Tag Archives: Jesus

I Believe In Magic – Or At Least In Possibility

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I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.comEvery year, about this time, I always see several articles talking about all the reasons why parents choose not to embrace “the whole Santa thing.” The reasons usually boil down to one of two things: either these parents are rejecting Santa because they want to focus their family’s attention on the religious importance of the holiday or they feel that embracing the Santa myth is a form of lying to their kids.

I get it. I really do. I think both of those are valid points and, if that’s the way you feel then fine. I’ve got no issue with you. Kudos for raising your kids with strong values. Keep up the awesome job!

I just thought I would take this opportunity to chime in on the other side.

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.com

Yesterday the Wise Men were wandering across the desk, looking for baby Jesus, when they got sidetracked by A Charlie Brown Christmas.

We embrace Santa. We are full-on believers in this house. Bring on the flying reindeer! We also have three Magi wandering about during Advent looking for the baby jesus. Our house is full of magical things all year long. We’ve found green foot prints on St. Patrick’s Day morning and the occasional trail of tooth fairy dust.

Not once have I ever felt like I was lying to my children or taking our focus off God.

Follow me, here…

In Dean Koontz’s book, The Taking, he quotes something known as Clarke’s Third Law which states, “Any technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic.”

Send me back in time with a backpack full of common, every-day items from my home and I will convince those people that I’m the most powerful magician who ever lived. I have a device that can play thousands of songs, each with it’s own unique instrumentation, and the whole thing fits in my pocket. There is medicine in my bathroom cabinet that will instantly open the airways of a person struggling to breathe. I can make fire by pushing a button.

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.com

Magic, I tell you!

And it if those things don’t knock your socks off, consider this: what are you made of? Flesh and bones? Water? Carbon? Ok… but look closer. Cells? Atoms? Protons, neutrons and electrons? OK, but look even closer. You’re mostly just… well… nothing. Look closely enough and there is nothing there other than energy. Scientists are only just beginning to touch on what that means but, when you look at things that closely something amazing happens. All of our rules about “the way things have to be” just fall apart. Things can exist in two places at once or move forward and backward through time. Energy of one thing can decide to become something else. Literally anything becomes possible.

It’s magic!

At the end of The Taking, one of the characters flips the observation around to note that the converse would be true as well. If a people became sufficiently immersed in developing ever greater technology they would completely misunderstand when something truly magical happened.

A baby, born to a virgin, come to reconcile the entire human race to their Loving Creator-God?  THAT is some POWERFUL magic.

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.com

What does all of that have to do with Santa?

When my child asks me, “Mama, is Santa real?” my answer is an unequivocal, “I believe he is.” I’m telling the truth. We have friends that don’t believe and she knows that. She understands that many people pretend the whole Santa thing by putting presents under the tree with his name on them, even though they came from a person who bought them at the store. She’s neither oblivious nor ignorant. She also understands that, a few years ago, we had no money to “do Christmas.” None. Not even enough to fill the stockings. Yet, on Christmas morning we woke up to a whole living room full of new furniture including an entertainment center with a flat screen TV and a Wii. She got a gorgeous high-powered telescope that year and new skies. There were even presents for mom and dad. She had told Santa that her baby brother needed some bottles and bibs and he got a whole box full. I honestly don’t know where some of those things came from. I do know that neither my husband nor I purchased any of them. Were they made by elves at the North Pole? Probably not. But I can’t prove it. I choose to believe in magic. Or, at least in the possibility of it.

And for the record, I think that love and the generosity it fosters in our hearts is absolutely as magical as a chubby guy dropping gifts down a chimney. I’ve had that discussion with my children as well.

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.comAs a Christian, I believe that God created this universe as a big, beautiful, wondrous place. There are planets made out of vapor and animals living in our oceans that are, in every way, just like a rock until you cut it open and see that it’s actually a living creature. We’re constantly spinning and traveling at unfathomable speeds yet, as I sit and type this I feel still and have no fear of being flung off the planet into deep space. If our planet were just the tiniest smidge closer or further from the sun it would be completely uninhabitable. There’s a whole ecosystem in each of our belly buttons. It’s true! Google it.

