Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day Before New Years

Today's Saying
Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. ~Oscar Wilde

My family has all gone home. Now during the day there is only Betty, I, and the dog. It is so quiet. I miss kids screaming, little helicopters flying, the dog jumping around, and all the activity of their visit. But I do have my computer back so I can visit blogs again.
My grandsons are so special. On the last day they were here Alex made pancakes for me for breakfast. That kid is a great cook. He and his father made a full batch of saffron buns while they were here.
Elijah made breakfast for me one day as well.
They did anything we asked of them without complaining .
This is not to say they are perfect. They break things, they fight with each other, they holler a lot, and have some other faults as well but they are special.
Now I am looking ahead to the new year and this blog.
There will be changes that will start next Monday.
I need to cut back on the amount of time I give this blog.
I want to get back to the train layout.
I need to schedule in some exercise time.
So for one thing my “ Story blog” comes to an end.
Certainly there will be other changes as well.
But right now I have to get the last of my Christmas cards and my Christmas letter out so they wi9ll reach people during the twelve days of Christmas and thus count as Christmas cards.

Сильні гризунів врятувала день.
Chief Ican looked out the window of the jail and saw a cat go flying by. He rushed to the door in time to see two more cats become air born thrown thjere by a mouse in a super hero costume. The mouse was taking on a group of eight or nine cats and not having very much trouble from the looks of it. The only good thing as far as Chief Ican was concerned was that they were not local cats and each one simply vanished as it hit the ground. The Chief was also sure he could hear somebody singing “ Here I come to save the day, Mighty Mouse is on the way.”
When Mighty Mouse finished with the cats he broke the basement window of Wink’s Wood and flew in . He returned shortly with a mouse in a live trap which he let go. That’s when Chief Ican went back into the jail and called Mrs. Trumble as he had visions of all the property damage the mouse could do before the spell ended.
Mrs. Trumble called Robert and he came immediately. He used his power to cast an invisible cone over Mighty Mouse. The mouse could fly up to the cone and then it would hold him in place. Robert told the Chief that he had no idea how long the cone would hold since they were dealing with magic. They had to hope it would hold until the spell wore off.
But the on the main street a set of railroad tracks appeared . A villainous cat showed up and tied a beautiful mouse to the track. Inside the cone Might Mouse was going crazy trying to get out. He was shouting Oil Can if you harm one hair on Pearl’s beautiful head I’ll send you to the moon. Oil Can Harry just laughed and an engine appeared at the far end of the track. Oil Can climbed up in the cab and the engine moved slowly down the track toward Pearl.
Suddenly Mighty Mouse was there. He stopped the train with one hand and hit Oil Can so hard that he flew straight up and disappeared. Chief Ican and Robert stared and saw the hole in the road. Mighty Mouse had gone down through the road and up the other side.
Then it all vanished. The spell was over.
Chief Ican said “ I’m so glad that was settled before Miss Apricot got here.”

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last Year Pictures

Today's Saying

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions. ~Joey Adams

The last of our year end pictures.
Pennie chaperoned the youth to the ELCa gathering in New Orleans and there she fell in a hole and sprained her leg.
Betty and I really enjoyed our visit to the local county fair.
We had Sand Cranes in our back yar, well almost.
Betty made the dog costume for VBS and the slime they poured over the Pastor.

This year we all went to Peter's for Thanksgiving and everybody came here for CXhristmas.
I hope you enjoyed our year in pictures.

Somewhere in Pigeon Falls a mother plays a DVD of old cartoons that ran in the Movie theater.
Chief Ican is waiting for his sister to arrive on the noon train. He hasn’t seen her or her three children since he moved to Pigeon Falls and is looking forward to the visit. Of course, she will also bring Miss Apricot , the family cat , which has never liked the Chief, but for the sake of family you put up with the little things. His sister is a widow , lives in Flint Michigan, and runs a little dress shop there.
The Chief is planning on taking a few days off when she arrives and will turn the magic watching over to his deputy.
Mrs. Trumble and Robert have discussed things that can be done using Robert’s power if the magic becomes a real problem and not just a cute diversion. The problem is they are working with a child’s imagination and have no idea what will come next. Each event has to be reacted to on its own.
Nancy is wondering if her poltergeist will be of help if the magic turns ugly. It might constrain a mythical monster or two.
Most of Pigeon Falls, however, has paid very little attention to the magic. People are busy doing after Christmas things like returning gifts and visiting friends. Some have even taken down their Christmas tree, already.
Somewhere in Pigeon Falls a child says:
Сильні гризунів врятувала день.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Last Year in Pictures part Two

