Posted in Eddington, Serials

Eddington Cocoa Cappuccinos 

“Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”

Most people know the first verse of Good King Wenceslas, or at least the first few lines. The second verse is not as popular, but after Otecko finished his story, its become very familiar to me. Once all the children had went to bed, he gathered the adults to tell us a story.

“Until now I’ve been hesitant to share the whole story with you, but now, the time is right. One reason is, part is legend, and part is fact. Much like the song Good King Wenceslas.”

“I was hesitant because I knew his motives, but I did not yet know Rastilav’s motivations. His viewpoint very much affected how to proceed, and what to focus on. Now that I know, I can give you the tart, with a little less powdered sugar.”

He winked at us and grinned. “Of course, to make it entertaining, perhaps a light dusting.” With a wink and a nod, all of us, were kids again listening intently. Covered in Christmas blankets, sipping cocoa cappuccinos my Wife had just whipped up, and grinning from ear to ear.

He sang in a hearty voice verse two of the song, and then continued. “That verse became a road map to the four jewel’s protectors, much like the duke, called king, became a symbol. ‘A good league, under the mountain, right against the forest fence, by the fountain.’ ”

“Only a band of good men, or souls with no ill intent, can be trusted to guard the treasure. For they will guard it, under the eyes of mountains of those who would use their symbolic strength to crush others. That is why the treasure is hidden.”

“This is what every protector is told. ‘The forest fence tells us to do whatever is necessary to keep it out of evil hands. Last of all, the fountain tells us where to hide it. In a place of activity, calm but vibrant.’ ” I looked at Otecko with a question all over my face.

“I understand the others, but the last one, I don’t understand.” He laughed. “That’s because it’s not supposed to, it is a test. One which must be passed before a protector is truly trusted.”

“They are given half the riddle, or you could say the map. You might say, once it is proven they will not dig up the treasure for themselves, they are given the coordinates of where to dig. Also, in case someone like Rastilav learns the riddle from a weak protector, it is useless without knowing the rest.”

Posted in Holidays, Inspirational Collections

Lights Off The Tree

It started out years ago, that they would only remain the rest of this month. Now, you find Christmas lights in weddings, flower arrangements, and interior decorating. An why not, light should be present every day of the year. Especially The Light of Christmas.

One of my very closest and best friends sent me a text yesterday, reminding me that Christmas isn’t over. This is a wonderful person who’s kindness and generosity is consistent throughput the year. She celebrates Christmas, and shares it’s message of hope regardless of the calendar.

Whatever your Dec 25 was like, don’t pack up the Light and the joy with the tree. Let it accentuate your special occasions, bring fragrance to your life, and decorate your every day. The Light of Christmas belongs on display every moment of our lives, not in a box in the garage.  

Posted in Bible Studies, The Native

The Native Pauls Nativity

Hebrews 1:6

And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

The Apostle Paul covered many subjects. One he spoke very little on, was Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Except for this verse, and I had passed over it for years.

There’s only one event in The New Testament it could be referring to. Like Hebrews, it involved The Christ, angels, and shepherds. I like to think of this verse as Paul’s Nativity.

Luke 2:13-15

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

They say Francis of Assisi started the first Nativity scene in 1223. He did this, after a visit to Israel, where he saw Bethlehem. He wanted to encourage the worship of Christ.

The same as the Apostle Paul did here. He was speaking to the Jews about what he had received, just as the shepherds had in Luke 2. After receiving, they visited the Christ child, and shared the announcement with everyone.

In Paul’s conversion, Christ spoke to Him, and conversation led to transformation. The troubler of churches, became the Apostle to the Gentiles. The same message that Gabriel announced years before, brought Paul peace on earth.  

According to the book of Revelation, a Pastor is called the Angel of the local Church. He is both a minister and a shepherd, sharing the vision of Heaven, and caring for the flock. To Paul, as it should be to us, it was more than a Christmas story. 

Whether it’s on a plain in Bethlehem, a Roman prison house, or your local assembly, Angels still announce the good news. Bethlehem is more relevant today than it has ever been before.

God did arrive, born of a virgin, to save a lost and hurting world. Angels, we have heard on high, not in glowing robes, but suits and jeans. The message alters all it touches, from the messenger to it’s recipients.

That transformation doesn’t stop at conversion. It continues from the day you experience it, until the day the angel announces His return. He doesn’t offer a shallow reassurance, but a concrete hope. 

There are real problems today, just as then. Only unlike Him, we don’t face a murder plot in the first two chapters of our lives. Some would have stood against all who attempted the attack. Instead, He chooses a redeemed murderer to share the Gospel. 

Paul knew firsthand the limitless power of the message of Jesus. He voluntarily went from jailer to jail cell, because He believed. Paul believed enough to be born again. Whether you’re a believer, or a skeptic, I challenge you to revisit it today, reading with an open heart. 

Hear the angel, see the shepherds, and meet The One who came to Bethlehem, knowing its road would lead to Calvary. Christ believed in us enough, to be born to die. Shouldn’t we believe enough to allow Him in our hearts?