All that and you’re telling me that it’s TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE that there’s a guy whose life-mission is to deliver presents to children around the world in a flying sleigh. Phfffbbbttt, compared to the Ted talk I saw the other day about what happens inside the human brain when a musician makes physical contact with his instrument a flying sleigh doesn’t even seem impressive.

I embrace Santa and I teach my children to do the same not because I want Christmas to be all about gifts, but because I want their lives to be all about wonder. I want them to grow up 100% convinced that NOTHING is outside the realm of possibility because, if the past generation is any gauge, by the time they are grown, they will be living in a world that would seem utterly magical to those of us existing here in 2014.

Plus… you know… stockings full of candy. I really enjoy candy.

I Believe In Magic - Or At Least In Possibility | LazyHippieMama.com

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The Importance of Preparation – Thoughts About Lent

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There is no mountain under that snow. That's just how much snow the plow pushed to the edge of the parking lot.

There is no mountain under that snow. That’s just how much snow the plow pushed to the edge of the parking lot.

This week millions of people all over the world will begin the observance of Lent.  Of course, first we’ll stuff ourselves with fried dough and powdered sugar, but then the 40 days of preparation begin.

If you don’t already know, Lent is, basically, just a reference to the 40 days leading up to Holy Week.  It is meant to be a time of prayer and fasting and preparing the heart for the most sacred celebration of the Christian year – the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Since my personal focus lately has been so much on gardening and wildlife and caring for the earth I can’t help but constantly tie everything back to that.

I am one of the weird ones. I like winter.  I love the cold and the snow and the short, dark days.  Not because I want to be freezing and stuck in my house all the time, but because nothing in the world feels more safe and snug and wonderful to me than wearing my softest, fuzziest clothes and being in the shelter of my warm little house with golden lamplight glowing while the sparkling snow falls and the wind howls.  I love how excited my children get when we take them sledding or ice skating at the local park. I love that giant fuzzy hoodies cover more chub than shorts and tank tops.  OK – so maybe driving in it is awful and, yes, at 35 degrees below zero, I was complaining about the air hurting my face, too but, overall, I like winter very much.

And I’m over it.

This winter has, literally, been the harshest of my whole life. We have broken all sorts of weather records including the snow record and the record cold temperature.  At one point my husband asked his routine morning question, “Do you know what the weather is supposed to be like today?”  I snapped a little and told him, “at this point you should probably just assume that every day for the rest of eternity we’re going to get another foot of snow and it’s going to be really really cold.”

But even as I type this and the snow falls, yet again, outside my window I know that’s not true.  I know that spring is coming.  I doubt this year will be like last – when I was outdoors with a spade in March, wondering if I could get away with putting my peas in a little early.  But even if it’s still snowing in May (as it’s occasionally been known to do around here), the snow will stop.  The ground will thaw.  The trees will bud and the flowers will bloom and, before we realize what has happened we will be enjoying a sunny day at the lake.

Image via freedigitalphotos.net

Image via freedigitalphotos.net

Knowing that, wise gardeners all over the state are beginning to start their seedlings and take stock of their tools and draw out grids of just where their plants will go when the time is right.  We prepare because, despite all appearances to the contrary, we know that winter will not last forever.  If we don’t prepare then we are frustrated when the ground thaws. The stores are out of what we need or the tools we require are rusty when we reach for them or we buy too few or too many seedlings and end up with wasted money or wasted space.

But even if you make no preparations, spring will come.  The sun will shine over your home once more. The rain will fall and the flowers will grow.  Spring comes for everybody, but not everybody makes the most of spring.

Just as this is the time of year when gardeners begin to prepare themselves for the special time of spring, which brings new life, so Lent is the time when we should prepare our hearts for the special time of the resurrection and new life in Christ.  I think that can mean different things for different people. My experience of faith may not resemble yours in many ways but, if you are a follower of Christ the one experience that we share – the crucial thing that binds us – is that we are restored from our own brokenness through Jesus’ death and through his victory over death.  Jesus overcame death that we may have life; truly abundant, joyful, wonder-filled life!