Today's Saying

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~Hal Borland

Our year in pictures continues. The youth group under the leadership of Pennie did the flamingo thing to raise money and , of course, we paid to have our lawn flamigoed.
After Easter our good blogging friend drove all the way here from Maryland with "mom"and we had the greatest visit.
The Youth group held a tea to raise money for the New Orleans trip and Betty's table won first place.
The last three pictures pretty well explain themselves.

We tried the hanging tomatoe thing and as you can see the results were a disaster.
Life Fest was the week of Bree's birthday. She, her dad, Betty, and Pennie went to the big concert made up of many Christian bands.

More pictures tomorrow.

втратила свою вівцю
Залиш їх, і вони приходять додому
Yesterday Chief Ican looked out and saw this strange figure coming down the main street. The Child was dressed in what looked like a blue summer robe with a hood and carrying a large shepherd's crook. It was stopping people on the sidewalk and asking a question. Chief Ican knew it was the latest .bit of magic so he went and stood on the sidewalk and waiyted for the child to reach him.
When the child got there it said” I have lost my sheep and can’t tell where to find them.”
Chief Ican replied “ Leave them alone and they’ll come home wagging their tales behind them.”
Then the kid disappeared.
A few minutes later it reappeared on the end of the sidewalk and started up again.
Chief Ican went back to his office figuring the worst that can happen is little Bo Peep will catch a cold. It just has to keep happening until the spell comes to an end.
He did notice one odd thing. In the nursery rhyme Little Bo Peep is a girl but out on the main street the character is a boy. The little magician, somehow, got the sex wrong. .
Now the Chief has to worry about what comes next as they wait for DR. Jim.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Last Year in Pictures

Today's Saying
A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~Author Unknown

AS we get ready for the new year I thought I would share last year at the Linna's with you in pictures. Click on the picture to get a larger one and see more detail.The year began with a combined Christmas and New Year's Gathering. We couldn't get together on Christmas so we put off opening gifts at the Fortress until everyone was here on New Year's.

Of course there was snow well into March. Then in April we had a new roof put on . It's guaranteed for thirty years so I don't think I'll have to put another one on. Then came Easter and Ella , our visitor from out East.

There will be more tomorrow.

Chief Ican has a list on his working board of all the children between one year old and five. There are thirty five kids on the list. He figures any one of them could be the child doing magic. By his reasoning if the child was older than that and in school it would use its magic in the school and other children would know. It would be impossible to keep that a secret. He doesn’t think a child younger than one would have enough vocabulary to do the spells.
At this moment for no good reason he is leaning toward one of the Petrovich twins or one of the McGregor twins. They are the right age and there always seems to be something magic about twins.
Nancy has gone skiing in Marquette and her assistant is running the shop. The girl is used to the poltergeist so it works out well for her. The poltergeist looks after her like a mother hen. Once when one of the Ghost groupies was harassing her the guy suddenly flew into the air , out the door, and ended up head first in the snow bank. When you have a poltergeist for a bouncer you don’t have to worry about law suits.
Somewhere in Pigeon Falls a child says:
втратила свою вівцю
Залиш їх, і вони приходять додому,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

