Happy In-Between

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

A few weeks ago, I heard a lady say, “Happy In-Between!”

It took me a moment to figure out what she meant.

I finally realized that she was referring to the time after Christmas but before New Year’s. We don’t really have a term to describe the awkward period between these two holidays, so this lady settled on “In-Between,” and hoped we’d have a happy time during it.

It got me thinking about the other “in-between” times in our lives.

Many of us go through times when we’re in an awkward phase of waiting for something to happen.

Perhaps we believe God has given us a promise about something He will do in our lives, but it’s taking a long time to come to pass.

Maybe we’re trusting God for a healing, a new job, the restoration of a marriage, or the return of a prodigal child.

It can be hard to stay happy during a time of limbo, when nothing seems to be happening in our situation. As the months go by, our prayers don’t seem any closer to being answered.

So what do we do when we’re having trouble staying upbeat, faithful, and patient during the in-between times, when life just seems to be a hard slog?

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Merry Christmas From The Faith Cafe!

Merry Christmas to all my visitors and followers!

The Faith Cafe will be taking a short break over the holidays, but I’ll look forward to seeing you again in the New Year.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this quotation:

“God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
the all of Christmas, which is Christ.” (by Wilda English)

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

Remember, the best Christmas gift is to realize how much you already have!

Wishing you and your family peace, love, goodwill, and all the other blessings of Christmas, plus a happy and healthy 2022!

Lori

“For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6

© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

The Most Memorable Gift Of All

Image by Marco Verch on Flickr CC BY-2.0

What’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever received?

Whatever it was, it probably wasn’t something bought for you in a panic at the last minute.

More likely, the gift you remember most involved time or trouble on the part of the giver.

Perhaps your child presented you with something that they’d painstakingly fashioned themselves.

Or maybe your spouse had a piece of jewellery custom made for you that they’d had a hand in designing.

Or a friend spent months searching high and low for a hard-to-find collector’s item that you’d always wanted, and finally tracked one down.

The present was especially meaningful for you because the time and trouble the giver went to were part of the gift.

Did you know that Jesus has given you a gift? And it isn’t something He picked up at the mall on Christmas Eve.

He offers you the gift of eternal life.

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All I Want For Christmas Is Staff

Have you made a list yet of what you want for Christmas?

Time is running short, so if you want to submit your list to Santa, you’d better get cracking!

Maybe you want some jewellery, a designer handbag, or a trip to a tropical isle?

Or perhaps your tastes run more to tools for your workshop, some custom bling for your car, or season tickets to see your favourite sports team play.

The kids in your life are probably way ahead of all of us and already know what toys and games they’d like.

As for me, after years of watching the historical British TV drama “Downton Abbey,” I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of having staff.

The size of staff required to keep a stately home like the fictional Downton Abbey running a century ago was considerable. They needed maids, cooks, valets, butlers, chauffeurs, and gardeners.

But the position that intrigued me most was that of footman. They seem to be so useful, able to turn their hands to any task around the house.

I really think I need a footman!

Or maybe, if I had to ask Santa for just one, a chef would be the better choice?

But really, I’m asking the wrong question. I should be asking: do I want to serve or to be served?

For Christians, there’s only one right answer:

It’s to serve others.

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Go Ahead…Open It!

Image by yuyun fan from Pixabay

What traditions does your family have when it comes to Christmas gifts?

Do some of your family members like to give “prank” gifts?

This seems to be the specialty of a lot of Dads. Kids unwrap a gift from Dad to find an iPad box, and squeal with glee. When they open the box, however, they discover that inside are a bunch of eye pads! Thanks, Dad!

Or perhaps your family likes to disguise what the gift really is by wrapping it in a way that leaves you guessing. You might receive a large box, but when you unwrap it you find that it contains a series of increasingly smaller boxes. The last one contains the real gift, which might be a tiny box with jewellery inside.

In my family, we always open our gifts on Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day itself. This tradition started when a certain little girl, who shall remain nameless, couldn’t wait until Christmas morning to see what “Santa” had brought her.

But no matter how a gift is wrapped or when it’s given, offering the gift is only half the equation.

It has to be received before the action is complete.

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More Than Meets The Eye

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

Sometimes we don’t realize what we’re looking at, do we?

This winter solstice is a good example of that, because tonight we’ll be able to see a particularly bright “star” in the night sky.

That is, you might assume it’s a star, but you’ll actually be seeing something quite different.

This rare “Christmas star” will actually be a planetary conjunction. The planets Jupiter and Saturn will be so closely aligned tonight that they will appear to be one ultra-bright object.

At other times, a bright “star” you see might actually be a binary star system; that is, two stars orbiting each other. Or it could be the planet Venus. You’d need to study it through a telescope, adjust your focus and consult an astronomical guide to know for sure.

The truth is, sometimes we don’t really understand what we’re seeing.

That was certainly true for many of the people who saw the baby Jesus and the star which heralded His birth.

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Yes, Virginia, There Really Is A Jesus Christ!

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

If you still believe in Santa Claus, please avert your eyes from the screen right now.

I’ll wait.

For the rest of you, how old were you when you realized that there wasn’t really a Santa Claus?

Five or six? Nine or ten? Thirty?

For me, the realization came on bit by bit over the years when I was little.

First off, on the gift tags on my Christmas presents, I noticed that the “To Lori, Love Santa” inscription was written in handwriting that looked an awful lot like my Mom’s. In fact, exactly like hers. I realized that it was, in fact, my Mom’s handwriting, not Santa’s.

That was my first inkling that something was up with this whole Santa thing.

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No Matter Your Age, There’s a Miracle For You!

Stained glass window depicting Gabriel and Mary. Image by Dorothee Quennesson on Pixabay

When we think of the Christmas story, we often focus on the birth of Jesus as the only miraculous event that occurred.

And indeed it was an awesome miracle: the virgin birth of a baby who would become the Saviour of the world.

But there was another miraculous birth that happened around the same time, described only in the gospel of Luke.

The angel Gabriel told Mary she would conceive without having had relations with her betrothed, Joseph. The Holy Spirit would come upon her, and she would give birth to a son, who was to be called Jesus.

This was no doubt astounding news to Mary. But the angel didn’t stop there: he had another amazing news flash.

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Preparing a Place Just For You

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pixabay

If this were a normal Christmas, I imagine that many of us would be preparing to have guests over for the holidays.

We’d be spiffing up the house, decorating the Christmas tree, and getting the guest bedroom ready for overnight visitors.

We might also be planning the decorations for the dining table: choosing which candles and flowers to use, bringing out the best china, or making whimsical place cards.

It’s fun to prepare for guests, isn’t it? Selecting special touches that you know they’ll like, ensuring that they’ll be comfortable, even customizing things so that each guest feels cherished.

This year, however, COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into our Christmas plans. For many of us, preparing for guests is something that’s off the menu.

But did you know that there’s someone who’s still preparing a place for you, pandemic or not?

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Christmas Fruitcake Solution

Do you like Christmas fruitcake? Or do you just pretend to? Some people look forward to making or receiving fruitcakes at this time of year. Other people dread the prospect of eating fruitcake yet again.

If you’ve been faking enjoyment of Christmas fruitcake all these years and would really rather not eat any more of it, I think I have a solution for you:

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