IMG_2059In the coming 6 weeks we have time to prepare our hearts. We can pray and meditate, study the scriptures, serve the needy, fast or “give up” something that we feel is in the way of our spiritual growth.  If we prepare now, then when the days of observance and celebration come, we will be fully ready to see, with open eyes, the truth of the miracle of life that has been given to us.  If we use this time wisely, that time will be even more wondrous to us.

What about those who don’t prepare?  Well, just like spring comes for everyone, God’s love and His Good gifts are not limited to those who follow a certain set of observances.  Jesus’ death and resurrection was for all people of all places and all times.  Not most people or people like me or people of a certain class or race or culture.  All. Every. Each, without exception.

The question is, will you make the most of it?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

Advent Thoughts: Jesus’ Parents Were Broken

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Nativity Scene. Photo Credit: The Nativity Story (2006)

Nativity Scene. Photo Credit: The Nativity Story (2006)

I haven’t shared much for Advent this year so I thought I’d write out something that I’ve been thinking about and see what you all have to say about it.  I truly love to hear your thoughts and insights! Your views help stretch me and push me to grow and that is a great gift, so I thank you all!  To me, these thoughts seem especially appropriate at the end of a week where Christians are arguing with great vehemence amongst themselves over what’s happening in pop culture.

I’ve been a part of a great Bible study for the past several weeks that has shown me a truth I always knew, on the surface, but had never really allowed to sink in, in any meaningful way: Jesus came from broken people, to help broken people.

I grew up hearing all of the Bible stories:

Adam and Eve defied God and got kicked out of paradise.

Abram and Sarai laughed in the face of God’s promise.

Jacob stole his brother’s birthright.

Judah conspired, out of jealously, to sell his brother into slavery.

Rahab was a prostitute.

Ruth was a pagan.

David was an adulterer and a murderer.

These men and women were deeply flawed.  They made huge mistakes.  They made some terrible choices.  Yet they were still chosen by God to be the human ancestors of The Messiah.

Why did God choose such a bunch of royal screw ups?

The Bible tells us that Jesus was descended from humans and, let’s face it.  We humans are all a bunch of royal screw ups.  Every one of us has done something (many things?) that we shouldn’t have done.  “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.”  None of us are above the occasional “face palm!”

Christians have a weird habit of looking at the men and women in the Bible and saying to ourselves, “I could never be as good and great as them. God could never use me in that way.”  But the reality is those people were deeply flawed – just like us.  They were drunks and drama queens, jealous lovers, liars, cheats and thieves.  They often lacked faith and failed to be obedient to God’s will.  In short, they were just regular humans.

God used them anyway.  And through them He accomplished His amazing, wondrous, miraculous ends.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus was descended from God.  God never fails. Not ever.  He is the very embodiment of Love and Wisdom, Justice, Mercy, and Truth.

So Jesus was the embodiment of the perfection of God but he was also totally empathetic to the brokenness of man because he was one of us.

If you call yourself a Christian and you find yourself standing in judgement of others because of their short-comings, remember that the Messiah you follow came from people just like those you are judging as less than yourself.  Perhaps, instead of pointing out the sins of others (as you see them) your time would be better spent humbling yourself before God and asking how He can use you in all your brokenness to bring His Love to those who are lost and hurting.

If you are a person who has been feeling lost and alone, broken, flawed or unlovable I suggest you read the Bible.  I’ve recently been reading a version called The Story.  It’s not an exact translation.  A friend described it as “The Cliff Notes version of The Bible” and she’s not far off.  It’s a big sweeping overview of the whole text, skipping over many of the details that people so often get tangled up in, to paint an epic picture of the creation, fall and redemption of man.  It’s a surprisingly easy read and I think you’ll find some life-changing insights.

Because, see, God didn’t come to earth as the man, Jesus, in order to save people who had all the answers.  He came to bring the ultimate message of Hope to those who were hopeless.

This Christmas, rejoice! For we have been given good tidings that will bring great joy to all people.  In Bethlehem a Savior has been born!