First Sunday of Christmas

Today's Saying
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature , and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52
Today Liturgical churches will celebrate the First Sunday of Christmas. Note this is not the first Sunday after Christmas but “ of Christmas” that is because Christmas is both a day, December 25, and a season which extends from December 25– January 6. The Gospel for today is Luke 2:41-52. This is one of the few places in the gospels where we see Jesus as a child.
The story is interesting. The family and friends make their annual journey to Jerusalem. It was a time of celebration. When it’s over they leave for home. This is a large group and in such groups children played with cousins or friends and the parents often didn’t see them all day long. But when night came Mary and Joseph realized Jesus wasn’t there. So they went back to Jerusalem and looked for him. They probably looked in all the places you expect to find kids so it took them three days to discover he was in the temple. There he was sitting among the teachers asking them questions. Further we are told that they were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
Mary and Joseph like good parents immediately try to lay some guilt on him and ask how he could treat them like that. Parents are like that , first they are scared but then they get angry.
Jesus gives them a very strange answer “ Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Then he went home to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.
Jesus comes into the world as a real human being. He is also the Son of God but he does not know that. Knowing it would prevent him from experiencing life the way a real human does. Instead he has to grow into this understanding. This is one of those growing experiences.
Jesus loved us enough to put aside his nature as God and really be one of us for a good part of his life.
You might think that wanting to be in the temple isn’t really human at thatt age. You would be wrong. There are kids who experience the Presence of God in their life and they want to be in Church. I have had them in Confirmation. They are the ones who were there because they wanted to be not because mom or dad made them come. They were the ones that asked the good questions and listened to the answers. Jesus was human like them. He showed us what was possible for human beings even at this age as they relate to God.
God did this for us.
Then the text says “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
God became a real person for us.

Pastor Joan was ready to preach. She had prepared a sermon on the text. Here is part of that sermon.
“Kids will be kids” they say.
“ Kids will drive their parents crazy”, they say.
“ Kids are so thoughtless”, they say.
In today’s text Mary and Joseph are probably thinking or saying all those things. Jesus has caused them to become really scared. He has just disappeared. He didn’t tell them where he was going. They had to come back to look for him. They find him in the temple. They never expected to find him there. What is a kid doing in the temple.
We jump to say. He is God. This is the Father’s house where else would he be?
But you would be wrong. He doesn’t know he is God.
So why is he there?
He feels the presence of God in the temple and in the teachers.
Kids don’t do that you say.
You would be wrong again. There are kids in Youth Group, Confirmation, and Sunday School who are there because they sense the Presence of God. Sometimes they even have a hard time getting their parents to bring them.
These kids just like the child Jesus want to be where the people of God gather .
And the miracle of faith goes on.
Praise God.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Night of Christmas

Today's Saying
An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. ~Bill Vaughan

What do you post on the day after Christmas when you are getting the post ready two days before Christmas?
I know my grandsons will be sleeping in the computer room. I know I won't have time to do much blogging while they are here. So what do I do.
I will rerun the stupid poem I wrote last year. It will become my classic day after Christmas post.

Twas the Night of Christmas ( by Dr. John -more or less)

Twas the night of Christmas and All through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

The stockings were flung by the wall without care
The loot that was in them , no longer there

The children were sleeping all snug on the floor
Having played with their legos, Barbies and more

And I in my ice pack and ma in her wrap
Had just settled down for a short little nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I crawled from the couch to see what was the matter.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

They hung in space not moving a lick
Held in the hand of our neighbor old Nick

He was screaming and hollering and calling by name
The reindeer of Santa thinking he was the same

Now Happy! now, Dopey! now Rudolph and Pixen,
On Cupid! on Sneezy! on Dunder and Bitsun!

So up to the house top the sleigh he threw
Then opened my door and came in too.

He was dressed all in red from his head to his foot
And his boots were covered with ashes and soot.

A bag of garbage he had flung on his back
He looked like a shopper opening his sack.

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
And the beard on his chin had pieces of berry

He was perfectly soused a right jolly old elf
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself

But the pain that was growing so large in my head
Demanded that I go quickly to bed

So laying a finger aside of my nose
And giving a push out the door he goes.

But I heard him exclaim as he staggered from sight
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

There you have it . A true Christmas classic. Now I need a good illustrator.

