A place for random thoughts from the life of a follower of Jesus.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Christmas Already?

Life seems to go by so quickly! Here it is the last week of November, and December and Christmas are looming large. Where does the time go? It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that we were enjoying summer and some holidays. Now, it's only 4+ weeks until Christmas. And before Christmas arrives, there are Christmas celebrations and banquets, Christmas pageants and musicals, and the numerous visits with family and friends. All of these are wonderful and can be highly satisfying, besides being uplifting. Each one taken on its own is a beautiful event. But add them all together, and we risk running ourselves ragged, and ending up wishing it was all over.
I hope to be able to take some time to reflect and relax this Christmas season. I wish for time to just kick back and enjoy the real celebration - the coming of Jesus as a baby to bring salvation to the world. I can't quite shake the feeling that the truth and reality of Christmas may get lost in all the busy-ness. I don't want that to happen for me and my family, nor to you and yours.
There is a wonder to Christmas, a magic that is beyond our comprehension, but that beckons us to experience a glimpse of this reality. I want to take a deep breath, slow down, and drink in the wonder of it all. It's hard for me to do, as I usually am looking over the horizon to see what's coming next, so much so that I often miss what's here and now.
Christmas is my favourite time of year. I love the music, the lights, the time spent with family and friends. I just don't want to miss it. And I'm afraid I might.
I don't want to miss a moment of it all. I don't want you to miss a thing either. Will you agree with me to take it all one day at a time?
I've got a book entitled "Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas." I have a couple of extra copies. If you would like one, drop me a line and we can arrange for you to pick it up.
May the Christ of Christmas touch your heart deeply beginning today!
P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends!

Monday, November 20, 2006

A LIttle Light Work

Well, it's Monday and the work week has begun again. Sometimes it feels like it never really ends doesn't it? It may feel like there is no ending and beginning, just a running together of the weeks.
Life seems to be so busy. When there's not work to do (when's that?), there's stuff to do at home, not to mention the addition of all the other stuff we choose to do: recreation, entertainment, etc. When recreation and entertainment get to be a burden, it may have lost its effectiveness!
I usually have Fridays off. However, between my son's surgery and pre- and post-op appointments, as well as additional ministry requirements lately, it feels like I haven't had a free Friday for a month or two. Not that I don't do anything on Fridays. But, a day free of lots of activities and responsibilities allows me to do some things that need doing (Now how much sense does that make? Being free of responsibilities to do other responsibilities???). Having somke freedom on Fridays allows me to grocery shop - the grocery store is much nicer and calmer in the middle of the week day than in the evening or Saturday - as well as things around the house, like fix-it jobs and laundry. I sure sound like a regular househusband, don't I? Well, if the shoe fits.... My wife works long and hard and earns more than twice what I do, even if I were working full-time. So, I guess I need to do what needs doing. After all, work is work, no matter who is doing it.
I need a reminder now and again that I don't have to do everything myself. One day Jesus addressed people like you and me: "Are you tired? Worn out?" His answer for this too-common condition? Come to me and find true rest. You can read it in Matthew 11:28-30 (Here's the link for The Message: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2011:28-30;&version=65;).
You might be asking: 'why always quote from the Bible?' Good question! I believe that it is timeless and has the answers for what we need in life. If you don't see it the same way I do, that's okay. We can still talk and I'll be praying that you will truly find God as you seek for the truth.
I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Election: Who is the winner?

Well, the election is over, and the newly elected mayors, councillors and trustees are thanking their volunteers and getting ready to take office. Those who formerly held these offices and now find themselves out of their position are pondering what they will do with their lives now.
Congratulations to those newly elected. The people (well, a percentage of them anyway) have put their faith in you. Don't let us down! It's a great responsibility to take on these leadership positions.
I sometimes feel badly for those who find themselves out of their former positions. It brings on a time of introspection: what do I do now? What kind of contribution can I make to my community now? How am I going to pay the bills?
Well, truth be told, I don't feel sorry for all those now out of office. Some of them didn't do much. What did it for me in my local ward was seeing in the Toronto Star a list of the names of those candidates who did not accept money from developers. I based my vote largely on seeing the candidate's name on that list. I'm happy that the one I voted for was elected.
I have to be careful; it's not for me to judge, as I'm not the one out there putting myself on the line for my community. Truth be told, I have had fleeting thoughts about being involved in politics. It's likely that my psyche and ego would not be able to handle the rejection, the wild swings of emotion.
As a follower of Jesus, I'm instructed to respect those in leadership (Romans 13:1-7; read it here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2013:1-7&version=31). Paul instructed Timothy (and thus all followers of Jesus) to pray for all those in authority over us (I Timothy 2:1-2; see it here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Timothy%202:1-2;&version=31;).
Whether you voted or not, pray for those who were elected last night. It's only fair, and you will be blessed. If you want a better councillor/mayor/trustee, pray for the one you've got, and you'll get a better one.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lost sleep and kids

It's been over a week since my last post. What a week it has been! My son was in for eye surgery last week. Am I glad that's over! (I guess he is too!) I didn't sleep well for a few nights leading up to the surgery date. I know that I'm not the only parent in the world who has had a child go in for surgery. Indeed, many other children have faced far more serious operations. But, it was very difficult for me, and my wife too, I think.
What I found to be one of the hardest things was telling my son that he was going to the hospital for an operation on his eyes. He's only three years old, so we didn't want to tell him too far in advance. So, we sat him down Wednesday morning (the day before the surgery) and talked to him about going to the hospital so the doctor could make his eyes better. It showed me how trusting children often are! There was no crying, protests, or the like. I guess it makes it easier when you don't really know what an operation or surgery is about. He didn't know enough to be upset or fearful. How I wish I could be like that!
Even harder than talking to him about the surgery was taking him to the hospital, putting the hospital pajamas on him, and finally, watching him walk through the big doors into the OR area with the nurse. My wife and I both looked at each other with tears in our eyes, tears we dared not show until our son was behind those doors. He has had a surgery before to correct a small birth defect. However, he was only about 15 months old at the time. He probably doesn't remember anything from that operation, although with his memory, you never know. Anyway, we were left sitting, watching and waiting. He, on the other hand, went off with no protests, no tears, stepping out into yet another new experience. I marvel at his ability to roll with the punches, to carry on no matter what the circumstances.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be a little like that? There are so many things that life throws our way. It's a good thing we don't know the end from the beginning, or we might never begin at all. I'm reminded of the time that Jesus took a little child and stood him/her in front of all the adults listening to him teach. He said, unless you become like a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. (See the verse here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%2018:2-5;&version=65;) In other words, faith comes by simple trust. We likely won't understand everything. But Jesus calls us to act on the things that we do understand. Jesus gives a simple invitation: come, follow me.
I'm trying to do that, one step at a time.
If you'd like to know more, or would like help in understanding any of this, post a comment and we can talk some more.