Building Blocks

I’ll be doing less writing in January while I master the new WordPress post system using blocks.

However, I will re-post previously short fictional stories for those who missed a few reads. I will also try and read other peoples posts a few times a week and respond to comments.

Short stories will be archived in Children’s Corner Short Fiction and Younger Teens on Riverside Peace.

Enjoy your January reading. 🙂

Shepherds

Luke 2:8-20 says: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”

At the time of Jesus birth, people who attended sheep were considered one of the least significant of the human race by other people. They lived quiet and humble lives, often spending their days and nights with their flocks. The sheep that they tended were probably bred as sacrifice animals for the temple in near-by Jerusalem. These shepherds were just doing their usual job when the angels appeared before them.

I think I would be shaking in my sandals too. The news the angel gave the shepherds would have surprised them too. Babies would have been plentiful during the census and specific descriptions were to help the shepherds find Jesus among the crowded town.

When they went down into Bethlehem, they found Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. They worshipped the newborn king before returning to their flocks glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen. It had been just as the angel had told them.

I can imagine the shepherds telling their friends and families for weeks after the event. This incident would have made a significant change in their tedious lives. History tells how shepherds had become accepted and probably even admired by many.

Jesus refers to himself as the “good Shepherd”.

John 10:11 tells us, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
John 10:14 says: “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

The next time you sing the Christmas carol While Shepherds watched Their Flocks by Night, take notice of the words and remember their significant place in the Christmas Story.

Father, thank you for sending your son to earth as a small baby. Thank you that lowly shepherds were among the first to greet Jesus and for the reminder of the significance of the birth. We praise you, just as the angels and shepherds did on that night so long ago. Amen.

© Chrissy Siggee 

First Published 2014

Scripture Verses used are from the King James Version of the Bible

 

What Does Christmas Mean To You?

Jubilance radiates tranquil moments,
Young lovers pursue tender embraces–
Neighbourhood children join in games
Sweet aromas saturate festive appetites
Families share in united harmony.

Midnight services fill the churches,
Choirs sing in joyous proclamation–
Nativity scenes and dramas unfold,
Ascended praises announce His birth
Jesus Christ, Saviour and Lord.

Silence falls before the dawn,
Christmas excitement awakes the birds–
Gifts exchanged and children squeal,
Doorbells ring of kith and kin
Celebrations unfold with festive feast.

Church bells echo through the town,
God’s people gather near and far –
Scripture is read of our Saviour’s birth,
Mankind raise their voices with carols sung,
Christians celebrate the birth of Christ.

© Chrissy Siggee

 

The Christmas Star

It twinkles high above the earth
Once glistened on a royal birth—
Encircled by an angel’s choir
Proclaiming God’s desire.

Shepherds feared that dazzling light
Attending their sheep that holy night
It lured wise men from afar—
Vowed to follow this shining star.

Jesus was born in a cattle stall
Found wrapped in a shabby shawl
Beneath a clear night sky—
His mother Mary sits nearby.

No matter where we are
You can see the Christmas star—
Look within your heart He called,
It’s the brightest star of all.

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in:  Christian Reads

Mary

Luke 1:26-28 says “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

The New Testament begins its account of Mary’s life with the visit of Gabriel the angel who was sent by God as His messenger. The Lord God himself selected Mary to be the mother of Jesus. The Bible records Mary’s role in key events of the life of Jesus from his virgin birth to his crucifixion.

Christians acknowledge Mary as “blessed among women” (Luke 1:42) but we do not all agree that Mary is to be venerated. She is considered to be an outstanding example of a life dedicated to God.

Luke 1:38 says “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”

Mary used the word “handmaid” which is usually translated as “bond-servant” or “slave”, which refers to someone whose will is consumed by the will of another—in this case Mary’s will is consumed by God’s. From this I see her attitude being parallel with what John the Baptist said in John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease” (KJV) or, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (NIV).

