See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

Ryan and friend

Ryan and friend
Mommy, Daddy, I'm saying Hi to Grandma?

This one is for you, Grandma!


soccer with determination and no airplane distractions

Monday, December 29, 2014

At Your right hand stood the Queen

Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of Christ for twelve days, and we "Glorify Christ Who shone forth from the Virgin and took on flesh in order to save our souls."

During this period of time we remember the Prophet David who "foretold in songs the One Who worked wonders in you: At Your right hand stood the Queen."

Isaiah reveals that the Messiah will be born of the seed of Jesse, the father of King David: "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: (Is. 11:1)."

The words of the Magi, "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."

Herod was troubled, the prophecies are fulfilled, and "all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him " (Psalm. 71: 10-11)

"Christ who has great and rich mercy has saved the world, O Theotokos."

The Theotokos, bore the man-God, Jesus, both human and Divine. Son of God, and also the Son of the Virgin, is born in Bethlehem. The prophecies clearly existed yet were not understood by those who did not  comprehend their fulfillment.

Joseph in his old age, the Betrothed, clearly saw the prophecies fulfilled, given a mysterious command, and received enlightenment from the angels.

Joy to the world the Lord is come, let earth receive her King. Illumine, O Lord, the hearts of men with a clear knowledge and understanding of You, that they may be filled with hope, in a troubled world, as you did the wise men, dispelling all confusion and error, that they come to know you the true God and Savior.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Afterfeast of the Nativity of Christ

Tomorrow will be the last Sunday in December and in the calendar year of 2014. It is the celebrated afterfeast of the Nativity of Christ. Tonight's Great Service of Vespers, through Germanus, tells us about the present mystery, of which we greatly rejoice and sing. Who is this infant, Jesus? What effect does His birth have on all for all time?

"Come, let us greatly rejoice in the Lord,
as we sing of this present mystery;
the wall which divided God from man has been destroyed;
the flaming sword withdraws from Eden's gate;
the Cherubim withdraw from the Tree of Life;
and I, who had been cast out through my disobedience,
now feast on the delights of Paradise;
for today the Father's perfect Image,
marked with stamp of His eternity,
has taken the form of a servant.
Without undergoing change He is born from an unwedded mother;
but through His love for mankind,
He has become what He never was: true man.
Come, O faithful, let us cry to Him:
"O God, born of the Virgin, have mercy on us,!"

Anatolius, writing for the Feast says: "The Wise Men worshipped, and the Angels sang.
But Herod was troubled, for God had appeared in the flesh.
He is the Savior of our souls."

O Pre-eternal God, have mercy on us!

"Let us glorify Christ, Who shone forth from the Virgin and took on flesh in order to save our souls!"

We are gravitating toward the coming year in which the troubled Herod's of the world still slaughter innocents, unable to understand the Divine Plan. The Son of God, Jesus, shone forth from His Virgin mother Mary, taking on our flesh in order to save our souls by His death on the cross and His glorious Resurrection.

Glory to God, for He has granted Peace to the world, compassion and great mercy!

"What shall we offer You, O Christ,
Who for our sakes have appeared on earth as a man?"


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Time is Now

Today is Christmas...Merry Christmas to you all! We Orthodox say "Christ is born! Glorify Him!"

Along with greetings, Christmas Carols sung at the end of Liturgy, hymned possibly since their composition, by Isaac Watts, 1709 and G.F. Handel, 1742--Joy to the World, for example, are sung.

Interesting enough, when we use the English language, to talk about an event that has happened in the past, we use the past and not the present tense of the word. I have always wondered why then in the first verse, the song reads that the "Lord IS come;" Instead, should it have read, the Lord has come? A past event.

The birth of Christ was around 4 B.C., certainly that was a long time ago.

Pondering the text and the meaning of the words, was it written that way purposefully to imply another meaning. "Christ born in us", can only be done in the present. The song confirms this with the words "Let every heart prepare Him room."  A past event, connects us in the present. What a magnificent song.  The pre-eternal God was born as a little child for us and all generations to come, when He is born in the manager of our hearts.

