woolen stockings

In November, my newly-married daughter called and said, “I was thinking of sewing a pair of Christmas stockings for us — but then I thought of you…” Could I maybe sew them a pair? Would there be enough time? Her request fell into place after the year-end orders, and then I made the time. So for my dear daughter and son-in-law on the occasion of their first Christmas: keepsake woolen Christmas stockings.

(Unfortunately, our house is not equipped with its own fireplace mantel for the perfect photo shoot, but I do have this gorgeous oak buffet passed down from my parents. Hmmm, yes, I think it’ll do.)

Green for him:

And red for her:

Stockings are 18.5″ long, 10″ wide, lined with cotton knit.

A happy, blessed Christmas to you all!

It’s been a delightful year for The Green Sheep, thanks to all of you!  I so appreciate your support as you read the blog and pass the link on to others.  Thank you!

And now I simply want to wish you all a Christmas full of WONDER, of HOPE, and of JOY— as we celebrate the day of Jesus’ birth on Earth.  Merry, merry Christmas!

[Photo credit: Nigel Roddis/Reuters — Snow-covered sheep in Helperby, England]


Twin Lambs

Well, they’re not really lamb twins — they’re baby girl twins, and they are due to join Mom, Dad, and a big brother and sister in November.

But recently, Big Brother told his mom that these babies are Jesus’ little lambs.  I think that’s how the theme started for the nursery.

I was able to have two blankets ready for Susan’s (the expectant mom) baby shower.  In fact, several friends brought lamb-themed things.  That room will be a welcome place for these sweet babies, and a constant reminder of God’s loving care.

I wrote this Bible verse in the card I took to the shower  —

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;

he gently leads those that have young.”  (Isaiah 40.11)

The last line of that passage has some comforting words for PARENTS  —  “He gently leads those that have young.”  Another friend at the shower commented, “It’d be nice if sometimes He would lead us more loudly and with clearer direction!”  Parenting is a challenge :).

[On a side note: Susan has been a huge encourager to me with The Green Sheep.  In fact, it was her request when she ordered a baby blanket for a friend last year that started me adding appliqués to blankets….

….She originally requested a turquoise-and-brown theme to match her friend’s nursery.  After I finished that, Susan asked, “Can you add a picture to it?”  That blanket became “A Happy Little Tune.”]

We all love you and wish you and your growing family well, Susan!

“Jesus’ Little Lambs”  (each is 35″ x 37″)

These blankets have already gone to a good home.

Easter and the Good Shepherd

Happy Easter to each of you!  In our family, we greet each other Easter morning with: “He is risen!  He is risen indeed!”  I wish I could share my fresh-baked hot cross buns with you for breakfast. (Except — oops — they are bare, as I forgot to slice the crosses on the top of this batch.)

Easter and Good Friday and The Green Sheep have all made me think about the references to sheep in the Bible.  There are many.  For the past 8 months, I’ve been studying the book of Isaiah with a great group of women — a tremendous study.  There’s lots about sheep there, a bit of which I shared in my Good Friday post.

(Photo by mehmetgoren)

Last year we studied the book of John, another wildly wonderful book.  I remembered some talk about shepherds there, so I went back to find it.  In chapter 10, Jesus used some very familiar “people in the neighborhood” (a la Sesame Street, Hebrew style) to teach something about himself.  He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10.11).

(Photo by Jim Richardson)

This reminds me of the 23rd psalm, where David describes the day-to-day shepherding care he received from the Lord.  (And I think it’s cool that David wrote from what he knew, as he was a shepherd before becoming king.)  “The Lord is my shepherd,” he wrote, “I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”  (Psalm 23.1-3).

So how does this tie to Easter?  Well, Jesus did an extraordinary thing in laying down his life to conquer sin (Good Friday) and then in rising to conquer death (Easter).   Today he LIVES as a guiding, care-taking, restoring shepherd…to those lost sheep like me who call on him.

Good Friday and Straying Sheep

Last year, while visiting a church, my husband and I saw this unusual cross.  It has nails pounded into it to write out an incredible passage from Isaiah.  It’s about Jesus.

It says:  “He was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”  –Isaiah 53.5-6.

(Photo by Daniele Sartori)

So that’s what happened on “Good Friday.”  I am one of those straying sheep and am so grateful that Jesus took the cost of my sin upon himself.  Seriously.  By his wounds I have been healed.  It’s more than I can comprehend and yet I am so thankful!

The sheep at the stable

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2.8-11).

This week, with our Christmas decorations still up, I’ve found myself thinking about the sheep in our nativity set.  I’ve thought how very “like God” it was of God to include disrespected shepherds and their not-particularly-smart sheep in His advent here on this planet.  The shepherds were among the first to learn that something wondrous was happening in a Bethlehem stable, and they came (with their sheep traipsing along) to see a newborn whose birth had been foretold in ancient scriptures:  “For to us a child is born.…and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9.6).

Sheep are mentioned quite a lot in the Bible.  Most memorably, people are compared to sheep—lost if without their shepherd, sometimes wandering and astray.  When he grew up, Jesus called Himself the good shepherd.  When I see that little porcelain lamb peering over the manger’s edge at baby Jesus,  this is what I think:  Like that lamb, I would be lost without my shepherd,  Jesus.  What a perfect object lesson God provided when He invited the sheep to the stable.