Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Christmas Story - By Emily

My Mom had us kids write a story this past year

for Christmas on a theme that she gave us.

We had done this the year before

and had read them on Christmas Eve.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish mine in time,

since we were so busy this year and started late,

and I have actually just finished putting on the final touches. it is! Hope you enjoy it!

“The Messiah Has Come!”

It all seemed to be another ordinary, tiring day.

But it didn’t stay that way.

My name’s Rebecca.

I’m 12, and the 3rd oldest in a family of 7 kids.

As I was saying, it seemed to be a pretty average day.

As always, I was working at the inn next door to our home

(When your parents have to feed 7 ravenously hungry kids,

not including themselves, money can get pretty scarce,

especially now that the Romans are imposing taxes on us all.

So my parents sent to work as many of their children as were old enough.)

For the past week, our little town of Bethlehem

has been extremely busy and crowded.

The inns have been affected the most.

It is all because of the census that the Romans are taking.

I hope that it will be over in a few weeks.

All the noise and chaos is driving my mistress crazy!

I have found myself becoming angry lately

…. angry at the Romans.

The old prophecies tell about a Savior

who will come one day and deliver us.

So far, he has not come.

I wonder when he will ever get here.

It will be a relief when he comes and sweeps

all these horrid Romans out of the land!

I am so tired of them!

So, let me tell you about the special-ness of this one day.

It had been the busiest day of all.

We were all very relieved when all the customers

demanding meals, rooms, and every other possible item

imaginable finally went to bed!

There were still many people wandering about the streets

looking for a place to spend the night,

but they stopped knocking on our door once my master,

Silas, stuck a sign declaring “no-vacancy” outside.

Later, as I was washing up the remaining dishes

before I would leave for the night,

the peacefulness of the mostly quiet inn

was broken by a donkey’s bawl outside,

and a loud knock on the door.

My mistress, Abigail,

rushed to the door and flung it open.

I came up behind her as she barked out impatiently

at the young couple outside,

“What do you want?!”

“We would like a room, please,” the young man stated quietly.

“A room??!!” Abigail fairly shouted.

She angrily gestured to the sign beside the door.

“Can you not read?! We have NO MORE ROOMS!!!!!”

She slammed the door on them as Silas strode up.

“Was that another couple desiring a room?” he asked.

“Yes. I told them that we had no more.” his wife replied.

Silas sighed.

He opened the door a crack and peeked out.

He saw the man leading his donkey away from the door

and back into the street.

He could see that the young woman on the donkey,

most likely the man’s wife, was pregnant.

He turned back inside.

“We have to find somewhere for them to stay,” he said.

“His wife is pregnant.”

“Silas?! What are you thinking?!” Abigail cried.

“Even if we wanted to, we have no decent place to give them!

All the rooms have been taken up!”

Until then I had just stood against the wall, listening.

Now, as I thought of an idea, I decided to speak up.

“Master,” I said quietly.

He looked down at me so I continued.

“Couldn’t we let them stay in the stable?”

Silas thought a moment,

before rushing off to get a lantern.

“Yes!” he shouted. “A magnificent idea!!”

Abigail hurried outside to catch the pair,

and I was left standing there.

I decided to get some blankets.

There were very few,

as most of them had been snatched up by the guests,

but I grabbed what I could and carried them out to the stable.

I found Abigail and Silas with the two strangers already there.

We made them as comfortable as we could,

but can you actually be comfortable in a stable?!

Silas asked their forgiveness many times

for putting them out in the stable,

but the couple was very grateful and thanked him

for at least sheltering them from the cold wind blowing outside.

An hour or so later,

the woman had her baby,

a boy, whom they named Jesus.

Not long after that,

a large group of shepherds appeared

muttering something about angels and heavenly singing.

“Jehovah, help us!” Abigail cried.

“Not more customers?!”

But the shepherds went straight to the stable.

Curious, I followed.

As I entered the stable,

a bright light over head caught my attention.

I looked up to see an extraordinarily radiant star up over the stable.

As I stared up in wonder,

I heard one of the shepherds say, “The Messiah has come.”

