Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pure Devotion (Advent Poem 2014)



Pure Devotion
(In Metered Rhyme and Free Verse)
by Virginia Knowles, Advent 2014

I.
My Messiah's pure devotion
Set his mission into motion
He preached his message clear and sure
And lived his gospel bold and pure
So innocent, he scorned sin's fall
His sacrifice redeemed us all.

Then raised to life beyond the grave
His power pure enough to save
To wash us clean and fill the soul
With Spirit's strength to make us whole
Let us then with forward motion
Live our lives with pure devotion.


II.
He came and lived with pure devotion
A set purpose: to seek and serve 
   and save the lost
To give his own perfect life 
   as a ransom for sinners
His death was planned 
   long before his earthy birth
Though he wandered the countryside
There was no aimlessness about him
He knew who he was
He knew where he came from
He knew where he was going
Something about that infuses a soul 
   with sacred confidence
There was nothing that could 
hold him back from that destiny
Herod tried, sending soldiers 
   to destroy the infant Christ
The devil tried, tempting him 
   with bread and power in the wilderness
The Pharisees tried, asking questions to trap him
Then that failing, crucifying him
Yet nothing could stop that divine destiny
That mission of mercy and justice
His death instead set the captives free
And raised them up like a shining chalice
Filled with new wine, 
   with the Spirit of Living Fire
Do you see what he did for you?
Kindle it in your heart
Let it blaze hot and high
In holy consecration and
Follow him with pure devotion

~*~*~


Why the two versions of this poem? I am usually a free verse poet, but I woke up with the first two rhyme & rhythm lines of the first version and decided to continue it. (For those who like the mechanics of poetry, it is written in pairs of rhyming lines called couplets. The first and last couplets are trochaic tetrameter, and the middle four in iambic tetrameter.) After I wrote it in standard poetry structure, I couldn't help but reinterpret it in more substantial free verse, which is more my natural poetic voice. 

Here is the second reason: It never hurts to read it over a second time, does it? This is not frivolous subject matter. If it speaks more to one person the first way, and another person the second way, and to both all the more because they see it both ways – why not? 

The point is, the most important thing in the world is what God has done for us, and how we respond to that. I hope that comes through with full clarity in “Pure Devotion.”

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

P.S. #1: I write an Advent poem every year. You can read all of them in here: Advent Poems by Virginia Knowles. You can also find most of my other Christmas links here: Christmas

Here are my Christmas links from this year:

Here are some of my other favorites:
P.S. #2: The photo at the top of this post is of crosses at Lake Baldwin Church, the back one draped in red for the Advent season. Here is the same photo with the Advent candles in front.



Christmas Lights and a Family Night


On Monday night, all ten of our children (four of whom no longer live with us), four grandsons, a son-in-law, and a daughter's boyfriend all joined us for a Christmas family night.

Our first stop was a home magnificently decorated for Christmas with thousands of lights and figures on the house and in the yard. They get a huge amount of traffic every year. We've been going for more years than I can count.








Down the street from that house, two more homes have elaborate Christmas village displays set up in their open garages so people can walk up and enjoy the sight.








Next, we all went to my second daughter's home (she is pictured above with her husband and baby son) for hot chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, and lots of popcorn.


And talking and laughing.


The little guy in the middle isn't in
the family picture because he was being shy.
His daddy wasn't there because he was at work.


And baby passing.



Back to mama!


We had a wonderful evening. I'm glad everyone could get together on such short notice, even though it is finals week. What a blessing!

What are you doing to make memories at Christmas?

Virginia Knowles
www.VirginiaKnowles.blogspot.com


Friday, December 12, 2014

Ballerinas and a Baby Boy


My little girl and I went to see a student version of the Nutcracker ballet today at the convention center with our home school group. It was shorter than the full production, with helpful narration and some special effects, so it was just right for a nine year old.

With seven daughters, I can relate to Mother Ginger with all of the little girls emerging from under her huge skirt. Maybe that should be my new nickname?





Maria and the Nutcracker Prince take their bows.


All those pictures above were taken without flash in a darkened theater. With the low light setting on my camera and the Picasa editing, I think they turned out right fine!  It didn't hurt that we were in the fourth row.

Another fun surprise? Meeting up with my old friend Debbie, along with her youngest daughter, while we were waiting in line with our home school groups!  Though we've known each other almost 20 years and are friends on Facebook, we haven't seen each other in "real life" for the longest time. So good to catch up!



After we got home, this little guy showed up! So fun to watch one of my grandsons for the afternoon!



Maybe he's thinking, "Lookie here! I can kick my legs all the way up in the air. You think I can join the ballet?"


