Welcome to our blog! This is a place to share ideas, thoughts, concerns and joys of our faith journey. I'll be posting sporadically, but hope you will feel free to comment and join in the discussions.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'm a big fan of Christmas. Even the secular stuff. Okay, not all the secular stuff. The shop till you drop mentality is not me. But I like glitter and sparkle. I was a big fan as a kid making Christmas cards for my family of adding as much glitter as possible. It showed how much I loved them, right?

So now I'm a grown up. And the sparkle isn't quite what it used to be for me. I learned some new words growing up, garish, ostentatious, gaudy. They put a damper on my enthusiasm for sparkle and glitter. But there are still things I like to see shiny. I like jewelry. I like tinsel, even though my children insist that it isn't necessary to "finish" the look of the Christmas tree. And I like stars. I like to look up at night and see the velvet darkness studded with twinkling spots of lights. I confess, I do not think about how long it takes that light to get here or that it is some sun or planet that imploded years ago and will not be visible soon. I just like to see them shine. Especially on cold winter nights. It makes me think that there is warmth somewhere, looking down and reaching for us.

That first Christmas had the brightest light of all. I see it captured in paintings, drawings, cards, ornaments. What a wondrous thing that must have been to behold. Especially since there weren't any other lights to dim its radiance. No electricity yet. The dark night was positively, well, lit up by this star.

Aren't our lives sort of like that too? We travel in the darkness of our selfishness, our seeing of our lives without seeing others. We traipse down pathways, looking only at our feet, our situation, ourselves, without seeing that light that shines all around us. At Christmas, it's like we suddenly realize that the light is there. That there is something outside of ourselves, our cocoon of self. We see our brothers and sisters in a new illumination. We are reflected with the light of Christ's coming and it's bright enough to want to put on sunglasses, if we'd only really see it.

So join me this Christmas in your "shades" sharing the light of Jesus with each other. Make our light so shine before others, that they will wonder what our source of energy is and when they find out, they'll shine, too! Let's sparkle, glitter and glow together during this season. I brought my clip on's, how about you?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hard Faith or Hardly Faith?

In our journey down the road of life, if you are a person of belief you will encounter something that scares you. It will be something really awful or awe-filled. Something inspiring or terrifying. And you will find yourself looking at your faith and wondering. And the wondering can be scary in itself, especially if you find yourself questioning beliefs that you have grown up with, or things that you thought you knew until this big thing happened.

I have trusted in the Holy Spirit to be with me through all kinds of things. I find that I don't question whether the Spirit is with me, only whether it is in the foreground or the background and why it chooses to be either or. Many friends of mine, especially during tragic circumstances have asked, "Why" this happened. Maybe they just mean why now? Or even why me? I don't think I've wondered why so much as now what happens? And I really mean that when I say it. I don't look for the purpose or reason as I'm pretty sure if I have to ask why, then the reason probably wouldn't make sense to me at the moment. But the what happens next...that catches me. How will we deal with this event? How will this assimilate into our lives? Will this thing that has happened make us better followers? Better believers? More aware of the God who is with us? Too frequently, it happens that we shake our fists at the heavens and pronounce that if we can't understand it now, we'll never understand it, so don't even both to explain to me, thank you very much. There is some kind of trite comment that says whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger. Eww. I suppose that could be something you follow as a mantra. But what about, "I will be with you always, even to the end of the age." That seems more comforting to me. Or what about, "He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of need." Yeah, I can get behind that one, too.

So when these big things happen, either glorifying or traumatizing, and your faith feels a little wobbly ask yourself what you believe. Not why, but what happens next. And look for the others who are with you, your brothers and sisters in faith. They are standing with you at that time, even if you can't see them. Just like the Holy Spirit.