Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2
For the first time since I can recall, my December calendar is mostly blank. Knowing there’d be an enormous demand for on-line shopping and delivery, I bought all my Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving. Having all my kids home, with limited extra-curriculars, we got the Christmas decorations out and up by the first of December. It’s like everything I’ve ever wished for for Advent: all the mundane tasks completed, with time to focus on what really matters.
How ironic that the season is still filled with such stress and tension.
“Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” Joshua 5:15b
When I was a kid and went to the movie theatre, my favorite part was when the lights dimmed and an image of a projector appeared on the screen. Dashes of color would flow out of the lens of the simple graphic, while a few beats of music would repeat over and over again in the background.
That image and music conveyed the message that something wonderful was about to happen. I’d sit on the edge of my seat, with my mind and heart wide open to the possibility that I was about to see the greatest movie of my life.
It was in that moment that a sacred space was created. It existed between the outside world and the magic that was about to appear on the screen. The movie hadn’t started. There wasn’t any possible let down yet from bad acting, a terrible plot twist, or a disappointing ending. It was an interim filled with pure perfection and immense anticipation.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
I live in New England where the foliage is spectacular each fall. It’s as if God lights up the trees in a blaze of colorful glory, like the finale at a fireworks show. Then the leaves fade and fall away.
There always seem to be those stubborn leaves, though, that hang on with all their might, not wanting the season to end, not wanting to let go of the heights they’ve lived, only to drop to the ground and be raked away.
They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. Revelation 22:5b
It’s that time of year when we’re all untangling Christmas lights to string on the Christmas tree, mantel, and bushes outside. As darkness descends so early each day, it’s the twinkle of those lights that give us hope, joy, and a little bit of magic.
We could all use a little bit of magic right now. As 2020 draws to a close, we long for the restrictions, fear, doom and gloom to be lifted. For those who believe, we are guaranteed that something wonderful is coming.
Back in my teens and twenties, I could get a great run from the smallest of actions: skip dinner and have a flat belly for days, stay out late on a Thursday night and not miss a beat at work on Friday, reconnect with God on Sunday and feel Him carry me through all week. It really was a magical time…
“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Mt 24:13
When we were in lock-down in the spring, and schools went remote, my teen boys struggled. It was understandable: It was brand new territory. They were stumbling in the dark.
When our schools opened this fall, they went hybrid: alternating in-person days with remote days. Armed with their experience from the spring, and with a determination to do well, both boys started off with the best grades of their school careers. Like everything in 2020, that just changed on a dime.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1
As a big and beautiful blue jay flew by my window the other day, the Wright Brothers came to mind. It was the result of observing and studying birds that inspired and equipped them to build the first airplane. It got me wondering…
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Jocelyn came down to dinner last night saying, “I’m so stressed out! I’m trying to do my homework the way the teacher told me to, but I forget some of what he said.”
My response was that all she could do was the best she could do. She’s doing well in school and has excellent grades. The purpose of homework is to practice what you learn. It’s also good feedback for the teacher to see where she needs help.
It’s as if she didn’t hear me, and responded, “I want to do really well. There’s this girl in my class who’s so smart. She gets amazing grades. I want to be like her. I’m so stressed out!”
She wouldn’t step away from the cliff until I asked, “At what cost? What’s the point of trying so hard if it just leaves you stressed out and miserable all the time? That’s no way to live.”
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
On my way back from dropping my son at school last week, I saw a hot air balloon drift to an open strip of grass to land. It was such a surprise, and a stunning one at that. Seeing that massive, colorful orb gently float down was almost poetic.
The foliage in my area is spectacular now. I was envious of the passengers in that basket. It must have been magical to float above the trees in all their splendor and vivid colors.
Then I thought of the support team that made that magical moment happen.