Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White...New Year

Since it is the end of the year, I really considered posting some big, long, retrospective. I also thought about linking to my favorite posts for the year. However, there is so much going on, and so much has happened this year, that I just can't find the energy to be all emotional like that. I love that having a blog means I don't have to try and remember everything all at once at year's end. I also credit all of you with being smart enough to go look at my archives if you think there is something you missed, or use the Blogger search bar at the top of the page to find it.

So, since I am choosing to opt out of the year-end reminiscing (not that I have a problem with that-I think it is great, just not for me this year), I still wanted to close on a happy note. Today was a terrific day, and I hope that next year will contain a few more days like it. Nothing special, just spending time enjoying Joel and the kids. We did a little shopping (a lot of good days for me include a trip to Target) lunch out-compliments of a gift card (I love it when someone else pays!), lounging this afternoon with Joel, the kids playing in the snow, a tasty dinner and finally some family time together this evening cuddled on the sofa watching a movie. No stress, no pressure, nothing fancy. Just the way I like it. I know that the new year will hold a lot of changes for our family, but I am thankful for today.

The kids were delirious to see the snow once they woke up from rest time! It was getting dark quickly but they were not going to miss the chance to frolic.

Carson doing his "cheese" face. Love his pink cheeks!

The only kind of angel he will ever be. ;) Taking his cue from Josie.

Jocelyn's snow angel. Kind of hard to see, but she did a really great job.

The making of the snow angel. She has been longing to do this, and it was the first thing she did when she went outside!
I hope your New Year is full of simple pleasures, family time, love and a few surprises. But most of all I hope it finds us all right in the middle of God's will. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Grab My Button-NOW!

I am proud to announce the blog accessory you have all been longing for: a Clare's Contemplation blog button! I know, I know, now your life is complete. Anyway, I just wanted you all to be notified. If you have been looking at my blog at all over the last couple of days, I apologize, this is actually the third version. The first was ugly (it was really only a test version) and the second had a huge glaring typo. They are A LOT of work for someone who has no knowledge of HTML or CSS (that would be me) so I am guessing I will keep this one for a while. Just in case you were wondering, the silhouette is actually of Jocelyn. Kind of cool, huh? I wanted a photo that wouldn't compete with the wording. If you have any suggestions about making it better, let me know, and if you love me, you will put this on your blog. Just kidding-sort of.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Real Head Scratcher

I am so excited that I am able to be a part of Waterbrook Multnomah's "Blogging for Books". I love to read and to have a chance to review books is wonderful! I was given a complimentary copy of Tandem in exchange for agreeing to post a review. Even though I did not particularly enjoy this title I look forward to my next selection.

There are two things I expect from Christian fiction: First, it should strengthen and encourage my faith in the Lord; second, it should be so well written that I can share it with an unbeliever having full confidence that it will be so compelling that they will willing read it. Then, through the powerful prose they can be exposed to the Gospel. These are high standards that few books I have read achieve. So I usually settle for one or the other: an entertaining storyline with few references to the faith, or a heavily "Christian" book that has a sparse plot. Sometimes, I am fortunate to find both.

That was not the case with Tracey Bateman's Tandem. This book did not deliver on either standard. It has a strange disjointed plot about two women: an unbelieving one whose father has Alzheimer's and one who is a vampire from the Civil War era. Sound bizarre? It is! The whole story line feels forced-there are parts that keep you guessing, but mostly I just kept pushing from page to page hoping to figure out what really tied these two women together.

Lauryn, who father suffers from quickly progressing Alzheimer's, discovers personal letters written by Amede (the vampire) while preparing an estate for auction. She sends the letters to Amede. Amede believes the letters may be a clue to aid her in the search for her long-lost sister and decides to travel to Abbey Hills, Lauryn's hometown, to further investigate. Once Amede arrives, inexplicable murders start occurring.

The book follows Lauryn most closely. You want to empathize with her difficult life (she lost her mother at a young age, her romantic interest moved away, her father is failing quickly) but it is too hard. She doesn't make herself likable, and you really don't make any personal investment in her. She refuses to trust God, despite her long-time attraction to Billy, the pastor's son. When Billy returns to Abbey Hills, after years in the mission field, I thought the book would begin to move in a more spiritual direction. Instead, it just hints around at spiritual things without ever doing more than make the barest scratches on the surface of true faith.

