Merry Christmas.

I used to laugh at people who played Christmas music or decorated before Thanksgiving. Actually, I used to get really irritated. I like things in order, you see, and I don’t like the commercialism of the holidays. It seems to cheapen everything and oftentimes it feels like we just want to rush into things too early.

But this year, I get it.

For just a few short weeks, in the dead of winter (in America, anyway, it’s a summer holiday for some), the holiday season brings a sense of peace. Of wonder. For some, it brings up long-forgotten memories mingled with pain. It’s a time of reflection, of recommittment to faith, of a deeper perspective of family and self. It’s truly a magical time of year.

In today’s uncertain economic, political and religious climate, it’s no wonder so many want to bring out the holly berries a little early. Really, what is wrong with embracing the birth of Christ, the one and only answer to peace in these times, just a little earlier than the calendar dictates?

Nothing. Nothing at all. Feliz Navidad.

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inspired perspiration

Our guest speaker at church this past weekend was Pastor Mark Ramsey from Citipointe Church in Brisbane, Australia. It’s always such an honor when he and his lovely wife, Leigh, come and share with us! Yesterday, he said something somewhat unrelated to his message, but very stirring to my heart. With regards to his bride, he said, “She is the inspiration, I am the perspiration.”

It was sweet and funny, but also deeply profound – she sees potential and problems that need to be addressed, and he comes up alongside her to help her achieve that which needs to be accomplished.

The bible tells us that husbands should submit to, and love their wives, as Christ loved the church. Christ gave up his very life, in deed and in death, for the church (his bride). Just as a valiant knight comes to fight the battle, so do our men rise up and slay the dragons. As wives, we are called to submit to our husbands – we discern a direction to go and then step back so our men can do work on our behalf. It’s a beautifully symbiotic relationship.

What a mighty team husbands and wives can be in this life! Women use their great capacity to love and to sense to direct, while our men use their great skill and strength to unite with us towards a common goal. Never allow old religious ideas to cloud God’s original intent for marriage’s sacred place in this life – together, we can accomplish much and be more fulfilled than we ever could be apart!

 

living well

This morning has been a little shaky for me. I don’t feel sad, overall, but keep bursting into tears at random moments. The past several months have brought great loss and devastation to many people in my life – some close, some not as much – but each circumstance has brought with it sadness, mingled with gratitude. While in my own “desert season,” I have been allowed to still see that I am blessed. There are no words to express the sadness I feel for those who have lost so very much.

Today I will be attending the memorial service of an old friend, one I haven’t seen in several years. (Life has a tendency to separate, doesn’t it??) At the same time, I am praying for a friend from high school who will bury his precious newborn. While there is pain, there is also joy in celebrating a life – no matter how much time we are given here, we each contribute to the greater picture and plan of God for each and every one of us. If there is one thing I have learned recently, it’s how connected we really are.

Never underestimate the value you hold, or the significance you have in this life. Your words, actions and love today can impact people for years to come. Sow seeds of faith and love, grace and compassion. Leave a legacy that will last. And allow others to bless you in the same manner. Tomorrow is never promised, so live well today.

life itself.

I wonder what would happen if we all chose to assume the best in people? What if we clarified people’s intentions? Asked more questions and listened to one another’s hearts? What if we let people off the hook who didn’t process or live life the way we do? What would happen if we loved people for who they were and trusted God to provide relationships to fill those gaps in our lives? Perhaps we might find a way to be complete and whole on our own – looking to relationships as blessings of living this life and not life itself…

change with care

I met a woman yesterday who literally changed my life. She was introduced to me by a dear friend and I was instantly struck by her stunning beauty. She was attractive, but her inner glow, her peace, made her exquisite. Her young son is absolutely adorable, with a contagious smile, and is currently fighting cancer. I was struck by the peace that accompanied her little family, and how she spoke of the blessings they had, and were, experiencing on their journey. My friend made mention of how she glorifies God so well and her response was a gracious smile, followed by this statement: “Well, there is nothing of me left, so all I can do is allow Him to be glorified through me.” After a few more minutes of conversation, they took their beautiful little family off to bless someone else with their gracious presence and I literally felt changed. Not overly thoughtful, or dramatic, or anything profound, but a subtle and yet noticeable shift in my spirit. Her life changed mine.

Never underestimate your ability to affect those around you – your life is a walking testimony to everyone you come in contact with. Change with care.