Reward

These words are playing on repeat in my heart today – a promise to Abram. (That’s right good ‘ol father Abraham, before he was even Abraham).

“Fear not, I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward.” (Gen 15v1)

I am all filled up – into the corners, and the cracks, and to the top of all the dusty shelves of my life, with the joy that is Jehovah – my reward.

reward

As dusk inevitably comes and the Hope of Christmas bears down like a woman in labour I am wrapped in a promise where God is my reward.

All I want for Christmas.

All I want for life.

My reward.

A reward that cannot be bought. A reward that cannot be stolen. A reward that is never sold out, broken, or disappointing.

This Presence, this promise today – this is what is at the top of my heart, my Christmas list and this is what gives ‘strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow’.

Praying this knowledge, this promise, this Hope for you today dear beloved heart.

Merry, merry Christmas Eve to you. xxx

Adventing – Anticipation

It happened a lot during my childhood, the slowing of time in relation to the height of my eagerness for an event.

A party invitation that didn’t start until 2pm made a day drag on and on, the ticking clock interminable. Lying in bed for the prescribed one hour Sunday afternoon rest, seemingly an hour without ending.

As an adult, in the rush to December 25th it can feel impossible to carve out even a minute to catch breath, to think of anything other than the onslaught of end-of-school requirements, present organisation, family commitments, friendship commitments.

Suddenly the season of Christmas has disappeared into a dark tunnel with a fast oncoming train labelled ‘Christmas Day’.

I love the word season – the implication of the gentle breaking through; of changes that herald a shift. The first green shoots of Spring, the daffodils, the build up… that results in full glory, or depth, or fullness of a particular season.

A season wraps its tendrils around us… lures us into a different place. It doesn’t smack us directly in the face like a hurricane. So I desire a season to advent in.

BTL - John 14:15-21

My plan this Advent, as well as doing my book with my children, is to capture a sense of growing anticipation. As Christians the season of Advent is actually about, looking forward to the second arrival of Jesus. The time when all will be put to rights.

The time when we will finally see face to face what our hearts have so longed for.

So I will be taking some of the words from my children’s book and weaving them into my own reflections. I will be looking backwards, as the Trinity was wrenched and the world received the word made flesh, and I will be looking forward anticipating the Great Arrival that is still to come.

In the forward and backwards I will be looking to pause, to wait, to be awed by the Presence that dwells with us, in us, through us.

I hope you will journey with me and with my family as well tip toe along the edges of

Hope come

and Hope still to come.

May we all know a season of Advent, a season of Hope and a true season of Joy.

xxx

So, I Wrote A Book

Since I’ve had babies I’ve wanted to build traditions around Christmas. I’ve dreamed about the sense of holy wonder in our home as we contemplate together the rough stable, those young parents, the scrappy shepherds, the choirs of angels.

I’ve wanted a Christmas build up that has felt like Christ-mas. God with us.

It seems that little kids are offered all sorts of tinsly, glowing, baubly bits but there hasn’t been much for wondering on. So I wrote a book for families with children who are aged 3-7 years old.

A book where each day is based on a word like – chosen, generous, myrrh and each day includes a Bible verse and a very simple activity and a reflection and a prayer.

A book where the information is sound and meaningful.

A book where the activities are actually achievable.

A book that works when you miss some days because the grandparents came to stay and the cat vomited on the carpet and we all had a meltdown.

adventing

I wrote this book for every family that’s wanted something more than tinsel and jingle bells.

I wrote it for busy parents who want to do something well but don’t have time to do all the thinking.

I wrote it for children, my children, and for so many little ones who are very dear to me and to whom I want to give the gift of wonder, delight, depth and meaning.

This book is currently free as a kindle e-book, just for a few days. Then it will be about the price of a good hot chocolate.

When I pray for this book I pray it will bless you. I pray it will encourage you and I pray that you will find it practical, Biblical and tradition building.

If you want your own copy you can find the link on the right. Here’s the official description:

24 opportunities to reflect on an element of the arrival of Jesus
• Simple and inspiring activities and reflections
• Assistance to build a Biblical understanding for children aged 3-7 about the arrival of Jesus
• Create a wonder-filled and worshipful attitude in your home as you lead up to Christmas

Written by teacher, speaker and communicator Miriam Fisher. Motivated by a desire to provide theologically sound, simple, and meaningful ways to celebrate and anticipate Christmas together.

