Sunday, 9 December 2018
“And while they were there, the time came for her (Mary’s) baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son.” Luke 2:6-7
I don’t know if I have mentioned the latest project of replacing the Nativity scene which got destroyed in the flood. It is important for me to have one because I place it under my Christmas tree as a reminder of the greatest gift of all, the birth of Jesus.
It had the wheels turning last night as I attempted to go to sleep. It was a long time coming.
Nevertheless, it’s going well. All the people are completed as well as three sheep. There ended up being a bit of an issue with these beasties. Following the pattern made the first one far too big. A giant among lambs! By reducing the stitches, the next two were a more appropriate size. I stepped aside from the traditional nativity scene by knitting one of them with black yarn. Black sheep are more than welcome to come into the presence of Jesus!
Stepping outside the parameters of tradition, while doing something traditional, has added depth to my musings on the birth of Christ and the people who gathered to worship Him. I was thinking of adding a half sized figure…the little drummer boy from the Christmas carol. Hmmm, how would I knit a drum?
I might even experiment with knitting an angel which isn’t included in the pattern. Maybe using wire would keep the knitted wings open…another “Hmmmm…”
The pattern also called for Mary to have yellow hair. Had that been true, she would have been an exotic and unusual woman, not the humble maiden described in Scripture. In fact, all the figures called for their faces and hands to be knitted in a flesh tone more akin to Caucasian. I’ve tried to remain true to the Hebrew roots of Jesus and used a soft caramel instead of peach for Mary, Joseph and the two shepherds. I am assuming they all would have been Hebrew.
The three wise men have a dark caramel, a deep brown and a black face respectively. I feel it gives them an exotic appearance. They must have appeared that way, too, to people who may have never seen the like before as they travelled west following the Star.
Oh, I know there has been some debate about them being present when Jesus was born. Some say they came much later. I feel keeping them as part of the Nativity adds the important message that Jesus is the King of kings. Maybe that’s why they were included in the very first Nativity depiction. When was that?
Figuring out how to knit a donkey, albeit a very small one, has the ole gray matter chewing away at the problem. I have a pattern but it is knitted in the round (using four needles.) This is a skill I haven’t even come close to mastering. Give me straight needles any day! I think the pattern will make the donkey the size of a Percheron horse in relation to the rest of the scene. It wasn’t designed by the same person.
Hmmm, maybe the giant sheep can be a starting off point. Now, how to knit a neck…
The knitting process fascinates me. Who thought about taking wool from an animal, making it into string and using sticks to make clothing?
I also find myself reflecting this morning about how God knits us together in our mother’s womb. Two sticks and string can create an infinite variety of patterns.
Friday, 7 December 2018
“Then He turned to His host.” Luke 14:12
What would it have been like to have Jesus sitting beside you? What would it have been like to hear Him teach? What would it have been like to have Jesus turn to you and speak into your life?
It would become a memory, the joyous kind that replay in slow motion. Every detail forever cemented into the conscience to be relived and savored over and over.
Memories of that first love, that first kiss, would pale by comparison.
Jesus turned to me!
Because I have invited Him into my home, my life and my being.
I imagine Him to be a tenor with a soft musicality to His voice. It would be a voice that could cut through the noises people make. It would rise above the other voices that mutter their litany of untruth into our souls. Jesus has no need to shout because His voice would be commanding and tender, authoritative and welcoming.
It would be the sweetest voice on earth.
It is the sweetest voice on earth; a voice that only speaks truth, encouragement, and well, the truth. But truth is good even if it’s hard to swallow sometimes. (Smile.)
Tuesday, 4 December 2018
“When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. But Mary stayed in the house.” Luke 11:20
Several posts ago, I asked the question, “Why didn’t the mourners follow Martha when she left the house?” There are other questions that have bubbled up as I build my own story about Lazarus and his sisters.
The mourners had gathered and were comforting Mary. Martha seems to be left out. Why? What is it about Martha?
The passage in Luke where Mary sits at the feet of Jesus to listen to Him teach while Martha grumbles in the kitchen about her lack of help has already happened. Jesus gently chastised Martha and declares Mary’s work of listening as a better thing to do. (Allowing Mary to sit and learn with the men broke the gender barrier for all time.)
I can relate to Martha. Many a holiday I worked in the kitchen, missing out on some great conversations, missing out on family time because the meal had to be made. Christmas turkeys don’t cook themselves! It was stressful. It was tiring. It was lonely. But “rules of hospitality” had to be upheld…tradition! Yuck.
We, as a family, have evolved since then. Now, frozen lasagna is perfectly fine. Someone brings salad. Someone else, dessert. Time together is the most valuable commodity we have.
So maybe that’s what is up with Martha. The role of a host was to see her guests well fed, that their wine glasses were filled. Even after Lazarus was raised from the dead, Martha served the meal to Christ and His disciples.
So maybe the mourners were being treated more like company. Maybe they didn’t bring frozen lasagna so both sisters, in their grief, would be free to mourn. Maybe they didn’t offer to do the shopping or run to the post office.
Maybe the mourners didn’t realize that Martha might have needed to be comforted, too. I get the feeling she was pretty…what…dour? Unemotional? Serious?
It’s hard to glean a complete person from a few words. Lord, stir my imagination. What was Martha like?
Did Martha sneak out the back when she heard that Jesus had come? Maybe Martha needed to be alone with Him and she didn’t want anyone else there. Hmmm, that’s a thought. Jewish custom meant she would have been free to ignore anyone greeting her in the street. Her silence would be a recognized sign of mourning.
Or maybe she knew the only one who could ease her pain and sorrow was Jesus. Not her sister. Not the people gathered in the house.
Martha tossed all her hostess responsibilities out the window the moment she left the house. She was doing a Mary, going to sit at the feet of Jesus.