Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Peace

Photo by Pam Williams
“Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow. . .”
Isaiah 1:18

As you can see, we aren’t just “dreaming of a white Christmas” here in Central Pennsylvania. God’s gentle beauty covers every brown, empty branch and drapes the evergreens with a sparkling blanket.

Driving home from our early Christmas Eve service, I listened to carols on the radio, enjoyed the muffled crunch of snow beneath my tires, and smiled the whole way. Peace enveloped my heart, despite the slippery roads and obscured view.

That kind of peace comes from God. It is not dependent on having the whole family home, getting perfect presents, or packing the cupboards and refrigerator with Christmas goodies. It has nothing to do with health or wealth or even good weather.

Christmas peace began with the birth of Jesus Christ, the first step in God’s plan to bring us into a right relationship with Him. When we realize that Jesus is our Savior and allow Him to be Lord, we will be filled with peace—the kind of peace that transcends circumstances.

Are you enjoying that peace this Christmas? If not, accept God’s gift of Love this Christmas—believe in Jesus as the One who can wash away your past and give you a new start in life. I guarantee, God’s peace, like tonight’s lovely snowfall, will rest gently on your life, enveloping even your ugliest failures and most difficult challenges.

“Then you will experience God's peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds
as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Glimpse of His Artwork

Photo by Spacepleb
So God created great sea creatures and
every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water,
and every sort of bird
each producing offspring of the same kind.
And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:21

The window over my sink frames a leafy cosmos. Though their fuchsia blooms are long gone, the giant rhododendrons snuggled up against the house bustle with color and movement. Birds vie for a feast at the birdfeeder I hung there. Sparrows and finches flit from branch to branch. Blue jays and cardinals sail from tree to bush to tree with sunflower seeds in their bills. Doves gather on the ground beneath in search of cracked corn.

As I watch the activity this morning, the countless subtle shades of blue, red, and brown in the birds’ plumage capture my attention. I find it quite interesting that God chose to feather my little friends in many colors. After all, He didn’t have to. He could have made them all solid black or white or gray; but he decided not to. Why?

Do the variations in color benefit the birds? I guess the brown tones probably make it easier for sparrows to hide in bushes from predators. However, the brilliant hues of some of the other species certainly do not provide camouflage.

I gaze in wonder. Could God have given the birds their myriad of colors simply for His pleasure as an artist and our delight as viewers of His outdoor gallery? I must conclude, yes!

Our God is the Master Creator with an imagination that we cannot begin to fathom. As the barren landscape of winter encroaches, put up a birdfeeder and catch a glimpse of our Father’s magnificent artwork firsthand.

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Who Knows You Best?
God really knows me; He knows me better than I know myself.
God understands even my thoughts.
God always is where I am—all around me, on every side.
I am never in un-chartered waters.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fun Family Festivities for Christmas

Fun Family Parties
Fun Family Festivities for Christmas: Party Preparations

Christmas is the one time of the year when everyone seems to make it a priority to get together. However, while adults find food and conversation a simple and comforting agenda, active tots and bored teens often end up restless at family affairs.
So how do we add a little sparkle and generate some fun for every member of the family? Our family has found that just a little extra hospitality and a few inter-generational games can make Christmas parties irresistible!

Invitations: We send snail or e-mail invitations about six weeks out that include the event details, encourage singles to bring a friend, and inform guests if they will need to dress in layers for outside activities. A quick phone call or e-mail about a week before the gathering serves as a much-appreciated reminder.

A gift exchange is sometimes part of our entertainment so we specify in the invitation what guests are to bring—perhaps an edible item, an ornament, a “white elephant” (a humorous or previously owned gift, generally considered useless), or any gift that weighs five pounds.

Atmosphere: “At its very essence, Christmas is a holiday that excites our senses. How things sound, look, feel, smell, and taste evoke memories of holidays past, flooding us with emotions,” says Heidi Tyline King of

Whether we hold our parties at a social hall, church basement, or in our home, a decorated Christmas tree, strands of twinkling lights, fragrant sprigs of pine, glowing candles, and a medley of favorite Christmas songs playing softly in the background produces a welcoming and nostalgic ambiance for a Christmas party. As an added measure of hospitality, we keep things touch-friendly by replacing Grandma Williams’ 50-year-old nativity with an inviting Playmobil one and making sure the holiday arrangement on the coffee table can withstand a child’s inquisitive fingers.

Refreshments: When it comes to food, we like to shake things up each year. We’ve munched on finger foods and sat down to a feast of roast turkey with all the trimmings. Pizza parties, including not only the traditional tomato sauce and cheese type, but also fruit, veggie, and dessert pizzas, are a favorite with our family. However, everyone loved the year we held a Christmas tea complete with dainty sandwiches, mini sweets, and a wide selection of flavored teas.

Often we encourage guests to wander around with appetizers and a cup of warm apple cider. Some years we serve cake and ice cream as part of a Jesus’ birthday celebration. For parties that include caroling, trays of Christmas cookies and hot chocolate best compliment our plans.

We always use sturdy paper product s and provide a low table where the kids can kneel on the floor to eat. Why risk tears over a plateful of food flipped upside down?

With a few simple preparations we can ensure our parties are festivities and not fiascos.

Blessings of the season today and always!

©2011 Pamela D. Williams