All The Christmas Stuff

It was now January second, 2011. With the holidays now over for another year, we began the task of cleaning up all the stuff, and packing it away for next year. But after what happened with the lights, (see previous post,) I did not want to even start, without praying first.

“Dear Jesus,” I said in my prayer place, “please let us know if there are other things we need to get rid of, besides not lighting the Christmas lights during the winter solstice. Is there something else that we would be better off not having? I don’t want anything unclean in my house. I don’t want anything that the demons could use to enter and attack us with! Please Lord! Gift us with a spiritually clean camp for us to live in!”

I paused for several moments, waiting for a response, but all was silent.

“Oh Lord, You know my heart. You know it is for You. You know that I desire to serve You with all that I am. I live for You. You alone are why I am still here. Please. LET ME KNOW.”

Silence still greeted me. I sensed that I should begin my work. So I rose and went out to begin disassembling the Christmas decorations.

I began by removing all the ornaments on the Christmas tree, and putting them back in the huge ornament storage box. I was half way done with the ornaments, when I noticed that my hands had begun to burn, as if I had touched a caustic chemical somehow, and was having a reaction to it.

I wondered if it was from the box of new unbreakable plastic bulbs that we had opened and added to our tree this year. There was probably some chemical on them that was irritating my skin. I set them aside in their original packing, and made a note to not use them next year, just in case.

I went to wash my hands, and I applied some hand cream that had always worked before to calm down a chemical reaction on my skin.

But this time, there was no difference. My hands still burned as before.

I went back to my work, figuring that the lotion just needed more time to do its job.

I switched from working on the tree, to packing up the advent wreath. But the burning on my hands just became worse.

Suddenly, one of my kids came up to me and exclaimed “Mom! What have you been touching?! Your hands are just COVERED with thick, black, smoke!”

So I told the child what I had been doing, and that my hands were very much in pain.

“Mom,” This child responded to me, “I can’t even SEE your own hands at all! All I see is a ball of thick black swirling smoke at the end of each of your arms!”

I stopped what I was doing. I realized then, that the pain in my hands must be spiritual, and not physical. But then my heart began to ache as well, for I had just begun to realize, what this now meant.

All those Christmas tree ornaments! The advent wreath! The Lord was letting us know, that they were tainted, unclean!

Our family then gathered to discuss what this meant, and what should now be done. Everyone agreed that we needed to get rid of the stuff that was spiritually tainted.

My husband agreed to get rid of the holiday lights, for if he could no longer use them during the days of winter solstice, (December 21st through the 26th,) then they were not worth all the trouble of putting them up and taking them down every year.

The kids felt that if they could not have the lights on the Christmas tree, then they no longer wanted to put up the Christmas tree. Too much work, for little reward. (I had to agree with them; the Christmas tree lights are what made it all so beautiful and special. Without the lights, it seemed like just another tree that was in our house.) The kids did not like having to get under the tree to water it, and hated the influx of creepy (and even dangerous) spiders that surfaced shortly after it was first brought in. Pine needles got into everything and were a daily mess to sweep up.

“We could get a fake tree, if you wanted to try that,” I said to them.

But no one wanted to go through the bother.

“It’s o.k.,” said one of my kids. “We don’t have to have a tree.”

Another one piped up, “As long as we can still have the presents!” Then the thought of the alternative must have come into this child’s mind, for the child then quickly added, “We can still have presents, right mom?”

“I’m not prepared to make that kind of a decision right now. I’m still trying to come to terms with having no tree!”

They seemed to understand this, (they could see that I was shaken and very upset,) so they left their present questions for a later time.

No one questioned the vision of this particular child; this child is the one that can see into that unseen world, like most people can see each other. This child sees the demons and casts them out in the name of Jesus. This child sees and converses with the angels, and is filled with the Holy Spirit. Often times, this child was the one to give us warnings of evil that was coming our way, and we were able to avoid and prevent great tragedy because of it. We have learned not to ignore this child’s visions.