Having "existence" IS to BE. God IS eternal. Our design is Eternal when He exists in our hearts.

The song continues..."And heaven and nature sing." All God's creatures are created to Glorify Him, in heaven and on earth. The image here is very powerful.

"The Lord IS come; Let earth receive her King;" and "Repeat the Sounding joy, Repeat the Sounding joy, Repeat, Repeat the Sounding JOY!"

Joy to the World...Eternally!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Entered Into The Church of his Ancestors

Sunday, baby Max was entered into the church of his ancestors. It was a great moment for him, and although he is just a babe, and unable to walk, the little one was escorted in, by the priest, who carried him around the altar. On his way back we noticed how large his eyes were and how happy he had suddenly become.

Christmas will be celebrated soon by the world and we will remember how Jesus was entered, and for the reason He came. The gospel writers, Matthew, Luke and John tell us that the Christ was born in the town of Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the King, and mention the star, wise men from the east, gifts. Luke tells us about the shepherds and angels. Quite the entrance into the world, and an historical account beginning with the genealogy of Jesus' Davidic descent. Under Mosaic Law, betrothal involves almost the same commitment as marriage, and Joseph, in (Matthew 1:24) is told to take Mary, the ever virgin as his wife. "Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, and as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife."

(Matthew 1:23) "Behold the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, " which is translated, "God with us."

Deuteronomy chapter 18:15 "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear."  The Prophet to come would speak all the Father commanded Him. He is the Word made flesh (John1:14), the Prophet to come is God in the Flesh. (see Is54:13, Jn6:45).

 The historical events are all important, the horror of the cry in Ramah, which was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, (Matthew 2:18)"A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
(Matthew 2:15) "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son,"

So here is the challenge of Christmas, that is; after the party, gift wrap, tinsel and tree. Will we put it all aside until next year, when commercialism and its quest for more goods and services, sends us around the full parking lot, half crazy to find that of what we need and must have, lining their already full pockets, with that which is highly popular, promoted...and with which we cannot live without ...Enough Already!

or, will we be seen Worshiping the true God, lying in the manger of our hearts as we enter into His holy church. (God dwells within His people). Will we be like Paul, who in his world view of Christian life in the church, gives credible testimony about the birth of Christ.--  (Romans1:3-6)"His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh."  "and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead," 

(Paul, originally called Saul, once persecuted the church, was converted on the road to Damascus, he was a Roman citizen from Tarsus.) Like him, we can all be changed. I used to wonder why the grandparents didn't show much enthusiasm for holiday shopping and decorating, until I became among the aged. My perspective is so very different from when I was a youngster. I can tell you for me, it's not all about the tree. There are gifts which are not material, like love, peace, charity, mercy and joy. Hopefully, we all can find time to share something with someone in need this Christmas and all through the year.

There is a feast celebrated, which commemorates the water flowing from the rock which Moses struck in the wilderness (Ex17 1-7) and provides the context for the Lord's words, if anyone thirsts. Which is the promise of the Pentecost. (John7 37-38)"Jesus stood and cried out saying -If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

(Rev.21:6-7) "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son."

My hope and prayer then, for Max, this Christmas, and for always;-- and for all of us, is that we may always be found thirsting, desiring Living water, who is our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

All scriptural references are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible




Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Greatest Gift of All

My little grandson of four, has been following me around with his scrap paper and pencil, in order to obtain a list of what I want from Santa. "What do you want for Christmas, grandma?" That is a loaded question. I look around at my cluttered home, which I try to alleviate by donations and the goodwill box every now and then, and frankly, find that I really do not need anything.  So I told him that I want him to be happy, to which he responded, "I am happy." That really made my day.

At a certain age of been there and done that, the only want that remains is not material, but spiritual. The real Christmas is what we all really need. It is why Christ came into this world, a world in need of change.