Christmas in Pigeon Falls was very quiet.
No new magic apparitions appeared which the Chief was really thankful for.
The gathering at Mrs. Trumble’s home went very well. Tommy UK could not have been happier. His adoptive parents brought pictures of Tommy’s Christmases to share with Mrs. Trumble and Robert. They even had some old videos. It really was a special time.
Tommy TW gave Nancy the usual Christmas gift, three days at Marquette Mountain and they left this morning for three days of skiing .
The ghost piano played selections from the Nutcracker as it did last year.
Petrovich and family went to Church in Iron Mountain since her parents were here and Iron Mountain had the closest Orthodox Church even if it was Greek instead of Russian.
After the very poorly attended Christmas day service Pastor Joan spent the day with her husband and son. It ws just a nice family day.
Herman surprised his wife with a beautiful new necklace. The old Herman never did things like that.
It the midst of all the quiet the usual families had their usual fights but none wild enough to call out Chief Ican or the deputy.
Chief Ican had Christmas dinner at Mrs. Trumble’s by invitation and spent the rest of the day watching television.
Nancy closed the coffee shop and the poltergeist seemed to have taken the day off.
Just a nice quiet Pigeon Falls Christmas.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

Betty and I and all of the dragons at the Fortress wish you;

From everybody in Pigeon Falls :

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Need Tos

Today's Saying
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

I sit here this morning with a whole pile of “ we still need to” in front of me.
We still need to finish wrapping gifts.
We still need to get the rest of the Christmas food.
We still need to get the guest rooms ready.

We still need to vacuum the living room and get the dog hair.
We still need to make saffron buns.
We still need to mail out some Christmas cards.

We still need to shovel out Mary and Joseph.
I am becoming Christmas stressed.
So what will we do?

We will finish wrapping gifts. Pennie is off and she will help.
We will make one more trip to the grocery store for food.
We will clean off the beds in the guest rooms as far as the rest of the room forget it.

We will vacuum the living room. The pet hair in the air bothers Bree’s asthma.
We will postpone the saffron buns and let Pat make them after Christmas.
We will get the Christmas cards out during the “ twelve days of Christmas”. Being liturgical has advantages.

Pat’s boys can shovel out Joseph and Mary when they get here.

There is nothing like a clear plan to handle stress.
So why do I still feel stressed?

For Chief Ican it has been like waiting for the other shoe to drop. He expects more magic but has no idea what to expect. There are so many nursery rhymes and each could be brought to life. In his office he has tried to visualize the problems a particular nursery rhyme could cause. He knows his task to be impossible. He may be getting some help as his friend from the FBI got back to him with a telephone number for Dr. Jim. He had worked with Dr. Jim on a case in the city and hopes he can help here. Dr. Jim is what one might call a sorcerer. He does real magic but has sworn to use it to help people. Having gotten the number Chief Ican called Dr. Jim this morning.
Dr. Jim understood the problem but he had commitments and couldn’t come until January fourth or fifth. Chief Ican saw that as light at the end of the tunnel and began making arrangements for Jim’s travel.
Dr. Jim did tell him something helpful. He thought the child would have to put the entire nursery rhyme in the spell so he was listening for young children saying long things. Dr. Jim says the child only needs some key words and the rest of the spell is filled from the child’s imagination. Thus the apparition will not always conform to the rhyme.
While all of this was taking place somewhere in Pigeon Falls a child said:
Сніговик на вулиці. Око вугілля, кнопка носа
Suddenly walking or dancing down main street was a snowman with a corncob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal. You could hear a thumpetty thump thump, thumpety thump thump as he danced along. He waved an old silk hat and began pulling rabbits out of it .
Chief Ican went out to catch Frosty , thinking he would put him in the jail until he faded away. He hollered at Frosty “ Stop”.
But Frosty said “ Catch me if you can” and threw a rabbit at him while bouncing off, thumpetty thump thump.
“ Wonderful”, Chief Ican thought “ Now I’m part of the stupid song.”
Frosty stayed out of the grasp of the good Chief and kept dropping rabbits. Chief Ican wondered if a taser would have any effect on him but then decided it wouldn’t. So he went back to his office to wait the end of the spell. It had to come soon as there were now so many rabbits you couldn't drive on main street.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Things I Enjoy

Today's Saying
I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
~Charles Dickens

Lou at Subdural Flow tagged me with this meme and I agreed to do it, with the provision that I tag nobody.If you want to do the meme feel free. Just list five things you enjoy.