But this! Surely there was some mistake! All those Christmas tree ornaments? Ugh! I simply could not face such a loss, so I went into denial.

“Maybe there are some Christmas ornaments that we CAN keep,” I said to the others. “Maybe we should see which ones are tainted, and which ones are not.”

The others nodded in agreement.

So the kids and I began to go through each item, to discern if it was clean enough to keep or not.

Some were easy for the kids to discern; they were quick to point out those right away. But by the end of the day, my hands throbbed with burning pain, and it began to be too painful to touch anything else.

So I called for a break, and asked this particular child (the one who has such strong visions,) to come and help me bless my hands.

I did not even bother to wash my hands this time with soap and water, for I knew it was spiritual and not physical. THE MOMENT THE BLESSED OLIVE OIL TOUCHED MY ACHING HANDS, THE BURNING AND PAIN SUBSIDED!

The child looked at my hands and said, “The black smoke is all gone now Mom.”

I gave a great sigh of relief.

I then looked back upon all the things that we had gone through, and realized with a sinking heart, that it made up quite a big pile of stuff. There was not even one Christmas tree ornament that was able to be saved.

I went back to my God in prayer, and told Him how sad I was, about all the tainted items. I then asked Him what He wanted us to do with it.

“Wait. Just set it aside and wait till you go though all the Christmas stuff.”

But I knew what the end of these things would be. I knew in my heart, that He wanted us to get rid of all of it. I just didn’t know if He would want us to pass it through the fire, and then break it all up into little pieces.

We had done such, (as Acts 19:19 describes,) to smaller amounts that were unclean and found to be tainted idols, but never to such a large amount of stuff. Even with the smaller items, we found that it left the ground a dangerous mess, with shards of broken pottery, glass, and metal pieces that were too hard to fully remove from the fire pit. The thought of smashing all those glass bulbs was a bit much for me to bear. I imagined the mess it would make and dreaded it.

“Don’t think of that right now,” He told me. “Just work on going through all the stuff.”

As usual, the Lord was right.

It took us almost two weeks, to go through all the Christmas stuff. It was heart wrenchingly painful, for we found that most of it too, was tainted.

Several times I broke down crying, when I’d realize that something precious to me was actually tainted and needed to be removed.

Anything that had a Christmas logo on it, was seen as having that thick, black smoke on it. Santa, reindeer, elves, holly, holly berries, bulbs, ornaments, a string of lights, the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’, red and green ribbons, presents, wreaths, anything with Yule Tide written on it; it was all tainted with the spirit of Christmas.

I think the most surprising of all the stuff, was the baby Jesus statues. The Roman Catholic ones that had the hands and arms molded into their odd positions, (reminding me of the hands and fingers of the Buddha god statue,) were the ones that had the darkest black smoke around them. The one that had a picture of a simple baby on it, only had a grayish fog surrounding it. Madonna and child statues and pictures, especially the ones with the halo in back of their heads, were among the worst.

I thought of all the money that these things were worth, (some of this stuff had yet to even be opened!,) and that perhaps we should just sell them to someone else, but I cringed at the thought of being responsible for giving such tainted items to another. I didn’t want that on my conscience, not at any price!

Oh but the things that were hardest for me to give up, were the priceless heirlooms that had been handed down to me from my family. At least three generations of stuff. The table cloth painted and embroidered with holly leaves and berries by the kids great grandmother, The placemat, kitchen appliance covers, and stuffed centerpiece, all patterned with a huge Christmas swan (or goose) that had been sewn up by my mother for our family, the ceramic creche my mother had formed for us in her ceramics class, complete with real gold highlights painted on the figurines. This alone had cost her several hundred dollars, just to add real gold to the statues. Even the Christmas ornament made by my great grandmother’s hands had to go. All was tainted with the spirit of Christmas. The hardest one of all to let go of, was a small little manger set that I had grown up with. It held so many memories for me. The pull to keep it was very great! But every time I would touch it, my hands would start to burn again. I knew in my heart that I had to let it go.