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

 

 

A New Advent Tradition (Nothing Against The Elf)

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For a year or two now we’ve debated about whether or not we should invite the Elf on a Shelf into our home.  He seems like a fun, mischievous kind of guy so we know he would fit right in.  And this is a house where magical things happen all the time.  For example, last St. Patrick’s Day I woke up to discover that a Leprechaun had used my bathroom.

leprechaun

Somehow, though, the Elf just didn’t seem right for us.

For one thing, everybody else is doing it and we have a deep need to march to a slightly different beat.

For another, we’ve already taught our kids that Mama and Daddy have a direct line to Santa and the behavior reports are all up to date so we don’t really need an elf to help us with our North Pole communications.

Most important, though, is that we really want to incorporate traditions into our Christmas that are focused on the birth of Christ and the message of faith, hope and love.

Handsome Hippie Hubby and I are aware that we are as susceptible as anyone to that feeling of wanting more! More! MORE! at Christmastime.  We LOVE to decorate and fill the house with delicious treats.  We can’t wait for that moment when the kids come tearing down the stairs and see the living room filled with colorful packages and new toys.

While I do see that some valuable lessons can come from the Elf, I can also see how, in our house,  he could become a part of the feeding frenzy that we work very hard to keep re-directing toward acts of love and charity toward our neighbors (and I mean HHH and I are working hard on our own hearts and minds, as well as trying to teach our children).

So it was in this mindset that a few days ago I came across this post from Charming Farming about something mysterious that happens with her nativity wisemen and then…

Yesterday… something mysterious happened at our house too…

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After band class Sweet Hippie Daughter went out to check the mail and was very excited to find a package on our front porch.

We all gathered around and opened it up and found, inside the pretty box, a card.

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Beneath the card, wrapped in some very fancy gold and red tissue paper was a simple little nativity.  SHD unwrapped each piece very carefully and set them on the coffee table.

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“I can’t find baby Jesus.”  She said, and went through the paper several times, looking for him.

“Weird!” we answered.  “Well, the card says, ‘let us look for him together,’ so maybe he’s coming in a separate package or something.”

“Maybe so,” she shrugged and set up the figures under the tree.

We didn’t think too much about it but this morning I woke up to find something most unusual!

It would seem that the shepherd led his flock to a snack during the night!

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And while Mary, Joseph and the angel seem to be waiting, patiently, in their spot under the tree, the 3 kings appear to literally be searching the house for baby Jesus.  They climbed all the way up on top of a photo frame on the wall!

I can’t imagine how they got up there but… you know… they’re wise, so I figure they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeve.

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I can’t say for sure but I have a feeling these guys are going to have some lessons to teach my family as, during the season of Advent they wait (Mary and Joseph) and search (the kings) and hope as they go on about the business of life (the shepherd).

I’ll be sure to share the photos on Facebook of where they travel next and what the children think about all this as they figure out what’s going on.

Do you have any unusual Advent/Christmas traditions in your home?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

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The Chicken Chick

Remembering The Fallen Soldiers And Believing In A Better Future

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My Dad: a brave soldier who inspires me to imagine a world of peace.

My Dad: a brave soldier who inspires me to imagine a world of peace.

Throughout history men and women have stood strong and fought valiantly against tyranny.  I give thanks for these brave souls who were unwavering, even unto death, in their principles!

I am thankful beyond any words I know to live in a time and place where I can explore and share my ideas about religion, politics, business, and anything else that comes to mind.

I am thankful to live in a land that is blessed with wild prosperity and health.  Yes, even in these times we are wildly prosperous compared to the vast majority of people who have ever lived on earth.

I pray for special blessings on those men and women who have fought for our freedoms.  I pray for every parent who has lost a child to war, for every spouse who has lost their partner, for every sibling who has lost their closest childhood playmate, for every child who has lost a parent.  May God draw them close to Him and shower them with special mercies in their grief.

I pray for the men and women who have gone to do battle as their patriotic duty and come home bearing scars on their bodies and on their hearts.  Some of those heal, but many do not.  May they be surrounded by light and love the rest of their days.

Most of all, though, I pray for an end to war.

