Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas: God Is With Us

Last night my family put up our Christmas tree. It was nice; music, a nice fire, good relationship, but my mother was missing. She was in a nursing home, not knowing the season or what day it is. It was the first Thanksgiving in many, many years that I did not interact with her in some way. If she makes it to Christmas, it will be a Christmas without her as well.

So amidst the hope and joy of Christmas, these thoughts served a backdrop for an element of sadness with every Christmas song played. There were memories of her in that very room, under these same circumstance, helping us put up the Christmas tree. Now I think of a helpless old woman sleeping the moments of her life away.

But, the Christ child came as a child of Hope. He came to be Emanuel: God is with us. God is with her in her sleep. God will take her to an even greater celebration in His own good time. There will be the warm fire of the Love of God, the singing of angels, and the presence of the Risen Lord now and evermore. Emanuel: God will be with her.

And, Emanuel: God is with us, during this Christmas season to hold our hands, as we face this Christmas without her. Praise God, Emanuel.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Jesus The Perfect Fit

There is a road bike on a bike trainer in my bedroom which I ride all the time. The front wheel is cradled in a holder that is on top of a book about an inch thick. Somehow that made it the perfect height and perfect fit.

The other day we were cleaning the bedroom and my wife noticed that the book I was using for a prop for the front wheel was a book about Jesus. That disturbed me that I had been doing that and I replaced the book about Jesus with another one.

Somehow, the bike just doesn't fit like it did with the book about Jesus under the front wheel. Things hurt that didn't before and I can't seem to stay on the bike for as long as I did before. It just isn't working out for me without the book about Jesus under the front wheel.

And, life doesn't work real well with Jesus under it either. Jesus is the perfect fit for the bike and for the sustenance of life as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Bible We Leave

My granddaughters and I were talking about my old Bible. It is very worn, torn in some places on the cover, and weathered. I told them I had taught, preached, and found my own way and my own Hope in this grand old Bible. It was like a special friend. When I die I want to be buried with me.

My youngest granddaughter thought for a moment and then said, "Pop-Pop, don't do that. Give me your Bible when you die. I want it." Not bad thinking for a seven year old. Give me your Bible when you die. "Will the footsteps that I leave, lead them to believe, and the life I've lived inspire them to obey. Will those who come behind me find me faithful." Will someone, through my life, read the Bible I have left into their own lives. And will they in turn, leave a Bible for those who come behind them? Will those who come behind us want to read the old weathered and torn Bible that we have left through our lives?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Singing Our Hearts Out

Visiting the nursing home on a Sunday morning, I came in on a church group holding a service for the residents. They were singing the old songs; the ones they had all known in their active days but now, most seemed unconcerned. Some were moving, or tapping a little to the beat but I wondered was it the message of the song, or the beat of it which moved them. The rest were almost oblivious to the singing. Even my own Mother, long a churchgoer, was in her wheelchair with her back to the service, looking glum. Most of the others were moving about, looking off, shuffling after something they wanted, or call for the aides to do something for them. But, God bless them, the volunteers kept singing like they were singing before an enthusiastic crowd.

I wondered about all this. Has the loss of mental facilities also meant the loss of spiritual ones? Has these residents spirits left already leaving only the natural being to cope with what was left of the life of the body on this earth? And I wondered too, do we sometimes act this way when the Lord's message is ringing in our ears, that we turn aside to attend to petty, selfish, temporal needs. Are we sometimes not being attentive to the eternal, consumed in our small, self-satisfying, myopic world?

Or, can we be like the volunteers; singing our hearts out for Jesus, giving our best for our Lord even when it appears no one is listening, knowing that is not our role to count listeners but to keep on singing our hearts out.