Whichever argument you choose, or doctrine you follow, Mary had to have been one special lady for God to choose her to be the mother of Jesus. She was a handmaiden of the Lord.

This Christmas let us remember that we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth as a human child. It was Jesus who died for our sake and put our sins upon himself. He is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.

He was born of Mary—a servant of the Lord.

© Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the King James version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.

Archived in
Christian Reads by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Goodbye, My Friend

It’s not really a final goodbye, my friend

because I know I’ll see you again.

The times we spent together,

cried and laughed

I will cherish always.

/

It’s all right now for you to go, my friend

because your many years of pain are over.

Those times we prayed together,

joy and sorrow

I will cherish always.

/

It’s time for you to be at peace, my friend

because we shared a secret or two.

The chats we often shared,

together and apart

I will cherish always.

/

It’s not the many years, my friend

because I could always count on you.

Those times I will think of you,

today and tomorrow

I will cherish always.

/

It’s the beyond tomorrow, my friend

because you will be here, in my heart.

The tears will come and go,

sadness and joy

I will cherish… always.

Poem by Chrissy Siggee

In memory of my dear friend Betty who went home to Jesus on Monday December 14th 2020.

Archived in: Poetry Mix

A Cradle Fit for Royalty

Luke 2:15-16 says: “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.”

I’ve often heard of women not making it in time to a hospital to give birth. Even a well-prepared home birth can be messed up if the expecting mother is caught across town in the supermarket. Taxi births are common, so are babies born in elevators. But what would be more degrading for a mother in the modern world than to give birth in a tiny barn full of smelly animals?

It’s true that the birth itself is often quickly forgotten when the joy of holding your newborn baby in your arms follows. Your baby is the most beautiful princess, or little prince, you have ever laid eyes on. It’s then time to show your precious new family member the nursery that you have so lovingly put together during the months of waiting. The cradle that took you forever to choose, and don’t forget the bunny rugs.

But wait a moment! I don’t remember reading that part in the Christmas story. The shepherds found the baby lying in a manger. A manger is kept in a stable. It’s used as the feeding trough for donkeys and milking cows! There would probably even be hens and a goat or two sharing the small space around the manger. Here is where the King of the Jews was sleeping. And, sitting close by with watchful eyes, were Mary and Joseph; a humble pair who had traveled many miles to find no room in the inn.

This cradle was made for royalty. Jesus was born in a manger because He was, and is, and will always be “Lord of Lords and King of Kings”.

This same Jesus was found by the shepherds wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger—a cradle made for royalty.

Father, thank you for sending your son to earth. Help me never to forget the wonder of that first Christmas morning when the King of Kings came as a humble baby who was given by you to be called Jesus our Saviour. Amen

© Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the King James Version of the Bible

 

A Summertime Christmas

I see a lot of winter Christmas posts and they’re all wonderful but I thought some photos of a summer Christmas needs to be shared.

It’s our 2nd Christmas at our new home but because we only moved in a few weeks before Christmas last year we didn’t decorate much.
Simple decorations in a little house can look good too.
Poinsettias are common here too.
Outdoors is where you will find us most days.

Archived in: Photography & Retirement

It’s That Special Time of the Year

Giggles, Christmas trees and sweets,
Holly wreaths and jingle bells—
It’s that special time of the year.

Gift shopping, carols and holly,
We wander through decorated stores—
It’s that special time of the year.

Granny smiles and Poppy winks,
Sharing secrets and candy canes—
It’s that special time of the year.

Garland hanging on the door,
Wishing festive Christmas cheer—
It’s that special time of the year.

Greeting cards to choose and mail,
Sending wishes to someone dear—
It’s that special time of the year.

Good times remembered and shared,
Missing loved ones no longer here—
It’s that special time of the year.

God’s son, Jesus birth remembered,
Nativity scenes and Christmas plays—
It’s that special time of the year.

Glory to the new born king,
Remembering the reason—
It’s that special time of the year.