Meaningful, Achievable, Biblical, Joyful

This is my Christmas gift to you. Wrapped in my love for the honour and glory of Jesus.

x Miriam x

Fixing on the Smallest Things

When the world feels like a never-ending stream of bad news, of fearful threats, of actual violence on small and large scales it can feel like a crushing weight.

When children come home with distorted views of news you haven’t even talked about together, and the internet rages with right responses and rumours of revolutions. It can feel like very second person has a differing opinion on what’s the ‘right’ way to oppose injustice.

On and on, round and round until it just feels like a hurricane of disagreement shouted louder and louder over the bodies of the broken.

I start to feel like there is no reason for joy anymore.

Like it’s inappropriate to feel anything other than hopelessness and despair.

Like weeping will last and last and last.

So today I am looking through the disabling, overwhelming bad news, through the rhetoric and the rubbish, over the piles of grief.

Today I am stopping to honour the beauty of Jacaranda trees in full bloom.

jacarandas

 

I am listening to the sound of little people I love laughing.

I am joining my children in the swimming pools and chasing them until we are breathless and delighted.

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I am going to the door of a rundown stable and peaking over the heads of those gathered, hushed in wonder. I am gazing silent at the Son of heaven whose love has never walked away from brokenness.

Of the One who came to give us joy and life in all its fullness.

Of, Good News incarnate.

I am filling up on the smallest things, the beauty of creation, the song found in laughter, the warmth given in a small hand holding mine.

I am not hiding from the news of sadness – my heart is sighing wordless prayers for all the world. But, I am choosing today in the midst of strife to honour and be grateful for the beauty I have been given today to appreciate.

There is beauty to behold and today I am choosing with all my heart to see it.

Let us not dishonour the gift we have by placing on our shoulders the worry of what might be, and miss the joy of what is today.

Wherever you are today, however deep the challenges of your own news, may there be a moment to delight in. May a ray of light stream through the cracked places of your heart today.

Always, always may you know the love of being worth a King’s ransom.

xxx

 

the sounds of Bethlehem

It happened when my first child was small. A bundle of beauty at about 7 months old – all the joy of my life. We sat Christmas morning in a family members church – a beautiful building, built in a time when parishioners were expected to sit quietly and mod-cons weren’t included.

My perfect bundle started to wiggle and make noises, and there wasn’t a modern nursing room to retreat to or even an easy retreat, that didn’t involve clanking sounds on wooden floorboards and pushing past people in the narrow row. I sat in that unfamiliar church on Christmas morning feeling uncomfortable, feeling a perceived disapproval from the mainly older congregation.

Then words from the front diverted from the liturgy and planned delivery.

‘Isn’t it nice to have the sounds of Bethlehem in the church this morning.’

and I can’t even write those words without tears filling my eyes 9 years later.

advent cover option

 

To be so wholly welcomed, so valued, so included when we weren’t the expected demographic in that particular place.

The grace of those words.

The echo of those words speak so deeply into my own heart-beat for the church.

There is room for everyone.

I so want to be the balm of those words to other weary travellers… to people squirming in the seat, to people unsure if there is a space for them, to people who just feel like they don’t fit the demographic.

I think about that first Christmas – the smells, the sounds, the outcasts, the angels…. the sounds of Bethlehem aren’t perfect choirs with hours of practise, amazing stain glassed windows and perfectly vaulted ceiling arches. As much as I love those things, the sounds we are called to first are the mucking in despite the lack of harmony, sticking at it in discord, welcoming whatever odd sounds we might find ourselves surrounded by.

The sounds of Bethlehem are broken, wonder-filled, imperfect people gathering around an unexpected manger at a rescue mission delivered in a tiny little bundle.

It seems to me we could all of us be those grace words today.

Those words that say – I’m glad you’re here, you are welcome.

Let’s be grace words to weary souls today. Let’s be wildly abundant with our love. Let’s be kind and gracious and generous in our welcome even if it disrupts our plans.