"At least I can chew my toes.  A little fuzzy, though. Who put this sock on me?"


"Well, if I can't dance ballet, maybe I can be the piano player instead. Thanks for the lesson, Auntie!"


I crashed for a nap after the little cutie left. Around 6 PM, two of my daughters were trying to wake me up so I could go buy the ingredients for orange chicken, which we had been craving. I wasn't cooperating, so they took my blankets! I guess that's payback for all the times I used that tactic for getting them out of bed. They told me it was for my own good. It worked. Eventually.

I finally stumbled out of bed to go to the grocery store, but instead picked up some Chinese takeout in the same plaza. First time I've ever done that, but there were only four of us eating here tonight and I figured we would try something a little out of the norm. Chinese chicken, rice, and broccoli! Yum!


Now it's time to go to bed. Tomorrow I can shop for groceries and clean the house!

Grace and peace,

Mother Ginger
www.VirginiaKnowles.blogspot.com

Monday, December 8, 2014

Little Touches of Christmas at Home


I wrote a photo post on one of my other blogs about From Autumn to Advent and shared the start of our Christmas decorating.

Here are some new touches of the season at our house that I haven't used before. (You can see previous years' decorations and tips here: Easy Christmas Decorating on a Dime.) Let's take a little tour, starting with the front entryway!

Flag from my mother's house.
I had a different one up before,
but it was a little too long
and kept hitting the garden wall.
So I swapped it out for this one!


Raindrops on poinsettia leaves -
I bought these live plants at Aldi
to put on the garden walls.
I always have pots of seasonal flowers
on the walls at either side of the front walkway.
I also bought an inexpensive
poinsettia mat for just in front of the door.
Poinsettias seem to be a recurring theme this year!


Just inside the door,
on an antique cane chair,
I keep a basket of bottled water.
These are handy for grabbing
on the way out of the house.


The matching chair is the
perfect spot for a a teddy bear.


I laid a poinsettia table runner
on the bench in the front hallway.


I usually hang stockings from
the hall closet doors.


In addition to the bottled water in the front hall,
I keep bottles of tea and water in the dining room.
The Christmas bags are a nice way to store them!


I couldn't resist this Christ-honoring
gift bag at the dollar store.
I'm using it to store my youngest daughter's
Christmas craft supplies that we'll use
for home school this month.
Most of these were half price at Michael's,
or purchased from the Dollar Tree store.


 Victorian Santa framed print -
not sure where I got this!


I bought a miniature
Christmas tree at Michael's.
I haven't found a top ornament for it yet,
but I did adorn it with 18 red bows
(one for each family member,
including sons-in-law and grandsons)
and four children's red and green 

bead necklaces from the dollar store.

New matching hot pads and dish towels,
fresh for each season!


Silk poinsettias from the dollar store 
tucked into a snowman basket 
for my bedside table.
I like to look at something cheerful
when I open my eyes in the morning!


A little something for my desk.


Another little something for my desk,
one reflecting "the reason for the season."


The candy dish next to my desk -
I keep it stocked with sugar free mints,
but it looks like my son 

has raided my supply again.


I've used a garden flag as 
a bathroom curtain for many years, 
but never thought to change it out 
at Christmas time! Poinsettias again!


I had bought these bells to use as
ornaments on my mini-tree,
not realizing they were a garland instead.
Now they're laid out on a lace runner
on my bed's bookcase style headboard.


I must have given this to my mom
many years ago for Christmas...


This handwritten prayer of mine,
written just for her on one of the pages,
is especially poignant now that she
has actually entered Gloryland -
where God's presence is now her
"clear and eternal reality."


I found a trove of Christmas books
on sale for 50 cents each at our
library's used bookstore.
These are just four of them.

I've been reading Jotham's Journey
to my little girl for school.
The Sparkle Box is about being kind
to the poor in Jesus' name at Christmas.
We love this!
Today, we brought hot chocolate
and chili con queso to our homeless friends
in disposable hot cups.
"You are an angel! Why are you doing this?" Jose asked.
"For the love of Jesus," we say.


The book Simply SenseSational Christmas
by Terry Willits is both beautiful and inspiring,
with ideas for appealing to each of the five senses.
Pine scents! Mantle displays!
Bells! Spiced cider! Pillows!
Lots more!


And - for the inner sense -
"Take time this Christmas to find
a cozy corner and be alone with God.
Spend time reading his Word.
Let God order your holidays.
Try to get up early to read the Bible,
write in a journal, and pray.
As you spend time in quiet solitude,
God will clearly lead you through
the holidays with his peace and priorities."
God bless!

Virginia Knowles
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