Thursday, December 29, 2005

Prayers for 2006

A good friend gave me the prayer box shown here for Christmas. You are supposed to fill the little box with your prayers. The top is inscribed "Faith is the substance of things hoped for..." (Heb. 11:1). I have a feeling the prayer box will not take long to fill.

Some years go by without much of a blip on the screen. Things run smoothly and nothing much changes. Other years, the changes come fast and furious leaving you feeling like you've ridden a monster roller-coaster. If early premonitions turn out to be correct, this is going to be one of those years. At least, I believe we are in for a lot of ups and downs.

I don't "do" new year resolutions. Mostly because I know I won't stick to them. Instead this year I'm starting a tradition of new year prayers. I want to list the things that I'm praying for this year, so here they are:

Lord I pray for courage to handle all the changes that will come my way this year. I pray for my trust in you to deepen, and conviction that you are working all things out for the good of those who place their faith in you.

I pray for compassion and wisdom for friends who are hurting. Help me to be a loving, listening friend. Guard my tongue from judgement and gossip. Help me to forgive those I need to forgive and grant me kindness.

I pray for health and the commitment to look after myself - to eat better and take better care of my body. I pray for the healing of loved ones, and for spiritual healing.

I pray for my children - that they will stay healthy, that they will have a good year in school, that they will continue to grow to be compassionate and caring individuals.

I pray for my marriage - that it will continue to be blessed and we will remain strong in our partnership, caring for each other and our children.

I pray for my writing - that I will use my gifts for you, that I will nurture the creative spirit.

I pray for quiet times spent with you. I long to deepen our relationship - help me to fuel the desire to put you first.

And lastly, I pray that I will return to these prayers throughout the year as I weather all that life throws my way. I pray I won't forget what I've asked for this year, and that I will recognize you in the daily workings of my life.

Amen. * o

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Letter to Martha

Dear Martha:

I'm tired and seem to have lost my holiday spirit. I've got most of the presents bought and wrapping done, and the decorations are up, but I just can't seem to get excited about the season. I don't feel festive. Everything feels like a chore and I'm in a panic that all my "to-do" items won't get done. Even church seems way too busy and more than I can handle right now. I used to love to decorate, and wrap and prepare for the big day but now I feel it's going to come and go and pass me by without much fanfare. What can I do?


Dear Eb:

Let me guess. You're approaching mid-life right? Caught up in the frenzy of getting things done, but not taking any time for yourself? Feel guilty when you do? I've been there. I was the caretaker of everyone. I remember that time Jesus paid us a visit. I was in such a tither, and so annoyed at him, really. I mean he waltzes in with all these guys, and suddenly there's all these extra mouths to feed and rooms to clean because I wasn't expecting company! I remember standing in the doorway, watching my sister just sitting there at his feet doing nothing and starting to really "burn". I tapped my feet, and called Jesus over, and well, I confess, I whined. He took my hands in his, looked into my eyes, and gently said "Martha, Martha, Martha, you're missing the point. Take a load off." Well, Ok, maybe those weren't his exact words but you get the idea. You know, some people would have been hurt, thinking he was reprimanding them, but I felt such peace then. I had just been given permission to relax. All those people there didn't care what my house looked like or what I served for supper. After all, this was the guy who could feed 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes! They were there to spend time with Him. It wasn't about me at all. And so, I went about the rest of the evening in a better mood, enjoying the company and our visit. My suggestion to you is do what you can. Don't worry if it doesn't all get done or isn't perfect, nobody really notices if you have the perfect holiday centerpiece anyway. Enjoy your family, take time to rest. Spend some time with Him, He loves the company! You'll feel better if you do. And, Eb, it's ok to say "no" sometimes, we'll talk more about that later.


The more we share with simplicity what we have, the more life becomes welcoming for those entrusted to us. Simplifying enables us to offer a welcome to others, even with very little.

