Notes from Jan

Turnaround Time

December 21, 2019

Sometimes Plan B’s the better one.

Last night I hurried past the Salvation Army bellringer,  stationed outside  our Market Basket.  I reasoned, “Running late, sent a check last week.” As I  pulled away, I caught a glimpse of her, jumping around to keep warm and thought, “Stop.” After fumbling for some small bills, I rushed back to shove some money through the red bucket’s slot. She startled me with, “Thanks for turning around.  It means a lot to me that you  came back. God bless you.”

Sometimes B stands for Best, when God’s in it.

What if the Bethlehem Innkeeper’d said,”Come on it.  We’ve got one lovely room available.  No pets allowed.”

What he did say was, “No room in the Inn but…how about the barn?”

Can you imagine the story without the animals and those who tended them?

Can you picture Mary, Joseph and  God’s son born in a magnificent palace or temple?

Me, either.

So many rules to enter the world’s fancy places, none to shuffle into an old stable.

That’s part of why I love the Gaither’s song, “Come and See What’s Happenin’ in the Barn.”

One verse reads,”Sometime before dawn I was awakened

Light was floodin’ through the widow pane

A star as bright as moonlight was a shinin’

And pretty music I could not explain

I ran downstairs to have a look around

I  tell you I could not believe my eyes

A crowd had gathered all around the manger

And they were talkin’ bout God’s big surprise.”

There’s so much to talk about these days: weather, politics, budgets, vaping and flu season, to name a few.”

What if we stilled ourselves, did a turnaround and walked back to a barn in Bethlehem? Imagine taking a deep breath and long look, sensing it’s me, not just them who need a Savior, Christ the Lord?

God’s Plan B: a


Born in a


Barn, where “all we like sheep who’ve gone astray” are welcome.

“How silently, how silently

The wondrous gift is giv’n!

So God imparts to human hearts

The blessings of his heav’n.

No ear may hear his coming;

But in this world of sin,

Where meek souls will receive him, still

The dear Christ enters in.”

Turnaround Time?


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  • Reply Radina Welton December 21, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Wow! Thank you! Worth reading aloud at our Christmas dinner!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 21, 2019 at 6:25 pm

      Thank you, Radina. May your dinnertime be blessed with a feast for all the senses.

  • Reply Dan Russ December 21, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    What a lovely and crucial reminder to look for our Lord’s presence in the most unlikely places. Blessed Advent and joyous Christmas, Jan.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 21, 2019 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you, Dan.
      Merry Mary Christmas to you and your family.

  • Reply dale December 21, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks Jan,

    The world notices when we notice them. “See me” is their plea, so thanks for the reminder to respond.

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 21, 2019 at 6:27 pm

      Thank you for the encouragement to pay attention to nudges. To be seen and heard are good gifts, ones God always offers.

  • Reply Shirley Westrate December 21, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Be still my heart…
    …I love this piece and its message!
    Be still my heart…
    …so I can seek His peace every day!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 21, 2019 at 6:28 pm

      Thank you, Shirley. There is deep strength tucked into stillness.

  • Reply Nancy Mering December 21, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Definitely a keeper—for this Christmas and those to come. Thank you for this important teaching/reminder, Jan. I wish you a joyful Christmas celebration.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you, Nancy. I wish you and your family a joy-full Christmas.

  • Reply Marty Lefever December 21, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Love this!! Plan on reading it at our family Christmas gathering!! They will love hearing from Auntie Jan! Merry Christmas, sweet friend! Sending love and Christmas hugs…

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 21, 2019 at 6:33 pm

      Sending hugs to you and your family in Michigan. Brings back sweet memories to be called,
      “Auntie Jan.”

  • Reply wendy lane December 22, 2019 at 11:36 am

    I echo all the other comments – so beautiful and meaningful and encouraging. Thank you for sharing. I don’t think I’ve every really thought about what Christmas would be like without the barn and all it’s contents… I sure have pondered often that the King of all creation was willing born in one though… because of his amazing love for me, for us!
    Merry Christmas dear Jan!! Hope it’s truly wonder-filled!

  • Reply Carolyn Sylvester December 23, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts. As always, they are great, but I don’t often tell you. I want you to know that even if I don’t have extra $$$ for Salvation Army bucket, I now say hello the the person because they are volunteering their time and they need to be acknowledged. Your post confirmed that. Merry Christmas and a healthy new year for you, Jan.

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