Salvation – Day 24 – Holiday Haiku

Salvation – Day 24 – Holiday Haiku

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus,  for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)   And isn’t that the heart of the holiday? A Savior, born to die, to save us from the sins that we’ve committed: the ultimate scapegoat, the eternal passover lamb. I’ve always said that Christmas is about His death and resurrection as much as His birth. Without Easter Sunday, Christmas would be just another birthday. If you have made it through advent, celebrating the tinsel and the cookies and the elf on the shelf, but somehow not yet understood the incredible love of God –  that He would send His Son to earth to redeem you from all your sin-stained aches and pains – then I pray you have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the mind to perceive that He came for you. He left the glory throne of Heaven to chase you down in your self-suficient pride and woo you to salvation. Salvation. Dear friend, there is nothing on earth that you can do to clean yourself up, make yourself right and worthy to stand before God. The thoughts you think, the words you speak, the things you do, the motivations that lead you… can never be good enough, holy enough, to earn you access to heaven, and a right relationship with God. Salvation. You can’t earn it. But you can receive it. Salvation.  It is the greatest gift of all. But a gift is not a gift until it is received. This gift must be received by each man, woman, boy, or...
The Shepherds – Day 22 – a holiday haiku

The Shepherds – Day 22 – a holiday haiku

Welcome to Day 22 of our Holiday Haiku Challenge One of the joys of the season is reading again the account of the very first Christmas. The star, the wisemen, the angel chorus, and the shepherds keeping watch. Here is a fresh translation: An Event for Everyone (Luke 2:8-20, MSG) There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him. As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were amazed. Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned...
Christmas Contentment – Day 21 – Holiday Haiku Challenge

Christmas Contentment – Day 21 – Holiday Haiku Challenge

Welcome to our 23rd day of the Holiday Haiku Challenge Today’s haiku challenge is to write 17 poetic syllables inspired by the often ellusive concept,   Christmas Contentment   My dear friend Amber Lia shares a personal story on the subject, then wraps it up at the end with a haiku. If you are inspired, leave your own #holidayhaiku in the comment thread below.   Christmas Contentment By Amber Lia   My husband thought it was a fun idea to put a pink feather boa and other gag gifts in my Christmas stocking that first year of marriage. Meanwhile, I thoughtfully wrapped all his favorite things. Ten years later, he still struggles with what to get me. Just today, I bought a gift from him, for me. He’ll wrap it. I’ll be happy and he won’t have to sleep on the couch. Just kidding. Sort of. Like you, I want Christmas to be less about “stuff” and more about rejoicing over the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, but even with my best intentions, I can become disappointed when holidays roll around. My prayer for 2015 was that I would hunger and thirst for righteousness more than anything else. I wanted to grow in contentment and truly feel like peace ruled my heart and mind this year, despite my circumstances. When December arrives, my contentment can be severely tested. My birthday is the day after Christmas and so many expectations come into play. I want to focus on what really matters—the many blessing that are already mine to treasure. I also want to humble myself, much like we see in Jesus’...
Emmanuel – Day 20 – holiday haiku

Emmanuel – Day 20 – holiday haiku

Welcome to Day 20 of our Holiday Haiku Challenge Today’s charge is to  write a haiku inspired by the Name of Christ,   Emmanuel   Emmanuel by Tara Ulrich   Emmanuel “God with us” is such a beautiful reminder that we are never alone. I love Eugune Peterson’s translation in the Message when he states “Jesus puts on flesh and blood and moves into the neighborhood.” Can you just picture Mary, Joseph, and baby Joseph moving in next to you? Would you bring them gifts fit for a king? Would you be oohing and aahing over this precious gift not even knowing that this infant was the promise Messiah? During this Advent season, may you welcome this promised Messiah into your heart, and extend Him out into your very own neighborhoods!   Tara Ulrich lives in Minot, ND where she serves at a Lutheran church as the Director of Home and Family Ministry. She is a rostered Diaconal Minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Diaconal Ministers grew out of the Catholic understanding of deacons and deaconesses; Word and Service rather than Word and Sacrament). Prior to coming to Minot, she lived in Moorhead, MN and served at a church in Dilworth, MN for approximately 6 1/2 years. She is a graduate of the University of Mary (Bismarck, ND) and Wartburg Theological Seminary. She loves to spend time with her friends and family, reading, writing, and on the beautiful prairies of North Dakota. You can follow her at her blog Praying on the Prairie. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.  ...
Angels We Have Heard on High – Day 19 – Holiday Haiku

Angels We Have Heard on High – Day 19 – Holiday Haiku

Welcome to day 19 of our Holiday Haiku Challenge   Today’s charge is to write a haiku inspired by the carol   Angels We Have Heard on High.   Angels we have heard on high Sweetly singing o’er the plains, And the mountains in reply Echoing their joyous strains. Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be Which inspire your heav’nly song? Come to Bethlehem and see Him Whose birth the angels sing; Come, adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the newborn King. See Him in a manger laid, Whom the choirs of angels praise; Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, While our hearts in love we raise.  (James Chadwick, 1862)     We perceive the unknown through the filter of our knowing minds. But we cannot imagine the unimaginable. So we use our imaginations. Angels are not human who have sprouted wings at the ringing of a bell. They are creatures all their own, created by the same Creator that filled Adam’s nostrils with earth’s first breath. It is all poetry. And here we are, trying desperately to cram this unknown brilliance into the confines of 17 short syllables....