I also thought Ms. Bateman could have used the story of Amede, the vampire, to delve more deeply into thoughts on redemption. Amede was a southern belle whose family is linked to women intensely involved in the voodoo rituals of New Orleans.There are hints that voodoo and vampirism are connected but this is never fully explored. These are not your typical vampires- they drink blood, live eternally and have somewhat greater than human strength, but are otherwise "normal". During Amede's search for her sister in Abbey Hills, she winds up being accused of the strange murders that keep happening. Instead of allowing either woman's search to lead her to the Truth, the book closes with both women essentially where they began: living somewhat parallel lives (mostly friendless, failing fathers- Amede's died of a wasting disease also, and with precious little to make their lives meaningful), both unwilling to relinquish control for fear of being betrayed. They both make the smallest hints that they may turn to God, but it is more a realization that "God is all around us" than true life-changing relationships.

This could have been a very entertaining book. Vampires are all the rage right now and having a solid Christian title as part of this genre would have been valuable. However, Ms. Bateman does not weave her story tightly-I was left with several questions at the end. After a bizarre plot twist in the last pages of the book, you are left scratching your head, wondering how this could be different. I know this is a companion book to Thirsty also by Tracey Bateman. Perhaps that has some of the pieces I am missing. This book was a quick read, and the concept of Christian vampire books is intriguing to me. Perhaps this will lead to better things in the future.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Gift of the Magi

I won't lie. I have always been anti-Wise men. You may find this odd. And I really don't have a good reason. I think it bugs me that they show up in every Nativity scene, Christmas card and book about the Christmas story. At the manger. That irritates my sense of right because any "real" scholar knows that they came to the HOUSE not the manger. Good grief-how long do you think Mary and Joseph hung out in the barn?! Anyway, I kind of felt like they were posers in the story of Christmas. Just being real...

Anyway, due to my bizarre feelings of injustice over the matter, I have pretty much never given them considerable thought. I mean they aren't mentioned in 3 out of the 4 Gospels, right? Not so important. And there is so little we know about them. We really have no clue whether there were 2 or 10-we just know there were three types of gifts. It doesn't really say where they are from, or what they did. Truthfully, I specifically have a Nativity that does not have Wise Men at all, and in the one we do have I put them so far away they are usually on another piece of furniture. I am so weird!

But not this year. God doesn't let me get away with much and I think my prejudice against these poor characters was getting out of hand. I read something in this devotional that caught my attention- "These men were king-makers.". I wanted to know more. I had never thought much about what the Magi did. I knew they were astrologers, but that was about it. They immediately recognized that the Bethlehem star was important-if only because it was a new star. However, I did not know why they searched the heavens.

Upon a little bit more investigation I found out several things: these men were most likely part of a ruling body from the East (Babylon) and had actually been mentioned several times in the Bible. There is quite a bit about them in the book of Daniel. Remember the wise men that couldn't solve Nebuchadnezzar's dreams? These Magi were descendants of that group. To become king in these areas a man had to meet their requirements. They belonged to a cult that believed in one god, and a mighty battle between good and evil, where good would ultimately triumph. Sound a little familiar?

Yeah, sounds a little like what I believe in. These men were so close to the Truth. They had been seduced by cleverly counterfeited lies for so long, but in their hearts they were still searching. These men had everything that the world longs for: power, prestige, money. Anything they desired. They held the fate of their country in their hands. And yet, they weren't satisfied. They looked to the skies, hoping for a revelation. I am guessing that since they had been searching for centuries they were more than a little surprised when it came. These men, the epitome of success, didn't hesitate.

They most likely had a little inkling of what the star meant. They would have been familiar with Jewish culture due to the long interactions between the two countries. The Israelites, Daniel especially, surely shared their prophecies of a coming Messiah with their captors. Doesn't every prisoner breath of his dreams of freedom? These men were also captives. Trapped by a failing belief system that was a poor imitation of the real thing. Their hearts must have begun to beat a little faster once that glimmering point of light appeared. This was the proof that they didn't even know they were looking for.

This is where it makes me realize that I have done these brave men a disservice by refusing to acknowledge their important role in the Christmas story. The shepherds didn't have to give up anything to see the King. They had no status, no money, no power. They were at the bottom of the social ladder. But the Magi, they had everything to lose.

