Advent in Narnia: The Bread of Life

Friday, December 4th, 2020

John 6:32-35

“Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Today’s chapter continues to discuss Edmund and his fixation with “Turkish Delight” or as C. S. Lewis calls it in his book, “bad magic food.” Edmund no longer has an appetite for regular and nutritious food. He has become addicted to the “bad magic food” both physically and spiritually. He is under the power of the White Witch and he doesn’t seem to realize it until it’s too late.

Have you ever experienced any similar situations in your life? Many things can become addictive and unhealthy. Spending too much time on social media; time online gaming; gambling; watching TV; medication, alcohol, caffeine, food, sports…any of these can be dangerous if not properly monitored. None of these are necessarily bad, they just need to be in moderation. Time management can help accomplish this moderation, making a list of things you want to complete in a specific time frame can help; relying on a trusted friend to talk with when you’re struggling. *I used to be obsessed with watching TV, I would record all my favorite shows and on my weekends I would watch them. I basically barricaded myself in my home and literally camped out in front of my TV for hours. One day I decided, I can’t live and continue this weekly cycle. I gave my TV away and over time I didn’t really miss it. I went nearly 7 years without a TV before I purchased one this past summer. I appreciate the gift of entertainment especially now with COVID restrictions, but discipline played a huge part of the decision to stop watching and to begin watching again. I also had the support of friends with great advice. What I did could easily be applied to other things that cause distractions and obsessions:

• make a plan

• follow the plan

• make adjustments when needed

• seek guidance from God

• ask a friend to be your support

Jesus tells us, He is the Bread of Life!”

The meaning of this is that Jesus feeds us spiritually through our relationship with Him! Indeed, we all are hungry in real ways and in all situations and circumstances, God is providing what we need. We need only to recognize and receive it. He may not be sending mana from Heaven to us, like in the days of Moses but He is most certainly using the kindness of strangers and friends to provide life sustaining nutrition in our hours of need.

Ways to keep yourself healthy in Jesus:

• Read your Bible 

• Attend a worship service

• Join a Bible Study

• Join a Book Club

• Join a group that participated in activities you enjoy; chess, board games…

• Spread the love of Jesus with someone new every day!

• Pray in the morning.

• Pray before bed.

• Pray in the in-between time.

Questions for Reflection:

1. What are some “bad magic foods” in your life?

—I try to look for moderation in eating carbohydrates 😉 *pasta and bread

2. Do you ever hunger for Jesus? Describe what that feels like?

—Heart and Soul

Cold and scared where will I find refuge
Bleeding within myself, beaten, battered and bruised
My chest aches with the weight of the world upon me
Will I see the Light, will I ever feel again
My tears offer no release, I’m chained twisted and torn
I want to scream but who would hear my cries
God are you there, I need to know am I worthy
I’ve never been this lost before, where is home
I feel so full of emptiness, why do I even have a heart
My heart is a battlefield colored with darkness
Will my sorrow continue, what more will fall or go away
I am the infant that nothing will soothe my cries
I am the tree on a lonely plain, no shelter no leaves
I’m a single blade of grass on a concrete yard
How did I get here , who am I, why does it matter
When did I know, what purpose do I have
Talk to me, I am searching, is that my purpose
Crawling and scraping where am I to go
Can I be true to you and to me, simultaneously
Show me the way home…

~C.A.Robinson©️
March 26, 2013 @ 2:53am

3. When thinking about Jesus as the “Bread of Life, what images come to mind?

—A gardener watering; Rain adding moisture to the dry soil; A farmer feeding his animals; A friend grasping my hand; Hearing, “I love you” from anyone!

4. Finally, from those imagined images what do they mean for your spiritual growth within the your church community and your relationship with God?

—I believe in being the “literal hands and feet of Jesus.” It’s not the traveling around the globe that is required to help, it’s helping those at an arms-length away. I also believe in a domino effect, a cascading affect of sharing God’s love. This blog for instance has a cascading affect, I am blessed beyond words at the people I have connected with through this medium around the world. It is not me alone reaching people, God is in control. I am happy to be on this journey and for all the support I receive for it as well, it is heartwarming. Thank you for traveling with God and me. Thank you all~~💖

~Peace & Hope~Charlotte

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://biblia.com/

Narnia: The Story Behind The Stories

Advent in Narnia: Turkish Delight

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

Hello my friends—

The companion reading is chapter 4, in “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

Isaiah 55:2a

“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”

In the book, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” we have now met Lucy’s brother Edmund. He is now in Narnia after following Lucy through the wardrobe. Edmund quickly finds himself alone, cold and hungry. He is quickly seen by the White Witch and she takes keen advantage of the situation.

