Cynthia Ruchti: Christmas and God’s Restoring Love
Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit.
We celebrate Christmas because God came to earth as a baby to die for our sins. That’s a pretty huge event, very worth celebrating.For many people, it’s a painful time. You may have sustained a loss during the year or miss someone who died years ago. We don’t often think about Christmas and restoration in the same sentence, but my guest, Cynthia Ruchti wrote a book, Restoring Christmas. What an interesting concept! I looked up the word restore and found it occurred about seventy times. (depending on your translation, that may vary.)
After giving the matter some thought, I agree with Cynthia. Jesus came to earth to be our redeemer. He came to pay the price for our sins so we can have restored fellowship with God. But what about all those other hurts we experience? Cynthia shares her heart on heartache during Christmas.
1:45 Share the basic story of the book
5:35 Did any event in your life prompt this story?
12:10 Talk about restoration for those hurting places.
19:50 Jesus is close to the broken-hearted. Share with people who may be there this year.
21:25 What about folks who are stumbling through Christmas with sadness or depression?
[tweetthis]I can’t unravel, I’m hemmed in hope[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]Christmas is all about God’s love[/tweetthis]
Karen Whiting: Christmas Advent – Teach Kids While They Wait
As a child, Christmas was a magical time for me. I loved the lights, the color, the carols, the excitement. I have lots of fond memories. At our church, combined choirs would do parts of Messiah every year. What a feast for the senses! Mother always made us wait for a tree because she liked real trees, and she worried about the tree drying out. It seemed like we were always the last to get a tree, but the big day would always arrive. Once the tree was up, she’d let us decorate. She’d hand us icicles, which were long, thin and shiny. She expected us to hang the icicles one by one one. I found it much more exciting to toss them on the tree. They always landed in interesting shapes which reflected the lights so nicely. However, I can remember how Christmas took forever to arrive. I remember talking about the eve of the eve of Christmas Eve, and then the eve of Christmas Eve.
The Christmas 2016 has arrived. The baby in the manger can easily be overlooked in our digital world. Parents must work to keep the focus on the true meaning of Christmas rather than the commercials and ads that catch the children’s attention. What a challenge! While we are busy preparing for the holiday, our children may grow restless since time passes slowly for them. Karen Whiting has written a book called Christmas is Coming, but Waiting is Hard. She has lots of ideas to share.
1:25 What are some activities that can help kids focus while they wait?
2:55 Do you cover the history of Christmas?
4:15 Share some traditions of the past and their meanings.
5:10 What is the peace candle?
7:01 What does red have to do with Christmas?
7:30 How about green?
8:00 What about the Christmas stocking?
9:15 How can you keep the new gadget or toy from becoming the focus of Christmas?
I can recall when I was a child in class. We were getting ready to study the human body, and I was so excited to learn what my internal organs did. I had some strange idea that my organs did wonderful things for the world. How disappointing to discover they merely kept me alive. Of course, in adolescence, the question of identity rose.Those questions are important to ask because it’s difficult to live without meaning.On the other hand, it’s very easy to build our self-worth around what we do.
When I finished school, I became a nurse, but I gave up that career to raise five children. That made me really sad, but I’ve been giving up my whole life in some ways. Later I found myself as a young mother who nursed her babies, but that didn’t last either. I grieved that role when I weaned my youngest child. Then I saw myself as a homeschool mother. That job lasted longer, but that distinction disappeared also. Each time my job description changed, I felt pain and had to adjust. I had to rethink life as a child of God. Someone Jesus loved and died for, but that transition can be tough.
Sometimes life really falls apart. How can we pull the shreds of life back together? How can we get through those times of disappointment when we wonder who we are?
Cynthia Rutchti is my guest. She has written Song of Silence. In this novel, the main character loses her gifting and finds herself afloat.
4:30 The main character, Lucy, was giving to others from her gift of music. How can we find that sweet spot so we can bless those around us?
6:30 Lucy was based on a real person who ministered through music.
8:40 Music contains rests, and Lucy taught her students to ‘play the rests.’ How can we do that by using those hard times in life?
10:10 What if we resist that reset time?
11:20 What does a healthy identity look like? How can Christians get there?
13:50 How can we achieve a healthy marriage in later years like Lucy and her husband?
16:25 Lucy’s family did things to comfort her she didn’t like. How can we avoid facing that in a crisis?
