Saturday, December 24, 2011
by Lorilyn Roberts
I never thought roach droppings would become one of my favorite Christmas stories. But stories have a way of writing themselves on our hearts.
Each year my sister Paige invites all of us to her house. We sit around the dining room table where odd knickknacks are transformed into lovely Christmas decorations. Paige is an artist, and it’s a good thing for my daughters. Most of my art projects never go as planned. I always miss an important step and my results are memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.
Last year all the cousins created angels to hang on our Christmas trees. The ornaments were dressed in white lace, had feathery wings, and a red rose dotted the front collar. Instead of halos, the kids crowned the angels with macaroni noodles.
Joy, my youngest daughter, proudly hung her angel on our tree. Christmas came and went. January rolled around, and I packed the ornaments away in our attic for another year.
Last week I climbed up into the attic to pull out the Christmas decorations. Joy set up the tree and I opened up the first container. When I unlatched it, dozens of roach droppings littered the bottom of the box. A few tumbled out onto the living room floor. Several ornaments had brown pellets clinging to them. I was quite repulsed, only slightly less than I would have been if live ones had scampered out.
I fetched the vacuum cleaner and vacuumed up all the droppings. Visions popped in my head of hundreds of roaches crawling over my beautiful ornaments. How many roaches would it take to make that much crap? I cringed. Living in Florida has its dark side.
Then Joy cried out, “Mommy, my angel has no hair.”
“What happen to her hair?”
“I think the roaches ate it,” Joy said.
We broke out laughing. The roaches had spent the summer feasting on the macaroni hair of my daughter’s angel.
As I think back to my fondest Christmas memories, many of them are also quite eclectic. There was the Christmas in downtown New York when we got trapped inside a car on fire. The electric windows were stuck and my grandfather smashed the driver’s side window with a suitcase. Mother pulled me out through shards of broken glass. Sirens blared and emergency lights flickered in the cold night air. We never did get to see the lighting of the tree but spent the evening in a fancy hotel.
Later Mother told me a Hollywood director was there for a children’s beauty pageant and had pleaded with her to let him take me to Hollywood. Sometimes I wonder if I missed my chance to be the next Hayley Mills (who I was often compared to when I was young).
My most vivid memory from that snowy winter was Christmas Eve when I heard Santa’s reindeer pounding on the rooftop of the apartment building. It was a loud swishing sound followed by gallops. I didn’t believe in Santa Claus until that night. I lay in my warm bed imagining what Santa and his reindeer looked like. I wanted to jump up and peek out the window, but I was afraid if I saw them, he wouldn’t leave me presents.
The next morning I ran to the window and looked below. To my surprise, there were large sleigh marks in the snow. I stared out the window for a long time.
I’ve thought about that more this Christmas because of a strange conversation over Thanksgiving dinner. I asked my brother’s wife if their children still believed in Santa Claus. I shared my experience at my grandparents’ apartment when I was young, but mentioned only the part about the sleigh tracks in the snow.
Mother said, “I saw them, too, and heard Santa land on the roof.”
“You did?” I asked surprised. “I also heard the reindeer hoofs pounding on the roof. The swishing sound woke me up,” I added.
Silence followed as we thought about the strange coincidence. Sometimes I wonder if God allows fanciful moments to bring comfort to children. Maybe that’s what I needed at that time—to have something to believe in.
Many years later I was in Vietnam on Christmas Eve to adopt Joy. Christmas music wafted through the streets of Hanoi. The beautiful lyrics filled the nighttime air. I rejoiced, so far from home, realizing nothing can silence what God proclaims from the mountaintops—or loud speakers hoisted on poles in a communist country.
God’s love reaches to the ends of the earth—in Nepal and China and Haiti; in Israel, where shepherds tend their flocks on the same hill that angels proclaimed glory to the newborn King. If we did not speak of the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, the rocks would cry out. Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Everlasting Father. The greatest gift of all came through the birth of one small child.
Joy’s hairless angel hangs on our tree this Christmas. All the gifts will be opened Christmas morning. I will eat far too much chocolate and then bemoan the five pounds I will gain. I will make my usual promise to start exercising on January 1, which I will probably break by the middle of the month. We will enjoy all the traditions that this wonderful season brings, full of joy, giving, and love. Then the ornaments will be taken down and packed away until next year. Hopefully, the roaches will find something else to eat besides angel hair. Life will resume its regular course, and I will be glad for the start of a new year.
But for now, during this joyous Christmas season, I will pause to reflect on the gift of the baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, knowing someday, too, I will bow before the new-born King. And, just maybe, there won’t be any roach droppings there.
This article was just published in the anthology CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS WITH...MEMORIES, POETRY, AND GOOD FOOD, edited by Donna Clark Goodrich
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
As we start the new year, I want to make prayer a priority for our Network. Please take the time to read this excerpt from This Means War, by Paul and Claire Hollis, who are new members.
