Wishing all of you God's peace and blessings in the New Year!
Martha and Danny
The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. ~Numbers 6:24-26
My husband, Danny, celebrates his 69th birthday this past Monday. With all the ups and downs we've experienced in our almost 18 years of marriage, we are both infinitely grateful that he has reached this milestone. God's face has certainly shined upon him and given to him, as Danny would readily admit, much more than he could have ever hoped for or deserved.
Isn't that how we all should feel when we mark another birthday in the books?
Danny is not one to wait on ordering items he feels he would find useful in his kitchen (yes, he does the cooking!) or in other arenas, but I'm so grateful he resists his "impulse buying" to turn them into suggestions for birthday gifts from me. Believe me, as well as I think I know my husband, unless he volunteers information about things he would truly like to add to the household, I am clueless. Sure, I could get him the proverbial shirt or sweater or boring socks. But I'd much rather have my gifts meet his desires and bring him the joy he so richly deserves.
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. ~Genesis 2:7
At this time last year, I had no earthly idea what my word for 2022 would be. What becomes my one word is not one I consciously choose; it chooses me. And this year is the same - no word has yet appeared, although I'm confident it will happen in God's good timing.
That's the way my one word, Breathe, came to be. As some of you already know, I began 2022 in the hospital with acute pneumonia. I was placed on oxygen for days, and even then, it was a struggle to get a deep, satisfying breath. That simple, reflexive act that we engage in repeatedly without giving it a second thought became a laborious effort. After I recover, I realize that I never want to take the miracle of my own breathing for granted again. It truly is the gift of life from God.
As we're fast approaching Christmas, the very day last year when I begin to show some respiratory distress, I find myself suffering with PTSD. I would never, ever want to experience such trauma again, nor would I wish such upon my worst enemy. But like so many painful experiences we go through, we can't always understand what God's purpose is in all of it. What is He encouraging us to see? To acknowledge? Why has this rotten thing even happened in the first place? Is there a lesson here just waiting to be learned? Turns out, there are many positive takeaways from the pneumonia experience that work together in giving me my one word for 2022:
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." ~John 8:12
One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is to send, and receive, Christmas cards. How many of you feel the same way? In my mind's eye, I can visualize so many of you out here in Blogland raising your hands!
This year, however, due to raging inflation, had me second guessing whether or not it would be economically wise to continue this beloved tradition, at least for the time being. That's what my head said; but in the end, my heart won out. Once I find some sensibly-priced, religious-themed cards at Amazon, I go for it!
Their greeting may seem like a small gesture to them as they crank through their annual Christmas list, hastening to get their cards in the mail. But for me, those little acts of kindness are exactly what brightens my day, and lets me know I'm not forgotten by the people I love.
And that is what I hope and pray the Christmas cards I send do for others - be that little act of kindness that shines the light of Jesus' love into their hearts.
May all our lights, no matter how small, shine in a big way for His glory!
He who testifies to these things say, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. ~Revelation 22:20
The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord. ~Henri Nouwen
As we enter this soul stirring season of Advent, have we quieted our spirits and prepared room in our hearts for the impending coming of the Lord? Are we, as Nouwen states, recognizing Jesus' presence not just in this season, but in all the ordinary moments of our lives?
And if we're not living in a perpetual state of expectancy, then why aren't we? What would it take for us to do so?
Advent invites us to slow down, to sit in stillness, to allow that feeling of waiting with expectancy to fill us once again. Is that easy to do in this hustle-bustle season? No, but we should make every effort to embrace God's invitation to come away with Him for a while and find rest as we prepare for the miracle that is Christmas.
My hope and prayer for you, my friends, is that you will heartily embrace this season and its promise of joy and peace. The Lord Jesus is right around the corner . . .
Do you have any special Advent traditions? Please share in the comments.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment for your bones. ~Prove...