The One True Gift

The Most Recognizable Christmas Decoration is of course the Nativity Scene itself. When I was a kid it was just as common as the Snowman and Santa Claus are today. Every village square and every church yard displayed a large manger scene with livestock, wise men, shepherds and angels. Almost every home had a rustic miniature nativity that seemed to be either on the coffee table or the large stereo cabinet in the living room.

The secular world certainly has lots of questions about where Jesus was born, how he was born and they’re quick to point out that December 25th was not his real birthday. Yeah, we knew that already. And it doesn’t matter. My faith is not in the date. My faith is not in how many wise men actually showed up. It doesn’t matter if he was born in a manger or under a tree and then brought into the manger later. My faith is in the identity of the child who was given out of the love of my creator for all of mankind. My salvation is in the fact that Jesus was both God and Man and that his innocent blood would be shed thirty three years later to bring reconciliation between us and father God. It’s just that simple. And, if I can just hold on to the truth of why we celebrate and who we celebrate then it truly is Christmas every day.

Normally I end my blog post by pitching my business and instructions on how to contact me or follow my page but tonight I wanted to take a break and just give you something from the heart. Tonight’s image is untitled and not for sale. It’s simply a confession of my faith. That though Jesus Christ I was reconciled unto God almighty. There’s a Christmas gift for ya. From reconciliation to redemption and the things God has in store for the believer beyond this broken world.

Merry Christmas friends and may God bless us every one.

Tomorrow night there will be no post. I’m taking Christmas Day off to spend time with family. My next post will be on December 26th.

Red Skies At Night

The rains have fallen steadily all day today. The grey skies are offset only by the occasional hint of yellow and orange in the turning leaves. The drive across Sewell Mountain took a little longer than I had hoped. Unloading a truck in the rain is just an accepted part of the arts and crafts shows in Appalachia. Once the truck is unloaded the rest of the day is spent assembling the displays and trading warm greetings with the other vendors. As I place the last piece in its place I can tell that something special is taking place in the sky by the light spilling into the building. The grey is ending and the rain is nearly over. It’s time to climb back up into the big blue truck and head home to rest. I stepped out of the door and looked up. I was rewarded by the beauty of the last rays of the sun pushing back the clouds. A sense of peace washed over me. The grey has ended with a mix of the deep reds and purples. Red skies at night are the joy of artists and sailors alike.

Hello Friends! If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. Please also consider following Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook.

If you’re local to Lewisburg West Virginia or passing through and love art of handmade gifts please stop by the West Virginia State Fairgrounds and say hello! 😊

My Last Christmas Wish of 2017

I have one last Christmas image to share this year.  This is a photo of the holly tree in my parent’s yard.  I used an out of the box filter to make it look like a painting.  Evergreen trees are a symbol of immortality.  Over the years I have come to learn that the secret of the evergreen trees is constant renewal.  As we exit the Christmas holiday and head into the New Year my last Christmas wish is that we are renewed in body,  mind and spirit.  

The Angel Story

Luke 2:10

 

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” 
King James Version (KJV)  

By this time tomorrow most of the United States will be covered by a blanket of wrapping paper.   I can picture in my mind that the responsible member of house is standing by with a snow shovel ready to plow through a brightly colored avalanch of Christmas joy. Great care must be taken during this task lest small chilchildren be lost within an embankment paper and empty boxes.  It’s easy to be swept up in the trappings of the celebration when you are only two feet tall.  As an adult,  it’s easy to to get lost in the excitement and preperation of the season. We have a tendency to focus on the doings  and overlook the beings.  I imagine that when the angel visited the shepherds that they may not have noticed at first.  Tending livestock requires multitasking.  Hedges must be maintained, animals are constantly wandering off, adequate food and water needs to be available and sibling rivalry has to quelled. Its very much like managing a family gathering. The Herald Angel would have needed to use that trumpet to get everyone’s attention.  “HEY, OVER HERE! EVERYONE FOLLOW ME! WE’RE HEADING INTO TOWN TO SEE THE BABY JESUS!” 

When they arrive there is more chaos.  The sheep are still wondering off, the wisemen’s camel train has taken over the parking  and now the cattle are lowing. Mary would have been a nervous wreck without the grace of God.  Everybody is there to see the precious gift laying in a manger.   The noise and clamor of the inn fade away into the night as the baby opens his eyes and the true gift is realized.  

It’s easy to get lost in the excitement.  There are plenty of distractions. Everything from twenty-four hour T.V. specials to making dinner and enjoying the surprises under the tree. Take a little time to stop and let all these things fade into the background and appreciate the true gift of Christ.  

Christmas is forever 

Everyone is a child at Christmas.  Every year we all revert back to the days of excitement and wonder. Our journey in childhood is aided by colors and lights and smells of the Christmas season.  I remember when one of the special parts of Christmas was the yearly tradition of handmade decorations.  The process of transformation from everyday home into a winner wonderland had a personal touch.  The tree topper was made from a recycled cereal box that was either painted or simply covered with tinfoil (and later aluminum foil). The ornaments on the tree was sometimes hand carved from thin scraps of wood. Construction paper chains served as garland. One of my childhood friends would go out in the woods and collect acorns in the Fall and paint them for use as ornaments. Whatever the process and materials used it was the bonding of friends and family that made the memory.  Today we have projectors and lasers and inflatable Santas that are produced on an assembly line (probably by robots soon) and then sold in the stores.  Our modern plug and play Christmas provides us with a great deal of splendor but how much spirit?  Time is of great value in our busy lives.  The “Christmas Rush” is on and in a lot of lives the pressures of earning a living shows no mercy.  Time is the most valuable resource we have.  It’s a resource that we can possess but not own.  However,  I have learned that it is in fact entirely possible to freeze time.  Not through some contrivance of technology or secret of the ancient Magi but through the simple act of bonding with friends and family.  This year I encourage you to incorporate some homemade Christmas in with the technological splendor.  The time you spend with your loved ones is the greatest gift you can give.