Posted in Christian, Musique, Photography Art, Reflections

Chimes of the Day

“Christmas Bells”
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! by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As the lights twinkle nearby, both above and nearby, they bring a Christmas different from the year previous. Instead of the usual family all pouring in, this year it would be a half and half, few of us together and the rest sharing in the joy from different parts of the world or even the same state or areas as well. Whichever way it may be, the essence of Christmas doesn’t change.

With the last minute preparations being completed, the candles are lit, ribbon-ed and christingles are completed; it all brings to the mind of the faith that things will always change for the better. As Christmas always reminds us of the unconditional love God had for each of us, bringing light into an otherwise dark world. Though the seasons change and winds may go against us, there’s always the hope that His Light gives. Even the dark cloudy skies have the occasional twinkle from the stars that lie in them. All one needs to do, is to hang on and do their bit; for the rest will come through.

“After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Mathew 2:9-11)

As this Christmas comes and will soon go by, to remember to carry on the message of love and peace is what is important. To make room in our hearts for those who need a hand. To know to cherish, support and love those around us. And above all, to always share a little bit of kindness along the way as we go across different paths is what brings the sparkle and peace to not not just the lives that go by us, but into our own as well.

As each Christmas says, let the spirit of love and goodwill always be a part and parcel of us, no matter how troubled or different times may be. For as always, love, hope and faith shall conquer all.

“Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad.”

“Music on Christmas Morning”

Music I love -­ but never strain
Could kindle raptures so divine,
So grief assuage, so conquer pain,
And rouse this pensive heart of mine -­
As that we hear on Christmas morn,
Upon the wintry breezes borne.

Though Darkness still her empire keep,
And hours must pass, ere morning break;
From troubled dreams, or slumbers deep,
That music kindly bids us wake:
It calls us, with an angel’s voice,
To wake, and worship, and rejoice;
-by Anne Brontë

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Stories Around the World

Travel with Faith

“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.” Paulo Coelho

Uncertainty has always been a part of our lives. No matter how many calculations, predictions, foretelling or insights may be given or done, things may still run out of hand. Through all those clamouring thoughts and echoes, finding a way out at times may seem near impossible especially when advice is poured out aplenty.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James1:5)

The young man was driving with his wife in a car along a dangerous road. When they drove into a very narrow stretch of road, his wife got scared and grabbed the wheel. The husband let go of the wheel, allowing her to drive. Then she was even more frightened and begged, “Please do not let the steering wheel go!” The husband replied:” Two can not simultaneously drive a car. Or you lead, or I.” Then the woman let go of the wheel, trusting her husband, and he safely drove the car through a dangerous place.

“He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”” (Luke 11:28)

Each of us have our own share of experiences through turbulent times. During those moments seeking direction would be easier if one learns to put their trust in a secure place. As likened to the mustard seed, faith can work well when the control is transferred into His Hands. No one can foretell with exact precision. Yet what keeps one going through all this fracas, is the inner hope in His Faith and His Guidance that things will eventually work out.

“I have faith that God will show you the answer. But you have to understand that sometimes it takes a while to be able to recognize what God wants you to do. That’s how it often is. God’s voice is usually nothing more than a whisper, and you have to listen very carefully to hear it. But other times, in those rarest of moments, the answer is obvious and rings as loud as a church bell.” Nicholas Sparks (excerpt and author of The Last Song)

Posted in Christian, Daily, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Of Faith and Prayer

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Lost opportunities, being unemployed, opportunities being cut down and so on. What drives one to go through the difficult times ? While it is true that the core inner will and perseverance may be strong; yet the pillar of support arises from different sources. One of the most strongest grounds is one’s own Faith. The faith that lies in His Grace and His Hand guiding one out of the current mess. For Faith is one of the most powerful aspects of life.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

The Christian faith has various facets. From steadfastness in the teachings and beliefs to being a gift of His Grace and His Mercy; faith involves not just prayer but living by His Will and His Word. Faith exists as a part of salvation through Christ but also as strength from the Lord for man to face the trials, temptations and tribulations. Faith is what gives water to the kernels of hope during the hard times, the times of self doubt and difficulties. Yet faith doesn’t grow by itself. It too needs it’s own nourishment through prayer and growth in the Scriptures. When one learns to grow in His Faith, miracles no matter how small they be or difficulties no matter how mentally overwhelming they may be, will be faced and brought down through His Love, His Works and by His Grace.

