Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not nearly as bad as it seemed

So I'm sitting here tonight printing bulletins and trying to finish up my lesson for tomorrow and all I can think about is that as bad as I think my year has been, it has been just as bad and worse from some of my friends. God has driven that point home on at least 3 occasions this past week. I have had rough spots this year, but I have not had to worry about my home being foreclosed on, or my spouse abusing me, my parents divorcing and sticking me in the middle or having a parent in jail for this Christmas and the next several as well or any number of things that friends have confided in me over the past several days. We are 2 days from Christmas and there are reminders everywhere of why we need Christmas, why we have to have it. That this world is sick, dying and going to hell unless it grabs hold of the life preserver that Christmas offers. I am sitting here wondering what I can do to help ease my friends hurt and pain, I mean actual physical things that I can do and I keep coming up with nada. The only thing I know I can do is trust that God, in his wisdom, will turn what the enemy has meant for evil into good and that on that day when I get to ask Him face to face why all this mess has to happen He won't be too upset with the smart aleck accusatory tone in my voice. To my dear friends that are struggling and going through these difficult circumstances, please know that my heart aches for you and that I am, to the best of my ability, constantly in our Father's ear asking for relief on your behalf.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Good Article

I read The Ooze with some regularity because it provides an interesting faith based perspective without the pat answers. I thought I'd share this article. I'd rate it PG for one phrase that's a little rough but definitely is worth taking the time to read.

A slightly different Christmas

So my house is quiet now, everyone else (dogs included) is taking some time to catch a well deserved nap. And in the quiet I am struck by several things this Christmas. First is the fact that it is the first without my mom, and while I certainly miss her I am not sad. My friend Juls suggested that we start a tradition of collecting angel ornaments for the tree in honor of mom and for this year we got an ornament that is simply a pair of angel wings to remind us that our angel is missing from us but celebrating Jesus' birthday with him. I am also struck but just how amazing that babe in the straw was. I was talking with my friend Peter the other day and he said he recently been struck by the total compassion and heart of Jesus. Christmas is such an awesome expression of that. Imagine giving up your warm home and family to go be born in a garage to fix a relationship with people who really didn't give a rat's butt about you. Would you do it? I know I probably wouldn't leave the trailer on Grassdale St. to do it, much less leave heaven. Yet Jesus decided that he loved me, and you, enough to give all that up and fix a relationship that we had messed up. The presents, food, music and all the other things we associate with Christmas are nice, but they should never cause us to lose sight of the reason we celebrate it. Merry Christmas to all of you and may that babe in the straw be born anew in your heart today.

On a side note, please say a prayer this Christmas for my friend Tiffy, she's had a rough one and could use them.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Song Lyric Sunday

Ok, first I'm gonna post a reminder of the basic rules for those of you that have forgotten or may be new to SLS. WHEN the contest starts, there will be a few additional ones.

1. The first person to post Song Title and Artist will be that weeks winner.*

* - in most cases I want the original artist but will take anyone who had some modicum of success with the song and that I can verify recorded it. But just because the garage band up the street plays it doesn't mean it qualifies. Disputed cases will be covered by rule 3

2. No googling (or otherwise searching the internet) for the answers. You folks will have to be on your honor for this one, but I trust ya. Any disputes will be settled by rule 3.
3. In the case of any disputes, the blogmaster (ME) will be make the final decision.

Here's this weeks lyric:

They're singing "Deck The Halls"
But it's not like Christmas at all
Cuz I remember when you were here
And all the fun we had last year

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Death's Dark Shadows Put To Flight

Did y'all miss me? It has certainly been an interesting last weeks for me and for that matter and interesting 2008. For the most part it really has not been my best year. For a number of reasons I have really struggled to find even an ounce of the "joy of my salvation." I was chatting with my friend Juls a couple of weeks ago and opining to her about how I was anxious for 2008 to be over and she reminded me to be careful not miss out on what God might do in the last 6 weeks. Well in the past week or so God has really reminded me of what an incredible thing Christmas is. Last weekend we went to 2 Christmas shows that friends were involved in. The folks at Covenant Church did an incredible job putting on Imagine, Christmas and one of the songs we sang was O Come, O Come Emmanuel and during the third verse we sang "Death's dark shadows put to flight" and while I heard the singers and the audience singing it, I also heard it in my heart. I don't know that words can describe it but after the past 2 days I honestly believe that it was God saying to me that this Christmas he was going to put the shadow of death that I have been letting myself live under to flight. And He did that in any number of ways this week but I'd like to share 2 of them. My father-in-law had ask me several weeks ago if I would take him to his dental appointment which was scheduled for yesterday, Friday 12/19. I told him of course I would and that while he was there I would find a coffee shop nearby and work until he was done. Well I found out Thursday night that it was located in the same medical complex that my mom's podiatrist was located. The last time I had been there was January 28, 2009 which was the Monday before she would go into the hospital and not come home again. Mom and I used to have a routine with her appointments where I would drop her off, made sure she got inside and then I would find a nearby coffee shop with wireless access and work until she called that she was done. We would then head back and maybe have lunch or a snack and I would finish out the work day while she read and dozed and we would head home. If I'm honest there was some trepidation about going. But once I got in the car I was completely ok with it. I dropped Steve off and went to the same coffee shop where I used to wait for Mom and the minute I walked in, the owner smiled and said "Hey there, where have you been?" I explained to him that since mom had passed I hadn't been to Hagerstown nearly as much we chatted and caught up and he smiled as he told what a joy his few conversations with Mom had been. Instead of being a day of mourning it turned into a day where I remembered so many wonderful things about my Mother, things that I had lost in the shadows of her dying

Today Muffin and I headed out to get supplies to make Christmas goodies for our friends and I started out with a get in, get it done and get home attitude. Let me tell y'all we went to Wal-Mart on a Saturday and I knew something was up when I got the second parking spot in line folks. While the store was crowded folks were very friendly and we even had funny discussion with a woman about getting recipes online. The cashier, while tired and a little rushed, was friendly and courteous. At another point we were walking through the mall, holding hands and older lady smiles and says "I can tell you're in love." and my reply was "You bet!" We then struck up a conversation with another lady about her late husband and his love for the Dallas Cowboys (Muffin and I were both wearing Cowboys gear.) This afternoon we spent some time with our good friends the Whitacres and thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and time spent with them. God, in his goodness and mercy has definitely put deaths dark shadows to flight this Christmas and I am actually looking forward to celebrating!