I am extroverted by nature and love spending time with lots of people. I am energized by the crowd. Sometimes; however, when I spend a lot of time with people and have lots of different conversations, I have a hard time winding down and falling asleep. Last week at MOPS we brought our entire remote staff in to engage in our annual strategic planning. I was thrilled because the majority of my staff is remote and we spend most days connecting via Facetime, phone and Zoom so having time in person was wonderful.
I found myself restless at the end of the week. I was processing plans, replaying meaningful conversations and honestly had a lot planned for the weekend as I was hosting a large party at my house. I decided to stop tossing and turning and make my way downstairs so I didn’t wake my husband.
I walked around the Christmas tree and began reminiscing. My tree is a story tree. It is a bit of a hodge podge so to speak but so many ornaments hold sentimental value to me. A green felt ornament with my oldest son, Justin, centered in the middle with his first grade smile. An ornament with Spencer’s old football number, Taylor’s picture secured in a hot glue gunned popsicle stick triangle. Then there is Lexi’s picture,surrounded by gold painted noodles her beautiful smile and the “ I cut my own bangs with play scissors” look that she sported as a preschooler one year. Our first year married Christmas ornament which is now 33 years old. The beautiful ornaments my sister has given me over the years and the ones we have collected on our travels. Then one in particular caught my eye – It says, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. Santa is kneeling in prayer at the manger. It is sweet. I then glanced over to my nativity scene and the lights from the tree reflected so beautifully on the manger scene.
It is the season, the birth of the Christ child. The celebrations of it all. Looking at the baby Jesus in the manger made me grateful that He is not just the reason for the Christmas season but He is the Reason. The meaning to our earthly lives. This Christmas let’s not leave baby Jesus in the manger. As fellow Christians let’s love all people well and share the hope that is only found in Him. Those thoughts allowed me to settle back into bed and I slept so peacefully.
I realize Christmas can be so hard for many. I know we have had our years when the thoughts of Fa La La seemed impossible. This year many we know are struggling with health issues and the sadness that comes with the loss of those we love. Even more reason to stop and share God’s love. Let’s be mindful of the Reason this holiday season and beyond.
Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas!
Isaiah 9:6 NIV For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
God created me to be a positive thinker. As a matter of fact, when I took the Gallup Strengths Finder Test, positivity is a strength of mine and so is Woo which combined you will either think I am upbeat and positive or you might find me annoyingly chipper. In any case, I for some reason am wired to see the glass half full, not half empty.
When I think about Holy week and Easter I always think about the “ He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed” part. I don’t always ponder the triumphant entry which in a few short days led to a brutal death on the cross. The heaviness of the last supper, Jesus knowing indeed it was the last time he would partake in a meal with his beloved disciples. The betrayal and the long walk to Calvary. My focus tends to be on the rolled away stone and Jesus in heaven.
That was until a few days ago when I was challenged by one of my co-workers at our staff meeting. Pastor Jaimie led our devotion time and asked us to think about the “ Good Friday Moments” in our lives and then the “ Easter Moments” and talk about them, pray about them, and thank God for both. I struggled at first knowing anything I suffer with in this life is nothing compared to the sacrifice of Christ, yet I have suffered and still have moments or issues that I struggle with. We shared our stories with our co-workers and of course we each have “ Good Friday Moments” we are dealing with. It was a beautiful time of sharing and prayer which left me thinking without the hope of the risen Lord, I would not be able to make it through those tough times. Knowing that Jesus lived an earthly life makes me feel that He is aware of my earthly struggles. I left our meeting feeling grateful for my Christian faith.
I have pondered all of this a lot this week and even more so as I head off to a Good Friday service at my church today. This year I am embracing the whole story of Easter – the difficult and the beautiful. I am so appreciative of the suffering Jesus did on my behalf and the rekindled awareness I have of this during this Holy Week. Life is full of both the difficult and the amazing and a lot of the time it is only in the suffering that we can fully appreciate all that is good. Thank you Pastor Jaimie for the reminder.
He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!!
Mark 16: 1-7
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “ Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were alarmed. “ Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell tell his disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him , just as he told you.”