There is a quote I remember hearing a lot when I was a kid, I can still hear the voice of my mother say…”If it seems too good to be real or true; it most likely is!”

The White Witch, she was for all intended purposes trying to gain Edmund’s trust. She simply gave him what he wished for, Turkish Delight! Now the Witch’s Turkish Delight was beyond anything Edmund had ever tasted and it even looked more delicious than any he had ever seen. Edmund could not get enough of the Turkish Delight, he loved it, he craved it but could never get his full of it. Unbeknownst to young Edmund, the White Witch had her own agenda and had tricked Edmund by giving him enchanted Turkish Delight and it caused an unhealthy and destructive sensation for Edmund. He ate and ate, never satisfied! The more he consumed it, the more he hungered for it. As time went on Edmund only desired more Turkish Delight and nothing else, he become obsessed.

We can all be armchair judges about Edmund’s behavior and probably have been at some point in our lives. It is always easier to judge the actions of another person if you’re unwilling to look at yourself first. Absolutely, Edmund made some poor decisions but let us remember he’s a child being manipulated by an adult with an agenda. A more constructive way to help others instead of judging them would be to talk with them and provide some alternatives or perhaps some sage advise about things of the world such as tunnel vision, selfishness, and addiction. And please no do forget about “Repentance and Forgiveness!”

Matthew 7:3-5

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

—Are there things in your world trying to convince you of certain expectations during this season of Advent?

—Things telling you that in order to have a happy Christmas you must do this or that?

—Family traditions and making beautiful memories are indeed part of the Advent season, a note of cautionary advise; traditions can be modified and any time together whether in person or through electronic mediums it is always memorable.

Breathe and allow the Holy Spirit to awaken your yearnings and desires for HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE! Feed your soul and your body for eternal life. We can all these learn lessons from Edmund.

Questions for Reflection:

• Is there a Christmas food that you are craving this season, does it offer an illusion of fun, fantasy, happiness or joy?

—I miss my moms sage dressing, yeast rolls and noodles.

• What truly sustains you during the Advent season. Perhaps make a list and then from that list look deeper, does it increase your stress level or decrease it? What might you change on your list? From your list, is God the focal point or just background?

—Blogging helps to sustain me and connect me with people around the globe.

Things to consider that can increase your joy during this Christmas season.

• Let go of expectations

• Let go of grudges

• Choose joy in all your preparations.

• Fill your thoughts with “God is Love” or “Come, Lord Jesus,” instead of “Hurry! Hurry!” Or “Just, Get It Done!”

~Peace~Charlotte

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.inliterature.net/

https://goodnewsshared.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/daily-bible-verse-matthew-73-5/amp/

Advent in Narnia: Week One – Repentance

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

Matthew 3:1-6

Hello friends—

I do apologize for the late posting of today’s Advent in Narnia. Seems like I’ve come down with a “bug” or COVID-19. I was tested and hopefully it was just a precaution. So, keep the presses moving and on with our story…today we talk about REPENTANCE. The scripture passage from the Gospel of Matthew tells us the story of John the Baptist. John is preaching to the people about the repenting of one’s sins and receiving baptism by water. He tells the people of one who is coming that will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. The person is Jesus. In Narnia, we have read about Lucy and Mr. Tumnus, his evil plan to kidnap her and turn her over to the White Witch. Feeling of guilt overwhelmed Mr. Tumnus and he confesses to Lucy and decides that her kindness and extension of friendship towards him is reason enough to REPENT!

The companion reading is Chapter 2 of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

Who knows how long Mr. Tumnus has been waiting in anticipation of meeting a human and was prepared, he thought to kidnap and turn over them over to the White Witch. He quickly realizes in his heart to do so, would be wrong—he had not anticipated the kindness of Lucy. Doing what’s right is sometimes the bravest act we can do. Mr. Tumnus must have felt relived after he told Lucy the truth and repented, it also must have been very freeing. Repenting of our mistakes and sins to God is freeing, this is also true when we seek forgiveness from individuals we have wronged. I have experienced that freeing feeling of forgiveness and it feels like a weight is literally being lifted right off your shoulders. When we carry unnecessary burdens, guilt and shame it causes much hardship and agonizing pain. That pain often goes beyond just ourselves, it has a cascading effect on all of our relationships and as a result we often push God away. It is the “sin” that separates us from God and only through sincere repentance can the relationship be healed. When I have been in the midst of these experiences I know God is still with me but my guilt distracts me and I feel like I need to keep God at a distance. Selfishly thinking I can fix or hide whatever “it” is from God. How very foolish of me, I am hurting myself and God with my stubbornness.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines REPENTANCE:

• to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life. 

