About Me

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Blue Ridge Area of Virginia
Alicha McHugh is author of "Daughter of the Promise" first in her: Numbered Among the Stars series (available on Amazon.com). She is a homemaker to her husband of 15 years, homeschooler to their children. Writing, enjoying tea and creaming Raw Honey are three of her current pursuits. Grabbing time to read is always high on her list of priorities! If you'd like to contact her, she'd love to hear from you! Just email: alichamchugh@gmail.com

Friday, December 24, 2010

This Christmas...

There's something 'off' about this Christmas. There's a general calm about it, for me. Almost like it's moving in slow motion and I'm taking pictures or video clips of moments before they pass by. I do that sometimes. Like when Arowyn was born and her first few years, EVERYONE said how fast it all flies by, and it does ;). So along with a camera fused to my fingers(I took pictures in the GROCERY store of all places) I took hold of moments, I felt the very air around me and cemented the sights, touch, smells, emotions like a cast in my senses.

For example, I can revisit my first Mother's day and it's like I'm reliving a certain moment when I was rocking Arowyn in my arms (one of the only times she let me snuggle her till she was almost 2) singing "Hush my Dear". I feel the weight of her little body in my arms. Such a big baby for us! I see the slant of the late afternoon light filtering through to our little one bedroom apartment living room. I feel the alternating cool, warm air of spring moving in from outside as I open the screened porch, both airs pulling for dominance. But either way, I'm warm, Arowyn is my little heater. I hear cars and birds and the quiet of peaceful. I remember my world until then, all the wrongness and ugliness that had been a part of our lives for so long, it's distant now. So much so that it blurs and and my new reality is birthed.

But back then that moment grabbing, memory imprinting impulse was more inward. A result of the intent of my heart. This reminder I write of seems to be coming from outside me...it's the same feeling you get when reading through the comments on facebook and a message fades in that someone commented on something you commented on too. You regard while continuing on with what you were focused on originally. Just so, I've felt this gentle cautionary note fade into my thoughts to remember, that next Christmas is not a 'given'.

The fact is there are "lasts" for everyone and I don't mean to be morbid or strange and I really have no idea what, but the thought that has stayed with me seems almost like a promise that next year will not "look" like this one. Let me be clear...I don't feel impending doom. (I don't believe, as true followers of Christ, we can align ourselves with doomsday theorist, ie end of the world in 2012.) Only change. Drastic change. Today was the first time I understood the impression I've been under the last few months. Looking back, I can't help but wonder if this ambiguous feeling was what prompted me to meet my biological father. The impression that this was a final opportunity...this was it, if ever it was to be. I thought it had only to do with him...but the impression has not ceased since then, it's increased.

Whatever does that mean??? Perhaps nothing...Perhaps I'm entering into a phase in my Christian faith where the truest reality of all is becoming a closer reality to me. Though dying, we are eternal, this world is passing away, I am a new Creation in Christ. What have I done this Christmas of ETERNAL VALUE. And though there is no condemnation I'm under, and this has been a blessed season of merriment and cheer, there seems to be a turning in my heart towards the heaven, like a glance that has become a gaze.

Anyway, just musing aloud...on 'paper' ;)
Merry Christmas Everyone...for a Merry Christmas it has been!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Word, Santa.

Yesterday, Arowyn and I watched Veggie Tales: St. Nicholas, A Story of Giving while stringing popcorn for the tree (a lot more "ideal" in black/white, hearth/home movies than in reality). Between stepping on my string of fragile popped corn in trying to keep Selah from eating the debris on the floor and our cat Ember who we now know eats popcorn, it was quite the experiance. Once we (I) got the hang of it...it went much better. Anyway, the movie helped to pass the time and it was absolutely wonderful! They didn't even go into if Santa is really real or not...they simply side stepped it to bring to light the true story behind Santa Claus. I learned a lot from it! Anyway, it reminded me of this email (posted below) I sent out to friends and family 2 years ago, before I realized mini booklets of your thoughts, feelings and beliefs like this belong on a blog, not your poor friend's Inbox. lol....

I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday. I was looking for a book on "St. Nicholas". I found tens of books on how to " . . .Really Believe In Santa Claus" and "Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Santa" but not one child's book even touched upon the man, Nicholas. Actually, sitting here writing this, I realize how counter productive it would be to have a book on Nicholas out there if you're trying to get a kid to believe in Santa . . .

