Week 38   Day 1


Rain is pounding the earth

            breaking branches

            flooding areas of poor drainage

            gusting torrents at 50 mph


Today nature is harsh and overpowering

Tomorrow will be a day of clean-up

Someday soon the sun will welcome me again


Trees survive the beating 

Birds return from their hiding

Puddles disappear underground


"Take the bitter with the sweet." 

That was the motto I remember hearing        

            as a child from old Reuben

            who farmed the land next to ours 

Reuben knew both the pounding rain and the gentle sun


The first Christmas brought both bitter and sweet 

            that long trip to Bethlehem

                       came at precisely the wrong time 

            overcrowded conditions

                      meant no satisfactory place to give birth 

            surrounded by strangers, at night,

                      a shed out back protecting them 

           yet animals provided warmth 

           angels sang 

           shepherds and wise men visited


The same rain that bites my face and snarls traffic 

            waters the earth and nourishes all living plants 

The same people who cause pain 

            are the ones who bring much joy 

From adversity I learn much that is valuable 

The greater the challenge the greater the joy in victory 


The bitter and the sweet 

            constantly intermingling 

            confounding and confusing me 

            calling me to faithfulness and love 


One word shines through the darkness in Luke's account

            of the first Christmas--PRAISE 

Knowing that in all circumstances 

            in the bitter and the sweet 

God is in our midst 






Mary pondered God's mysteries; Jesus grew in God's wisdom.

                                                  Luke 2


    8Now there were in the country shepherds keeping watch

over their flock by night.  9Behold, an angel of the Lord stood

before them, and 10said, "Do not be afraid, for I bring you

good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  11There

is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is

Christ the Lord.  12And this will be the sign to you:  a Babe

wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

    13Suddenly a multitude of the heavenly host praised God,

saying:  14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace

and goodwill toward men!"

    15When the angels had gone away from them into heaven,

the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem

and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has

made known to us." 

    16They came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and

the Babe lying in a manger.  17When they had seen Him, they

made known the saying which was told them.  18All those who

heard it marveled.  19Mary kept all these things and pondered

them in her heart.  20Then the shepherds returned, praising

God for all the things that they had heard and seen.

    21When eight days were completed for the circumcision

of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by

the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

    41Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of

the Passover.  42When He was twelve years old, they went up to

Jerusalem according to custom.  43When they had finished the

days, as they returned, the boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. 

Joseph and His mother did not know it; 44but supposing Him to

have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought

Him among their relatives and acquaintances.  45When they did

not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.  46After

three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of

the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.

    48His mother said, "Son, why have You done this to us? 

Your father and I have sought You anxiously."  49Jesus said

to them, "Why did you seek Me?  Did you not know that I must

be about My Father's business?" 

    51Then He went down with them to Nazareth, and was subject

to them.  His mother kept all these things in her heart.  52Jesus

increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. 
                 This Bible passage was condensed from the NKJV

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