From the book:
Peace of Heart in All Things
by Brother Roger of Taizé
published by GIA Publications * o

Monday, December 12, 2005

O, Christmas Tree!

The tree went up this weekend. John put on the lights, the boys put on the ornaments and I made hot chocolate and put on the finishing touch - the bows. The house smells of pine and "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...." * o

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Merry, whatever????

This weekend I'm putting up my scotch pine holiday tree and trimming it with reminders of the holiday season. Then to put me in the holiday mood, I'm going to watch a couple of my favourite holiday movies. First, I'm going to watch that cartoon, where the Who's down in Whoville wake up one holiday morn, shocked and with a "What the?" on their lips when they discover that that green guy up the hill has stolen their "all-inclusive, secular, non-religous, commercialized, extremely offensive to grinches holiday". Then I'm going to watch "A Holiday Carol". I just love it when that Scrooge guy gets visited by the ghosts of holiday celebrations past, and learns how to keep the holiday spirit in his heart forever. (I think I just felt Dickens roll over in his grave). Maybe I'll even break out in song - "I'm Dreaming of a No Color in Particular Holiday" perhaps.

Yes, it's that time of year again. Christmas, you say? No, no, no. That time of year when the debate rages over just what we can call "that time of year" and the political correct police get all up in arms over what's correct and what's not.

Face it. This has less to do with potentially offending anyone, as it has to do with "market share". Ahh, Wally World, thy god is consumerism. Big box retailers, ever conscious of their next buck in an increasingly diverse culture, pick their brains with a way to make this time of year an all-inclusive shopping spree for everyone. You shall be all as one, and one as all, and you shall be happy. Politicians, ever conscious of the next vote, strive to make this an all-inclusive, non-offensive time of year so as not to tick you off and lose favor with the public. You shall be all as one, and one as all, and you shall be happy.

So, while the debate rages on around me, I'm trying to figure out just what it is about this time of year that is important to me. What do I celebrate? If the powers to be decide I can no longer have a day off this time of year to celebrate a holiday not everyone celebrates, will there still be a turkey dinner on the table at supper time? If Santa is no longer allowed to visit because he represents a stereotypical overweight white male that may potentially offend someone, will I still give gifts to the ones I love? If all the cards in the world were replaced with "Happy Holiday" cards, would I still send them to people I never hear from any other time of year? If energy conscious groups win the debate over lighting up your house with strings of lights, will I still search for the One who brings light to the darkness? If a tree falls in the forest, was it a Christmas tree??

(For a much better treatise on this subject then I can do justice to, click here)

Call it whatever you want. The true meaning of this celebration to me, is not found in a store clerk's holiday greetings or a decorated tree. Not in a gift box, not in a sock. I will not find it in a fox! I will not find it there. No, come Christmas Eve, Holiday Eve, Dec. 24th or whatever you'll find me in that little building down the road. The one with the cross on it. Sitting in candelit glow, trying to wrap my head around the wonder of a God who would come to earth as a tiny, helpless babe. Immanuel. As politically incorrect 2000 years ago as now.

Feel free to celebrate it however you want, or not. You won't offend me.

Dare I say " peace on earth, goodwill to ALL"? * o

Monday, December 05, 2005

and now for something completely different....

jkkh are the plant of love! You are the
mistletoe! You are a loving, romantic person
who likes to do what is best for the one or
ones you care about mostly. You are very
affectionate and enjoy being close to people.
You believe that love brings you together,
which is a wonderful thing. You are most likely
going to have a very nice and marvelous season.
Your inventive mind could come up with anything
interesting to do. Merry Christmas =)

What Christmas Figure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla * o

Saturday, December 03, 2005


True bliss is coming home from a mad dash to the city, fighting crowds in the mall, endless line-ups, aching back and generally exhausted, to find that your two fine sons have not only done all the chores on their list, including the laundry, but that your awesome teenage son has baked squares and prepared a delicious supper that is just waiting for you to come home to! Could it be Christmas in the air??

Sigh...I am so proud of my boys. * o