A Broken, Fallen World…Blessed.

Angel Adahlyn

I talked on the phone to my daughter, Hannah, while I was working on this blog post. She shared with me something her pastor had shared in his sermon about the number of angels that appeared to the shepherds. 

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, 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 terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

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

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”   Luke 2:8-14

So just how many angels make up a “heavenly host”? I certainly don’t know. In Daniel 7:10, Daniel is revealing the prophetic vision he sees where God is enthroned and His power is demonstrated by the “ten thousand by ten thousand (who) rose up and stood before Him”, God’s heavenly host.

So, 10,000 times 10,000 is 100 million! (thank you, Phil)

In Daniel, God is demonstrating His strength as He defeats the beast.

I believe God was demonstrating His power to those shepherds, obviously, but one heavenly being was enough to “wow” the shepherds.

Who, then was this display of force and power for?

That multitude of the heavenly host – MILLIONS of the army of angelic beings – showed the powers of darkness that they were DEFEATED!

The appearance of the heavenly hosts, announcing Jesus birth, was a magnificent display of the awesome POWER of God. I don’t think they looked like the flying babies, or even innocuous pale, winged creatures that are portrayed in so many paintings of angels.

These angels were part of God’s army, dressed for battle, dressed in the full armor of God. It is also obvious that they were not armed for battle with the shepherds who they appeared before. They demonstrated God’s power to the powers of darkness by their overwhelming number and by their rejoicing at the birth of God’s Son. Their mighty presence was evidence of the divine nature and protection for the “helpless” baby – Jesus.

They were praising God because the day Jesus was born – the victory was won!

We recently completed a study at our Community Woman’s Bible Study in Ephesians on the Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. When I read these verses from Luke today, which I have read so many. many times before, a new appreciation of the angels as part of the “heavenly host”, the angelic army of God, stirred in my heart.

I always appreciated the wonder of the angels announcement of Jesus birth, but now I realize those angels also announced the VICTORY that God has provided through the precious gift of His Son.

May we each rejoice in this victory as we celebrate Jesus birth.

“The Savior’s Come”



Abigail, with the help of her boys, made this Lego video last year. It illustrates a song written by one of their pastors, Paul Cummings. They did an amazing job!

I LOVE how it proclaims the TRUTH of the greatest gift we celebrate on Christmas.

Watch it with children and grandchildren – you will all be blessed!

Merry Christmas!




He’s Coming, Again!


The last of our children and grandchildren left yesterday.

We had a wonderful time with family – coming and going at various times with a brief overlap of everyone. It can be wild and crazy at times, yet the joy of having our children and grandchildren in our home supersedes all other factors. We know we are truly blessed.

As I mentioned in my post on December 13th, I spent a lot of time preparing rooms – making beds, putting pictures of the anticipated occupants in the rooms, (learned from a dear friend Donna), a small dish of special candy in the adult rooms, and fresh towels. As much as possible, I wanted each family member to feel welcome and loved.

I also put away any breakable or valuable non-essentials so that we did not have to say “no” any more than necessary.

The preparation paid off – I enjoyed the seven days we had family here and we only broke two dishes, but I wouldn’t change a thing!

So, yesterday we started cleaning up. Phil vacuumed, I put things away. One load of sheets is in the dryer and the second load is in the washer as I type this.

Yet, something my older brother texted me with his holiday greeting keeps resonating in my mind.

“Jesus is coming again!”

We made so many preparations to celebrate the first appearing of Jesus. All were special and held meaning for us and our family as we celebrated Jesus’s birth.


But what preparations am I making to prepare for His second coming?

In I Thessalonians 5: 19-24 (MSG) Paul addresses this very issue –

19-22 Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.

23-24 May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!

The preparations are quite clear –

  • allow the Holy Spirit to empower us
  • listen to those who speak God’s truth
  • don’t be deceived – test everything by the standard of God’s Word
  • throw away the bad, avoid everything that is evil
  • God will make us holy and whole
  • God is completely dependable – HE WILL DO IT!

God will make us prepared for the second coming of Jesus. We can begin the process by following the first four steps – but ONLY God can complete it.

The joy of preparing for our family’s arrival was the anticipation of them actually coming. Our granddaughter Adella said to me, “Nana, you are so happy when I come to your house.” Yes, I am, and I am so pleased she knows it.

