Thursday, December 29, 2011

Classic VeggieTales Christmas: The Little Drummer Boy

Why would anyone want to watch cartoon veggies dance and sing? Because these veggies have true heart and teach children invaluable lessons about hope, forgiveness, kindness, generosity, and friendship. Children adore VeggieTales: they laugh at Larry's silly antics and sing along with the upbeat songs while the messages are buried deep within their hearts.

This Christmas season, Big Idea, the company that produces VeggieTales, decided to retell the story of "The Little Drummer Boy" in their own unique fashion. The story unfolds as Pa Grape tells Junior Asparagus the story of a little boy named Aaron (also played by Junior Asparagus) who had a gift for making animals dance while he played his drum. In the beginning, Aaron is very hurt and angry after his family home is destroyed. Aaron, no wanting to experience lose and hurt again, plans to isolate himself from everyone. However, God has different plans for Aaron as he leads him on a journey to a small stable where a special little baby lays in a manger. Meeting this special newborn king brings healing and peace to Aaron and renews his faith. He doesn't have much to offer in return other than the gift of a song on his drums played by his humble heart.

We may feel angry and bitter. We may feel utterly alone and lost. But, there is hope through the gift God sent us so many years ago in the form of a tiny baby wrapped in cloth and resting in a manger. A humble beginning for one who would suffer so that we may live. All we have to do in return is believe and love him with a humble heart just as Aaron learned to do in "The Little Drummer Boy."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Important Baby Born Last Night by guest blogger 10yr old Andrew

On this most special night of all, the most important baby was born: Jesus, our Savior, and the newborn King. Last night, the most illustrious star of all shone so brightly that it led the shepherds from a nearby field watching their flock and the three Magi to the town of Bethlehem where the tiny baby Jesus was lying in a manger wrapped in cloth.

One of the shepherd’s reports that, “A radiant angel appeared before us and we were very afraid. But, the angel told us not to be afraid because she brought us great news. She said that in the town of Bethlehem we would find a tiny baby wrapped in cloth, lying in a manger. She said this baby was a sign to us from God. His name was Jesus and he would be our Savior. Then, more angels appeared and praised God.”

Three Magi, or wise men who offer counsel to kings, came from the east following the brightly shining star in search of the one who was born king of the Jews. One Magi said, “Words cannot describe the overwhelming feeling of joy I felt gazing upon the newborn king.” The Magi brought gifts to show honor and respect to the baby. After bowing down  to worship Jesus, they gave him gold, incense, and myrrh.

The baby Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph. Mary said “I am honored and humbled to have been chosen to give birth to this special child. I am a virgin. God spoke this baby into being and he was suddenly growing within me.” Joseph admits, “I was skeptical at first until an angel appeared to me. I am but a simple carpenter but, I will honor God and raise this child he has given us.”

Joseph and Mary had come to Bethlehem after Caesar Augustus had ordered people to report to the town of their ancestors so they  could be counted and pay taxes. When Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, they were unable to find an inn with unoccupied rooms. Since Mary was so close to giving birth, one kind innkeeper allowed them to stay in his stable, which was actually a hole cut into the side of a mountain to house the animals of the innkeeper and his borders. 

The fact that Jesus was born last night in a stable and wrapped in cloth did not deter the angels from proclaiming this special child was born nor the shepherds and wise men from seeking him out. He was born of a virgin and will be a leader amongst his people. He is the Savior that scripture has foretold. He is our Savior, the newborn king, the Messiah.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Where does Jesus live?

I have been sitting here in the relative silence of the early morning, as I take a breathing treatment, and have sat in awe at Jesus' feet: reading scripture, praying and listening as He speaks to my heart. I have seen people running about, rushing so fast in the bustle of the holiday season they are driving recklessly and being rude to one another. Houses decorated to the hilt with the manger hidden in the back corner. Is that where Jesus lives in your heart this year? In the back corner, as you rush about preparing. After all, it is HIS birthday, we are celebrating, so shouldn't we be focused on him? I am trying to teach Andrew the true meaning of Christmas. On Christmas Eve, he will help me read the Bible story of Jesus' birth and sing hymns on the dementia unit in the nursing home where mom works and I used to work, in fact that was the main unit I worked on, while Dad does the main service for the nursing home residents. Then, on Christmas morning, we are going to help dad with the service at the homeless shelter and share a Christmas meal. My desire is for Andrew to see that it is not just a day to receive but to give back to the one who's very birth we are celebrating. Is there a special way you plan to give back a gift to Jesus this season? I'd love to hear about it! Have a blessed day everyone! Colossians 2: 6&7 "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Timely Christmas Story

A Christmas Journey Home: Miracle in a Manger tells the story of two women who have faced recent tragedies and hardships. It will take a miracle, not unlike the miracle of Christ's birth, to bring healing, redemption, peace and love into their hearts.

Isabella Alcantara is an illegal immigrant left for dead after coyotes steal her money. She and her husband only wanted a better life for their unborn child then the extreme violence, gangs, and drugs that accompanied their life in Mexico. Isabella is all alone after her husband dies. Yet, she finds herself comforted and able to persevere because of God's presence with her along her perilous journey.

Miriam Nelson has become an angry, bitter woman after her husband, a border patrol agent, is killed while on duty. It takes a miracle and the wisdom of her young son to gently lead Miriam back to a personal relationship with God.

Remarkable characters, who like many of us face struggles in life, being shown God's immeasurable grace. This is a story from the heart of a woman who listens to the stories God whispers to her. Kathi Macias written more than 30 books for various publishers and is truly a gifted wordsmith.

Kathi's books are available online at: Amazon, Barnesand Noble, and Christianbook.

To learn more about author Kathi Macias visit her website and her blog.