Advent is a season of preparation, anticipation and waiting. We learn from the story that Mr. Tumnus had previously made an agreement with the White Witch that if he ever encountered a human child, he would hand them over to her. As the story progresses, we learn that Mr. Tumnus decides to place himself in danger by not reporting Lucy and seeks forgiveness from Lucy for wanting to cause her harm. 

During the next four weeks we will be preparing our hearts for Jesus’ birth through Hope-Peace-Joy-Love.

Some interesting correlations between John the Baptist and Mr. Tumnus: they were both hairy, wild men who lived in times of conflicts, oppression, and in need of a savior. In the book, Advent in Narnia is is described as being on or near the border of two kingdoms. Mr. Tumnus met Lucy at the border between Narnia and the Wardrobe. The people of Judea traveled to meet John at the Jordan River. John, too stood at the border between what has been/what is to comes, the Kingdom of God, through Jesus Christ. The People in the surrounding towns and villages come to the Jordan to confess their sins and to be baptized by John. This was their preparation and anticipation of the coming of Jesus, though at the time they did not fully know what that meant. The same feelings erupt when individuals realize who God is and accept Jesus as the Son of God, repent and follow Him!

Advent is a “borderland” season, the closing of one year and season and stepping into a new year. We are waiting for the birth of Jesus that we celebrate on Christmas Day and the Coming of Christ to take us home.

Questions for Reflection:

• Does Advent feel like a strange time of the year to ask for forgiveness? Why or why not?

• What ways might you pursue repentance and forgiveness in your life? A few suggestions offered are to write a letter to God; reach out to someone you have been estranged with; talk with a spiritual leader; or perhaps consider a rite of reconciliation.

Tomorrow’s companion reading is chapter 4 of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” 

~Peace & Hope~Charlotte

References:

orthodoxyforeveryone.com

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://www.shmoop.com/lion-witch-wardrobe/

Advent in Narnia: Week One – Mr. Tumnus

December 1st, 2020

Hello dear friends—

Welcome to December 2020

“Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

~Matthew 9:13~

If you are following along in the book, read chapter two “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

Lucy encounters a strange looking creature in the mysterious snow covered woods inside the wardrobe. The creature was startled at the sight of a human girl. The two introduce themselves to one another. The odd stranger is Mr. Tumnus, he cordially invites Lucy out of the cold and into his home. He offered her food and drink as she warms herself near the fire and she falls sleep. Lucy, a child is completely unaware that her new friend has malicious intentions for her. In fear of the White Witch, he plans to kidnap her and turn her over to the Witch. All Narnian’s had been warned by the Witch, if every they encountered a human she must be told and to hand them over to her. Mr. Tumnus felt quite sure that betrayal of his new friend was his only option. What Lucy’s new friend was not yet aware of was her deep sense of compassion and kindness, and her enormous bravery. After some time had passed, feelings of guilt overtook Mr. Tumnus and he became nearly inconsolable and confesses everything. Lucy reaches out to console Mr. Tumnus, even offering her own handkerchief and then quite sternly tells him he must not do this terribly horrible thing. Just imagine how brave Lucy was in this moment, after all, she had entered the forest all alone through the wardrobe. In the end, Mr. Tumnus recognizes the bond of friendship with Lucy and simply cannot kidnap her or turn her over to the White Witch. This decision indeed was a courageous act because it most definitely places him in extreme danger should the Witch ever find out about Lucy.

Things to Ponder about Advent:

• When you think of Advent what kind of things come to mind?

In the Christian faith it is defined as a waiting period, in anticipation of the Christ child’s birth.”

• As Christians, we celebrate this season every year, what is it that makes it so special and unique each year?

