Notes from Jan

Wait ‘Til You Hear This!

December 13, 2017

“O Little town of Bethlehem…”

And it was.



Today, it bustles with tourists, gawkers and hawkers of trinkets, challenging one to picture Bethlehem as the humble birthplace of Jesus.

And yet, God,  picked Bethlehem, saw it then and now,  as He does us.

Bethlehem, lures me centuries before Christmas to the story of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible.(Ruth 1-4)  Two widow women, Ruth and Naomi, hope for something more as they travel to the small village of Bethlehem, a place of old memories for Naomi and just maybe, new beginnings for Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law.

Dreams soon turn to the dust of barley fields and Ruth finds herself picking up the dregs, doing the best she can, planting one sandal in front of the other, hoping for the best.

And the Best did come to and through her. (You must read the story. It’s a bestseller.)

Centuries later a man named Phillips Brooks penned, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

His lyrics combined with Old and New Testament passages,  remind us during dark times, in whatever barley fields we scratch out a living, God has hidden a glorious yet.  “Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light.  The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Last Saturday night, Maggie, Poco,  Zoe Reid and I sat at table.  Maggie and Zoe were at odds over something and sensitive Poco picked up on it.

Suddenly Poco said, “Momo, tell the Oatmeal story.”

It’s my Mama’s story, one she and I’ve told for many years at Christmas. I didn’t think Poco, the youngest grandchild,  knew the story, but she did.  At several points, she turned to Zoe and said,”Wait ’til you hear this.  You’re gonna love it!”

At the story’s end, all are aware God showed up in Canada one Christmas long ago.

After a few seconds of quiet, Zoe said, “Would you like to hear my faith story?”

And we did.

Then Zoe shared how God answered one of her prayers.

Small gathering of children, four of us, ranging from 7 to 77 years of age, sharing God stories on a Saturday night.

Each of us,  like Ruth,  on our way to Bethlehem, seeking, longing for more than we know, more than meets the eye.

And Jesus for whom small matters, speaks to our fears, hopes and dreams saying, “Wait ’til you hear this. You’re gonna love it!”










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  • Reply Mark Taylor December 13, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Very sweet–on all counts. I’m glad you have some of your grandchildren nearby. They are a gift from God.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 13, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Always good to hear from you, Mark. You and Carol know the joy Grands bring, and fresh perspective to go along with their fingerprints on walls and hearts.

  • Reply Dale Lefever December 13, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks Jan,

    The word, “yet,” joins “therefore” and “but God,” and then “just wait” makes it clear that God will show up in His time and at His place and for His glory – why do we continue to be surprised.

    Wonderful words of encouragement.

    Blessings dear friend, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 13, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      Think of you and Marty when I pull out the Christmas dishes, only more treasure from our long friendship. I’ve thought about “how silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is given..” and pray to have ears to hear Christ’s, “Wait ’til you hear this!”

  • Reply Sue Andringa December 13, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    This is so sweet … the power of stories! I love Poco’s enthusiastic, joy-filled comment, “wait ’til you hear this; you’re gonna love it!” And then, Zoe’s question … how precious. Keep telling your stories, Jan. What a blessing to those who have ears to hear. Merry Christmas and much love from Bob and me. 🙂

  • Reply Jan Carlberg December 13, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    and Christmas Love and Joy to you and Bob! Thanks for reading these posts. You encourage me.

  • Reply Marty Lefever December 13, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    What a precious time with those dear children! Thank you, once again, my dear friend! Love you….Merry Christmas!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 13, 2017 at 11:33 pm

      Nothing like friends who knew you way back when and still choose to be friends. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
      Love you more!

  • Reply Jeri December 13, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Such a sweet reminder Jan! Out of the mouths of babes as well. The blessings of little ones at holiday time is priceless
    We are sending our love to you from us…
    Advent Blessings,
    Ron and Jeri

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 14, 2017 at 2:30 am

      And I send love back to you, Ron and Jeri and your family. Grateful for years of working together at Gordon.

  • Reply wendy lane December 14, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Beyond precious!!! <3

  • Reply Jan Carlberg December 14, 2017 at 2:30 am

    Christmas JOY to you, Steve and family.

  • Reply Ruth S. Wacome December 14, 2017 at 2:39 am

    Lovely, Jan. Thanks for sharing that precious, loving , encouraging story.

  • Reply Radina Welton December 14, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Like angels to the shepherds, “Wait till you hear this!” Grands/children are sometimes our angels getting us ready for heaven where they sing, “Your gonna LOVE this!!!” A few years ago I directed our church children’s choir. After practice we sat on the floor in a circle to share “God-sightings” of the past week. It was such a rich, heart warming, spirit blessing time! Loved it as much as their sweet singing voices. Wishing you peace and joy straight out of heaven this Christmas, Jan!

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