Finding the Peace in Christmas

“I’ve made the same mistake before

Too many malls, too many stores

December traffic, Christmas rush

It breaks me till I push and shove

Children are crying while mothers are trying

To photograph Santa and sleigh

The shopping and buying and standing forever in line

What can I say?

I need a silent night, a holy night

To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise

I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here

To end this crazy day with a silent night.”

These are lyrics from the song “I Need A Silent Night” by Amy Grant.

Do you feel this way? Do you lose your Christmas joy because you’re running around in a chaotic frenzy trying to do everything to make everyone else happy?

Maybe this is the year to make a new plan.

What do you want to focus on this Christmas season?

Is it about all the parties?

Is it about the presents and gifts? The hunting and the searching for the perfect thing for each person?

Or is it about remembering the abundant love of God? The love that caused Him to send us his son in the form of a baby. To teach us how to live and how to love others, and then die for us that we might be reunited with God the Father in heaven for eternity?

That’s the Christmas I want to celebrate this year.

I want to spend time remembering how God speaks to us, his people.

He speaks through the Old Testament prophets who foretold of Jesus’s birth.

He spoke through an angel who told Mary she would be with child.

He spoke through the unborn child of Elizabeth who leaped inside her when Mary, carrying the Messiah, came near to her.

He spoke through an angel in a dream who told Joseph to wed Mary, even though she was already pregnant.

He spoke to the shepherds through a host of heavenly angels proclaiming the baby’s birth.

And he spoke through a star to the wise men who traveled from the east to honor the newborn King.

I want to remember the mysterious way God spoke back then, and still speaks today.

I want to quiet my heart to hear him say, “Encourage that mother you see shopping and dealing with 3 young children.”

I want to hear him when he tells me to let someone go in front of me at the checkout line.

When he tells me to slow down, I am driving too fast. Slow down and avoid that accident.

You get the drift.

If I’m rushing around frantically, I can barely hear myself think, let alone hear God speak.

He sent Jesus Emmanuel meaning “God with us.” God is with us. All the time. We just need to open our eyes and hearts to see and hear him in the day to day tasks of life. I guarantee it. He is here.

I want to slow down this December and enjoy the people I see all around me– at work, in the stores, in my neighborhood, in my church, in my home. Oh yes, those at home need our love and appreciation and attention too. Jesus told us to love God and love others.

It’s not about money, and power, prestige, and position. It’s about having a relationship with people. Relationships are the only thing we will take with us into the next life. It would be a shame to waste December focusing on the trappings of the commercialism of the season instead of spending time with the people who are supposed to mean something to us.

Each of us matter to God. Can you shine his light and love to people you run into this December?
As published at  http://affinitemagazine.com/finding-the-peace-in-christmas

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Remembering Nancy

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NANCY COWIE      July 21, 1958 – November 6, 2016

I’m happy for Nancy; she is at peace now.
And once again with her beloved Reg.
I’m sad for those of us left behind.

I miss her.   But why am I so sad?
I know I will see her again, in heaven, on that glorious day.
So why?

Did I tell her how much I love and admire her?
Did she know?
Yes, she knew. I have nothing left unsaid.
Yet I wish I could hug her one more time.

So what is that fear that I see popping up?
Fear of wasting my life…
Dying too soon, with my book still inside me, lost from others forever.

How can I honor her best?
Say wonderful things at her celebration of life?
That is nice, but so fleeting.

Write it down. Document it.
If it’s not documented it didn’t happen.
Lost forever in the wind.

Death will happen to each of us.
None of us know when.
If we are gravely ill, we will know it’s close.
The rest of us …
it could be sudden, after a chronic illness, or a long life.

How will you live out the rest of your life?
Will you make it count for something?

For me–I declare I will take the next step.
I will write, blog, and walk the talk.
Love God. Love others. Tell about Jesus to whomever comes in my path.
And the reason for my hope in the face of grief and death.
Jesus, my hope of heaven.

Nov 7, 2016