kings, Shepherds and Heavenly Angels rejoice with great expectation and Glorify Him.
(Scripture passages came from the Orthodox Study Bible)
We have had the pleasure of seeing our grandsons this week, at various times due to the fact that their mom was on a business trip in San Diego, CA. Since their dad had to make-up time Wednesday, having swapped days on Saturday, in order that he could attend our nephews football game in Foxboro, I filled in for him. The oldest of the grandsons is in school and having taken the bus, dad dropped the two-year old off at grandma's house. We did all the fun things like going to, as he calls it, Donalds, where he loves to dip and eat French fries. It was a fun week of playing all type of games, mostly football and kick the ball. The oldest rigged up a way to stop the basketball hoop in the kitchen of their home from falling down each and everytime the ball is thrown into the hoop, utilizing his dads big shoes. You would think that with the purchase of these toys, which are not given away, someone would be bright enough to try it out and fix the problem. It is good that the kids live on two levels, which enabled me to seperate them from time to time, as needed. The first night I was invited to dinner, where poor dad had his hands full trying to entertain the two, who both wanted his full and undivided attention, loudly. The kids are all excited about Christmas and it was look at this, grandma, constantly. The oldest is fairly good at entertaining himself, but the youngest was like a little puppy constantly at your feet. I'm glad he took naps in order that I could get things done. Of course, I was told by Nathan, that cookies were wanted as "they ate them all." Ryan likes his scrambled eggs and bunnies. A short time ago, I mentioned that bunnies were to him, white chocolate chips. I hand him a few every now and then when he does something nice, or for a reward. Mom came back today, and because Nathan spent the night with his dad attending a movie night with the cub scouts, Ryan was happy to spend the night at our house. Finally, as promised we took him to see the airplanes, following lunch. The plan was that he would take a much needed nap once he got home. Tonight, there are plans to put up a second tree, this one, with a train that apparently produces steam. The ride home takes us by the Big Bunny Market, in which he shouts each and everytime, "bunny." This time, however, it was a special bunny, decked out in a Santa Suit. I was so thrilled I yelled out to him, "look! Bunny's in a Santa Suit. Unfortunately, Ryan will have to wait until next time--he was fast asleep. Holidays are joyful and especially, when you have friends and loved ones to share them with. These two are looking forward to Christmas the way our family has been celebrating it for many generations, with family, friends, tree and all the trimming. Toys are the reward for being good, and Jingles the elf is watching to make sure. They said he flies from room to room and then tells Santa. On a table I noticed the Nativity scene, that is, after Ryan brought over to me the camel to see. Christmas, daddy will bring down baby Jesus to place in the small manger, just as he enjoyed doing when he was small. I asked Angie how the trip was and she mentioned all the "homeless" in San Diego and I thought also of those in New York, New Jersey and others on the East Coast who lost everything during the recent flood. It is hard to believe that in America so many are suffering. Then I thought of it, Jesus was homeless too, born in a cave--having no room in the inn. It is the duty of people everywhere this Christmas to remember those who have been shut out of the Christmas scene for whatever the reason. Let's all try to share the joy, for Christ is born in Bethlehem, and like the three kings who brought gifts to honor him, we should do the same for others. Lets not leave anyone out in the cold this Christmas.
Nathan holding his green monster while being held by the Green Monster of the Red Sox
Wally the Green Monster at St. Michael's Festival, July 19
My son Bill with his son Nathan
Playing in the dirt
One of Nathan's favorite activities
Many will wonder how I came up with this very unusual title. Who in their right mind would want to blog on this topic. A mom, grandmother, or anyone who cares for small children, worldwide. What if I told you to kiss the boo-boo is the "cure all" for all ages? That has been my philosophy for and the basis for this blog. What am I, I am a boo-boo kisser. I make it all better. I am sharing my thoughts and views, not intended to offend any reader, but to express the lessons life has taught me. These are solely my experiences and reflect my feelings! Looking for others to share as well...