Christmas Brings Glad Tidings…

Christmas Brings Glad Tidings…

On that first Christmas night we read that there were angels in the sky proclaiming a heavenly message:  “I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.”  “For unto us a child is born…And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.”(Isaiah 9:6) What exactly is this great news meant for all of us?  Emmanuel, translating to “God with us”! Now that is great news! God is always with us.  As we go through our daily routines sometimes we feel our aloneness and feel our emptiness. God has a way of surprising us. If our hearts are open, God has a way of filling us in a way we’d least expect.  God will not forget us or abandon us.  Jesus is God’s living promise never to abandon or forget us, but always to be a life giver for us. God can give us life even in the worst and emptiest of times, even when all seems lost if we let go of the inner barriers of despair, anger and distrust. God can open the doors of a new world for us and fill our emptiness full. God can do all that if we just let him.  So as we celebrate this “great news”, let’s remember the secret that God spoke to us by sending Jesus: “I love you very much. I will always be with you. Take my love and wrap yourself in my constant care. Take my love inside you and day by day the peace you seek will more and more be yours.” This is God’s...
Christmas Perfection?

Christmas Perfection?

With this nostalgic time of the year, childhood memories of Christmases long, long ago come to mind. Putting up the traditional tree drags up dubious memories.   Have you ever had a mother instruct you on “exactly” how to put old-fashioned tinsel on the Christmas tree? With mom’s German engineering skills we were admonished to hang one, and only one piece on at a time and it had to dangle down not touching any other braches. There were many “do-overs” when not meeting these expectations.  By the time the “tinsel drill” was over, I was ready to throw the whole box and the tree and call it “close enough”! So much for losing the spirit of the season! Perfection, I think we’ve all had some sort of “perfection” drilled into us somewhere along the line. If not the Christmas tree, there were demanding teachers, exacting parents, or imposing church rules careful not to deviate from. Especially during these busy days we need to remember the admonition that life is not about the destination, but “The Journey”.  We get so caught up in preparing the perfect dinner, purchasing the perfect gift, and displaying the perfect family, that we are swept through this wonderful holiday season just going through the motions, seeking the impossible ideal of perfection.  Like the rude guest at a cocktail party, who talks with us while all the time being distracted while watching for someone more interesting to move on to meet, we often look right over the present moment right in front of us. We are seeking to create the perfect holiday while the numerous blessings are right...
Christmas Reminder!

Christmas Reminder!

As this wonderful season begins to unfold, I bring you a spiritual reminder. Yesterday is history.   Tomorrow a mystery.      Today is a gift.    That’s why we call it the present!     Just a four short weeks from now we will be taking down the tree, packing up the ornaments, cleaning up the mess and look at a stack of “to do’s” that have been set aside for the holiday season. We will be wondering what all the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking and dressing up was for? How will we feel in Dec. 26tH? How we feel that day hinges on how we remember what all the shopping, cooking and decorations are all about NOW. All of these preparations are about building community! All the work of Christmas is about renewing the bonds that bind us to one another and to the Lord. If we remember that we will know inside how to handle “The Present” these next few weeks. The gifts we buy will make sense in the larger scheme of things. How we decide to spend the days and how we decide not spend them will make sense. Our hosting of get-togethers and the way we are guests– reaching out and pulling everyone inside the circle of our care and concern. All will make sense if only we remember “why”. The calm we keep at our center during these busy days will tell all who see us that we know what “Our Present” is about, that we know what matters and what does not. And because of that, we ourselves will be a...
Who Needs Black Friday?

Who Needs Black Friday?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving devoted to sales, brings out the crazy drive to “get the best deal”. Saving money and securing the best price, often comes with strings – beating out your neighbor, getting up at dawn and grabbing at a limited supply. Granted everyone wants a “deal”, but who really needs it? Especially remembering that the best things in life are free! This time of the year, with Thanksgiving as the kickoff is the perfect time to celebrate God’s love for us – the best deal of our lives. We don’t need Black Friday to get in on this special offer. All we have to do us to be ourselves, living as beloved children of God. God’s love for each of us is abundant and not anything like the Black Friday Sales. In God’s Promotional Program: There is no time limit– this is not a one-day shot of love. The offer stands throughout our lifetime. You can ALWAYS count on God’s love to be there. There is not a limited supply of product. There is plenty of love and abundance for all. God will not run out of love, caring or compassion. This offer of unconditional love is open to all– you do not have to “earn” the deal. God does not give a day of his love for a day of our good behavior. God’s love is there in spite of our behavior. What better deal could there be? “Give thanks to God – He is good and his love never quits.”   (1 Chronicles...
Make Everyday Thanksgiving

Make Everyday Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the quiet holiday. It sneaks up on us after Halloween as we are distracted by the Christmas decorations.  It’s a day set aside without the fanfare of lights, gifts, parties and other distractions. This holiday is totally devoted to one of the most powerful practices that can heal, energize and change lives. We read that maybe we cannot change our circumstances but we can control our attitude toward them. And gratitude is that lynchpin that allows us that turnabout. Physically – Gratitude is related to 23% lower levels of stress hormones (cortisol). Gratitude is related to a 10% improvement in sleep quality in patients with chronic pain and 19% lower depression levels. Gratitude empowers us to take charge of our emotional lives, and as a consequence, our bodies reap the benefit. Emotionally – Gratitude will increase self-esteem, strengthen will power, enhance our relationships, deepen our relationship with our Creator, awaken creativity, and improve our abilities both mentally and physically. The one trait that can multiply goodness in ourselves and in the world is gratitude, energizing all aspects of our lives. So why do we celebrate this potent holiday only once a year? Make gratitude a “habit”… Count your blessings instead of sheep at bedtime.  If you like to write – start a gratitude journal. Decorate a vase and each day write down a blessing adding it to the collection of blessings in the vase. Celebrate by reading them every Thanksgiving. Whatever and however you can develop the mindset of thanksgiving and gratitude it is well worth it. “Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying,...
What Gets More Valuable With Age?

What Gets More Valuable With Age?

What, besides wine, gets better and more valuable with age? In an article by Jess Catcher the author lists 11 other interesting things that get better with age: whiskey, jeans, cheddar cheese, cast iron skillets, beef, balsamic vinegar, fine leather, pickles, flannel sheets, and seedlings. (Thumbnail Source: Pinterest). Agree? Anything else that you might add? Returning from a girls’ trip to Tucson with 4 of my dear high school classmates to celebrate a birthday, I’m reminded of just how precious life is. After spending 3 fun-filled days with them, I would highlight two additional things that become more valuable as we age: time and friendship! (Maybe the author, almost 30, has not lived long enough to value these other two.) Studies have shown that our happiness is in direct correlation with our social interactions.  Social interactions are paramount because friendships can add years to our lives and life to our years by creating meaningful connections. A good friend can help us make it though this life by acting as a sounding board, solving problems dealing with loss, disappointment, doubt, confusion, parenting issues and divorce..all  helping with depression. A friend’s honesty can be priceless, helping us see clearly.  Friends can be role models uplifting us to be our best selves. Through a sense of sharing and belonging our happiness soars. Our self-esteem grows. These  “friendship boots” are very difficult to fill, making friendship so precious and valuable, especially as the years tick away. True friendships are rock solid, forever firm. Time on the other hand is fleeting…If we waste it, we will never get it back. The old saying is true:...