Best of Facebook 4 : December 22, 2020 (Everything Christmas!)

Here are five of my favorite Christmas posts (and a couple of original photos and art to start things off) from my Facebook newsfeed this month. The posts are written by my Facebook Friends, the words are their own not someone else’s, and they’re published with their permission. I look for well-written vignettes that are positive, meaningful, uplifting, relatable, and sometimes hilarious. To me, these stories deserve to be preserved, published, and not left to fade away on the Facebook feed. So, job well done, ya’ll. May your words live on to encourage and entertain for many days to come. If you haven’t already, you can “Follow” this blogsite at the end of this post, and future “Best of Facebook” posts (and other fine essays and articles) will be emailed to you when they’re posted.

Walking in a Christmas Colorland!

Photo on left: Christmas cookies and photo, both by Jean Wysocki, Westminster, Colo., Dec. 12, 2020. Photo on right: Christmas tree painting and photo, both by Cassandra Phillips-Coleman, Wheat Ridge, Colo., Dec. 20, 2020.

Christmas reflections: No one is promised tomorrow

By Melody Spina
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

While running around getting errands and last-minute shopping done, I wondered how many people really think about what they’re buying, or is it just to “give” someone something? I wondered, is it really the gift that matters or the time spent with that person? I’ve lost many loved ones this year — if I only had the chance to tell them one more time how much they mean to me and that I love them. This year has sucked in many ways, and, yes, I’ll be glad to end it. There is no guarantee what next year holds, but if you love someone , tell them. If you need to make a phone call, do it. If you need to say you’re sorry, don’t wait. We have this moment, use it.

Regrets are awful. If you’re reading this, thank you for your friendship, love, prayer support, and kindness. If I have hurt you I’m so sorry and never intended to. I’m grateful for you. All of you. And if I’m gone sooner than later, I want you to know I hope my life makes a difference positively. No one is promised tomorrow. This year is proof. Merry Christmas!

Christmas card

By Joy Roulier Sawyer ~
Denver, Colorado

Let the pilgrims of pain be elevated,
for they are on solid ground.
Let the heartsick heroes be remembered,
for they know what it is to be lonely.
Let the shooters stop.
Let the children sail red balloons.
May you cradle doves, return to your peace.
May you taste poems, rich & thick as clotted cream.
It is enough that we hold fast, here,
safe in the cave of comfort,
far from stalking fears.
May each pass each the soft woolen blankets,
until the earth is covered with the knowledge of the Lord.
Do you not belong? Do you seek the silken thread,
sewing your satin to another?
If the tree falls, if the bough breaks,
if the shoe doesn’t fit,
if the swallow of the sea is a whale,
you will still know the north star of some nearness,
unnamed, but naming you, still.
There are welcoming arms where you travel,
pilgrim of ours, pilgrim of ours,
pilgrim of the exiled heart.

Chosen misfits

By Shay Sparks
Spring Hill, Tennessee

I woke-up this morning thinking about the Island of Misfit Toys from the classic Christmas film, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Many times I have felt like that redheaded doll on the Island of Misfit Toys and wondered when I would be chosen. Chosen to be popular. Chosen to be blessed. Chosen to be successful in my music career. Chosen to be loved by someone special. It has taken a lot of time (and self-searching and growing) to figure out that I’ve already been chosen. Chosen to be loved and adored and cared for by Christ! In fact, those of us who are part of God’s family will never fit-in in a world that is driven by money, power, superficial beauty, and popularity. It puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it? So all of you who are misfits, too, I say, Welcome. Welcome to the Island of Misfit Toys — an island of those of us who are genuinely beautiful and brilliant and talented and wondrous to Someone. I love that!

Prevailing bells: The story of Longfellow’s famous Christmas hymn

By Neva Edmunds
Lakewood, Colorado

On Sunday, December 6, I did an Advent reading in church on Peace. I recounted the story behind Longfellow’s famous poem-turned-Christmas hymn, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” And the congregation sang the famous hymn after my reading. My Advent reading went something like this.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow fell into a deep depression in 1861 after his wife Frances tragically burned to death in an accident in their home. Henry had tried to smother the flames but to no avail. She died the next day. Henry, burned badly as well, was not able to attend her funeral. Longfellow wrote in his journal, “I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace. ‘A merry Christmas,’ say the children, but that is no more for me.” Just a few months later, in November 1863, Henry suffered another blow. His son Charles was shot and severely wounded during a Civil War battle. Though Henry’s world was filled with grief, he was a devout Christian and regained hope. He drew from his faith and a month later, on Christmas Day, he penned his famous poem.

(Then we sang Longfellow’s sobering and beautiful Christmas hymn as a congregation.)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

I hope you don’t let this pandemic Christmas pass without stopping to pause and give thanks for that hope. Take time to walk with the Savior, who came so that we might be blessed with peace, joy and righteousness in our lives. Even if our world is crumbling around us, we take comfort in knowing that all is well with our souls. He is our hope, our peace, our joy, our love, even in suffering.

Not the “Silent Night” you’ve always sung about

By Michael Andrew Sares ~
Denver, Colorado

So, you’ve probably heard the common application of this part of the Christmas story — that God announces to the lowly shepherds this amazing news so that we might know Christ came for anybody, regardless of social status. I buy that wholeheartedly, but there is so much more to be tasted in these delicious verses of Scripture. The shepherds were “terrified.” Hello. No kidding? You’re at work, minding your own business in the stillness of the midnight shift and someone much more powerful than your boss stops by. At this point, you’re not worried about how you’ve been slacking on the job — you’re worried about how you’ve been slacking your entire life! God’s own top brass has arrived and it looks like it’s time for an accounting; but no, the angel says he has “good news of great joy.” 

At this point, the relief has got to be incredible. You find out in the following verses that God’s long-awaited promise to set everything right is finally kept. This is wonderful news, you’re thinking to yourself. And just about the time you’re getting comfortable with your lone midnight visitor, a whole army of angels appears, probably armed for battle. (Otherwise, why use the military term, “heavenly host”?) Somewhere in the spirit-world there is a war going on, and the angels are sounding the battle cry. We know that soon there will be threats on the baby Jesus’ life, and that Mary and Joseph will have to flee with Him to Egypt. We also know that Satan will be trying to stop Jesus for the rest of His life. 

Yeah, angels are terrifying — almost every time they appear to somebody in the Bible, they tell that person not to be afraid — and it’s because they are God’s special forces in the war against ultimate evil. Christmas was God’s D-Day on Planet Earth. Of course the shepherds were afraid. They were front-line observers as God, through the birth of His only-begotten Son Jesus, began to take back enemy-occupied territory in the battle for human souls. 

Published by Louder For Malchus

Hi! Brad here. Avid learner, nature nerd, sports-stats geek, publisher, writer, editor, and a Christian. I try to pay attention ... for a word that God might be saying to me. I keep my inner sense attuned for something "prophetic" or "numinous" in good writing, film, music, art of any kind, in all created nature, in spirited conversation, in prayer, or simply in my quiet thoughts. "Louder For Malchus" is about paying attention so we might truly hear. I believe that we only really live "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God," wrote the Deuteronomist whom Jesus quoted. Then, once heard, obey, become, and do. He doesn't speak to amuse and entertain.

2 thoughts on “Best of Facebook 4 : December 22, 2020 (Everything Christmas!)

    1. You’re so welcome, Alli. Thank you for reading. Some of the stuff I find on my newsfeed is wonderful, and the publisher in me hates to see good writing go by the wayside. I love giving those words extra shelf life!


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