The story doesn’t change, we have Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem each year, the inn is always full and they must seek shelter in a dark and damp stable…what then is there to be waiting in anticipation for…

//////////////////////////////////////////////////

I cannot provide answer for you and your life; however, I would like to share mine.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////

The beauty of the Advent/Christmas story is indeed the same each year, it is me (and you) that is different each year. I’m so thankful for the gift of salvation that came in the form of a pure and innocent baby, fully human and fully divine. I’m thankful for the grace and mercy that is extended to me and for the forgiveness of my sins. These things would not be possible if Jesus were never born. I love the imagery of a solid and firm foundation that the manger serves in my life. I keep my manger scene out all year long to always be mindful of God’s love for me. Each year brings new challenges, joys and circumstances and they allow me to experience Advent in a new way. Each year and season offers renewed hope through the waiting in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. Advent is reconnecting with the baby in the manger, a time of prayer, repentance and renewing of my faith. Stripping away all the cumbersome and pointless things I have accumulated and placed upon myself. These things cause a sense of separation between me and Jesus, things like…guilt, greed, punishment, neglect, fear, sin, competition, pride, pressure, just to mention a few. Jesus is always present for me, He has never left me alone, even though at times I try to push Him away or when I try to runaway from Him. No matter what…His love remains. I know that I am loved, it is my own judgmental flaws, my sense of right/wrong that tends to cloud my mind/spirit from time to time.

You are so loved and with an everlasting love that only Jesus can provide.

The book, “Advent in Narnia” offered these questions to contemplate:

• Has there been a time in your life when you felt like you were doing the right thing but in actuality you ended hurting someone or betrayed someone?

—This is a tough question for me because I have hurt people that I cared deeply for. I never set out to cause hurt but I did and it was messy and it was because I was unable to be honest. Honesty can hurt but in the end it’s better than lying and trying to cover it up. Some of those relationships have healed but trust is not easily regained.

• What would it mean to consider mistakes you’ve made, believing that God is both just and merciful? Does it make is easier to offer up your mistakes and sins or harder?

—I have to say it’s hard because I don’t like to be a disappointment to myself or anyone else and especially to God, I know that God loves me and forgives me when I earnestly seek his forgiveness but it is hard. I think if forgiveness was easy people would do it more easily and more often. I would not want the acts of sinning to become too routine and comfortable nor would I want asking for forgiveness to numbing, with no feeling or emotion involved.

• Which is harder for you: confronting others when they’ve hurt you or to be merciful to them? Do you know why?

—I have been a bit of both, I like to live passionately. I’ve had to learn what battles are worth the fight and which are better to surrender. I try to practice mercy because in return I would like the same. I’ve learned that being revengeful and holding onto hurt in the end causes me way more pain than my intended recipient. Although, I do appreciate compromise and a good debate. I like the idea of agreeing to disagree as long as there is mutual respect for one another. Everyone should have a voice and afforded the opportunity to be heard. Long story but my final answer is to be merciful!

Thank you for joining me in this journey through Advent and the magical world of Narnia.

~Peace~Charlotte

References:

https://biblehub.com/

Advent in Narnia: Week One – A Great Light

November 30th, 2020

Hello and Welcome—

Today we read and talk about “a great light.” The prophet Isaiah speaks of a “great light” and the promise of a child being born for all mankind. His name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.” We also know that Aslan, too promised and provided a “great light” in Narnia in the old lamppost. The light of the lamppost represents something living and alive, no one ever needs to light it, no one ever extinguishes it and it burns without fuel. The lamppost serves as a beacon for all in Narnia, after the White Witch had turned the land to a harsh cold dismal icy frozen terrain.

❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~Isaiah 9:2, 4-6

When you read these verses from Isaiah did you just skim over verse 5 and the words that described war and blood? Did the words register in your mind? I will be honest, when I think about the Old Testament scriptures foretelling of Jesus’ birth, I do not remember the word of verse 5. At first the words were startling, but should they? The Old Testament is filled with stories of war, occupation and slavery. Even at the birth of Jesus, King Herod slaughtered countless male children under the age of two out of fear that he would lose his throne. In the story of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” the children are sent away to the country due to bombings and fires from the London Blitz of WWII.