“….that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,..” (Ephesians 3:17)

A poor woman from a small family was a believer. And one day, when there was not enough money even to feed the children, she called the radio station and left there an appeal to God for help. While employees of the radio reacted with understanding to the believing woman, one of the listeners was touched by her words.
He was a staunch atheist and decided to indulge himself by mocking the stranger. The man found out her address, called the secretary and instructed her to buy many products. What was her surprise when the boss gave the following order: deliver the products to the address and if the woman asks who sent the food, say it is from the devil. When the secretary handed the products to the stranger, she was so grateful that tears flowed from her eyes. She never ceased to thank and bless the girl. But when the woman had already begun to say goodbye, the secretary asked: “And you do not want to know who you these products?” To which the woman replied: No. It doesn’t matter at all, because when God gives an order, even the devil obeys.

“So that in the name of Jesus every knee of the heavenly, earthly, and underworld bows, And every tongue confessed that the Lord Jesus Christ was in the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2: 10-11.

Posted in Christian, Daily, Personal Musings, Reflections

Follow the Rays

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

Towards the wee hours of the morning, the lights were lit and bags were kept in the trunk. Pairs of sleepy eyes being huddled and buckled into their car seats. With a strong cup of Joe and steaming thermos of tea, we were off for the three hour drive to the main family homestead. With the centenary celebrations of the hometown cathedral where my spouse was christened, this trip was a must on the calendar. As the hours progressed, the drive felt like we were following the light cast by the rays of the rising sun.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” ( Palm 119:105)

Mornings are a beautiful way of God saying that He Loves Us. The golden light that dispels the fear of the night and the darkness. On the regular days, it feels special to be woken up by the light rays of dawn. Stepping out in the fresh morning air, with the quiet chirping of the feathered friends and the fresh smell of the dew, they offer strength to face the day. The bright light of the morning sun often reminds me of the Word of God, offering hope and guidance during the dark days, promises of His Love and forgiveness through the wrongs of our lives. His Word lights up the dark skies and brings the rainbow after the heavy showers. No matter where one is stuck, His Word brings us out. Such is His Love for His Children.

“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Morning
Clinton Lee Scott

From the East comes the sun,
Bringing a new and unspoiled day.
It has already circled the Earth and
Looked upon distant lands and
Far-away peoples.

It has passed over mountain ranges and
The waters of the seven seas.
It has shown upon laborers in the fields,
Into the windows of homes,
And shops, and factories.

It has beheld cities with gleaming towers,
And also the hovels of the poor.
It has been witness to both good and evil,
The works of honest men and women and
The conspiracy of knaves.

It has seen marching armies, bomb-blasted villages
And “the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”
Now, unsullied from its tireless journey,
It comes to us,
Messenger of the morning.
Harbinger of a new day.

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)

Posted in Christian, Daily, Personal Musings, poetry, Random Thoughts

Colour the Grey

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”(2 Corinthians 12:9 )

The afternoon jaunt after the heavy rains over the past few days, was a source of fun for the children. Stepping into the puddles, picking up a wildflower or two, running after the scampering squirrels and kittens along the walk was a joyous experience. Despite the messy mud and puddles around, the grey of rocks were masked by few wildflowers cropping up at the unexpected places. Further ahead, there were carpets of them growing along the fences of the fields.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”(Psalm 34:4)

Wildflowers, many of us are a lot like them. Through rough seasons, closed and crowded spaces, these little flowers not planted by hand but by nature, bring a smile to the tired mind. Those vibrant colours often remind me of God’s love and His Grace. The difficult days, troublesome moments and doubtful occasions, it is His Grace and His Guidance that helps us see a way out. The air and light He directs our way offers the necessary help to get out of the quagmire, when one seeks His Help. God’s Love helps us to grow even when the rocks below are hard and water is scare. To be like a wildflower is indeed a blessing, especially when one learns to bloom and bring colour to the dull, dark, dreary days. Let such colours brighten each of our days.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

Wildflowers
Kitty Chappell

Lord, help me to grow as the wildflowers grow
be it a meadow or a crack in cement.
Despite the terrain, be it good or bad,
let me know I am there by intent.

Instead of my sadly complaining within
regarding life’s rough terrain,
May my face, too, look upward to you
through seasons of drought and rain.

Help me to bloom as the wildflowers bloom,
regardless of where I am placed;
wherever the spot You plant me, Lord,
let the air there be sweet with Your grace.

Someday a tired pilgrim may stop to rest
from carrying his heavy load
And thank my Creator for placing me there
to brighten that spot in life’s road.

(Kitty Chappell, award-winning author of Good Mews: Inspirational Stories for Cat Lovers and Sins of a Father: Forgiving the Unforgivable.)

