A Christmas Child is Born By Lori A Alicea

With the Christmas celebration almost here, most have found themselves weary from the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping, baking, serving and gift giving; myself included.  

With the traditions of the season keeping us overwhelmed in the details, I find myself guilty of glossing over the true reason while we celebrate Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Savior.

With children and grandchildren seated beside the tree come Christmas morning, it’s every parents dream to bless them with gifts from the heart. While putting smiles and magic into a child’s holiday is wonderful, this year I long to pause and ask myself the question: “Have I set aside a meaningful gift for Jesus?”After all, he truly is the reason for the season.

Come December 25, Jesus will receive this song from my heart, honoring what he wrapped and gave to us all at Christmas; Himself.

It’s not too late to find that perfect gift for Christ on Christmas morning.

A Christmas Child is Born By Lori A Alicea

Two thousand years ago began,  the story of one night. Appears to shepherds keeping watch, an angel caused them fright.

The angel said, be not afraid. I bring you news of joy. The Savior has been born to you, the barn he sleeps this boy.  

In Bethlehem, a sign awaits, where swaddling clothes are worn.  When find a manger bed, rejoice, the Christmas child was born. Jesus Resting on a Manger

The shepherds left their flocks at night, in Bethlehem they went. They hurried off, amazed to see, the child that Heaven sent. A7B196C1-0F72-4506-AEB0-C777AAA46E56

That night a Christmas star appeared, from East three Wiseman see.   The star would lead them to their King,  the place this child would be. wisemen following star

Bowed down three Wiseman worshipped him, this child’s face behold. Presenting myrrh and frankincense, to him their gifts of gold. 3AD1E282-5D1E-4250-ADB2-10DE43309096

A barn received Immanuel, no royal robes were worn. Expecting grand, so many missed, a Christmas child was born. 6B4B4ADB-6C1C-4278-897E-4C5E944F393D

Dear Lord, the shepherds left it all, to see if it was true. The stories told them long ago, to get a glimpse of you.

Might I be willing, leave behind, the minute when you call. Might I be stirred for one small glimpse, of you to leave it all.

The Wiseman traveled far because, their heart was for their King.  Prepared to share their love for him, arms full of gifts they bring.  

Might I come bearing gifts myself, for you this Christmas day. Surrendered heart I give to you, my life, please have your way.

This Christmas child no room for him, no vacancy the inn. Two thousand years ago one night, his story does begin.

Remind me when I leave no room, or vacancies within. No guest room but the Master Suite, reserved for you my Inn.

And though from heaven you were sent, to live with us on earth. The baby born a manger lay, a barn received your birth.

Might I allow you to grow up, from manger where you lay. Who died for me then live again, on Resurrection Day.

Dear Lord you are my gift today, a treasure wrapped in Thee.  Immanuel, our God with us, my present ‘neath the tree.

OH COME…By Lori A Alicea

With two weeks remaining until Christmas Day, I find myself in the throes of the season’s busyness, checking off lists and making new lists with moments to spare when Christmas morning arrives.

The grandchildren have wish lists of their own.thanksgiving writing santa

Our house is decorated with twinkling lights in every corner to capture a grandchild’s fantasy.IMG_E9218

Homemade sugar cookies are ready for them in the freezer to bake; my mother ‘n laws recipe which doesn’t disappoint their visit.

I can’t seem to find the time to write those Christmas poems I love to send each year instead of cards. But I am giving you access to one of my Christmas stories for your delight.

Countdown To A Christmas Miracle By Lori A. Alicea

My husband wants to bless our neighbors with a loaf of fresh baked bread and a jar of newly canned strawberry jelly, which has found its place on the list.

Christmas crafts await their turn, with a loud alarm sounding to get busy.

Mounds of gifts have yet to be wrapped, although for the small price of a home cooked dinner, my sister and daughter have scheduled a day to take this undesired task from my hands.IMG_9988

Yes, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

The little girl in me refuses to grow up during this magical season.

I drive on purpose through the town’s crowded streets, slowly taking in the festival of lights on every corner.

Every now and then though when the chaos of the holiday rests for a moment of silence, I hear the Lord in the background beckoning me with the words of an old familiar hymn,

Oh Come….

Having my undivided attention, God whispers again to this child at Christmas,

Oh Come…

To a place two thousand years ago, where shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night, are visited by an angel, with good news to tell them.

8There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)

The shepherds said to one another,

Oh Come….

To see what the Lord has told them about.

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

To honor the Christ child, born lying in a manger.

Oh Come…let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Luke 2:15-16
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I’m guilty every year of being too busy at Christmas.

