How the Sand Dollar Points to Hope, Love, and Peace

“The legend of the Sand dollar
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus Christ
Found in this lowly shell.

If you will examine closely,
You’ll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman’s spear.

On one side the Easter Lily,
It’s center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas Poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday,
Our joyous Christmas tide.

Now break the center open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread good will and peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me.
To help to spread His Message
Through all eternity.”

– Anonymous –

The five doves inside are something I found out about recently. Doves. Signs of hope and peace. Signs of God faithfully sending His love. Signs that He will never forget us.

I have several sand dollars, but only one has five holes or lunules. There are several species of sand dollars. Key Hole Sand Dollars have lunules. All species do have the five doves inside which were actually their teeth when they were alive. God’s unique designs of His multitudes of creatures are fascinating, aren’t they?

Sand Dollar Facts Video

8 Things You Don’t Know About Sand Dollars

I’m taking off for the remainder of this year for a needed time of reflection, rest, and renewal. May God flood our hearts with the joy and hope-filled expectation of the celebration of Christ’s birth this Advent Season.

I hope to be back the first Tuesday in January.

“May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in Him, so that you
may overflow with hope by
the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13

Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love
by JDWood

“We long for Hope
When hopelessness is found
We pray for Peace
When violence abounds
We thirst for Joy
To lift our heavy hearts
We wait for love
To shine out in the dark
Then unto us a Son is given…”

Butterfly Blessings from God

Nature is one of the channels God uses to breathe life into fainting spirits and to give assurance that He is still in control over all, no matter what happens in our lives and in this world.

At the end of May, my youngest brother was admitted to ICU with severe pancreatitis. I cried out to God to heal him and spare his life. I was afraid, and I could not trust God’s plan for him. Other anxieties for those struggling emotionally, stories not mine to tell, were also storming in my heart, threatening to drown me.

One day I took a walk and spotted a Monarch and a Painted Lady on a lilac bush. As I gazed in awe, the storm in my heart stilled as God whispered, “I’m with him, My child. I’ve got him. I’m with those who are emotionally in pain. I am with you.” The heavy load that threatened to crush me drained from me, and I could release all of them to His care and His plan.

Some time later, I was with some of my siblings and families in a park. It had been my turn this year to plan a reunion, and I needlessly worried about it for months. I love them all dearly, but crowds aren’t my thing. I’m more a one-on-one gal. I was also worried about over-doing it, because sometimes when I get out of my slower routine, health repercussions follow. Probably deeper though was the anxiety I have for anyone hurting and the helplessness I feel that I can’t “fix” things. (I’m still a work in progress in surrendering everyone’s needs to God.) As I sat at a table underneath a shelter, my heart felt grieved, my spirit disconnected, and my body tired and achy. Then there it was! A butterfly fluttering near me! And God whispered, “I’m here. I’m still with you” as He breathed His sufficient grace into my weariness. Later on, the butterfly flew by again with its reassuring love note. Thank You, God!

God continued to send me love notes through butterflies at timely moments throughout the summer. I could be looking out the window at home, driving along in our van, or taking a walk.

What was your summer like? I know many of you are suffering from losses in one way or another, and I’m so sorry. It can be hard to open our hearts to God’s messages of comfort when we are weighed down with grief, can’t it? I pray God strengthens each of you.

Did God sometimes strengthen or comfort you through His creation? How? Please feel free to share with us!

“The Lord Himself goes before you
and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8
Some butterflies have battered wings,
but they still fly and spread God’s encouragement.

♥️ A lesson for us that God can use us, no matter how broken we are. ♥️

He Is With Us
by Love and The Outcome

“Remember when your hope is lost and faith is shaken
Remember when you wonder if you’re gonna make it
There’s a hand stretched out through your deepest doubt
We can’t pretend to see the ending or what’s coming up ahead
To know the story of tomorrow
But we can stay close to the One who knows

We can trust our God
He knows what He’s doing
though it might hurt now

We won’t be ruined
It might seem there’s an ocean in between
But He’s holding on to you and me
And He’s never gonna leave, no
He is with us, He is with us (always, always)
He is with us, He is with us (always)”

(P.S. My brother’s life was spared!)

Because Jesus Came Down, Love Will Never Fail

“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Don’t you just love the Christmas movies where love prevails? When a cold heart is melted? When a person’s life is changed for the better?

Sometimes all a person needs is one person in the world who cares. In The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, one little girl wormed her way into The Grinch’s heart. He hated Christmas and all the Whos down in Whoville who celebrated it. Christmas triggered a bad memory from his childhood when he was bullied and not accepted for who he was. But little Cindy Lou didn’t want him to be left out, and no matter how mean The Grinch was to her, she kept showing him she cared until finally the walls around his heart came tumbling down and his heart grew three sizes bigger. And peace was restored in Whoville.

Then there’s Jack Frost in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. He tried to take the warmth of love out of Christmas. He wanted it to be about him and his honor, not about love and giving. And again a little child leads, because along comes little Lucy Miller whose heart brims over with love. She hugs Jack Frost, and his cold heart melts and he becomes a better person. And peace was restored at the North Pole.

Even though some Christmas movies are make-believe and don’t speak of how love began with Jesus, there can still be an important message of love in them for our real world. Love changes things. One loving person can make an impact on others.

Sometimes we can get discouraged by all the hate, greed, and violence in this world, but love changes hearts, people, and circumstances. Because love came down at Christmas, peace is possible however impossible it seems.

When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, tragedy both in the nation and in his family shook him to the core of his being. A raging Civil War, a son crippled from war wounds, and his dear wife’s tragic death sunk him into a deep depression. The joyous ringing of Christmas bells seemed to mock his sadness. Hate is so strong. Where is the peace?

And in despair I bowed my head ;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said ;
“For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men !”

Don’t we sometimes feel the same way when troubles and losses abound and when we look at everything that is happening in the world around us?

But God poured His love in, and hope revived in the heart of Longfellow. In the final stanza, he penned:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead ; nor doth He sleep !
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men !”

Even though it may not seem so, love will prevail. Hope is still alive, because love came down at Christmas. Because Jesus came, love is possible in a world of hate, greed, and violence. Love can melt hardened hearts, change lives, and pour healing and peace into broken hearts and a broken world. Love that Jesus brought, love that can never be taken away, love that will be victorious forever.

Love Came Down
by Kim Walker-Smith

Love came down
Hope was found
A star lit the sky
The angels cried glory
Light broke through
The darkest night
Hope is alive
Hope is alive
Cause love came down
Love came down

May God pour into our hearts
His love, hope, and peace,
and may we pour it
out to others!