'Tis the season to Give Thanks, especially when there's a Clearance SALE! Find this greeting card and 14 others discounted in the SALE Section on my website. Teacup greeting cards for just $2, tea included! One makes a sweet little gift by itself, set makes a nice hostess gift or a stocking stuffer.
Happy Sunday everyone! I've been studying Matthew 13:1-23, the Parable of the Four Soils. Sketching what I read often helps me see the message more clearly, and I became challenged by Jesus's teaching.
The thorns represent the false security of riches, glamour and fame, as well as the cares of this world. They are actually not a pleasant place to be. It looks green with some lovely purple flowers, but the blossom's only purpose is to reseed more thorny brambles. The things of this world look lovely, at first, but trying to survive in it becomes a struggle, where everything pure and lovely is choked out. Illustrating it made it clear it's a tangled trap. I place I don't want to go.
Leaving the thorns for the open road seems like a way better place to be, but is has its drawbacks as well. Being exposed leaves one vulnerable. It's here Jesus explains how the birds, the enemy, Satan actually, steals whatever truths were given. The open road is where we are robbed of our joy.
Positioning oneself on the rocks looks like a better option. It's not in the thorns and it’s off the open path, but here whatever truths are taught can't take root in our hearts. Why, because it's on the sideline, not in the actual field. It represents half-heartedness, not going all the way, approaching truth but not taking hold of it. When difficulties arise, a hard heart soon looses hope and is filled with despair, easily giving up all it had believed at first.
Ultimately the only fruitful place to be is in the rich soil of God's love, where the seeds of His truths can take root deep within our hearts and lives. It's here where our feet get muddy as the Holy Spirit waters us with His peace. As we abide in Christ's care He surrounds us in His ever-loving protection, fills us with His hope, and causes us to live fruitful lives.
I'm not going to lie to you: it's not always going to be rosy in the fruitful field. The enemy of our souls will plant his weeds among us, the birds will hover overhead, and haters will cast their stones when they don't understand us. But Jesus understands us, and He loves us beyond all measure. There is no better place to be than in His care. When we fully trust and yield to His guidance, He causes His fruit to abound in and though us. Then when the fruit that He planted in our hearts takes root, it reseeds in the lives of others.
May this illustration help you decide where you want to be. Me, I'm choosing to cling to Jesus, the one who paid the ultimate price for my redemption. It's not unreasonable to anticipate thorns, birds, or stones in my journey. But God is bigger than my enemy, for greater is He who lives in me the he who lives in the world.
All glory and honor be to God the Father and to Jesus His Son, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, who made a way for us to be free.
There is one very interesting translation of the "12 Days of Christmas" dating back to England between 1558 and 1829 when Catholics were prohibited by law to practice their faith, in public or in private. In other words, it was illegal to be Catholic until 1829 when Parliament emancipated them. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" song was a coded message written as a memory aid to help young Catholics learn the basics of their faith. Since the song sounded like a nursery rhyme, authorities didn't suspect it and young Catholics could sing it without fear. The song, in a sense, is an allegory with each of the gifts in the song representing something significant to the Bible.
The song begins, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." The True Love repeated in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, but to God himself. The Me receiving each gift is the believing Christian.
The Partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus on the Cross. A mother partridge will fake an injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She is even willing to die for them. The tree symbolizes the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It also represents the cross from which Christ was sacrificed for our salvation.
The two turtle doves refers to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
The three French hens stand for faith, hope and love -- the three gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13.
Four calling birds refer to the four Apostles who wrote the Gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Five golden rings represents the first five books of the Bible, also called the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Six geese a-laying is the six days of creation.
Seven swans a-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit; wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
Eight maids a-milking reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.
Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Ten lords a-leaping represents the Ten Commandments.
Eleven pipers piping refers to the eleven faithful Apostles.
Twelve drummers drumming were the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostle's Creed: belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, made man, crucified, died and arose on the third day, that he sits at the right hand of the father and will come again, the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.
May this bit of trivia bless you, as it demonstrates the creativity of those clinging to their faith even when doing so meant personal harm. It inspired me to create a Christmas cad which I made available for you to share and encourage others. If you are interested in passing on the meaning of this song, please feel free to copy and paste the text into your own word file and make a cute flier to share. Sorry the artwork is copyrighted so no permission is given to copy and share, but the good news is, I have the actual greeting cards in stock ready to send which contains all the artwork of each gift illustrated throughout. I would be thrilled if you would graciously pass one along.
At only $3.50, which includes a festive Holiday Tea infused with citrus, almonds, clove and cinnamon, it becomes a gift on its own.
Merry Christmas everyone! Abundant Blessing for a joyous New Year!
Everyone loves the moment Christmas cards begin arriving in the mailbox, especially when they contain a little surprise and a hand written note. My Christmas Wishes teacup greeting card includes the warmth of a delicious Holiday Tea with the sentiment, "Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."
Available in the Christmas Section at
"Behold, I bring you good tidings of Great Joy which will be to all people." Luke 2:10
It wouldn't be Christmas without Jesus, so here's a Christmas card depicting the Angel's glorious appearance to the shepherds, proclaiming the birth of Christ.
Now in the SALE Section on my website for just $2, my Nativity Christmas card comes with a delicious teabag tucked in the rim of the watercolored teacup.
Wishing all of you "Happy Holidays" (plural) as in all the Holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years. A delightful greeting for ushering in the festive Holiday Season with a spicy Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea bag included. The inside sentiment reads, "Wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday Season."
Holly Berries teacup greeting card available at kimberlyshawgraphics.com