Have you ever listened to the words of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!? The first verse sums up Christmas in four words – God and sinners reconciled.
The rest of the song is an admonition to praise the one who saved us and reconciled us to Himself through the gift given in Jesus.
I struggle – I will be the first to admit it. I struggle a LOT with joy, and peace (go down the list). I struggle with holding on to the “true meaning” of Christmas in this ever-changing world. My family has shifted dramatically in the last seven years and with it my enjoyment of Christmas seems to have shifted. The older I get, and the more single (if there is such a thing) I get, the harder it is to accept Christmas for what it is.
There is all kinds of talk about the “true meaning” of Christmas. But quite simply, Christmas is what it is. Stripped bare of meanings, stripped bare of celebrations, stripped bare of the trappings and trimmings, Christmas isn’t about family. It isn’t about giving, it isn’t about lights, or world peace, or anything else. Christmas simply is God and sinners reconciled.
And when I can get back to that basic truth, I think I will come through Christmas a much happier person. Because the gifts – both those given and those received – are just a way to celebrate being reconciled with God. The time with family – it is just one way to celebrate being reconciled with God. None of it should matter. None of it should get to me. Christmas itself won’t change whether I ever get married or stay single, I have children or do not, live with my parents or live alone because Christmas at it’s very core cannot change. Oh, the way I celebrate it can, and if I let myself believe that Christmas is the celebration, then yes, it can become a burden and a sad time. But in reality, Christmas does not change.
God reconciled sinners to himself.
Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies! With angelic hosts proclaim…Christ is born in Bethlehem.
…I’m as ready as I’ve been.
Tomorrow is my first official day as a classroom teacher. I have nine little lives, little ones with many special needs, depending on me. Two adult assistants who are waiting for me to tell them what to do. I am, to put it mildly, nervous.
Also, my baby niece starts FIRST GRADE tomorrow. (I can’t even type that without crying. It would help if I would stop watching the Olympics and listening to daddy/daughter songs.) There is a picture of her on my wall with chubby baby cheeks, she was about six months old. Her daddy was in Iraq, and she had just learned how to take steps if someone was holding her hand. It is amazing to me that someone so small can grow into someone so big. She’s going to be an amazing first grader.
I hope I am as good a teacher as she is a student. Time will tell! But wish me luck, and add some prayers, please!
As Beverly put it, at my house I am praying for Mark and Beka. Please pray with me.
One year ago today, my friend Scott was breathing his last breaths. He died shortly after midnight on May 9, 2007. It doesn’t really seem possible that he died – it seems a dream that he lost his battle with brain cancer, that the hope and faith he fought with, the trust he had, weren’t enough to save him, to change the plans of the God he trusted to deeply. And yet sometimes it seems like years since he lived, or like a dream that he ever lived at all.
One conversation his wife has had often is that of “I am sure Scott wanted you to be happy,” and the conversation along those lines. But the thing is – they never had those discussions. They never discussed the “what ifs” of not surviving cancer, because in their minds, cancer was beatable. He was so close, and he slipped away from us.
Tomorrow, however, we celebrate, because we grieve with hope – hope that Scott is exactly where he wants to be, resting whole and complete at the feet of his Jesus.
The day after he died, someone asked his (then) six-year-old son what he thought Daddy was doing on his first morning in Heaven. They decided he was playing golf. So here’s hoping that Scott’s getting in a birthday party round of golf today.
We miss you, but we’re so thankful you’re well. Soar on, friend.
So. I am trying to get this widget in my blog, and it’s not working, so any help is much appreciated. But I wanted to let you all know sort of what I am doing.
I am participating in a 12-woman running group, Darla’s Angels, who will be completing the Wasatch Back Relay on June 20 and 21, 2008. I am running this because of and with my good friend, Candace, who is from Utah. Darla, her sister-in-law, died last summer at a young age from breast cancer. Because of this, our group is running in honor of Darla and to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, whose mission “is to save lives by increasing awareness of breast cancer through education and by providing mammograms for those in need.” The NBCF actually provides free mammograms to low-income women, which increases awareness and early detection of breast cancer, which is so very important to the treatment of this deadly disease. Breast cancer is the second deadliest cancer for women (behind lung cancer), and the NBCF is doing all it can to put an end to that.
Donations, if anyone WANTS to, can be made through the website, www.runningangels.org; and if anyone can help me figure out how on earth to get the widget on this blog, I’ll love you forever.
Whether or not you donate, PLEASE click on that site and watch the video about our team. It’s so cool and tells kind of what this is all about.