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Archive for November, 2016

Looking Back

The house is glowing with warm anticipation of the holidays (holy days) ahead, and as I sit looking at our nativity and thanking our Lord this morning, it came to me that life is very much like a giant teeter-totter.  Does anyone today even know what a teeter-totter is?  Oh, how I loved teetering with my friends as a child.  I loved that sense of daring as I flew to the top hanging on for dear life, but I loved that tiny sense of control (of sorts) and security as I felt my feet hit the ground as well.  And just like teetering, life itself is filled with ups and downs.

This morning as I thought about the joyful days ahead, I found myself also looking back.  We often hear that we need to keep our focus on our goal and never look back, but I’m here to tell you that sometimes it feels as though the goal is unattainable and that no progress has been made at all.  That is when it is imperative that we look back to see how far we’ve come.  Not to become smug about it, but to gain perspective and courage to realize our effort is not in vain if we do not give up.

The bad thing about looking back is seeing all the mistakes we’ve made and wrong choices and things we wish we could undo.  We must be careful that Satan doesn’t overwhelm us with a sense of hopelessness and lack of worth, because the good news is that when we are a child of God, all the past has been forgiven and we can let God, our Father deal with it.  Our hope is in the fact that we have the whole future ahead of us to do better and to make less bad choices, and knowing that when we confessed our sinfulness to God and asked His forgiveness, He not only forgave all the wrong we had done, but He forgave all the wrong we WOULD DO!  In the future!  That is NOT a license to do as we please, because if that is our heart, then we are not forgiven!  He knows the sincerity of our hearts—there is NO fooling with God!  So we must keep the past in perspective and use it as our ‘step up’.  That is when God is able to make even our wrong choices useful.  Nothing is wasted with God!

As the New Year approaches, we often start thinking of new resolutions and ways we want to improve who we are and what we want to accomplish in the future.  But it’s good to also look back—to take a measure of past accomplishments as well as failures, to keep our lives in a good perspective, but also to see the things God has done in our lives.  And today, as I look at that babe in the manger, I can’t help but wonder:  WHY did you care for one such as me?  WHY did you love me enough to forgive me and accept me as one of Your own?  WHY did you suffer life as a human and even die on the cross when You didn’t have to?  It’s a love I cannot grasp, but it’s a love that fills my heart with true THANKSGIVING.

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Happy Holy Days

So…I know I haven’t posted for a long time, but today it feels urgent.  Yesterday I had to pick up more lights for the Christmas trees and heard ‘Happy Holidays’ for the first time this year as I checked out.  Now I admit to being a bit disgruntled when I first began hearing it a few years ago, because it just—well, it sounded so ‘commercial’ and generic to me.  That’s when I realized—it actually IS generic because it encompasses both Christmas and Hanukah.  And why shouldn’t it?  Just because I happen to celebrate Christmas, there are others that celebrate a different holy day:  those that don’t know our Savior and still look for his coming.  (Oh!  WHAT they are missing!)

But it also is a greeting for those that look to Santa to make their season bright, and I think that’s what hurts me most–the thought that there are those making a worldly thing out of a most sacred celebration.  For some reason, I really don’t like sharing Jesus’ birthday with Santa Claus because quite simply, it takes the focus off of the meaning and reason for the whole celebration.

As I stewed about the whole greeting conundrum yesterday and even this morning, I suddenly came up with my own solution.  Instead of replying with a very emphatic “Merry CHRISTMAS” to the one sharing the greeting, this year I intend to reply, “Thank you!  And happy HOLY DAYS to you also!”  Because that’s exactly what these next weeks are!  As we begin the season of advent which points us to the birth of our Savior, we are truly celebrating holy days, and I will pray that each person that greets me will hear my prayer for them that they will come to know the Reason we celebrate and enjoy holy days of worshipping Him alone!

And my prayer includes a prayer that you will enjoy the holy days also!

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