19:00 Lucy’s doctor sent her to a club. What was that great idea about?
I raised five children, and I homeschooled all of them through high school. I lived through some very crazy days. With school responsibilities, I tended to put off some things until summer. Repotting my orchids always got bumped, even though I enjoyed the job. It waited.
One morning I worked on my orchids on my screened-in porch. I felt great that afternoon. So relaxed and peaceful. But I needed a tool I’d left inside, so I walked back into the kitchen to find water all over the floor. I looked up at the ceiling where a very large fluorescent light hung. I was one of those with four long bulbs. Water poured out of that light. That concerned me, but I hurried upstairs to the kid’s bathroom that sat just over the kitchen. Someone had closed and locked the door, so I got that little thingie you use to open it. Once inside, I found the water running and sink full of cleaning rags. The plug was closed so water couldn’t go down the drain. Instead, the overflow ran over onto the floor, which was about three inches deep in water.
I unstopped the sink so the water would stop sloshing over and then headed for something to sop up the excess. Suddenly, I heard a loud bang below me, and I went downstairs to investigate. My daughter stood looking up at the place where the kitchen light used to be. Now wires hung out of this big hole and more water poured through. Now I got nervous. Electrical cords and water didn’t work well together, so I wasn’t sure what to do. As I stood there, my son came up from the basement. He announced water was coming through the ceiling into the room we’d just completed down there. Water wouldn’t be good for the carpet, and at that moment, I had tons of water going everywhere.
I sat down and realized I didn’t feel old enough to handle this mess. Whenever I wasn’t sure what to do, I would call my husband. I called him, but he wasn’t there. I made several other phone calls, and I discovered no one stays at home on a Friday afternoon. No one. I knew the water upstairs was no longer running, so I thought we’d make an effort to clean up, but I couldn’t lift this huge light, even with the kids helping.
Now I know that what I needed was chocolate. My guest today is Michelle Medlock Adams. She and her mother shared a piece of chocolate whenever life got hard to handle. Michelle has a book called When Chocolate isn’t’ Enough. Since she’s the expert on when to use chocolate, and we’re going to get her wisdom for those busy days that fall apart.
In the OT, the tabernacle was the place where God dwelt with man. The Lord gave very specific instructions about the way his house was to be built and decorated. Later, the Israelites built the temple Solomon’s temple and then Herod’s temple.Today, however, the Bible teaches that our bodies are the temple of God. The place we meet is just a building. Notice the wording in I Corinthians:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. This addresses immorality, but most scholars have used this verse to say we should take care of our bodies since the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
Abusing out body isn’t appropriate either. Note the Apostle’s words in Colossians: “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
On the other hand, we have Epaphroditus, who nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (Philippians 2) This verse confuses us because the Apostle Paul commends his friend for his commitment and service to the Lord. Does that mean we can overlook caring for ourselves in order to minister to someone? If that is true, many of us should and will ignore our physical health in order to serve God.
So, what level of self-care is acceptable? Sue Badeau will guide us on this topic. She’s the mother of twenty-two children, and she knows about how to care for yourself. You may learn more about Sue here.
You may have heard that joke if the mother’s not happy, nobody’s happy. How true! The wife, the mother creates the atmosphere of the home, and a peaceful ambiance provides the best place for everyone to thrive. Katheryn von Bora, also known as Katie Luther, the wife of the Reformer, gave us a fabulous example. She created a boarding house in Luther’s former monastery, and she purchased farms to provide for her family, staff, needy beggars, and students. In the context of the dinner table, Luther discussed Scripture around the dinner table, passing along a legacy of his faith. Students later published these as ‘table talk’ giving insight to the next generation. What what an impact she had. How can our lives have such an influence?
The Bible gives a description of a Godly woman in Titus 2:5. “. . .self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” How interesting God mentions us ‘working at home.’ Today that’s not popular. Our culture demands we have some separate profession because just being a wife and mother is beneath us. Certainly the lady in Proverbs thirty-one had several, but she worked out of her home. “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Women have varied gifts, but God designed us as nurturers to play a key role in the lives of our husbands and children. Who else should we trust to raise our offspring?
Pat Ennis is my guest today. She directs the Home Economics Department at Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Her book, God is My Strength, deals with many issues wives and mothers face today. Listen to her insights on creating a peaceful and nurturing atmosphere in your home.