Since the dawn of man we have shed our brothers’ blood.  We have killed one another over land, over resources, over power, over religion, over nothing at all outside of sheer hatred.  Our earth is soaked in the blood of war.

When Jesus answered the question, "who is my neighbor?" he used an example of the Samaritan, even though there was no nation more despised by his audience than Samaria.

When Jesus answered the question, “who is my neighbor?” he used an example of the Samaritan, even though there was no nation more despised by his audience than Samaria.

I pray that my children may see the day the killing ends.

I pray that we learn to defeat violence with love.

I pray that we learn to overcome hatred with respect.

I pray that we learn to give thanks for what we have and share our abundance so that our neighbor has no need to steal from us.

I pray for the day when memorial day is a remembrance only of ancient history because the children of God no longer kill one another but, instead, love as Jesus loved.

May that day come quickly and may we embrace and celebrate the gift of peace.

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All Hope Is Dead…. But That’s Just The Beginning

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From the other blog:

…..Now Jesus was dead and they were locked in this room and they were utterly helpless.  All hope was gone.  They couldn’t even take care of his body properly.  Saturday was the Sabbath day and all work was forbidden.  They had no choice but to let the corpse lie in the tomb and rot until Sunday morning.   They didn’t have a single thing to do for an entire day and night but to sit in that room with their thoughts of death and betrayal and failure and loss and hopelessness….

read the rest: All Hope Is Dead…. But That’s Just The Beginning.

What Twilight, Breaking Dawn Part 2 Taught Me About Witnessing

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I grew up in a conservative evangelical church.  We were told all the time that it was our duty to “witness.”  People “went witnessing.”  If I said I knew a non-Christian I was asked, “Did you witness to her?”At some point, as I got older I started to question all this “witnessing.”  What exactly does that mean? What if they don’t want to hear about my beliefs? Who am I to tell them what they should believe?  Witnessing seemed an awful lot like Bible thumping and, as I’ve written about before, I’m not a big fan of the thumpers.  Somewhere along the line I just sort-of struck that word from my vocabulary.  I didn’t want anyone telling me why I should leave my faith for theirs. It seemed I should… you know… do unto others…

read the rest here:  What Twilight, Breaking Dawn Part 2 Taught Me About Witnessing.

God Has No Use For Your Chocolate

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Originally published on 2/13/2013 at http://www.thecurioustheologian.wordpress.com)

Someone I know recently made me laugh when he said, in an extremely sarcastic tone, “Oh! I’m going to stop eating chocolate for a month and that will help me identify with the sufferings of the crucified Christ!”

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It can be funny, when you phrase it like that, but there is a much deeper truth….  (CLICK HERE to read the rest)

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Theological Thursday – Is God Mad At Us? (Part Two)

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MP900433113Read Part One, here.

Ezekiel, Chapter 7, is one of those passages where God is anything other than warm and fuzzy.  We are given a fairly gruesome picture of the wrath that is about to be poured out by a very angry God.

I don’t know why this passage, more than any other, struck a chord with me.  There are countless examples of similar warnings in the Old Testament.  One websites lists some 30+ examples of the wrath of God, often with tens of thousands of people being killed by God.

And yet when someone like Pat Robertson links a natural disaster, such as the earthquake in Haiti, to a human action, such as a “pact with the devil” we all raise up together against him.

“A loving God would never do such a thing!” We shout….

Click here, to read the rest.

 

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?  

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.  

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

Theological Thursday – Is God Mad at Us?

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angrygod1We all pick and choose which parts of the Bible we focus on.

The Bible is a collection of such immensely profound books that it can be overwhelming.  Add to that thousands of years of ancient tradition and interpretation and it can be hard to know where to start.

By my way of thinking (and, if you disagree, please feel free to comment so we can learn from one another!)  it makes sense to start with the gospels, that is, the books of “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John” since those are the four books that relate the actual life, words and teachings of Jesus.  If I am going to call myself a follower of Jesus, that seems like the best place to start…..

Read the rest at The Curious Theologian

 

Whoops! I almost forgot it was Thursday!  Thanks for your patience while I work out how best to manage two blogs.  I hope you enjoy them both!

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?  Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.  If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!