Christmas: Welcome to our World!

Christmas blessings from a branch in the VINE.
Thank you, dear readers, for journeying with me this Advent!  I hope you feel better prepared to remember our Lord, Emmanuel's coming to our earth.  I certainly do for the writing.

Enjoy this family story, my gift to you, and remember your JESUS!

Taste and see that the Lord is good; how happy is the one who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8

I had good intentions.  The recipe looked easy enough, yet festive:  Chocolate Orange Cake.  I figured this year the boys were old enough to  enjoy a birthday for Jesus.  And who doesn’t like chocolate?  Even though I had been  tempted by the beautiful little chocolate cake at Trader Joe’s, I decided to take the plunge myself.  I pulled out the spring form pan (which I had worked with before) and went at it.

I wasn’t prepared for the result!  Even though my toothpick came out clean, something happened to part of the middle as it cooled on the rack!  If the whole middle had sunk a little, it wouldn’t have been that bad.  But there it was, a desperately mis-shapen birthday cake for Jesus.  My efforts at patching it up just ended in making it worse:  glaze sliding off one side, crumbs in the glaze…nothing I tried helped.

Discouraged, pressured, and ready to pitch the thing and go spend $7.99 for that cute little TJ cake, I remembered… JESUS!  I realized that He probably NEVER had a perfect birthday cake (if they even did that in those days).  Even His actual birth-day was far from perfect…no hospital, no doctor, no nursery with a clean crib and changing table, no doting relatives, no baby showers, no “home sweet home”, not even a room in a hotel…but rather a barn filled with animals, far from loved-ones, with two teen-aged parents, and unclean out-casts with their sheep for visitors!  (Of course, God couldn’t resist throwing in a few angels and a star!  But they were only “visible” to the few believing hearts).

Something began to change in my attitude toward my cake.  Now it was a picture, a “metaphor," for my Lovely Lord who wasn’t one of the beautiful people (kinda like my cake):

He has no beauty or majesty that we should look upon Him nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. (Is 53:2)

My cake began to speak to me of this Glorious One who came to earth and put up with a broken, imperfect life for my sake:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt (pitched His tent) among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only-begotten of the Father,  full of grace and truth. (John 1:14).

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…who although He existed in the form of God, …emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:5-8)

So I swallowed my pride and put a little crystal nativity on top.  When it was time for dessert, I read the verses from Isaiah, and we sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.  The funny thing is that it was actually “delicious”…kinda like Jesus, huh?

Taste and see that the Lord is good; how happy is the one who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8

Chris Rice

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting
Welcome, Holy Child
Welcome, Holy Child

 Hope that You don’t mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make yourself at home
Please make yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking heaven’s silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

 Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2