It’s Palm Sunday

I love the hymns of the church, and I don’t apologize for saying it.  Call me old-fashioned, but I miss hearing some of the more traditional music in the church.  The truth is, if we’re praising King Jesus with our whole hearts, the style of music is really pretty petty, Amen?  It’s bad enough the U.S. government is acting immature – the church needs to rise above and grow up.  There’s room for the new styles alongside the old.  Just praise King Jesus!  It isn’t about you – it’s about HIM.

With all my heart, I will praise the LORD.  Let all who are helpless, listen and be glad.  Psalm 34:2

All who are helpless…  the more we learn about our Lord, the more we realize that we are helpless.  Listen means stop talking.  Hear His Word and let it pierce your heart and mind.  Ponder what His Word is saying to you.  Pondering does not require conversation.  Ponder means to think – just leave it in your brain and let it wander around a bit.  Ponder.  Some people would call it over thinking.  I say nope – I’m pondering.  If pondering was good enough for Mary (the mother of Christ), it’s sure good enough for me.

To be glad means we should accept the joy that God wants to give us.  Remember, joy is not dependent on circumstances like happiness is.  I can be happy that the snow has melted, but if there is snow on the ground, I can have the joy of the Lord and rejoice in Him all day long.

One of the best parts of being a Sunday School teacher is helping kids get ready for a play.  There’s nothing more cute in the world than watching little ones in a Christmas or Palm Sunday / Easter play!  So sweet!

If you’re a new follower to this blog…  last Palm Sunday, Lucinda Berry Hill and I wrote a story about Daisy’s colt.  Check it out: https://hearthungerblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/daisys-colt/

In my experience, I have learned one thing…  when you line the kids up, you only give palm branches to the kids in the FIRST row – for obvious reasons.  Yes, you guessed it…  the kids in the second row will start bopping the kids in the first row with the branches.  Take that one to the bank.  It’s gonna happen!  LOL!  Why, yes, I did learn that the hard way – and it’s so much easier to give them the palm branches than to ask to have them back.  Tears and screaming…  sigh.  No – not them… – ME!

Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song: Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth. Sing unto Jehovah, bless his name; Show forth his salvation from day-to-day. Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples. For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols; But Jehovah made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him: Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength. Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come into his courts.  Oh worship Jehovah in holy array: Tremble before him, all the earth.  – Psalm 96:1-9

Grab a palm branch and try to resist the temptation to bop your neighbor with it.  It’s not a Christmas gift wrap tube, ya know.  That’s what I used to tell the kids – lol.  One time, I even brought some leftover Christmas gift wrap tubes in to the church so the kids could just get it out of their systems before I gave them the branches – that’s actually a better solution – and I even had fun!  We had a bee-bopping good time in the fellowship center.

I have a special surprise for you!  My friend, Geri Ehrlich, wrote the sweetest children’s story and I want to share it with you today.

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The Broken Wing – by Geri Ehrlich, March 2018

One day, a small boy found a baby bird caught between the branches of a tree.  He quickly freed the trapped creature, but could see that her wing had been broken.

Over the next few weeks, the boy tended the bird and soon her wing was healed and she broke out in joyful flight, fluttering her wings as she encircled her new friend, bringing great delight to the boy.

For many days, the boy and the bird laughed and played under the tree that had trapped her a short time ago.

One day, the boy grew tired and fell asleep.  The bird also grew tired – of watching him sleep, and flew off to new adventures.

Soon, far away from the one who rescued her, she became trapped again.  But, this time, it was a net – not a branch that hindered her freedom.  Suddenly, a big, rough hand tightened around her delicate body.  She was torn from the net, placed in an iron cage, and taken even farther away from her boy.

When the boy awoke, he frantically searched for his friend, but she was nowhere to be found.

After many years, the boy grew to become a man.  As he grew, his heart grew sick for want of the little bird.

Then, one day, a pigeon happened by and took pity on the man.  She listened as the man told her of his long-lost friend.

So, the pigeon, determined to find the bird, took flight in search of her.

At last, the pigeon found the bird – locked in a cage, high in a tower.  When the little bird learned of her sick friend, she pushed, shoved, and pried at the bars.  They would not move.  The pigeon tried to free the bird by pecking at the lock.  And even though the lock had begun to rust due to the bird’s many tears, the lock would not budge.

Sadly, they both knew that the little bird could not be freed.  So, the pigeon flew back to the sick-hearted man and told him what she had seen.

Meanwhile, the little bird was left to cry alone in her cage.

The man was sad to hear that his little friend was locked away.  He longed to go to her, but his weak body kept him from even getting out of bed.

For many days and nights, the pigeon carried messages between them.  Each time, the lock was tried.  And each time, it would not budge, leaving the little bird to cry alone.

But, after a while, and with much crying, the lock rusted through.  The little bird struggled to twist off the latch and she was free!

Now, she flew as fast as she could back to her boy.  Overjoyed when she reached him, she fluttered all around him, brushing his heart with the wing he had tended so long ago.

And… then something magical happened.  The man’s sick heart began to heal.  Soon, his strength returned and he was able to stand and walk again.

This made the little bird so happy that she broke into beautiful song; fluttered about even more, fanned out her tail feathers for all to see.  Just watching her made the man’s heart burst with gladness and he, too, began to sing and dance around.

Many years have come and gone.  But, if you listen… you can still hear the melody of the man and the little bird floating amongst the tree tops.  And, if you look closely, you can still see them dancing and fluttering among the swirling leaves.

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Isn’t that sweet???  I really like it.  I hope Geri will put illustrations with it soon!  🙂

 

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

TL MERRY CHRISTMAS

BUSY BEING JOLLY
Lighted trees. Decorations. Carols. Presents. Parties. All there to enjoy. Yet, there are many suffering souls wearing happy faces for whom Christmas is filled with loneliness and loss. Maybe that manger is a reminder of the little one they no longer hold. There’s a tree they have to decorate themselves now because a spouse is no longer around. Old memories tear at their hearts – but they smile. Remember them. Bring them in. Most of all, Listen. Let them know the smile can fade to tears and you will still be there – listening. There is no time limit on grief. – © Geri Ehrlich

I love Geri Ehrlich! She has managed to beautifully articulate what my heart has felt for decades!

Yes, I can imagine Christmas without little ones quite well.  It’s a different kind of atmosphere, more quiet and solemn than most are used to.  There are no traditions that are set in stone and I guess that can be a good thing.  It’s a struggle to begin traditions when there are no children.  When there are no children to raise, there is no real purpose in starting traditions because let’s face it, we do what we do for the little ones.  It gives them roots before they need wings.

Couples who do not have children get to know one another very well.  There’s not any other focus besides your mate.  It’s not bad – just different.  I don’t ask why things happened the way they did.  I ask God to show me what He wants me to do next.  That’s always how I’ve dealt with loss.

So, when you are busy getting your jolly on this Christmas season, remember that some people find it a bit of a challenge to dive into Christmas events. For as Geri so aptly put it, “Maybe that manger is a reminder of the little one they no longer hold.” Some of us never got to hold them at all. I know without a doubt WHO DOES hold them though. One day I’ll see my little ones in heaven.  🙂