Posted in Bible Studies, The Native

The Nativity More Than You Ever Dreamed

 Matthew 2:9 

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

It’s amazing how people at Christmas time view The Nativity. Many never stop to read the events, and base them on memories and perception. This week was an example of that.

A program wrongly attempted to say that the wise men had questions when they left because they found a child instead of a king. I try to keep an open mind, and I listened to their argument, but two verses contradict their theory.

They knew they were seeking a child born King of the Jews, and they were confused at first. They arrived in Jerusalem, expecting Him to be born into a palace. They may have been puzzled up until they bowed at His feet, but that ended at the feet of Jesus.

Readily they opened their treasures, and gave Him gifts reflecting His Divinity, kingship, and sacrifice. That to me is proof enough, but it’s not my primary argument. If you doubt they were convinced in the presence of God Himself, then I point you to this verse.

Matthew 2:12

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

If any doubt attempted to hide in the caverns of their mind, this eclipsed it through The Light. As Paul said in Timothy, He was manifest in the flesh, and justified in The Spirit.  

By accepting the child, they experienced a conversation with God on another realm. There would be much they didn’t get to talk with Him about, even if He was two years old at the time of their journey as scholars think. Yet, for their sacrifice, they still received a message from Heaven.

We are not given the details of the dream, just the message. For years I viewed it as only a warning about Herod, but it was a confirmation of all they saw. Can you imagine experiencing God, not once, but twice on their trip?

God will always give you more than you seek, or expect. The wise men hoped to see Him once, and to bow at His feet. They rejoiced at this, but did not expect to walk into the Heavenly realm where God spoke as they rested.

This Christmas, in the middle of all the hustle and bustle, spend some time at His feet. No matter how many years you’ve followed Him, I guarantee from experience, you’ll receive more than you ever dreamed.

Posted in Holidays

The Wooden Sleigh

It was a simple gift, wooden body, metal legs, and nine, not eight accessories. He sanded the carriage, and stained it candy apple red. The metal legs were polished until his face was reflected in it.

One, two, four, six, nine, were set into place. Grandma’s old batting had been tightly secured around each of their wooden frames. The cloth, shoe polish, and brush work finished off Rudolph and his company.

The toymaker was a little more involved, taking three dollars in red velvet from the store in town. Bleached cotton from an old mop made up Santa’s beard.

At last, three months work had paid off. Grandpa wrapped the oversized gift in muslin. He’d sleep late on Christmas morning, but it would be worth it.

The day went pretty much as expected. The smell of coffee woke him, as he heard giggles follow the sound of Grandma down to the kitchen. A hearty breakfast followed.  

Appetites suffered as children and grown ups alike pretended they weren’t anxious to rip into the gifts in the next room. One in particular was the most excited of all.  

She had promised not to peak under the tarp in his workshop, but it took all her will to keep it. Finally, child after child, no matter what age, ripped into the wrapping.

It was a horrible thing to do, but he saved this gift for last. As it was to be the culmination of a promise made the year before, to the woman he loved.

After the tree was moved, the lights stilled, and the wrapping thrown away last year. Charles heard a sigh, followed by a lovely wistful voice. “Christmas is over for anohter year.”

It was a few minutes later, as she held the stocking in her hand by the mantle, that he noticed the huge bare spot on the hearth. He knew instantly what would fill it, and that regardless of what others said, one Christmas ornament would never leave the home again.

Her eyes, not as young, but just as bright, glowed when she saw her gift. Her laughter filled the room. “It’s perfect.”  

She whispered, as a Christmas kiss rewarded her husband with an equally perfect gift. “What a beautiful Christmas.” He said, and there were no sighs that year.

Posted in Eddington, Serials

Eddington Christmas Perk

Otecko was making his miniature snowmen for the grandkids. Chocolate sponge cake, a frosted sugar glaze, and powdered sugar, make for smiling faces. I sipped on Stefaniak’s Christmas Perk, and smiled as Joe’s daughter Hannah ‘helped’.

There was powdered sugar everywhere, but it was Christmas, and that’s ok. We were taking a break from worrying about everything. It was the week before Christmas, and Rastilav could wait.

The tree was trimmed. Bing Crosby, Tony Bennett, and James Taylor alternated holiday melodies. The kids were in Christmas pajamas, getting ready to eat sweets, and watch a Christmas movie. The girls were wrapping presents, and I was happily doing nothing.
Except I wasn’t, I was trying to wait. It was almost time, but not yet. This was my favorite part of the pre-Christmas celebration, Otecko’s Christmas story session.  

He would begin with Mr Clement C Moore, and “The Night Before Christmas”. Next was, as he referred to himself, C.D.’s “A Christmas Carol”. The story of “Good King Wenceslas” led up to the climax, Luke Chapter Two”.

It was warm, and Otecko knew exactly how to emphasize each word. I didn’t know it at that moment, but I would learn a lot during the stories this year. Next week, I’ll tell you about how King Wenceslas gave us a clue.