Sunday, December 21, 2008

What was I thinking?

What was I thinking! Here along with everybody else, I've joyfully been singing, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas." It goes along with the season, right? But let's be honest: I may have been dreaming of one, but I certainly didn't want one. At least not so that it would affect our services at church. But alas, my dream has come true, and now I'm enjoying being surrounded with 8-10" of snow with a 1/4" crust of ice on the top. Who would have thought I'd have to drag Shadow out onto the ice to do his business! The picture you see here is my back yard. If you could look closely enough, you'd see a couple of mounds of snow on the pond. Those are duck decoys that now look like snow-covered shark fins. While I'm bugged by some of things the snow has created, it surely is beautiful. You can't help but enjoy the scenery when covered by this calming, white blanket.

With the weather the way it is, we (along with every other church around) were forced to cancel our services today. It just doesn't seem right to be canceling worship services on the Sunday before Christmas. Oh, well, I'm thinking this will make our celebration of Christmas Eve all the more joyful since we missed being together in church today. Maybe we'll have our Christmas Sunday next week. I'll just have to stop this ridiculous dreaming about snow!

As I have been speaking with my pastor friends over the last couple of weeks, it seems as though all of our churches have been hit with a double whammy (to use an old L'il Abner term). Not only has the dismal state of our economy wreaked financial havoc on the churches through the fall, but now the weather has piled on as well. That being the case, we have good news: God is still in control!

Instead of focusing on the bad news, I'd much rather concentrate on the good news. We have so very much to be grateful for during this Christmas season. Right in the middle of everything that is going on we get to celebrate God's gift of life in Jesus. How blessed we are that God gave us the means to have peace in the midst of the storms of life through him!

May you be blessed this new week. And whatever you do, think about dreaming for snow before you do it!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Have yourself an economically challenged Christmas...

All the talk about our troubled economy can cause some folks to be particularly stressed this Christmas. How in the world can they have a "merry Christmas" when things are in such a mess? Who wants to sing, "Have yourself an economically challenged Christmas..."?

This morning I received an email from an author-friend of mine named Jeannie St. John Taylor. Her most recent book is "Culture-proof kids...Building character in your children". In her Monday morning prayer note, she sent a wonderful prayer I find particularly fitting during this particular Christmas season. Whether you pray it for a friend, or for yourself (just change the pronoun), I think you'll find it most meaningful. By the way: each thought is anchored to a specific verse in the Bible.

"Gracious Father, bless my friend with peace today. Lead her to defeat worry and fear by trusting in you. Help her remain peaceful by taking every thought captive and choosing to fill her mind with good and honorable thoughts. Calm her emotions by reminding her to choose to pray for those who hurt or irritate her rather than stewing over problems. Open her eyes to see your blessings and her heart to accept your peace until gratitude and love flow from her. I ask these things in Jesus name, amen."

As the Lord answers this prayer in your life or your friend's, it's guaranteed to make a wonderful difference!

Happy December,