For years it has stuck in my craw about using the "X" to cross out Christ. It's a ploy by nonbelievers and commercial types to get you to spend your money on what they have to sell...damnation. People rush around spending money they do not have, charge things which really had but a momentary value, and just about bankrupt themselves for the modern Xmas.
Also for years it has also struck me about the commercialism of Christmas. Now, I'm not upset about Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. Everyone needs a little imagination at times especially children in the world. The newspapers are filled with buy this or buy that if you really love your loved ones. Phffftttt! Hogwash!
If you really loved your loved ones, make them a scarf or a pair of mittens. Even if you drop a stitch or two along the way, every stitch is put there with love! Draw a picture, make a card, give something of yourself. Don't buy into the hype of the commercial wisdom of giving.
Remember this is the birth of our Lord. He has two requirements: love with all your being and treat each other like you want to be treated.
Think about this for a moment. I perform weddings almost daily including one on this Christmas. There are a few things I ask each bride and groom, but mainly...it's the above.
If you love you can't hurt those around you. If you love unconditionally, no matter what the person you share this with will be secure in that love.
Now the flip side...treat others like you want to be treated.
If you want to be lied to, fornicated with, cheated, stolen from, killed, or any of the other host of things which goes along with the darker side of life...then this is not for you. This is for those who truly want the best out of life. You wouldn't wanted to be treated this way so you do not treat others this way. You want to know the other person you are sharing your life with as you want them to know you.
I have found the best balance is with likes and dislikes. One spouse hated doing dishes while the other doesn't mind it. One will do the laundry and the other does the yard. Opposites but attraction. One weak point to a strong point with some things shared in common. The little things matter. When you loose site of the little things they snowball into a huge mess.
So while it might be a little thing to "X" Christ out of Christmas...is it really?
I sit here still in awe about how wonderful our loving Father is. Today, I met my newest grandson for the first time. He was born to my youngest daughter just a few hours ago. Yes, I know babies are born every day, but this one is a true miracle and a gift of answered prayer.
Now for the rest of the story. My youngest daughter just a year ago had an inoperable brain tumor. The neurologist said because of the placement of the tumor near her brain stem, she could die at any time. I didn't accept it. She was only 25 years old and really had not started living her life yet. When I reach a point of utter despair, I give to God (like most everyone else in the world).
For six months I prayed several times a day in intercession. Some things I accept and move on, but being a stubborn woman...this I could NOT accept. Each month that passed, I thank God for the time with my daughter. I continued praying for mercy and healing.
An experimental treatment in testing became available. I praise my Heavenly Father for the gift. I knew while the others in the study passed on to be with the Father, I EXPECTED a miracle in my daughter's case.
On my birthday this year, my daughter had a stomach flu. She wasn't able to hold anything down for weeks. A smart young intern ran a pregnancy test on her and it came back positive. I met this news with some trepidation. While I was concerned about my daughter and her treatments (injections directly into her brain), I also worried about the life inside her. On my birthday she also had an appointment with her neurologist. This was a mixed blessing...either she would have to stop treatments because of the baby and possibly die before it was born or have to terminate her pregnancy.
The neurologist did a CT scan on my daughter's brain. He came back in the room with a frown on his face and put the film on the monitor. "What's wrong with this picture," he asked. We looked and couldn't see anything. He said, "Exactly! The tumor is gone."
This pregnancy hasn't been without its ups and downs. By no means was it a normal pregnancy, but today I saw my husband and daughter look at this new life God has gifted all of us with and KNOW God is good!
Welcome to the world James Henry Waters IV! You are blessed and loved on Earth and in Heaven.
Yesterday was Halloween. I did a themed wedding which was unusual at best...a zombie wedding. This was a first for me. It being Halloween all the guest came in costume for the party. I can hear you all now screaming how sacrilegious it is.
Now, now don't judge others.
The ceremony itself was standard Christian. I actually dressed the part of a zombie minister. My alter ego is a horror & suspense author. (I have a rather extensive make-up collection). As the couple said, "I do" they stepped over to a basin of water and cleaned their faces of the make-up thereby coming to life as husband and wife. Their rationale was this before they were married it was if they were the living dead, but in marrying they came to life.
When you think about it. Aren't we all dead inside without our soul mates? We travel different paths in our own separate worlds. It's the same as a life without Christ. There is an emptiness we search to fill. Each of us is born with an vacant spot in our souls that only the Spirit can fill.
Last time I blogged it was about the honor and privilege of officiating at weddings. Yesterday with unrestrained tears flowing down my face, I married our youngest daughter to her beloved. I tried like the dickens to remain professional, but in my mind I saw her as a little girl running and playing. I saw her putting baby doll clothes on her cat, Milo. I saw her making mud pies (her first of many culinary feats) on my good china. All the hundreds if not thousand of images of her as a youngster passed through my mind as I read the words which officially make her a woman, wife, and soon-to-be mother.
...And yes, I cried. Part from the loss of my last child into full womanhood, but mostly from sheer joy and happiness.
She chose as a venue, the Jekyll Island pier area instead of Driftwood beach, and while I questioned her choice I was proven wrong. It was the perfect choice. As the sun set behind the Sidney Lanier bridge and sank into the horizon, it was truly magical. This was the last of three wedding services I preformed yesterday.
After the wedding we went to Longhorn's Steak House. The service was lousy, but the food was great. We toasted the couple with goblets of Sprite. A large number of us do not drink alcohol. They were beaming and sheer joy infected the whole restaurant.
Well after midnight she texted me to tell me they had arrived home safely. I asked if she was happy? I didn't need to see her response to know she was.