Five Things I enjoy.
1. I enjoy reading. At this moment I am reading two books. One is my in the car book for when I’m waiting for Betty or Pennie who are just running in for a minute and the other is my when I get a spare moment in the house book. The car book has three old time Ellery Queen Detective stories and the house book has three Diana Tregarde stories which are more fantasy oriented.

2. I enjoy visits from my grandchildren and sharing family stories with them.

3. I enjoy going to Church. I enjoy the fellowship, the music, the sermon, and just being there. Any week my health keeps me from going I feel cheated.

4. I really enjoy my electric scooter. It gives me freedom. I can zip around Wal Mart or any store with my oxygen tank in the basket and not have somebody push me in a wheelchair. In he wheel chair you go were they push you in my scooter I go where I want.

5. I enjoy blogging.. It and my electric train layout give me something to do in my retirement. Without blogging I would be bored out of my skull. Then there is the bonus of all the nice people I have me on line.. From the time I got out of the hospital until now blogging has opened new worlds to me.

Покладіть кота в воду отвір - Джон Грін
Yesterday at around noon Chief Ican saw a well suddenly appear on main street. “Here we go again”.He thought.
Then a boy dressed in green came up to the well with a cat and threw it in. Soon after a fat boy came and pulled the cat out shaking a finger at the boy in green. Then they vanished and it started over again.
The Chief remembered the nursery rhyme that started :
“Ding Dong Dell
Pussy’s in the well.”
He also knew that in due time the entire well would just fade away. His problem was that it was right in the middle of the town’s one street. With the boys coming and going it was blocking traffic. In the summer he could direct them to the unpaved side street along the railroad track behind the buildings but this was winter and that wasn’t plowed. So he got a couple of men and they pushed the well over to the side of the street. That allowed such traffic as Pigeon Falls has to move again. Of course that didn’t prevent Tom Sparnol from getting so caught up in the cat drowning that he ran into a light pole. Tom said it wasn’t that but his artificial leg got caught on the accelerator. Chief Ican accepted that explanation as he didn’t want to embarrass a decorated war veteran.
About four o’clock the well slowly faded away.
“What next?” the Chief wondered. He paged through a book of nursery rhymes. “So many possibilities” he thought. “ Any one of them could take on life on our main street. We can only hope the kid takes Christmas off to play with the gifts.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Today's Saying
Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat. ~Author Unknown

Christmas is a time for a bit of nostalgia so I have gone back into the archives for some nostalgic pictures.
This one is by request of Dr. Jim;

This is a Christmas tree from my childhood . The little girl is my sister Dawn.

This Christmas tree is from the parsonage in Trout Creek.

These are from the parsonage in Crystal Falls.

This from the house we owned in Crystal Falls.

But enough nostalgia.

Last night Robert spent some time with Tommy UK teaching him how his powers related to magic. He felt that given what was happening in Pigeon Falls he needed to do this.
First of all Tommy has the power to cover somebody with a cone of protection. It operates like a shield in Star Trek and wards off magic. The cone will keep somebody from using magic to hurt that individual. Once placed the cone will last for several months and then slowly fade away. So if he is going to protect somebody he has to remember to renew the cone every two months or so.
Secondly he can put a cone of power around the magician preventing the spells from being spoken. It’s like putting a gag on Billy Batson in the old Shazam comics to keep him from becoming Captain Marvel. The only difference is the person can speak non spells without any problem. This cone also needs to be renewed every two months or so.
The problem is that a really strong Magician will have protections in place to prevent a shielding. Then it becomes a test of power, yours against his or hers.
Now Robert and Tommy need to have Mrs. Trumble draw up a list of the leaders of Pigeon Falls that she thinks we should protect since we can’t protect everybody. Robert reminded Tommy that every time he shielded somebody it drew down his power. So he shouldn’t do too many in a day and he needed a couple of days afterward to bring his power up to full strength again.
Mrs. Trumble felt that shielding anybody at this time was not necessary. The child seemed to be accidentally doing magic and so it wouldn’t be directed at the leadership. It might be directed at a parent or a relative but since there is no knowledge of who they are they can’t be protected.
Very reluctantly Tommy and Robert agreed with her since they really wanted to do something.
Somewhere in Pigeon Falls a little child says:
Покладіть кота в воду отвір - Джон Грін

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Meme

Today's Saying
Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition.
~Mignon McLaughlin

Saw this Christmas meme at Melli's and thought it would be good to do.