© Chrissy Siggee

 

Shine – Like the Christmas Star

Matthew 5:16 says: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Christmas is approaching fast and stores are filled with decorations and gifts for all ages. Christmas trees, real and fake, dazzle us with lights and baubles. Let’s face it; it gives us all a feeling of excitement that Christmas is just around the corner.

Celebrations of the birth of Christ may vary from family to family, from church to church and from tradition to tradition. In reality it doesn’t matter how we celebrate as long as the true message of Christmas is our main focus.

As a child, my favourite Christmas decoration was the Christmas Star. We placed the star on the top of our tree year after year. One Christmas, we visited cousins who used a fairy. A star was nowhere to be seen. As a nine-year-old at that time I could not comprehend how a fairy could replace the precious tree-topper. Later in life when I had my own family the idea of a fairy tree-topper never entered my mind. Our own children were brought up knowing the true meaning of Christmas: The birth of Jesus. The brightness of that Christmas star reflected the announcement of royalty birth, Jesus—the light of the world and guided the shepherds and the wise men to Jesus.

In the same way, our hearts need to reflect the love of Jesus who resides in us. Our lives need to reveal the light that burns just like the Christmas Star. We can let our light so shine before men—and our families who don’t always see eye-to-eye of what Christmas is about. Live as Jesus would live. Speak as Jesus would speak; with love in our hearts that shine like the Christmas Star that can lead others to Jesus.

Let’s show love and grace to those who see things differently to us this Christmas. Let your light shine so we glorify your Father, which is in heaven.

Father, let our light shine from within that we may lead others to Jesus and let the true message of Christmas be seen by your love within us. Amen

© Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the New International version of the Bible.

Haunting Wails and the Seashell

Multi-coloured seashells lined the shelf in Sophie’s spare room. They had always fascinated her nine-year-old granddaughter, Emma. Each shell had its own special story. Today, Emma had asked to hear about the big shiny spotted one, which twisted and curled to a little holey point.

Emma carefully lifted the shell from the shelf and sat on the bed as Sophie entered from the kitchen, wiping her wet hands on her apron. She smiled down at her granddaughter holding the shell gently in her lap. ‘I suppose you want to know about this very special seashell.’

‘Where did you find it, Nanna? It’s so pretty.’

‘It is pretty—as pretty as the beach I found it on. But this shell has a sad story to tell. The memory will live forever in here.’ Sophie placed her hand over her heart before continuing.

‘Poppa and I were visiting a place far from here on the west coast for a holiday back in 1992. It was our holiday of a lifetime—just after your mother finished college. It was a summer. We were staying at a resort village and Poppa and I spent the evenings walking along the cooling sand. On the third evening there was a full moon and we were about to head back up the beach to our bungalow when we heard a pitiful moaning. It seemed like it was coming from the ocean. The sound lingered like a haunting wail that echoed. I have to admit, I was afraid. I’m not one to believe in ghosts, but that night I would have believed anything.’

‘Oh, Nanna, that must have been soooo scary. What did you and Poppa do? What was it?’

Sophie traced the contour of the twisted shell to the point, holding her finger in mid-air for a moment before continuing. ‘Well at first we just stood there trying to work out what it was. Some of the resort staff came running down onto the beach yelling, ‘Save them! Save them!’ It was then that we realized there were black mounds rolling in the surf. They looked like huge boulders. Some were closer to us on the wet sand; water lapping around them from the incoming tide. Some of the people started running into the waves. Poppa grabbed my hand. The boulders were actually whales. Some had already beached themselves—others splashed about a little offshore where waves crashed around them.’

Tears ran down her cheeks as she recalled the events. ‘People were trying to persuade them back by yelling at them. Others just stood, staring, as one by one they beached themselves. It was an awful sight.’

‘Did they go back into the water?’ Emma asked, her eyes reflecting her anguish.