The best gift you can give and receive is forgiveness. Can you imagine what would happen if everyone forgave each other and lived to love one another? This world would be a heavenly place.

I often think of the words Jesus said on the cross, which had everything to do with reconciliation.(Luke 23:34) "Then Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

The angels greeted the shepherds with the message of Peace on Earth good will to men, guiding them, like the star of Bethlehem, to a baby born in a humble and unusual manner, of His virgin mother Mary,  and who accomplished the good news of salvation through His death and forgiveness on the cross. This gift of salvation and reconciliation is free, one that will cost you absolutely nothing, but gives you everything in return. The gift of life eternal. (John 1:4)"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men."

So this year, give and receive the gift of forgiveness, the gift of love, joy and peace. And, as the song goes, "Let it begin with me."

I promise that this gift will bring you true happiness, a one-size fits all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jesus born the only Pure and Sinless One

All babies are beautiful, but Jesus being born the only Pure One radiated light. He is the Light of the world and No Darkness was ever found in Him. He is the only sinless One. It is a fact that everyone that comes into this world endures the consequences of Adam and Eves sin--mortality, a tendency to sin, alienation from God and from other people. We do not carry the guilt of our first parents, and do not believe that an infant who dies unbaptized is condemned to hell. We must be born again.

The Baptism Sacrament gives us rebirth. We are united to Christ, putting on Christ after our death, and resurrection with Him, uniting us with Him, becoming Christian. Water was set apart by God as the means by which the Holy Spirit would bring to us new life and entrance into the heavenly Kingdom. We are Baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus tells us in John 3:5 "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

It is important that we understand who the babe born in Bethlehem is. He is Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, sinless, the incarnate Son of God, born of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God. 2Corinthians 5:21 "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Jesus, the Son of God assumed the consequences of our sin--corruption and death--without sinning Himself, submitting Himself to unjust suffering because of our sinful passions.

Many today do not understand how important it is to be Baptized, becoming New Creatures, participating in the very righteousness of God.

Without Christmas, what hope existed for mankind?

John the Baptist makes it clear that Jesus had no need for Baptism and as Jesus approached him, in Matthew 3:20, John tries to prevent Him saying "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness."

Jesus did not need purification, and upon entering and coming out of the filthy sinful waters brought up with Him, sanctification of the entire world. None of which any of us are worthy of receiving.

We were all doomed, but through the Gift of Jesus, we have the only Hope that ever has or will exist, and it is your decision--coming from the gift of free will that we all have been given, starting with his Mother, Mary, when she said yes to Angel Gabriel, and accepted God's plan of salvation. She could have said no.

What will your answer be when He, the God of Love, calls on you? There is a beautiful song that I've been hearing this year called Mary did you know? The words are so meaningful. The line I get stuck on is this...
Mary did you know that the baby boy you delivered will someday deliver you? That is something to ponder about....Mary was born like the rest of us, needing salvation, too.

O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our Dear Saviors Birth, from which we are illumined.

All scripture references are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible

Monday, December 8, 2014

The light shines in the darkness

My youngest grandson does not like to sleep in or, enter a dark room. I recall as a young child being afraid of the dark too. It's a common problem. Darkness is nothing but that which is not illuminated, or exposed by light. Simply we turn a light on. Light brings security.

This time of the year, especially during the celebration of Christmas and the birth of Christ, who is the Light of the world,we are reminded that darkness cannot defeat the light, which it cannot comprehend. John 1: 5  "And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."

The world seems dark, but just as the Christmas star and lights remind us, Light, and Love are eternal. John 12:46 "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness." Darkness will oppose light, yet cannot defeat the light.
Ephesians 5:15 "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

1John 2:10 "He who loves his brother abides in the light."

It is a season of giving. James 1:17 tells us that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights," we need to think about acknowledging that, first and foremost at the stable of our own heart, sharing every good thing with those we love.

May we proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, "born in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11.

"The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned." Matthew 4:16.

We no longer need to fear the darkness.... 

All scriptural references were taken from the Orthodox Study Bible