As a minister, I never forget about honor and privilege. The weddings I've officiated now number 120 which is awesome! According to Websters dictionary honor is defined as respect manifested and privilege means restricted to a select group or individual.
The blushing bride and robust groom always shakes my hand or hugs me after the service, both beaming with joy, thanking me for marrying them. Most times the words honor and privilege come out of my mouth and it is honestly heart felt.
Out of all the ministers in this area or surrounding areas they chose me to officiate their union. Some want the relaxed style, attention to detail, and a fun sense of humor in their memories. I can spend weeks speaking with brides on exactly how they want their dream wedding to occur or five minutes. The one thing one of my services will be is memorable.
Last weekend I married a couple from out of town. The groom stood before me and awaited his bride. Most times I do not do rehearsals unless there is special music and added items like rose, sand, or other ceremonies involved with the wedding itself. The man was nervous, but happy. I leaned over to him and told him it would be alright just remember two words..."I Do!" I explained everything else he would have to say I'd spoon feed him a couple of words at a time. He nodded, took a deep breath and visibly relaxed. "I can do that," he said as he turned and looked at his bride approaching us on her son's arm.
The ceremony went off with a couple of stumbles, a few tears, and laughter. The bride told me it was as she had dreamed which is what I strive for each and every wedding. After all, I do cater to my brides, calm nervous grooms, interact with families, and am super officiate! LOL. Not really, but sometimes juggling all the particulars can be a bit daunting especially with the on-call services I do.
One of the ceremonies today was what I call an "I do, I do" ceremony. Very quick and to the point. Christian, but basically, "Do you? I do. Do you? I do." No rings, no family, just marry us quick. Not quite so simple but you get the point. After the ceremony the groom looked at me when I told him to kiss his bride, and his whole face lit up with the realization that the woman standing beside him was now his wife. This is my hit and run, drive-in service. Later this afternoon is a different story...all the bells and whistles.
Performing weddings is indeed MY honor and My privilege!
This year has buzzed by. Why is it the older you get the faster time flies? I remember when I had my first child. My father told me hang on for the fastest ride of your life. It's true. That child is now in her thirties!
While I'm older and pretty much set in my ways, I have a routine I follow daily. I wake up each morning and pray before I put one foot off my bed. This takes a while because my prayer list is long. Once, I'm fortified for the day, I place my feet on the floor ready to take on whatever comes my way. One step at a time, each one in faith that I'll take another.
Once I'm up, everything in life comes crashing in, but it's how I start my day which is the important thing here. Without this fortification and wearing the armor of my Heavenly Father, I'd be lost in the scramble of a fast paced life. Like the Ark going before the Israelite's in battle, I carry my Father's spirit with me throughout the day. No dark spirits can pass through without my letting them. Depression, anxiety, worry, and just plain low energy levels are held at bay while I follow my trek.
How do you start your day? Are you plagued by things which hamper your spirit? Put on the armor of God and may He give you peace.
As I mentioned last month it seemed like July was the new June for brides. Well it is now August and the tallies of brides still climb. I had a two week lull which was a good thing since I broke my toes, but according to the doctor they are healing. But now August is picking up again. Four weddings a day in the past week with more on the schedule for the coming weeks.
Yesterday I married a couple who had brought their five month old son to the nuptials. Georgia does not require witnesses to marriage ceremonies so a wedding can be anywhere between two people (not including me) to fifty on a beach, on a boat, in a garden...wherever. You know that old part of the wedding service which goes...is there anyone present who sees any reason why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony... I leaned over to the baby in his stroller next to his father and asked him. The baby cooed, kicked up his legs and waved his arms. I took it as he had no objections to his parents getting married.
Today was a young man and woman with their child. The woman loved fairies, in fact she wanted to wear fairy wings to HER wedding. We were outdoors under oak trees dripping with Spanish moss in a grassy area. In the bride's mind, this was her dream wedding. Who am I to object? They both loved each other and the Lord. Outward appearances do not matter. It is what is on the inside that counts.
My other writer's blog was a catch all for writers and faith issues. I am changing this to dedicate this one particular blog to faith and the faithful.
Since my official ordination in May, not much has changed except I now control the format of services rendered. Baptized a Lutheran, converted to Episcopalian, converted to nondenominational, converted to Methodist, and now led in faith matters by the Holy Spirit...the true nondenomination. As a Christian I believe in the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Faith and religion is a walk of and in life. But mostly, faith is about love, honor, and respect.
I do not buy into all the secular divisions of Christianity. I respect all religions having studied many forms during my life. Even the Buddhists, Muslims, Zen, and a host of other "religions" believe in a higher being although they do not relate to them as "Father God." It is all about faith. Does this make me a bad Christian? No, I do not believe so. All believe in love for your fellow man. All have a teaching of do unto others as you would have done to you. It is man which makes the divisions of faith. It is also man who creates war because of these divisions.
In my studies of herbology, I learned the use of herbs and roots to help the physical body heal itself. In earlier times this would have labeled me as a witch, which is a title I do not accept. I spend many hours in prayer for family, friends, and total strangers. I acknowledge the being known as Satan. After all, if there is good in Christ there has to be an opposite evil. It keeps the balance.
But being human and not Divine, there is a niche in my soul which hungers to be fulfilled. This niche can be stuffed with worldly things such as drugs, alcohol, sex, and a host of other elements all seeking to fill the void. This niche was placed in us purposely at creation to seek wholeness. What is your niche overflowing with?
In whatever Deity you believe in, have a BLESSED day.