1. Gingerbread: For or against? Discuss.
How can you be against gingerbread? If you won’t eat it build a house with it.

2. Is it important to you to always stay (live) close to family?
Certainly. That’s why I moved to Neenah. ( You thought it was to get away from my UP relatives)

3. Which holiday pretend character do you wish really existed?
Scrooge, of course! He is the very embodiment of Christmas.

4. Which holiday movie best represents how you feel about Christmas or life?
Pick any Scrooge movie made before 2000.

5. Is there a particular Christmas song that you're enjoying now? Any that you're tired of?
I don’t get out and only play CD’s so I enjoy all I’m listening too.

6. What is your favorite way to remember those less fortunate at Christmastime?
By remembering them all year long.

7. Does it upset you to see "Xmas" instead of Christmas? How about "Happy Holidays" etc., instead of "Merry Christmas?"
No! I use my terms growing out of my faith and others can do what they want. Life is too short to let others upset me.

8. How many Christmas programs are you attending this month?

9. Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Any chance of that dream becoming a reality?
You got to be kidding. If my Christmas gets any whiter the house will be covered.

10. Tell me about a Christmas present you received as a child. Pics are always nice.
I got a wonderful Marx 027 Train.

11. How many Christmas parties are you attending this month?
Not a single one. Who wants a pitiful old guy with a walker at a party?

12. How do you keep yourself centered on the significance of Christmas?
By remaining centered in the Christ of Christmas.

Mrs. Trumble is glad that Robert loved her and Tommy UK enough to quit being a Guardian of the Universe. But she feels bad that he had to give up so much. He gave up aging so slowly that he might have lived for a thousand years . He gave up the augmentation of his power losing his ability to detect and control magic. He also lost the ability to create a doorway to another dimension anywhere he wanted it.
It was good that he had powers that were his from birth like Tommy UK and didn’t have to give those up.
Now they are planning on getting married on or near Valentine’s Day 2010. The only question they have is should it be a small quiet wedding or a big community wide celebration. She is, after all the Mayor, and a big celebration might be in order. Plus the community has gone through so many bad things that a big joyful celebration might be just the thing it needs.
Petrovich finds himself coming back again and again to driblet 172. He knows he has translated this already. He thought it had already taken place but something keeps pushing it to the front of his mind. Whatever the force is he doesn't understand it. It's true they couldn't identify the woman or the twins but there were two sets born at that time. Either one might be the one from the driblet. Yet the force that usually drives him to the driblet that he translates keeps pulling him back to 172.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Today's Saying
As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Luke 1:44
Today the liturgical churches celebrate the Last Sunday in Advent. The gospel in the Common Lectionary is Luke 1:39-55.
This marks the end of the Advent season. We have almost reached Christmas. All through the season the texts have pointed us to the Christ who came at Christmas and the Christ who will come again.
I really love this gospel. It is full of wonderful images.
The problem is people end up arguing over the question of did this really happen or did the early church make this up. In so doing they miss the beauty of the text, the wonder of the moment captured her in fantastic images. I really wish that people who don’t want to believe would pick some other text to fight over.
Let us just take this text and savor the images.
First there are two pregnant ladies, cousins, who are carrying bhoth the Messiah and the one who will point to Him. Each of them knows that the baby she carries is special.
Mary has come to her cousins home to escape those people who will be upset by her pregnancy. She has come to hide for a bot.
But now a wild thin happens. Elizabeth recognizes Mary’s child as the Messiah and rejoices in the knowledge.
The moment is very special . Even the unborn children know it is special.
This is the first time Jesus and John are together in the same place. They will not meet again until John baptizes Jesus. But the meeting creates in my mind a beautiful image. The baby John recognizes the presence of the Word becoming flesh and leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb. What an image. John whose task is the point the way to Jesus. John whose task is the prepare the way for Jesus has already begun. This is a text to image. This is a text to feel.
But then Elizabeth responds to John’s joy with her own and she also recognizes Mary’s baby as the Messiah. Here is another image to be savored. It is another image to feel.
Feel the joy, wonder, awe of Elizabeth now standing in the presence of the Lord of the Universe. She understands the kind of faith that Mary had to accept this promised child. She knows Mary to be blessed and because Mary is there she sees herself as favored.
But then then the best image of all a Mary is so filled with joy she sings from her soul a testimony to God’s love. The song lets us see Mary as an instrument by which God’s love is breaking into the world. That love comes not through Kings but an ordinary person. The song reminds us that the God of Israel loves the poor and the needy and this Messiah comes for them as well.
I have always felt this text was best preached on by lifting the images and letting us feel with the people in them.
Take a Bible. Read the text. Try to feel and see what is happening.
It is almost Christmas and Mary and Elizabeth point us to the Christ.