If we had not prepared, I dread thinking of the consequences. No food, no beds ready, no clean bathrooms….There would be no joy on Macktown Gap!

No one knows when Jesus will come again. We DO know He is returning.

I want to commit to intentionally preparing myself – spirit, soul, and body – for the return of Jesus, my Saviour and Lord.

Jesus is coming, again!

Picture Perfect?


What would Jesus’ family Christmas photo have looked like?

“It’s like we get those perfect Christmas family photos everyday now on Facebook and social media.”

I heard the above statement on the radio and it certainly struck a chord with me. My friend, Alice Marie, and I had just been talking about the unrealistic impressions that “perfect photos” often bring.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pictures on Facebook! I joined Facebook in the first place so that I could see the photos our daughters posted of our grandchildren. I also enjoy seeing friends’ and acquaintances’ pictures and activities, some from very far away.

Yet what impression are we sharing? That we are “perfect” and all is peace and light on the home front?

We all are familiar with the idea that “a picture speaks a thousand words” – but are those words accurate? Do they reflect real life?

Let’s imagine for a moment that there was photography at the time of Jesus birth. What would the first family photo of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus look like?

  • Mary and Joseph had traveled that day, so they probably looked pretty tired
  • They had the dust of travel on their clothes
  • There was no room in the inn, so they were offered a stable for shelter
  • Their clothes were certainly not “festive” or “color coordinated” (so, ok, Phil – color does not ALWAYS matter)
  • The animals were nearby, though they were not the pets often included in our holiday photos

So, here is the picture – the family is gathered in a stable, a great setting considering the current trend to use rustic backgrounds for photos. They are in rumpled, dusty clothes, a grouping of three – odd numbers are always good visually. The lighting is good because oddly enough, there is an unusually bright star shining right over the new baby. How fortunate is that?

But wait! There seems to be various men and boys crowding around to get in the picture! They brought sheep with them! They don’t seem to be related to this family of three. (maybe they can be photo shopped out later)

The parents are smiling, weary, but happy smiles gazing fondly at the new baby.

The Baby….

What would that photo of Jesus look like?

Would it radiate with the glory of His heavenly Father? Would there be any indication of the incarnate presence of God? Jesus birth made the angels announce – Luke 2:13-14

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

The more I thought about what a picture of Jesus would look like, the more I thought that He would probably look like an ordinary baby. Tammy Youmans said her grandson Micah said – “Jesus rolled himself up into a baby.” I love that image.

We are so much more than our outward appearance, aren’t we? So was Jesus when He was here in human form.

Jesus was fully a man – and fully God.

As we celebrate Jesus’ birth with family and friends this year, let’s take LOTS of pictures and share the joy and fun we experience.

Let us also remember that pictures don’t show the heartache of loss of loved ones, the pain and suffering that is often unseen but is a part of all of our lives.

Let us remember the words of hope the angel shared – Luke 2:10-11

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

God’s perfect gift – Jesus.

Unplanned Pregnancy?

Abi and Caleb

Everywhere we look this season there are reminders of the birth of Jesus – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I love that.

It may be commercial and less than sincere at times, but I love the fact that Jesus is acknowledged and celebrated in front yards, in light displays, in store windows, and many public places. Stars reminiscent of the star over Bethlehem shine from the tops of trees, buildings, and mountains.

Yet for his earthly parents, Jesus conception created some very real concerns.

Mary did not plan her pregnancy – in fact the timing was very problematic. She was engaged to marry Joseph. How would he take this news? It took a visit to Joseph by an angel to validate the legitimacy of Mary’s pregnancy. She was also near the end of her pregnancy when her husband said that they must travel to Bethlehem. Before prenatal visits and ultrasounds Mary did not know her “due date”. Yet, God had it all prepared according to His plan. He knew just when and where His Son would be born. He had angels ready to announce it to the shepherds and placed an extraordinarily bright star to shine over the birthplace. Even though there was no room in the Inn, God chose a place that has allowed people from every tongue and nation to identify with the lowly birth of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings – Jesus.

In Luke 1: 46 -49 – Mary praises God for what the angel told her about her impending pregnancy.