“For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.” ~Isaiah 9:5

When thinking of Christmas, our thoughts do not quickly turn to war, violence, cruelty or suffering. Generally speaking, we think of the birth of Jesus, decorated trees, singing carols, gift buying, gift giving, social gatherings, friends and family. During the time Isaiah’s writings, war was looming for the Israelites and Judeans. Violence was something the Jews experienced, as they were under Roman rule. And, for Lucy and her siblings they had escaped London where war was raging and raining from the sky. Narnia, itself was in a state of war as a result of the White Witch, Narnia was a frozen land where everyone lived in fear. God and Aslan both made promises of light, hope, love, joy and peace in the midst of the cold, the darkness, the violence and the war.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

Darkness is real, we all walk with darkness or some kind of danger overshadowing our lives, for Lucy and her siblings it was war and violence that took them from their home and parents. For the Israelites, it was rumblings of war and occupation by foreigners and being exiled from their homeland. Today, darkness overshadows the lives of many and comes in the form of bullying, poverty, health concerns both physical and emotional, and broken relationships to mention but a few. In addition to this already growing list, we know have a global pandemic with COVID-19 placing limitations on all of us. We have had to learn to be creative in nearly every aspect of our lives and it is tough. It’s ok to admit that. I do every single day! I miss being close to people, I feel as if my freedom is under attack. I count myself blessed that I can talk with someone about these things and believe me, it really does help to talk. Often we need to just slowly open the pressure valves of our souls in order to maintain our humanity and just simply be human. Connecting with the Divine is life saving and refreshing, a recalibration of who we are and to be reminded of, to whom we belong. I believe God wants us to be real with him, share our frustrations, our sorrows and our joys with Him. I think we sometimes forgot that God really does knows us, He created us and believe it or not, HE KNOWS WE ARE FALLIBLE HUMANS! His love is free and abundant and there is seriously nothing that will shock or scare him from loving us!

Friends- I tell you there is HOPE! Jesus Christ is our hope, our light that illuminates all darkness.

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” ~1 John 1:5

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” ~John 1:5

In addition, we can and should be a light to one another. When we have the power to make a positive difference for another person, we need to seize the moment! I personally have found it to be equally beneficial in healing my own wounds and it lights up my darkness as well. To change someone’s outlook, we simply need to take notice of them. Let them know they are seen. When people no longer feel invisible they begin to see a sun rising in the distance! How amazing is that(?)!

Questions for Reflection:

• What darkness looms in your life or community right now?

• What “boots” or blood-stained clothes are you longing for God to destroy?

• Holidays can be very difficult and dark for many people. A suggestion by the author Heidi Haverkamp, is to consider drawing or doodling a picture that depicts what darkness feels like. Then draw or doodle a picture of the light you are longing for. 

Here’s a copy of my doodle drawings: The first one I call “Faceless” and the second one, “Star of Bethlehem.” I have seen a great light and His name is Jesus!

~Peace~Charlotte

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-blitz-begins

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannecroteau/2018/11/26/dealing-with-holiday-depression-you-dont-have-to-suffer-alone/

* If you do not have access to a therapist, consider calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline(1-800-273-8255). This service provides confidential support to anyone in distress and can provide crisis resources for you and your loved ones. Don’t feel like talking on the phone? Send a message to the Crisis Text Line. No matter how dark things seem, remember that you have options.

Advent in Narnia: Week One – The Lamppost

Lucy and the Lamppost

Hello friends—

Welcome to a new day!

November 29th, 2020

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” ~John 1:5

Day 2: Follow along in Chapter 1 in “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” and lesson 2 in “Advent in Narnia.”

The story tells us that Lucy discovers the lamppost and observes the curious scenery as she is walking through the wardrobe. How surprised would you be if while walking in the forest you came across a lamppost and it was illuminated. There is a history behind this seemingly odd lamppost, it had grew from an earthly lamppost. The White Witch in the story had previously used it as a weapon and it was transformed into a lonely but shining light by Aslan. It served as a boundary between Narnia and “the wild woods of the west.” The lamppost was a living thing, no one ever lit it, no one ever blew it out, it has no fuel and the White Witch’s winter never snuffed it out. It indeed served as a boundary but also a promise from Aslan that broken things can be made new and alive. The lamppost is a beacon in the face of the dark, dreary and cold mystical spell that covered the land.

God uses broken things and makes them new.

“The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.” Jeremiah 18:4

The Japanese use a technique called Kintsugi to repair broken ceramic using lacquerware often a mixture of gold, silver and platinum. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise or discard. It is made new and is of valuable use.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi

I love the imagery and imagination of C. S. Lewis and it’s agelessness across over the years since this story was originally written/published on October 16, 1950. 

