On the 7th Day of Christmas…
Seven of my favorite memories of 2015 - in pictures (it was VERY hard to choose just 7!!!)
March 1 - as a representative of several baptisms in the year - always a favorite time of worship
A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes—and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside—is not a bad picture of Advent.”There can be such a sense of darkness in the season of Advent, even as we prepare to celebrate the birthday of the Savior of the world. We can get so caught up in the preparation we miss the joy and hope in God becoming incarnate in Jesus Christ.
We're not entirely sure why Mary chooses to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Neither of them had expected to become pregnant until angels showed up, bringing news of what was to come. Mary is younger, Elizabeth is older, but they both are experiencing the disruption of this life-changing event. The bonds of love between them include not just blood relation, but this shared experience. This is a joyous yet uncertain time for them both. God's love is shown to us in many different ways. Sometimes it comes in the form of the love and support of others who know a bit of what it's like to face what we are going through and walk in our shoes. Mary and Elizabeth are able to lovingly walk with one another through this time. Who has been that type of person in your life? Who around you is now going through something you've faced or are still facing? How might the two of you be able to help one another?I have been fortunate to have countless folks in my life who have walked with me through good times and bad. Sometimes they are folks who experienced something similar - sometimes they are just empathetic folks who show they care - not by giving advice or fixing things, but by just being there to listen and care.
God of Love, thank you for the gift of others to walk with me through the journey of life. May both my joys and struggles help me be a better friend to others who face similar things. Amen.Blessings.
Today, may you experience the relentless, faithful love of God entering your world. May it change you. May that same love send you out into this world to relentlessly, faithfully love others as you have been loved.To know deep in my being the depth of God’s love for me has transformed me in ways I could never have imagined. My hope is the same for others. And that this love will surely transform our world!!!
Today, take time to cry out to God about the pain in the world and even in your own life. Ask God to bring healing and set things right. But be prepared: one of the ways God might want to do this is by working through your hands, feet, and voice.Perhaps there are no truer words - for God does need our hands, feet and voice to bring healing and set things right. How we act, what we say, and where we go makes a difference. Are our actions ones that promote peace and build relationships, or are they doing the opposite?
God, it’s so easy to make surface level changes, but I know that the changes I make from within are the ones that matter the most. Help me to know what needs to be cut away in order to create space for new life to be birthed within me. Transform me from the inside out. Amen.Something to consider, however: the prayer mentions changes I make from within, but can I really change myself from within in any way? Just like, can I actually figure out what needs to be cut away? For example, we can know that a short temper isn’t healthy and needs transformation from within. But, can we really change any of our feelings on our own? Certainly we can learn ways to deal with feelings, maybe through what can be a very long process of learning. But transformation, I believe, really comes from God.
Thirty days of being intentional about noticing things for which to be thankful - and the reminder that every day there is something worthy of being thankful for. Every day - all year through!Blessings.