I crept into the stable and closer to the shepherds.

I heard them tell the couple,

whose names were Mary and Joseph,

about a strange encounter with millions of angels!

I sat in awe, drinking it all in.

This little baby was the MESSIAH!

He had finally come!

At last, the Romans would be driven out of the land,

and all of our problems would be taken care of!

But my mind went back to an earlier conversation

that I had with an uncle of mine.

He had met a bizarre, old woman outside of the temple

who had told him that the Messiah would not come to save us

from the Romans,

but to save us from our sin!

Could this really be?

Could just a normal little baby save the world from its sins?!

I had much to ponder on as I crawled in bed late that night.

Could this little baby really have come to save us from our sins?

~By Emily Miles~

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Lessons of Life

The lessons I plan for the day, are rarely the ones that get remembered or impart the most knowledge. It's always the ones the Lord plans and executes. Case in point:
Today, as my 6th and 7th grader were reading an encyclopedia entry preparing to write a 2-paragraph "essay" on hermit crabs, we came upon the word "copulating". They liked the sound of the word and kept repeating it.

Me: "What does that mean?"

E & D: "Mating".
(No problem so far with these words . .. let's keep going . . . )

Me: "What is mating?"

E & D: "It means having babies."

Me: "Well, it means the 'process' of 'creating' more babies. What does the word 'reproduction' mean? (This was actually the word for the topic of our second paragraph.)

David: "It means to make . . .then re-make."

Me: "Right. To make more of what you already have. What do you need to make more living creatures of the same species?"

E & D: "A male and female".

At this point we determined what each creature contributed to the process (egg and sperm).

Me: "So, somehow these two 'parts' have to get together and that is what is called 'fertilization'."

Now here is where one of them asked how that happened. I said it was different for different creatures and that God was a very creative God. E suggested a way and we agreed it could happen that way, but I really didn't know how it was for hermit crabs.

Still not sure how many of the "dots" they are connecting in their own minds, but this was a good start to understanding and discussing things later more specifically.
That ended the discussion as it pertained to hermit crabs. I silently was thanking God for this very unexpected, but very natural way of talking about a sensitive subject, as well as thanking Him for the grace to remain calm and not show embarrassment or uncomfortableness of my own. (Now, I must mention that my 2nd and 3rd grader were in the same room working independently.)

About an hour later, Jonathan, our 4 year old, came in the room asking something about "sex". I had him repeat the word several times 'cause it just didn't make sense and D & E were beginning to giggle. We determined that he was saying "checks". Sigh. (Need to work on talking with the fingers in the mouth . .. sounds the same even when they're NOT in!). Anyway, E & D began telling J to not say that word 'cause it's bad . . . "sex", that is.

Me: Looking right at E & D . . ."What does it mean?"
(They look at each other and giggle and this particular word obviously has some uncomfortableness associated with. I'm wondering where they've heard it talked about . . .etc.)

E & D: "It means 'copulating'" (There's that word again!)

Me: "Right. It's just another word for 'mating' or 'reproduction'. Why is that bad? Weren't we just discussing this as something God has designed?"

E & D:
Silence. Looking at each other and smiling.

Me: "Look, guys. Nothing has changed. Sex, mating, reproduction . . . it's all good. It's beautiful because God has designed it that way and has given His creatures the privilege of participating in His creating of new creatures. That's AMAZING! But it is meant to take place among mankind within the boundaries that God has set: marriage. When sex is talked about in a way that implies that it is not protected by marriage, then you have reason to be uncomfortable and embarrassed. The Bible calls that sin and your conscience is trying to tell you something. However, if you are discussing it in truth and in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord, rejoice . . . and be amazed!

I know that there are many more "details" that I could have explained. I left a lot of holes. And I don't know who they are listening to (or what they are hearing) that would cause them to feel uncomfortable about this topic. But . .. I'm rejoicing that we are able to continue to lay a foundation of thinking about sex in a biblical and God-honoring way, so that wherever they are or whomever they are listening to, they will have a foundation of truth upon which to stand. They need never to be ashamed if they are standing in the path that God has laid out for us in His Word!

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