As we approach Advent, many of us use candles and wreaths along with Christmas lights to illuminate the darkness. Advent is a season of celebration of the birth of Jesus, He is the light of the world. Just as the lamppost is alive and was there in the forest at the beginning, so was/is Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ~John 1:1

Jesus was and is a light that was broken and made new in the Resurrection. Jesus is the Light that shines through darkness for everyone. The Light of Jesus serves as a beckon to the world and our curiosity draws us to seek Him.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” ~John 8:12

Things to Ponder:

• Do you have any special lights around your home this season? *I keep a lamp turned on that sits next to my manger set that I leave out all year long. It brings me much comfort and joy seeing the baby representing Jesus, and Mary & Joseph, the animals, the kings and an Angel.

• Quote by writer, Ann Lamont, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Does this resonate with Christ being the Light of the World? *I would agree with the writer and I’ve read her work and have enjoyed her unique perspective on the christian life. God loves us and is always with us, especially when we think we are not worthy, of course we are unworthy, Jesus died for us because He loves us and wanted to redeems us. 

• Do you have a metaphor you would use to describe the light of Christ in your life this season? Is it glowing brightly, faintly, or way off in the distance? Perhaps you could write about it in a prayer or a poem or maybe a metaphor of the lamppost. *God is the supplier of my strength, not a materialistic protein powder kind of supplement way but through the power of the Holy Spirit and quiet meditation and study of His Word. In this season of Advent, I can see the lamppost in the distance and I’m committed to follow where it leads. 

Original quote, “It’s darkest before dawn, it’s been cloudy for days!” ~C.A.Robinson©️ 11/10/2015

“Everything becomes more and more itself. Here is joy that cannot be shaken. Our light can swallow up your darkness; but your darkness cannot now infect our light.” ~C.S.Lewis

~Peace~ Charlotte

So, here we are on day two of exploring Advent, not much has changed in the world since yesterday. I am thankful to have experienced the blessing of a new day. Life will always have its ups and downs, accepting that can help us on our journey and to provide a clearer perspective. Nearly every night I have a ritual of sorts I do just for me. I come home from work, fix a small dinner/snack, watch TV and light some candles. This is a way of pampering myself, often I use lavender scented candles or rain/ocean scents. A favorite one is fresh cut grass! I sit back and relax and enjoy the relaxing ambiance of the moment. I hope you have some favorite things you do just for yourself because you are so deserving. During these difficult times of isolation due to the pandemic it is essential to find ways to stay connected. I am a “people” person, I like to be near my friends, I’m a hugger and handshaker! I am fearful that these things will become taboo in the future. Steadfast, we must be steadfast and not lose sight of the things that connect human to human. The past several months have been hard for me to navigate because of all the precautions in place, I thank God for the individuals in my life that have been an anchor for me. If you are struggling and need to talk with someone, please do so. I have listed some agencies below with their web address. As we continue our journey through Narnia and Advent, my prayers will include peace, guidance, understanding and God’sWill in all things.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‼️HELP WEBSITES ‼️

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

https://samaritansnyc.org/calling-the-hotline/

Home

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

https://www.top10.com/online-therapy/depression-comparison

Advent in Narnia: Week One – Through the Wardrobe

November 28, 2020

Dear friends—

It has a few weeks since my last post and I have missed the interaction and exchange of ideas discovered through this medium. The year 2020 has been difficult for many reasons and also filled with many blessings as well. If you’re anything like me it can be almost paralyzing when things happen beyond our immediate control. It is true, I have struggled during this past year but my blessing outweigh all the struggles. I sometimes have to remind myself of them, but they are always there. I have family that loves me, a church that feels like home, friends who care and want to see me, a job I love, coworkers who inspire me, food, clothing, transportation, clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, health care…the list goes on and on. Don’t misunderstand, I struggle with balancing finances, making good informed decisions, frustrations with government and local politics, ridiculous rules and regulations (my opinion), not reading enough, not writing enough, not praying enough, questioning am I enough…Friend, we are all ENOUGH! As each day begins and ends, it is because of God Almighty! He knows you by name! He loves you! So, no matter how tough and difficult things may seem, God is always with us. I found myself thinking this thought not long ago, “why is God so far away?” The answer came almost immediately to me, “God has never left me, I have neglected my connection with him.” I love the photo below, the imagery is so beautiful, showing that we are always connected to God.

This Advent series is one that I started last year but was unable to finish. I will be updating the original posts and I only made it through the first nine days. If you are familiar with my posts you already know I’m a huge C.S.Lewis fan and I was most disappointed I was unable to complete the book last year. I hope you will join me as I explore Narnia and God this Christmas Season of Advent 2020.