This got me thinking. So, I thought I'd share with you my experience this Christmas season. To all you moms who have already dealt with the giant elf and been victorious - I know you will read and rejoice with me as another milestone rolls down the mountain, and for those who have this future battle to wage, here's an alternative view to the all or nothing mentality I fought for so long! Enjoy - I even put a pun in here somewhere. . .

I entered this season girding myself for the whole 'Santa Claus' issue that millions of Believers battle during this time of year. You all know the questions that swirl around in your head ~ Do I go along? Isn't it just a nice form of make-believe? What if I take the hard nose stand of "Santa doesn't exist, but Jesus does! What if my child tells another child that does believe in Santa! Should I feel sorry they told the truth? Should I feel superior because I didn't throw my hat on the sleigh and say "HO! HO! HO!? ON and ON it goes.

But now, I can finally say I've made my peace with that big bearded man in the fuzzy red and white PJ's! And though I will not plaster his picture on the wall or bake cookies and leave out milk for his fictional midnight visit, I no longer resent his presence in the mall or feel the need to give a doxology to little old ladies kindly asking Arowyn if she's "been a good girl" and "are you ready for Santa Claus?" (Ready for that pun?) God answered this concern in the "Nick of time!" as Arowyn just turned 3 and this is the first year she's starting to understand and remember things. Isn't God awesome!

But first, I'd like to show the process by which I came to my way of explaining Santa Claus to Arowyn. This past year I discovered in my research of Ancient Egypt a fascinating man named Sinhue. He is the author of "The Tale of Sinhue" which is, as far as significance goes, a literary equivalent to our Beowulf. Both stories are the earliest writings found of two different cultures which have survived til modern times. That is where the similarities end. The Tale, written two and a half millennium prior to Beowulf, is based upon actual events in Sinhue's life, and it's writing style, use of prose/poetry are said to rival our very own Shakespeare.

What does this have to do with Santa Claus? I was hoping you'd ask!

At the time I stumbled over Sinhue, I was in a pensive mood and I couldn't help but wonder, why in the world did God let this man's simple tale survive? Sure, it's well written, but as far a plots go, it's pretty streamlined and uncomplicated. So I looked deeper and though I won't share the specifics, I found Dates/Events/Regional and Tribal References along with Sinhue's adopted monotheistic beliefs in a polytheistic world all build a convincing argument (which I've used in my writing) that he was married to Dinah, Jacob's only daughter. You will not find this hypothesis anywhere. Mainly because, you'd have to be researching Jacob/Dinah and Sinhue at the same time but even if an Egyptian did come to this conclusion, they hate Israel so much, they'd dismiss the idea as ludicrous on the spot. (I tell Rick - If I EVER do finish this book we may get death threats from angry Egyptians!- As opposed to crickets chirping in the background, I'm okay with that kind of recognition. Tongue in cheek!)

Moving right along . . . All over Scripture, especially in the OT, God reminds us of our own mortality while declaring his intention to establish the righteous and their deeds upon the earth. . . for generations. Now, in truth, most of what I'm about to conjecture concerning Sinhue's beliefs are not definitive. That said, my gut feeling, based on his journey, testimony and the reigning historical integrity of his manuscript, I believe he trusted the God of Israel to accomplish what He said he would do. And God honored him for it, just as He said he would.

With this year's exciting discovery in mind, I couldn't help but notice/look for the similarities with Santa Claus, whose real name is of course, Nicholas. He too has endured through the centuries, nearly 2 millennium, though all we really know of him is: he lived in the region of what is now Turkey, was once very rich, that the fathomless gift of Christ moved him to give away his money in various forms of dowries and both material and edible goodies. Thus his selfless gift giving inspired the evolved, modern day Santa.

And though little by little the memory and 'inspiration' of a man called Nicholas is erased, the facts remain; Jesus lets him share a day the whole world has set aside to give gifts and to be joyful, even though millions don't understand why. He is a man who gave all he had not because he was good, but because God was so good to give him/us "Jesus Christ, the only name give under heaven, whereby we must be saved!"

Arowyn knows "Santa Claus" is a nickname; so, it is the name 'Nicholas' that she shouts with excitement when she sees a red and white suit, and though I would be naive to believe it will always be that way, the line which follows will remain the same "And he looooovvvvvveeeeddddd Jesus soooooo much!"

Rejoice friends! Whether a nation or the world or God alone knows them, our words and deeds as the children of God are eternal . . . and He is a debtor to no man!

Merry Christmas and a Joyful New Year!