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

Of the White Handkerchief

” We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many of us, during our school or college days, may have those “friends” who were a part of needless teasing and mocking group who had often made days miserable, troublesome and quite depressing, in those times. Fast forward years later, when emails and contact with them were kept to a bare minimum or ignored to prevent emotional setbacks, thinking of those days. Suddenly out of the blue, a phone call or an appointment with the very same people who were directly or indirectly involved then. Will it be within each one of us to forgive them or not ? The old adage, “let bygones be bygone” may sound simple; but when faced with reality, it will never be easy.

“13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

As life and time teaches us again and again; there would be nothing good in fostering the hatred, regrets or dark memories. While those may have happened, it’s how we move on ahead that matters.

” 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” ( Ephesians 4:31-32)

On abetting the bad memories, we often lose out on enjoying and gaining our own happiness in life. When one part of us says, “forgive and move on” and the other holds us back with “the memories”; learn to chose the right one.

” 3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” ( Luke 17:3-4)

All of us have been bad in someone’s books; which we may or mayn’t know about. When given a chance or opportunity to “do good”, do so without letting the memories of “what has happened with them” keep us from doing the right thing. We all need forgiveness from somebody at some point of our life, be it at the resent, in the past or the future. As life and the scriptures teach us, unless we learn to hold the olive branch; no one will lend us one or share the one in our hand. Above all what goes around, comes back to us; so despite all the setbacks and disappointments or dark memories of people, be kind, forgive and do good; if not for their happiness but for our happiness as well as one’s own peace of mind.

“25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

White Handkerchief

Freed from imprisonment, he returned home by train. The railway ran through their native places, and approaching its station, it would certainly pass by its native home. But the closer the house came, the more restless it became in his heart. It was hard for him to realize; how much grief he brought to his parents.
Despite the fact that the separation lasted for many years, he loved his parents and dreamed of meeting with them. The fact that he often neglected the love of his parents was even more his than the crime he committed.
He was not at all sure whether they would accept him at home or not. Therefore, he wrote home a letter in advance asking; hang a white handkerchief in the yard if parents are ready to take it. If the scarf will not …
However, the closer the house came, the stronger the heart beats. The house is still far away, but he does not take his eyes off, looks intently into the distance, to the place where people endlessly close to him live.
They are waiting for me at home, or I, the outcast, have to roam the world; for many days these thoughts have not given him peace.
As slowly as this train goes, it seems that it deliberately intensifies its suffering with its slow speed.
And in the distance they appeared at home. Soon will be his home. There is a white handkerchief in the courtyard of the house or not …
And suddenly … tears gushed from his eyes. He saw his home and yard, which was covered with large white sheets … ( Translated from Russian)

This above story may have been shared with similar versions across the world, either by word of mouth or in some forgotten book or been told an acquaintance or friends as “real stories” to those known by them. Maybe this story is one of those that emerge every few years, told new in one form or another. Even though the setting and the people may shift; the message endures. The feeling that it did happen, somewhere and at sometime helps one to believe int he spirit of forgiveness as well as the kindness, love and humaneness of man and society.

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” Bernard Meltzer

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Life, Stories Around the World

Of Candlemas and New Beginnings

“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)

With Candle-mas service and celebration all over the world, the end of the Christmas season has been officially marked. Candlemas (or Candlemass) is known as the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus and the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple as based on the Jewish custom. It falls on February 2, which is traditionally the 40th day of the Christmas–Epiphany season. For those who of us who haven’t removed the Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve), Candlemas is the day when one can take them down.

In pre-Christian times, this day was known as the ‘Feast of Lights’ and celebrated the increase strength of the life-giving sun as winter gave way to spring. Later during the Christian era, this date marked the presentation of Christ to the temple. It was the day of the year when all the candles, that were used in the church during the coming year, were brought and blessed; thereby marking it as the Festival Day (or ‘mass’) of the Candles. In those days, candles were important not only because there was no electric lights; but were thought to be of protection against plague and illness and famine. As the years progressed; on Candlemas, the service is led by prayers and the candles used are blessed; serving as a symbol of Christ, who referred to himself as the Light of the World.

Falling almost in the middle of Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, Candlemas is considered to be time for fresh start. Each country has their own set of customs, celebrations and service. One can decide to honour this day by the beginning of doing something new, breaking an old habit, spending quality time and care for dear ones or devoting energy, time and steps for self-improvement.
For This is a simple way to make life a little better for one and for those touching our life in one aspect or other.

Candlemas Verse 

When New Year’s Day is past and gone;
Christmas is with some people done;
But further some will it extend,
And at Twelfth Day their Christmas end.
Some people stretch it further yet,
At Candlemas they finish it.
The gentry carry it further still
And finish it just when they will;
They drink good wine and eat good cheer
And keep their Christmas all the year.

– From Colonial Williamsburg, 18th century