Yet, God wants to tear up our lists and start a new one with just two small words,

Oh Come…

To witness a child born in a lowly stable, as there wasn’t any room for them at the Inn.

A child born with nothing, but would grow up to give us everything in eternal life, when He gave up his life in exchange for ours on the cross.

Forgive me Lord for my overcrowded lists during the month of December.

Forgive me Lord for my inability to hear those two small words which are drowned out during the hustle and bustle of the holiday,

Oh Come…

To stop and adore you, the true reason for the season.

Lord, you are worthy of our praise.

You deserve the hymn of our heart…

Oh Come…Let us adore him, Christ the Lord.IMG_9991

GOD WITH US  By Lori A Alicea

Two thousand years ago a prophecy fulfills in a humble stable at Christmas:

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,
And they will call him Immanuel.
(“God with us”)
Matthew 1:23 NIV

An angel proclaimed this birth announcement of good news and great joy to shepherds tending their flocks nearby:

“Today in the town of David
A Savior has been born to you;
He is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in
Cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:11-12 NIV

Just as the angel said, these shepherds found the Christ child sleeping on a bed of straw with his parents Mary and Joseph in wonder and awe beside.

The shepherd and all who heard of this miraculous birth were in amazement.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19 NIV

Mary gave birth to her son named Immanuel, “God with us.”

I’m wondering in the still and quiet moments of December do we find these gifts that Mary treasured. Do we ponder the joy from the simple song of a mother’s heart,
“God with us.”

A baby who was born
To die for us;
To save us;
To live in our hearts and yes;
Be with us.

In the busy throws of shopping, celebrating and preoccupation with the holidays, is the “great joy of our Savior’s birth” being treasured and pondered? Are we in amazement as the shepherds were and spreading this good news?

This Christ child born at Christmas is the same to us yesterday, today and forever, He is always with us. (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)

Looking back at the most unpredictable year of 2020, a year that caught the world off guard and stripped so much, I’m questioning in the nakedness of the year leading to December, were we reminded of the treasures hidden in our hearts? Were we comforted in the pondering, “God is with us.”

Queuing up the video of my own life these past twelve months, inquiries into the emptiness and loss question did I open and hold onto the gift of “God is with us?”

Did I embrace these gifts that God was enough when church doors closed and saints they gathered online?

church 2

church at homeDid I allow you God to be enough during those painful weeks of lock down which didn’t allow us lonely grandparents to embrace our grandchildren?

screen Alicea

screen CumbeeDid we sense you “with us” and did we bloom when the reality of our next “address” caught our expectations off guard?
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new house USE ANGEL

Did we sense you enough when children’s smiles were hidden beneath these coverings?
mask school - Ayva first day of kindergartenmaskLord, I had a difficult time watching our beloved mother celebrate her 80th birthday from her bedroom window. Did I sense you “with us then?”
party window - momparty guests - moms familyLord, our family had more of a difficult time saying good-by from the cold window panes peering into our mother and grandmother’s room, unable to express our love when heaven’s angels came for her.

goodby a goodby david and lori looking a mom in window

goodby cova saying goodbygoodby grandkids saying goodby from windowOur final good-by remains a chapter unable to articulate, but yes God,
you were with us.
Yet, still a painful “letting go” for three generations beyond our mother’s life.

funeral a goodby ayva looking at grandma (2)funeral a goodby neese jake david looking at casketI sensed you enough God, though still wanting my mother to fill her empty chair this first Thanksgiving without her.

empty chair TABLE Mom Picture Sweater

I admit I’m asking for a cup of contentment during a smaller Christmas gathering this year; the first time in my life that extra tables won’t be set up to accommodate our family guests.
“God be with us.”

Christmas TABLE Holiday XMAS 2018 alicea xmas kids 14

I’m asking for an ocean full of contentment God to mask the loneliness without our Hawaiian grand-babies these last ten months.

Hawaii aloha 1

Lord, do we need a special pair of glasses to see that you are enough?
Do we need to bring into clarity your presence in spite of what our natural eyes can or cannot see?

Glasses Ayva glasses 1

Forgive us God when we didn’t see you “enough” or “with us” in 2020.

Regardless of empty arms, empty hearts or empty anything, God you will always be enough.

All that’s needed in the still and quiet moments of December is for us to find those gifts that Mary treasured. To ponder and celebrate the simple song of a mother’s heart, “God with us.”

A baby who was born
To die for us;
To save us;
To live in our hearts and yes;
Be with us.
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Merry Christmas and Peace Be to Everyone!