Christmas Life

Merry Christmas

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Shalom!

As we enter this season of Christmas and a new year, I’m often caught in moments of reflecting back and looking forward. Being my favorite time of year, I often feel it’s a summary of the whole year in that I try to hold to the belief that Christmas is year round. I heard someone echo a sentiment that after a month of carols, snowmen, shopping, and all the seasonal visuals, they’re glad to be done with Christmas. While I often find that to be a bit humbuggish, I must admit I too can find some commonality in that. 

With the coming and passing of the Christmas season, I am asking about my role with the King. Do you find it exciting or scary to be invited to be with and follow Jesus? I find it can be both. Jesus being the image of God, I’m reminded we too are being made in His image.

In the following song, I’ve found both a challenge and a comfort. Jesus has brought all of God to us each. He brings His love to us, His peace, His forgiveness, His joy, His light, His delight, His life...and this is the gift of hope. To those of us who have experienced the birth of hope in our darkest days, let that be a place of prayer and perspective for others. God is making all things new...

 

Make me a channel of your peace.

Where there is hatred let me bring your love.

 

Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord

And where there's doubt, true faith in you.

 

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek

So much to be consoled as to console

To be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love with all my soul.

 

Make me a channel of your peace

Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope

Where there is darkness, only light

And where there's sadness, ever joy.

 

Make me a channel of your peace

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned

In giving to all men that we receive

And in dying that we're born to eternal life.

Purpose

You ever go on trips to kind of get away from the normal crazy of your life? Then when on vacation, you’re just as busy as when you’re not on vacation?

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About a year and a half ago I got to go on a trip through Italy, with Assisi as the main place I wanted to go. There are many reasons why and simply I just wanted to trace some roots to Saint Francis of Assisi, which is the main draw for most people to this place. I wanted to try and experience the place on foot as much as possible, by staying in a hotel within the city walls. One place that I did want to see, it was quite a distance, so I opted for the bus. On the way back however, seeing large fields below the city, it just beckoned to go for a long walk. Funny thing is, the walk was one place I got to just listen.

CHANGES

I had had a dream about coming to Assisi, or at least having the chance to. So, I came to see what there would be. Between the dream and coming, I lost my job, became low on funds, moved back in with my parents, and essentially faced a lot of change. In one sense everything was ok, but on the inside I was somewhat panicked. In my exploring of Italy, I was wondering what my purpose was, is, and would be. Would I meet someone along the way that would be a catalyst for something new? I did get to meet some people along the way. I did get to try new food, see new and beautiful places, but something was still nagging me.

As I walked I began praying/complaining to God again, asking why am I here. I had the dream and ventured out this far. Instead of just walking, I stopped to just look around. In some sense I was in the middle of nowhere. It was just me, standing in empty farm fields, hearing the sound of wind and cars from far away. That’s how life feels. I kept walking and stopping every so often to continue just to look. I came across a solo sunflower, all withered up.

As I began to photograph the flower, it resonated with me that I feel much the same. I could hear for a moment. I heard it’s just seasons, they come and go. The flower withering was once a bud waiting to blossom, only to release its seeds. The withered flower you see has lived its purpose. It will create more flowers in their season.

If God created them that way, I wondered what is my purpose? Sometimes I feel so blind to the obvious. I wonder if the flower knows what it’s doing. Regardless, God’s creative purpose is accomplished.

Adding on, I can wonder if our purpose is each other. In one way or another, whatever we do effects others, positively or negatively, does it not? What can we do that's loving for others? An engineer knows how to build bridges. By doing so, this enables people to pass over places safely. An artist expresses something, a politician (sometimes) works for others, a chef, a mother, a friend...everything is associated with otherness.