‘Unfortunately, most of them didn’t. I guess its part of nature. We never did find out why those whales beached themselves. We tried to help by keeping the whales wet. We even tried to encourage them back into the water.’ Sophie shook her head. ‘Four days later the beach was covered in dead and dying whales—fifteen in all. I remember I sat in the shallow water beside a mother and her calf and wept for them. Poppa and I took turns taking short naps and taking time out for meals provided by the resort’s kitchen. We continued our vigil for four days—the remainder of our holiday. We’ve always considered it a small sacrifice. We managed to get three whales back out into deeper water—only three, but we were relieved we were able to help in a small way.’

‘Oh, Nanna, this is the saddest story of all. But, where did you find the shell?’

Sophie picked up the shell and blew into the small hole at the point. It made a howling sound, like the wind. She handed it back to Emma so she could have a blow, and continued her story.

‘About mid-morning on the last day, men with hoists came and loaded the dead whales onto the back of trucks to take them away—for burial. I suppose we were too exhausted to ask where. When they lifted the calf beside me, I noticed something lodged in the wet sand. Poppa used his hands to dig it out and held it up to look at it more closely. One of the helpers from the night before took it from Poppa’s hands and washed it in the seawater. He lifted it to his lips and blew it, long and loud. It sounded almost like the mournful cry we had heard the evening before. The man handed it to me and walked away, back up the beach to the resort where he worked. I’ll never forget those whales—or the beach.’

Emma blew into the shell. The haunting wail lingered like the memories on the shelf. Sophie sat beside her in silence for a few minutes.  Emma traced her finger around the shell before placing it into Sophie’s hand. She too, traced her finger to the point then placed it back in its place on the shelf.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Children’s Corner at Riverside Peace

Summer Harvests

We never know what vegetables we’re having for lunch or tea until we harvest.
It’s been like this most days.
Last of the yellow tomatoes from the first planting. There must have been at least 10 containers like this picked to date. This last lot are mostly green but we had to pull the plant out because it was taking over the garden.
The new plant is already a metre high and flowering.
Silverbeet is almost finished but corn and yellow beans are already in and growing.

Archived in: I’m in the Garden

Heavenly Angels Sing

A king is born today,
within a stable full of straw—
This baby in a manger lay,
is what the shepherds saw.

He came to earth to breathe as man,
to live, to die for us all—
This was God’s own plan,
what shall I bring the Father’s son?

Worship in humble adoration,
to this child our offering bring—
Praise, love, faith and hope,
heavenly angels sing.

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in: Christian Reads

Jesus, Hope to the world.

Psalm 72:12-13 For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.”

Colossians 1:27 “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

It’s sad to think that for many people Christmas means nothing more than parties, decorations, holidays and time off work. I see more to this time of year; it’s a blessed reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ. My hope is founded in this baby; a baby that was born to save mankind. My hope in him is real.

In reality though, it’s difficult for many people to find hope. We live in a misplaced world of social injustice, crime, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, disease, pain and loneliness. Jesus means hope to all mankind, but we have to grasp the promises of God and take them to the world – whether it be across the road or a across the ocean.

When you find Jesus, you find hope, and there’s no false hope in Jesus. It’s not a fanciful fairy tale wishing for a happy ending. We as Christians need to spread hope; not just by preaching The Word but by doing The Word. Millions of people do not even know Christmas is just around the corner, or what the fuss is about. Many people don’t know where their next meal will come from, and wouldn’t know what turkey and Christmas pudding is. They don’t see any hope. They see nothing but despair…

As Christians, we are supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus. As His hands and feet, we are to serve Him by serving others. Christmas is a renewal of hope. It reconfirms for us the revelation that Jesus is the reason for this season. It was settled long ago, so we don’t have to doubt. Jesus is the fulfillment of our hope; our deepest longings come true.

Lord, let your hope and joy radiate through us. Help us to embrace the hope we have in you and share it with those less fortunate than ourselves, whether it be spiritually, emotionally or by using our hands and feet for your glory. Amen.

© Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the New International Version of the Bible