It’s a Michigan Thing

I have mentioned my lovely wife many times and have also written about her Up North shirts. We have a lot of fun looking for flannel shirts to repurpose. She sells the shirts in a couple of stores and we have sold them in a local farmers’ market. She recently wrote the following.

“Michigan! Michigan’s geography is known through some common descriptors such as, ‘The Land of Many Waters,’ a ‘Winter Wonderland’ or a ‘Pleasant Peninsula.’ Michigan has four distinct seasons, which all have unique characteristics! And, it may be the only state where you use your hand to show people where you are from. ‘I live in the thumb,’ I say, and people look back with a confused expression. So, I then resort to the ‘one hundred miles north of Detroit’ reference and they knowingly nod.

“Michigan folks have the opportunity to enjoy vacationing year round if they wish. Every Michigander knows the term ‘Up North.’ Up North might be an hour’s drive to a destination in the thumb on the shoreline of Lake Huron or Saginaw Bay. It might be 200 miles north to the Straits of Mackinac or to the west, to the shores of Lake Michigan. There are numerous campgrounds and resorts sprinkled all over the state, and activities that we can enjoy through every season.

“It is upon this concept, which I chose to name my repurposed flannels ‘Up North Shirts.’ My ‘Up North Shirts’ are perfect for sitting around a campfire in the North woods or taking in the sunrise on your deck as you sip your morning coffee. It’s something you can throw on, on a chilly day as you dash out to get the mail or run to the grocery store. Each is versatile, cozy and soft, and feels comfortable against your skin. I never leave home without mine!”

Who doesn’t love a great flannel shirt? We had great fun this Christmas as my wife selected Up North shirts for everyone in our family.

It’s obvious she is the real writer of the family. She is a certified elementary English teacher, and even though the majority of her career was teaching Social Studies to middle school students, she taught English as well. It’s very similar to the years of music we performed together, and still do, once in a while. She is the real singer. My favorite, as a matter of fact.

Whether you are a Michigander, or you’re reading this in the UK, or Alaska, or Ireland, it’s important to find a great flannel shirt. (No, we don’t sell them online, or do mail-order, we don’t have a website – we’re not interested in starting down that road.) It’s just fun for us, and several people have been happy to find our Up North Flannels.

Here’s to many enjoyable nights around a crackling fire, snug in a flannel shirt while you sip your coffee.

Christmas Is: Emmanuel

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-4

“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:10-12

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

“And the angel came in unto her, and said, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’ And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

“And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’

”Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’

”And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:26-35, 38

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria). And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

”And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,

”’Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” Luke 2:1-14

Above presents, lights, trees, decorations, memories, movies, plays and programs, music, and food, Christmas is Emmanuel. Emmanuel is God with us.

”God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

”For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

”For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

”…If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart we believe and are made righteous, but with our mouths, confession is made bringing salvation.” Romans 10:9-10

God gave the greatest, most valuable gift of all. Our life cost Him His Son.

We are offered an opportunity to know God. Not just know about Him, but really know Him. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.” When we hear God’s Word, faith rises in our hearts and we have the privilege of responding. If we confess we are sinners, and believe on Jesus Christ for our salvation, we are saved. We are brought from death in sin to life in Christ.

Coming to Christ, becoming a believer, is not a few special words, or ceremony, or magic actions. Coming to Christ is simply believing.

I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Just as an example, you might pray, “Dear God, I confess I am a sinner. Please come into my life. I want Jesus Christ to be my Lord.”

Emmanuel. God with us, now and forever. Undeserved. Unearned. Yet God gave Jesus to us anyway. God became like us, so we could be like Him.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas.

Emmanuel.