Pastor Joan can’t help but wonder if some character from today’s lesson will show up during the service as John the Baptist did last week. But she has written a sermon and here is part if it.
“This morning I offer you the testimony of a happy baby. This morning a baby points us to Jesus .
I’m not talking about the kids in the Sunday School Pageant. They tried to point us to Christmas. The center of everything was Jesus but somehow we get so caught up in the funny things they do wrong and how cute they are that we miss the fact that they are pointing us to Christ.
No! The baby I’m talking about this morning wasn’t even born yet when he started his ministry of getting things ready for Jesus.
He was still in his mother’s womb.
But he was so happy when Jesus came into the room , inside of Mary, that he leaped for joy. The good news is his mother didn’t think it was just another one of those cute baby things but understood he was pointing. The one person who could know what he was pointing to, did.
That’s what should happen at our Sunday School play. We should see not the funny kids but the Jesus these funny kids point to. We need to become more like Elizabeth.
Now it’s not that Elizabeth didn’t feel her babies joy. She obviously did . It’s that Elizabeth allowed it to point her to the Christ. Every year when we put on a Sunday School Christmas program we hope it will bring you closer to Jesus. We pray over it. We put lots of effort into it.
In the end it’s not about little Suzzie who forgot her line and did that cute wave to her mother. Its not about Raymond who fell off the stage because he was doing something he wasn’t supposed to.
No! In the end we want you to see Jesus.
So we that introduction our Sunday School will now present their annual Christmas play. Remember what it is all about.”

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Six more Words

Today's Saying

Shopping is a woman thing. It's a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase. ~Erma Bombeck

I don’t always check my facts.

Parents and children started lining up on main street at 9:30 this morning. They would have come earlier but it is a bit on the cold side. At 10:00 Toivo, looking just like Santa , showed up with his reindeer and his sleigh. He had his big bag of candy canes and was hollering out Ho Ho Ho. One little girl asked her mother if that was the real Santa Claus. A child somewhere in the crowd gurgles out:

Святий Миколай і сани піднімається вище будівлях зараз.

Suddenly Toivo, the reindeer and the sleigh begin to rise and he continues to rise until he is higher than the Masonic building. Then he rides to the end of the street turns around and flys back over the delighted children.
“ It is! It Is! The real Santa” , one kid cries out.
Toivo turns again and rides to just above the Santa house where he is supposed to give out the candy. The problem now is he has no idea on how to get down.
Suddenly he finds himself lifted from the sleigh with his bag and floated down to the house. It seems that Robert , Tommy UK’s father, was aware of the problem and used his power to get Toivo down.
Toivo handed out candy canes to awe struck kids . To them he was now the real Santa. He was there on the streets of Pigeon Falls and his reindeer were parked in the air above the building. Kids who had quit believing in Santa took up believing again. They saw him with their own eyes.
At noon Robert slowly put Toivo back in the sleigh and Toivo drove the reindeer in the direction of the Bergall farm. Just as they got there the sleigh began its descent and Toivo’s time as Santa was over.