Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Puchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift

Meet the Wemmicks... Max Lucado's fictional display of humankind. I can identify with the Wemmicks because they are incredibly serious about all of their silliness. They live near their Maker, the Woodcarver, yet have minimal interaction and respect for him throughout the year. But this time of year is different. It is time for Maker-Day. A day devoted solely to paying respect to their Maker and honoring His creative hands and His relentless kindness.

Enter the serious silliness... Puchinello goes throughout Wemmicksville in search of the perfect gift to give the Maker on Maker-Day. He is bombarded with all kinds of elaborate attempts by the Wemmicks to be the BEST PART of the Maker-Day Festival. The baker has to climb a ladder to get to the top of his cake, the florist's festival bouquet stood taller than her entire shop, and the musicians had prepared a giant, gaudy instrument called the Marvellophony-organoni to ornament their musical tribute to the Maker. 

Just having you with me is enough...These were the words etched into Puchinello's memory as he searched for the best gift. The Maker had already expressed His satisfaction with the mere presence of His creation as His gift on Maker-Day. When the Maker-Day Festival arrived, all the extravagant plans went awry and they village was left with a broken instrument, a destroyed cake and droopy flowers. At the face of disaster, the crowd went quiet and a flute played gently in the distance. A young girl's sweet, tiny gift provided a continuing simple, heartfelt melody that spread throughout the village in honor of the Maker. Puchinello was able to apply his simple song to the melody and a great choir emerged out of the once silent, dejected villagers.

What a most marvelous gift... A gift developed out of disaster. A gift so simple, it can be shared by all. A gift with no glitz nor glam, but a gift with pure, untainted motive and respect for the recipient. Are you trying to impress this season? Have you forgotten the authenticity of our Christmas gift, Emmanuel? Have you considered our Maker's desire for our presence in the midst of this celebratory season? How can we gather together and lift up our voices to the all deserving Maker. How can we simplify our Christmas to claim the peace that Jesus promises to us. How can we sift through the well-meaning, yet unfocused attempts to provide the MOST MARVELOUS GIFT this Christmas season? Why can't BEING with our Maker suffice? May we all remember that the MOST MARVELOUS GIFT has been given and that gift beckons us to come and receive every Christmas... every year... every day of our seriously silly lives.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Charlie and the Christmas Kitty

Oh Charlie... the adorable ranch dog who loves his purpose and loves his territory! If you haven't read this little treasure, PLEASE put it on your Christmas list. Charlie reports from the country where he "helps" prepare for Christmas from his doggy pillow. He falls asleep and wakes up on Christmas morning to what he suspects is a rabbit; yet, when he checks off the items on his emergency response list for rabbit invasions, he realizes it's a CHRISTMAS KITTY! Oh what an unwelcome visitor....

How many of us have had unwelcome visitors right around Christmas time? Whether it be sickness, financial stress, difficult family members or guilty spirits, we've all been face to face with our own Christmas kitty. The thing about Charlie's Christmas Kitty was that she wasn't going anywhere. The kitty was there to stay. That being said, what do we do when we can't avoid, ignore or send away our unwelcome visitors?

Last year I came down with both the flu and strep throat in the month of December. My Christmas spirit was lacking, but I took the opportunity to spend a December in REST. WHOA! Rest in December? It was soooo hard. I am a Christmas party-loving girl. You say cookies, punch, tacky sweater, white elephant, deck the halls...I'm there. God had a different party schedule for me last Christmas. It included a whole lot of couch, a whole lot of hot tea, and a whole lot of the Hallmark Movie Channel (on my laptop, off YouTube, because we didn't actually get the channel). I needed to find an answer to my unwelcome Christmas sickness and God was clear in showing me my need to have some silent nights... and days.

Charlie came to a solution on is own, and we are all willing to let God show us the answer to our unwelcome visitors. Charlie found the good in the Christmas Kitty. What was difficult for him or annoyed him became something he could enjoy or see in a different light. Not all of our unwelcome visitors this holiday season will be easy to handle or enjoy. However, remember that God is our present peace and His desire is for you to welcome the greatest visitor of all. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Take time to welcome Jesus into your lives and home this Christmas so that when the unwelcome visitors knock at your door, you answer with the unchanging joy that comes from the hope of the tiny baby in the manger on that special Christmas day!

Monday, December 2, 2013

God Gave Us Christmas

Seasons Greetings!

My favorite storyteller and theologian, C.S. Lewis, once said "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." Can I get an AMEN, my friends?

This holiday season, I would love for you to journey with me through the exciting tales of Christmas, penned out of the mysterious hope and unbridled joy that inspires the season. 

Up first.............


God Gave us Christmas by Bergren and Hohn. 

"Mama, who 'vented Christmas? Was it Santa?" A awe-filled question that seeks understanding. Hey, at least Little Cub didn't ask where babies came from, right? Mama Bear can live to tell that gem another day! Mama Cub reveals the greatest gift giver of all time...God, Himself. Yes my friends, it was God who gave us Christmas. And guess what? You can find God EVERYWHERE! You don't have to go to the mall to visit Him, though you can find Him there. You don't have to leave your house to visit Him. The God who gave us Christmas is EVERYWHERE!

Little Cub and Mama Bear go on a polar expedition, just the two of them, to find God in their world of FROZEN! I would encourage you, this Christmas season, to journey with your spouse, your kiddos and your friends to look for God and find Him together. As you see the sun rise or set, remind one another that Jesus is the Light of the World! As the Texas weather changes from 80 degrees to 25 degrees, remind one another that our God is constant yet He moves in mysterious ways that we cannot determine or understand. As you gather with friends and families for parties, remind one another that this season is a CELEBRATION of the King of Kings! The lowly manger held the babe who came to earth to be seen, touched, held, and heard. And as you anticipate that 25th day of December, remember that God gave us Christmas long ago and He continually gives us the gift of Christmas. Again. And again. 

Isaiah 9:6-- For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Joy to the World, 
Stef Litzler