Today marks the first day of my advent blog series, “Advent in Narnia” Reflections for the Season by Heidi Havetkamp.

“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” ~Luke 13:24 (ESV)

If you have never read, C.S.Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia,” I highly recommend them. They are not simply for children, but adults alike. The Chronological order of the books are as follows: Publication Order The books were originally published in this order:

  1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
  2. Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951)
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
  4. The Silver Chair (1953)
  5. The Horse and His Boy (1954)
  6. The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
  7. The Last Battle (1956)

Chronological Story Order

Sometime after the death of C. S. Lewis, British editions of the books began appearing that were numbered according to the order the stories take place:

1. The Magician’s Nephew

2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

3. The Horse and His Boy

4. Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia

5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

6. The Silver Chair

7. The Last Battle

These books focus on the life of four children, two boys and two girls. Their parents send them away to live in the country during wartime. They were placed in the care of two adult caretakers to escape the bombings of World War II. As the story goes, Lucy the youngest wonders into a room with a large wardrobe, being inquisitive as most youngsters are, she opens the wardrobe door and steps in. To her surprise, she walks past many fur coats, I imagine they were hanging about waist high. As Lucy presses on, shoving coats from side to side, she begins to feel cold and something underfoot. All of a sudden, she’s no longer in the wardrobe but in a forest with freshly fallen snow and a lamppost.

Have you ever found yourself in a place where your not exactly sure where you are, metaphorically or literally? Advent can be a season of wondering and finding, when we are open to the Holy Spirit. Much like Lucy, let’s be open to where the path leads us. Advent is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus and the return of Jesus. The Advent and Christmas Season (Santa and gift exchange) can both be celebrated together. Celebrate the joys of giving gifts and receiving gifts, gifts from the heart are always priceless. Give of your time and talents, they are more valuable than gold or silver. No matter what your traditions may be, be intentional with all of them. Seek to serve those in need, this season is a great opportunity to be the literal hands and feet of Jesus in a world that screams for “Peace on earth, Good Will towards all.” I am committed to this Advent Season, not because I’m ready but because I’m willing. Being a Christian does not mean all your days will be perfect, it means we never have to face them alone. I hope you will join me for the next four weeks as I share thoughts of Advent and my journey. If you are interested in following along in the book, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” today’s reading is Chapter 1 and will also be included in day two and three.

Questions to ponder:

Do you have traditions or preparations regarding Advent that are most meaningful to you?

Do the traditions/preparations reveal something about Jesus to you?

Do you have any thoughts about Luke 13:24?

Specially, the imagery of Jesus as the “narrow door?” Some have said that they see the narrow door as “the hard road” and “difficult road.” Possibly even a negative and costly gate. What if…we were to see the door as an invitation, a gateway to life more fully and as positively challenging and worthy of the journey. *Additional references: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/change/christian-conversion/the-sermon-on-the-mount/narrow-is-the-gate/

We are all God’s children and we are all special to Him. So special in fact, that were created with a purpose and a plan. Here’s a few of my favorite Bible verses are…

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Psalm 139:13-14 You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.

Here’s some music from the soundtrack “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”

“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that’s was bigger than our whole world.”
-C.S. Lewis-

Prayer: Lord, we ask for your guidance as we journey through our wardrobes, I pray this in Jesus name~Amen

~Peace~Charlotte

References:

https://lifehopeandtruth.com/change/christian-conversion/the-sermon-on-the-mount/narrow-is-the-gate/

https://www.narniaweb.com/https://

biblehub.com/https://bible reasons.com/

Book by Heidi Haverkamp, “Advent in Narnia-Reflections For The Season”

Love, Loss and Longing

November 7th, 2020

Hello friends—

Have you ever had a day that just felt, out of place?

I am thankful for so many things in my life, God’s blessings are endless. On the surface, the place that is most comfortable for many of us, “life is what it is.” Living day to day, doing the best we can. What about below the surface, the internal makings of who we are? It is within that space I yearn to be and to grow. I believe with all my being I am a child of God, that I was created on purpose and with a plan. And, yet I search for more, more meaning, deeper understanding and connectivity.