Numerous times during this cleansing, I would stop, and go into my private prayer place, and ask the Lord if there was some way I could still keep some of the items.

But He would usually tell me no.

“But Lord!” I pleaded with Him, “I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff already! Would it really hurt to just keep a few things to remember it all by?”

And He would often answer me with a question of His own.

“How many doorways for demons would you like to keep in your home?”

Or these ones that really got in to the heart of the matter.

“Will you not follow Me, ma petite? Can’t you trust Me? Are you not Mine?”

These last questions would cause me to fall at His feet in surrender, and then return to the sorting.

But I still cried. For days it was as if I was in mourning. It took me a while to say goodbye to all the stuff. I know this sounds silly. I am ashamed to admit that I mourned the loss of these things. But morn them I did. And the Lord, in all His mighty patience, remained there right beside me, as I cried, mourned their loss, and then continued on until the next great heirloom triggered that retaining emotion within me. Then the whole process would start up all over again.

He never forced me to give up any of it. I knew I had the choice to keep it. But I also knew my God, which meant that if He wanted me to give it up, then there was a very good reason for Him to do so, and I simply needed to let go and put my trust in Him.

Finally, all the items had been sorted. All that was left, was some rolls of Christmas paper and ribbons in solid colors (and with no holiday printings on it,) a few greeting cards that had only pictures of snow flakes on them, and some guest hand towels, that had been cut off at one end, where a holiday design had once been embroidered upon it. These towels would now be used as kitchen rags.

Both my hands and my heart were exhausted.

As I sealed up the last of the huge boxes of Christmas items, I felt the Lord tell me what we were to do with them.

“Throw them out.”

“You mean we don’t have to burn it all in our fire pit?” (I was greatly relieved to hear this!)

“No.”

“But Lord,” I replied, “Our garbage can is already overflowing!” Then I thought of an alternative. “Can we bring the stuff down to the garbage dump?”

“Yes. Close the boxes up, and label their outsides as ‘GARBAGE’, and then take them down to the local dump.”

That Saturday morning, the stuff was tossed into the city dump. There, it would be added into a big pile of other people’s garbage, crushed into a very small block, and then finally burned in a huge furnace.

The remains of history totaling almost over one hundred years of family Christmases, (and at least a thousand dollars worth or more of stuff,) had just been removed from our house.

*

(And yes, in case you were wondering, our family still exchanges presents with each other. We now celebrate the Feast of Dedication. For eight nights, we each share a miracle or answered prayer from our own life, light the (7 candle) menorah, read scripture out loud, play board games with each other, and open up presents. Remembering God’s miracles in our lives has rekindled our faith in Him, and serves as a reminder to re-dedicate ourselves -a living temple,- back to Him. So far, no demonic attacks upon our family have taken place from celebrating this holy day, and great peace is experienced during this time, especially while the menorah is lit.)

To Jesus Christ goes all Glory! Thank you Jesus Christ of Nazareth!!

* * * *

The Spirits of Christmas

“The Spirits of Christmas”

It was December 24th, 2010.
Everything was ready. The tree was fully decorated, and the lights were glowing brightly, the presents were wrapped and tucked underneath it, right next to the antique miniature barn that held baby Jesus, His parents, and the wise men bearing gifts. Even our house was outlined in icicle lights, and the illuminated sign that said PEACE, with a lighted dove next to it could be seen by anyone who drove by.

But something wasn’t right, something still did not feel right, yet again.

This was not the first Christmas that our family felt this; for the past six or more Christmases had been tainted by these same emotions.

Christmas had become known in my family, as a tension-filled mine field, where at least someone (often more,) in our family started a fight with each other, over something small and trivial, and it would get blown all out of proportion. There were two Christmases that my husband stormed out of the house, not even saying when or if he would return. Usually, it was the kids that broke down and fought with each other, often over who got to open up the next present. There were the usual whines from those who never seemed quite satisfied with whatever had been gifted to them.