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
My spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

Mary knew in her heart that God was in control of her life and her pregnancy. What a place of peace and rest! Mary did not know what the future held – but she knew He who held her future.

I had an “unplanned” pregnancy. Statistically, about 50% of the mothers reading this did as well. I would not change the birth of that precious child for anything in this world. God knew what He was doing and I am so thankful!

I learned something from a friend years ago. The Bob Bryan family had three older children and a gap of about 17 years and then another child. People often asked if this late-in-life baby was planned. Bob would answer “Yes, this baby was planned from the foundations of the world.” What a true and meaningful response!

Each baby is planned by God as stated in Jeremiah – “I knew you when you were formed in your mother’s womb.” There are no “accidents” in God’s plan for each life.

As we celebrate with our children and grandchildren this year, may we remember that each child was planned by God and each has immeasurable value because of that fact. May we all treasure these moments to celebrate Jesus birth together and as Ann Voskamp states –

“May God’s greatest gift be our greatest joy.”

Merry Christmas!

Angel Adahlyn




“Excited to continue our celebration of Immanuel, God with us, in the morning with my family.  I have found the past month to be so rich with moments to teach my little guys about Jesus, what happened at Christmas, and what that means for us in our lives today.  Jesus meets our deepest need (reconciliation with God) and takes care of our greatest problem (our personal sin).  Thank you, Jesus!”

I could find no better words than these from our daughter,  Abigail.  I especially like the way that she shares that it is an ongoing  conversation about Jesus,  Immanuel, God with us.

What a joy it is for us as grandparents to celebrate with our children and grandchildren the true meaning and purpose of Christmas. May God’s love, peace and joy fill you this Christmas season. Keep the celebration going.

Isaiah 7:14 – prophecy

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Matthew 1:22-23 –

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:   23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him ” Immanuel”[ (which means  “God with us”).

Merry Christmas!!!

Silent Night

It was a silent night except for the gentle sounds of the machines in the ICU at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. I was looking out the 5th story window at softly falling snow and gazing at the lights decorating the city just days before Christmas. I seemed to have lost track of time, but just three days before, our 13-year-old daughter had been injured in a car wreck that claimed two lives and left 5 other people injured. Hannah had suffered a closed head injury and had been unconscious since the wreck. She had been airlifted an hour away to Asheville and received quick and thorough care.

Now it was a matter of waiting. The uncertainty of  not knowing whether she had permanent brain damage, or would ever wake up was the situation we faced. The outpouring of prayer and love had been overwhelming. So many people came to visit and show support that Phil and I were surrounded with God’s love in the midst of anguish for our daughter and for the other dear friends who were injured  – including the one friend who was gone.

Phil had driven home to be with our other three children, so I was alone for the first time in the room with Hannah. I held her hand praying and asking God to allow her to feel His presence and love even in her comatose state. I had heard that individuals often hear when in a coma so I began singing.

           “Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, all is bright…”

All of a sudden a voice joined in with me. It was Hannah! She began singing “Silent Night” with me and tears began streaming down my face. Our Hannah was back with us! I called in the nurse and she rejoiced with me and began asking Hannah questions for evaluation. From that moment on, Hannah made rapid progress and we were able to take her home only 3 days later.

I can never sing “Silent Night” without rejoicing over Hannah’s full recovery. Hannah and I have shed tears together many times recalling God’s gracious presence and healing power demonstrated that night in the hospital.

Yet more wonderful than Hannah’s healing and restoration is the truth of that Holy Night when Christ the Savior was born. God sent His Son, Jesus, as a baby born in a humble yet glorious situation.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And He will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Christmas is even more special to our family because of our memories and praise for Hannah’s recovery.  As wonderful as  it was that night Hannah returned to consciousness (I will never forget it), it pales in comparison with the birth of Jesus. Nearly 700 years before Jesus’  birth Isaiah said He would be called –

        Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Nothing can compare with the birth of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings!

As we celebrate with family this year, let’s celebrate the uniqueness of each family member and be thankful they are with us. As we celebrate that Holy Night – the birth of Jesus, let’s keep our attitudes in tune with the purpose for which God sent His Son –

John 3:16 (NIV)

 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God so loved the world – let us share that love! Merry Christmas!