Taken from the book “This Means WAR” by Paul & Claire Hollis
Begin with Praise and Thanksgiving, then continue
Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus, and I ask You to forgive me of anything I have done that could displease You in any way. I ask You to cover me with the Blood of Jesus and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Cause my thoughts to be Your thoughts, my desires Your desires, my will Your will, and put a guard across my mouth that I can say no more or less than You would have me say. Keep me on the path you You have laid out for me today, and show me satan’s tactics in advance.
I acknowledge the whole armor of God. I pray that every thought that satan or any of his kingdom tries to put in my mind will bounce off the helmet of salvation and return to the sender. Heal every memory that could hold me back from being all that You want me to be. I recognize that I have on the breastplate of righteousness, my loins are girded with the truth and my feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. I take up the sword of the spirit and the shield of faith.
Now, for myself and all the people I am going to refer to, I ask You to draw us to Yourself, convict us mightily of our sins, keep us from temptation, deliver us from the evil and cover us with the Blood of Jesus. Dispatch angels (and now I dispatch them) to keep us from any kind of accidents, harm, injuries, illness, death, destruction, disease, pain or infection.
Bind our marriages together and make us one in You. Bind our families together and make us one in You. If there is anyone in our lives that You do not approve of, I ask You to move them out and move in the people that You do approve of. Bless every bite of food we eat, and the air we breathe, or any medication we take, and let it help us and not hurt us. Bless our finances and give us as much as we can handle without sinning against you.
Now, satan, I come against you and your entire kingdom and I declare, in the Name of Jesus, that you cannot and will not have part of my life or the lives of the people I refer to, in any way, shape or form. You can have nothing to do with our minds, bodies, souls, spirits, emotions and wills; our marriages, finances, friendships, acquaintances and fellowships; our homes, schools, workplaces and places of recreation; our transportation, or any vehicle that could come close to us; or any decision that is made concerning any one of us. (Now call out the name of every person that you pray for daily.)
For every person I have referred to, I now break every curse, spell and hex that may have been put out against any one of us. I break the power of any curse from a witch, warlock, or satanist; every santerian curse, roots curse, Indian curse, voodoo curse, and curse of words spoken, or anything written or any objects. I reverse the curse and send it back to the demon that brought it in the first place. AND I COMMAND THAT DEMON TO GO BOUND INTO UNINHABITED DRY PLACES IN THE NAME OF JESUS. I break every ungodly emotional soul tie that is connected to any of us, in the Name of Jesus.
In the Name of Jesus and through His living blood, I bind and sever every cord of any prince or principality, any strong man and every spirit of darkness over my house at (your address). I put a Jesus Christ bloodline in between each one of you and I cut off your communications, confuse your camp, render you inactive, and cast you out, in Jesus’ Name.
I bind and cast out every spirit of poverty, lack, confusion, cloudiness, mind binding, selfishness, anxiety, and procrastination. I bind and cast out every spirit of fear, heaviness, jealousy, bondage, whoredom, lying, perversion, slumber and infirmity. I plead the blood of Jesus around the property line, above the roof, and below the foundation of my home, and I bind you, satan, and your entire kingdom from crossing the bloodline. I command you for myself and people I have just referred to, that you can have nothing to do with us or any aspect of our lives in any way, shape or form! I now call on God’s warring angels to make it happen.
In the Name of Jesus, I loose myself and each family member to the power of the Holy Spirit and I speak forth blessings of prosperity, clarity, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, discernment, abundance and good health. I also speak creativity and a sound mind. I take control of my mind and reflect every evil thought and receive every good thought, in the Name of Jesus. I loose myself and my children to the ministry of the Holy Spirit and speak love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance into our lives.
Satan, I take authority and command you and all your evil spirits to loose our family household and all the things you have stolen from us, including our property, income and investments, and return it seven-fold, in Jesus’ Name.
I ask you, Father that You send Your warring angels and cause to come into our family all the monies, treasures, properties, assets and things satan has stolen from us that have been ours through the blessings of Jesus Christ.
In the Name of Jesus, I take authority and bind every principality and strong man over (name business, job and any endeavors) at (name locations). I come against and cast out every spirit of fear, mismanagement, poverty, confusion, lack, failure and bankruptcy. In the Name of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I loose sound management, prosperity, clarity, wisdom, knowledge, blessings, profit, honesty, success, and favor from any business associates. Father I ask You, in the Name of Jesus, that You send warring angels to go before me to accomplish these blessings and create favor in my business.
In the Name of Jesus Christ and through His living blood, I bind you satan, and your entire kingdom so that you cannot and will not be active in (your community), in any person or animal. I come against your strongholds over every place dealing in drugs, pornography, prostitution, bars and nude bars, places selling witchcraft paraphernalia, palm readers and any place worshipping a false god. Through the power of the Holy Spirit vested in me, I tear down and curse these businesses at the roots and command them to dry up and go away.
Lord, don’t let me be just a warrior in your kingdom, but let me be a mighty warrior and front-line soldier, so that when I see you face to face You will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; come on in.” Amen.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011