This was all very odd behavior from my family; in our every-day-lives we usually got along well enough and were very thankful for anything that was given to us.

I was determined that this Christmas would be different.

All of us noted that familiar feeling, of something not being quite right, so we stood in a circle, read some scripture out loud, and then prayed that we would have a peace-filled evening.

But once again, the fighting broke out among our children, this time under their mumbled breaths, (thinking if they were quiet enough we would not hear them,) so I immediately called a time-out, and went into the bedroom to pray.

“We can stop this right now, Lord!” I said to my God. “We don’t have to open up the gifts. If You want us to walk away from all this, just say the word, and we will!”

I stood there, under the cross, waiting for some kind of revelation or word to come from Him. But instead of addressing my words, He had me read Psalm 91, and after several moments it did finally have its usual calming effect upon me. He then told me to go back out to where the family was still waiting. This confused me, for I felt as if nothing had really been resolved. But still He nudged me to go back out into the living room. So before I got up to go, I told Him yet again, “Whatever you want us to do, we will do…”

The moment I walked back out into the room, one of my kids came up to me and boldly spoke.

“Mom,” this child said, “Jesus told me that we need to turn off all the lights.”

I frowned. “ALL the lights?” (This seemed odd; why would God want us in complete darkness?)

“No,” this child responded, “He said to turn off all the Christmas lights, even the outside ones, and then cast out the spirits of Christmas.”

Ah. Then I understood.

During our research on the history of Christmas, we learned that the pagan Druids would put lights in their window sills, in the hopes that as the spirits flew above them over the land during the winter solstice of Dec. 21st to the 26th, they would see the lights below and know that they were welcome in that home.

So we went and turned off all the holiday lights on our property, inside and out, and then came back to gather in the living room.

Everything seemed dull now, without the glitter and sparkle of the Christmas tree lights. It felt like even the holiday itself was pausing, waiting to see what we would do next.

We held each others hands, and then together we cast out the spirits of Christmas in Jesus name.

We then sat back down, and my husband and I began discussing the question of who would open up the first present. We then bravely decided to let the children decide.

To everyone’s amazement, they all quickly agreed. My first born son would get to open up the first present!

This son was greatly surprised. NEVER had he ever gone first in opening up the first one! Usually he vied so hard for that first place position that he usually ended up going last.

And so went the rest of the night. Cooperation, helpfulness, thankfulness, and patience re-formed the evening. No fighting or arguing broke out, and we were able to enjoy watching each other open up the gifts. No rushing, no tension, no me me me me.

Just PEACE!

All during the winter solstice, when we put on the Christmas lights, (any of them,) ill will would re-surface, and we would once again have to resort to turning off all the Christmas lights, and casting out those spirits of Christmas.

In the end, we realized that it was a price we were willing to pay. In giving up those Christmas lights, we found the PEACE that we had been longing for.

Thank you Jesus Christ of Nazareth for answering our prayers!
* * * *

Silver Clippings

A dream…

Our family was traveling on foot,
With our meager possessions in our packs.

We were traveling in a suburb of some city in California,
Walking down the paved streets
That checkered through the housing subdivision.

There was nothing special about this housing subdivision;
We had traveled through many of them before.
They could have been from any suburban subdivision in the United States.

The houses were mostly without inhabitant,
Though there were a few here and there that had people living in them.
Yards for the most part were dry and barren, as most vegetation had dried up long ago and had not yet returned.

The houses were usually watched by cams from the street lights,
so that if anyone was trying to break in the windows or doors of the vacant house, they would be easily identified and end up getting caught by the authorities. For this reason, most homes still had all their windows and doors intact.

One always traveled with some kind of gun or weapon,
For you never knew when one would try to rob you of whatever you had left.
Those still in their houses, were well fortified with ammunition, and did not fear the casual small group of wanderers.

