Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Table #5: The Sand and the Sea

The beach is my favorite place in the world to be.  It is at the beach that my mind is clear and I am able to hear God speak. Far from the distractions of the world, my soul is quiet and I am at peace.

The idea of the giveaway came from the next table.  Table number 5 was displayed by several women who have known suffering.  Three of the ladies suffer quietly with Rheumatoid Arthritis and another finished treatments this year for breast cancer. All suffer without complaint and continue to serve the Lord.

It is comforting to know that in the midst of the storm, Jesus offers peace.  When faced with uncertainly, he whispers, "It is I; do not be afraid." (John 6:20)  In another Gospel, the disciples were amazed that even the winds and the seas obeyed Him.

Table #5:  The Sand and the Sea

When I am asked to speak to women, I always remind them that they are beautifully and wonderfully made.  My favorite chapter in the Bible is Psalm 139.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (v. 14)

"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you." (v. 17-18)

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting."  (v. 23-24)

On the first table post, I mentioned a guy named Bob Benson.  His writings are somewhat like parables using this and that, things we can relate to to tell a story.  Please allow me again to share some of His words.

At our home, we have a lovely Nativity set of wood carvings of the Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the angels, and the shepherds.  It also includes some sheep, lambs, horses, cows, calves, ponies and even a sleeping rooster.

Peg is really the decorator in our house, and she has a knack for displaying things at their best and making places look special.  But she agreed to let me set up the manger scene the first season.  

I have accumulated a box or two of materials that I use along with the carvings. There are some pieces of driftwood I picked up on our various vacations on the coast.  I take them out of the box each year like old friends.  I know each one of them for its special size and shape and smoothness.  I wish that I could ask them questions and hear them answer back. "Where did you begin your journey?  What kind of tree were you?  What brought you crashing down? How did you get washed up on that lonely stretch of beach? Did you once hold up a little girl's swing or a boy's tree house?  Were you part of a house or a boat or a packing box?"  For I believe that everything has a story; it has been somewhere, and it is going somewhere.

In early December, I get out all these manger things.  With the stones, I make a rocky hillside, and with the wood, I build a barn and a stall.  I carefully place the manger, the Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and all the rest of the figures (right down to the sleeping rooster on the roof).  Then I light a candle, sit down before the scene again, and try to imagine how this holy story could ever have happened at all.  

Admittedly, I have gathered up this materials for this scene from lots of places.  But always I am impressed to remember that everything needed to make this sacred tableau can be found in anybody's neighborhood.  Sticks and stones, straw and foliage, dogs and cats, neighbors and a virgin girl.  All of them can be touched with the meaning that only Christ can bring, meaning that obliterates the lines that separate the divine and the commonplace, meaning that changes a stall into a holy place and a manger into an altar. 

I consider this story and I ask you the same questions, "Where did your journey begin? Is it painful even to think about? Was there something that happened to cause you to come crashing down or have you been down so long that you can't even remember where it all began?  Do you feel washed up like shells on a sea shore? Has the stretch been lonely? Have you held dreams in your hand, as the song-writer wrote, and watched them drift like sifted sand?"

The same God who is constant in the ebb and flow of the tide, consistently loves you and draws you Himself. May you be aware of His presence this Christmas season.

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  1. Ah yes...the beach...another beautiful post.

  2. That is a good story and a great remembrance. I wish you had a photo of that nativity scene for all of us to see. I love the beach table, I too feel so at home at the beach, so peaceful! Blessings to you!

  3. I love the beach also...for many of the same reasons that you mentioned. The tablescape for Number 5 are beautiful and so unique! I have our bathroom decorated with framed pictures from the autumn we spent on the coast of Maine and have used the tan and blue colors also. As a matter of fact, when our granddaughter who is from Maine was here Thanksgiving week she came out of the bathroom and said, "I feel like I have just been at the beach." :)

  4. This is a wonderful post, Bonnie. I love the theme of sand and sea. I think a lot of us have suffered much over the years...much of it way too personal to share outside of a few close friends and family.

    Hope you have a wonderful day- xo Diana

  5. Ah...sigh....beautiful pictures and thoughts on such a cold icky day here in the north! Thanks for the smiles. Blessings

  6. Those dishes are stunning! Boy do they ever catch your eye, Bonnie.
    I would love to decorate with those.
    Awww... The beach, sounds wonderful indeed. There is peace and tranquility found there. It is the peace of God for sure.

    Have a blessed day!

  7. I can almost hear the ocean:) Thanks for this warm and wonderful trip to the beach! Have a blessed day, HUGS!

  8. The beach is the place for me!! Love this :) thanks for the encouraging lesson you included. You always make me smile when I read your posts. Bless you this Wednesday, Bonnie!

  9. It really is an awesome thought, isn't it, that God would become flesh in order to conquer sin once and for all, and set up His kingdom. We don't ponder it often enough, what it must have meant to leave the glories of Heaven, to humble himself as a servant.

  10. Beautiful words and thoughts. But then you have a special way with words.

    Lovely beach Christmas thoughts. I too love the ocean and beach, and was able to live 6 years in Santa Barbara on he ocean when we pastored a little Missionary Church in the 70's.

  11. I love the beach and this post is just so beautiful in words and images. Thank you for it.

  12. Your words and thoughts are so beautiful and so wonderfully expressed. I find your posts touch me so often. x

  13. I loved your post and reflections--thanks so much for sharing it! Blessings, Cecilia


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