The beautiful autumn picturesque photos above were taken at a park near a restaurant where I met friends for lunch. The luncheon was with my JULIET friends from my church. JULIETS (JOLLY UNIQUE LADIES INFORMALLY EATING TOGETHER SOMEWHERE). A total of eight women attended the luncheon, it was so nice to see and talk with one another. I am grateful for these God fearing women and their faithfulness.

~Proverbs 27:17~

“Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another.”

I did something rather foolish today, actually I did two things foolishly today. Before I share my foolishness with you, allow me to share a few other thoughts with you.

LOVE: Isn’t it lovely, except when it’s NOT.

LOSS: The absence of something, except when it’s NOT.

LONGING: Wanting and waiting, except when it’s NOT.

~1 Corinthians 13:8~

“Love never ends.”

~Ecclesiastes 3:1,6~

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. There is a time for finding and losing, keeping and giving.”

~Psalm 38:9~

“O Lord, all my longing is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you.”

I would venture to say that you and I are a lot alike. If, I were a betting person I would bet that at this moment you can relate to at least 1 of the 3 words described in this post, if not all 3! Congratulations, it means your alive and living life.

I have been feeling very overwhelmed for sometime and unaware of the cause; perhaps more to the point unwilling to identify “it”. I would pushing it aside day after day until one day, I just couldn’t. I felt like I was overflowing and empty all at the same time. Saying things out loud releases their hold on us. Whatever “power” a thing has on us is because we allow it! The longer we contain “it” the stronger “its” power over us becomes. Setting it free, does not diminish or erase the “it” but it does allow us to see “it” as it truly is. Not our imagined perspective.

I have a friend that says, “Words matter.” He’s absolutely correct!

“Say what you mean. Mean what you say!” —Stephanie Lahart

Love, Loss and Longing. Autumn is a beautiful time of year, I’ve heard it said. For many years I have not fully appreciated the changing of the seasons. I have a dear friend who loves Autumn and it’s through her friendship that I too can see the beauty of this changing of the seasons, as it was meant to be…BEAUTIFUL! As a person who lives with depression, autumn had always meant a time of withdrawal. The days become shorter with more darkness than light, cooler weather causing a sensation of hibernation and even a sense of loss as the trees become bare and seemingly indefensible against the harsh weather that was to come. My view was limited and from a selfish viewpoint, there is much more to see if you change the vantage point. Life, all life has a cycle to it, sustainability and a natural order.

I wrote a poem years ago and it brings new meaning for me today. At the time of writing it, I had entered a new phase in my life and compared it to the changing of seasons. I dare say, I did not fully understand the depths of my words as clearly as I do today.

Autumn is a time for self-reflection, awareness, and mindfulness. There are seven symbolic meanings of the autumn equinox. *https://www.bustle.com/articles/185245-7-symbolic-meanings-of-autumn-that-remind-us-how-amazing-this-season-really-is

CHANGE

MYSTERY

PERSERVATION

PROTECTION

COMFORT

BALANCE

LETTING GO

Be open to the wonders of life and to its seasons.

Do not fear the ebb and flow, God is in control and He loves you completely.

This post has already become more lengthy than I had planned, I pray that a few morsels of knowledge and a blessing has been gained. And about those foolish things, well let me just say a big “Thank you!” to two amazing women in my life. Thank you for your boundless love of friendship that has continued through the years and traveled the distance that only separates us in body and never of spirit.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” ~Numbers 6:24-26

~Peace~ ειρήνη~Charlotte 

ειρήνη– “Peace” in Greek, reference listed the below. 

References:

https://biblehub.com/greek/1515.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://mailchi.mp/abbeyofthearts/

https://www.bustle.com/articles/185245-7-symbolic-meanings-of-autumn-that-remind-us-how-amazing-this-season-really-is

Seasons-Woven Magic: The International Library of Poetry (March 20, 2001) ISBN-13: 978-1582355573

https://www.goodreads.com/

The Gift of Love

Yeddo, Indians

November 6th, 2020

Friends—

I simply want to share God’s word with you today. Just like many of you, I have been struggling. Keep the faith, for God is faithful. Even on our worst days, we can rejoice knowing we are in God’s care. I love my family and my friends, thank you for your support and your prayers. I pray you feel the spirit of God surround you as you read the words below.

“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
—1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NRSV)

Please practice healthy social distancing along with good health and hygiene habits! May God’s Blessings be abundant to you today! Amen.

~Peace~ ειρήνη~Charlotte 

ειρήνη– “Peace” in Greek, reference listed the below. 

References:

https://biblehub.com/greek/1515.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com/