But they still watched us closely as we traveled past their homes.

We came to one home dweller, who was outside in front of his garage, doing some kind of maintenance to his portable garden box.

These portable garden boxes were usually about the size of a window ledge flower box, and within them were planted the special greens and herbs that were favored by those who tended them. These herb boxes were so common, that it seemed as if everyone had them, no matter if you were a traveler or if you still stayed in a home.

This man, the one who still lived in his home, was out letting his box of herbs get some sunshine. He had a cat, who was trying to eat some of the herbs from the man’s box, but the cat was having a hard time trying to chew on the thick leafed plant.

The man seen us walking by, and gave us a brief nod of greeting. So we commented to him, that it looked as if his cat was having a hard time trying to chew on the leaves he had given it, and that cats sometimes liked to chew on grass instead.

When the man said that he had no grass for it to chew on, we showed him our box, and told him we would be willing to trade some of our grass, (we had a small clump of wheatgrass,) for some needed items, if he had them and was interested.

He was, but what we needed, and what we had to trade, was not even in value, so we pulled out our handkerchief, and looked to see how much money we had left, to see if we could somehow still make the trade.

We spread out our handkerchief, and I could see small flecks and chunks of silver. There were a few very short pieces of silver wire, a tiny link from a bracelet, and some short strands from a silver necklace, but for the most part, the silver pieces consisted of odd pie-shaped coin clippings, that once made up and had formed our old 1964 and earlier silver dimes and silver quarters.

We offered him a few of the larger silver pieces, (the ones that had been clipped from an old silver quarter,) and two of the smaller clippings from a silver dime, but he wanted something more as well, something that was not silver.

“Do you have any keys?” he asked.

We looked at each other in some puzzlement, as this seemed like an odd request.

We shrugged our shoulders. “No,” we responded to him, “Not really. Just an old house key from when we used to live in Austin, Texas. But that’s not made of silver or even brass, and it was from many years ago. I’m sure they’ve changed the locks on the house it used to belong to by now.”

But as soon as we said that we had such a key, the man’s face lit up and he said that if we threw that in the pot, then it would be a done deal.

So we gave him the old house key and the few chunks of silver, and as we were loading up our purchased provisions, we asked him what he was going to do with the old house key. (This man lived in the state of California, and the only method of travel was by foot or by horse. So traveling to Texas somehow seemed out of the question for one who already lived in a house.)

It turns out that in the area we were passing through, there was a new fad, that could make or break a trade deal, and it was the addition of some kind of key. It really didn’t matter what kind of key it was, or if it was even known what it was the key to. What mattered was that it was a key to something that had once been kept under lock and key, meaning something of value.

House keys were worth the most, but car keys and other keys were also worth quite a bit. Once the key was in one’s possession, it was like the equivalent of buying a lottery ticket. One could go from vacant house to vacant house, (or from car to car, or lock to lock,) in the hopes that the key might just be similar enough to the original key of that house (or whatever item,) to actually open up the lock. If you were able to open up the house (or car or whatever,) you would be able to claim ownership of that house, at the very least for many, many days, and maybe even be able to gain permanent ownership of it. (The authorities figured if you had the key to the house, then the house was really yours.) It was like winning a hotel stay at a luxury vacation home, that had the possibility of becoming permanent.

If the key did not open up any of the homes (or whatever) in your area, you could always trade it to someone else from another area, and to them it would be just like a new lottery ticket, where they could start the whole process over again in the hopes that they might be holding the one magic key to open up an unused home. If none opened up in their area, they could still trade it to another, and pass it on that way.

To us, it didn’t seem right somehow, It seemed more like a scam. But we could see why it held a certain appeal. Now a days being able to acquire a home legally, was nearly impossible.

But the Lord had told our family to move, and He had not yet told us to stop. So we said goodbye to the man, and continued on in our journey, thankful that we now had the provisions we needed.

I then woke up from the dream.

* * * *