They didn't hesitate. They knew that this King was the Answer to all of their questions. They loaded up and moved out. They left behind every familiar thing on a venture that probably many of their fellow countrymen saw as fool's quest. They despised their status, eschewed their money and prestige to find the Desire of their hearts.

I can't imagine! These men-more powerful than any Senate-traveled for days and days. They had so much faith that they packed the most exquisite gifts from their culture. They knew and planned in advance to meet their King! This was no idle trip, this was a carefully executed plan.

And when they arrived, they were not dismayed by the sight of a toddler. The Chosen Ones of God-the Israelites- couldn't fathom the seemingly bizarre plan of God as man. But these strangers from afar, these king-makers, had no trouble at all. They knelt before the King of Kings and offered Him the best of everything. They didn't let anything hold them back.

Oh! To have that kind of faith! Forsaking all else, to chose the King. To give Him the best of the best-to kneel before Him without reservation! To not care how I appear to others! To have such faith in a revelation from God. To give up all I hold dear, when I seem to have everything in the sight of those around me... That was the real gift of the Magi. They were not ashamed to bow down and reverence the Only One worthy of worship.

I will never view these men the same way. It is semantics to argue whether they were there days after Jesus' birth or years. If that is all I can debate I have missed the point. This poignant little scene is hidden in Scripture for a reason. We have that chance, that choice. We can live in our Bethlehem so close to the Truth that we can smell it and still miss it. We can live mesmerized by the successes of this earth, so busy looking at the world around us that we miss the greatest announcement heaven has ever made:Immanuel. GOD WITH US. Or we can be brave, bold, fearless in our pursuit of the One True King.

Oh Father, give me the faith of the Wise Men. Allow me to abandon the things that will prove meaningless in a quest to gain the only One that is all meaning. Forgive my failure to look to You to provide the answers that I seek and my futile reliance on my own "wisdom". Thank You for Jesus, the Only King worth bowing down to. I have nothing to offer except the only thing You desire: my life. Thank You for the gift of the Magi.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cozy Christmas

Jocelyn has been really blessed with not one, but two, exceptional teachers at church this year. And while both she and Carson have good teachers at Awana and also on Thursdays during my women's Bible study, these two ladies are beyond compare. So I really wanted to bless them with a special gift. While I would have loved to have given $50 giftcards (and I am sure they would have appreciated those!) that wasn't really in the budget. I also wanted something a little more interesting than the usual food gifts. So here is what I came up with:

I called it a Cozy Christmas Kit and I included:
-a fuzzy fleece blanket (that is the rolled up red thing)
-a fun Christmas novel
- a CD of Christmas music
- a Christmas mug filled with hot cocoa fixings

I figured they could turn on the CD and snuggle under the blanket with the cocoa and the book by the light of their Christmas tree. Sounds good to me!
Since the gift was for Jocelyn's teachers I wanted her to have a part. She personalized the labels for the hot cocoa packets. I also included some chocolate/vanilla marshmallows and some candy canes to use as stirrers. These are the things that are inside the mug. As a finishing touch we also included one of the cinnamon ornaments we made last week. It was a big hit and thanks to some great deals at the Christian bookstore everything was a really good deal. I thought it was a little more fun than a $5 giftcard to Starbucks.

Joel also procured our Christmas tree this week! I am a die hard "real" tree lover. Although, we get our tree as a gift through "Trees for Troops"- if we had to pay for it I might be won over to the "fake" tree side. The tree we got is an 8 ft. Douglass fir and it is HUGE! The kids were delighted to decorate it. Carson loved these "tiny gloves" (they are actually little mittens that are a tree ornament!) and insisted on putting them on to help decorate.

Jocelyn was adorable- she wanted everything to be just so. One of her cinnamon ornaments is front and center- that was the first ceremonial ornament. She had to get a chair so she could be sure to get the decorations all the way to the top.

This is the box of ornaments before they went on the tree. Joel said it looked like a mass snowman grave. I had never thought of it that way but it is a little morbid...
So that is a little of our week. Does anyone else have any fabulous ideas for gifts? I am looking for something really special for Carson's Puggles teachers- it is a husband and wife team (there daughter sometimes helps, too) so I would kind of like it to be a family oriented gift. I am all created out- I have already hadto do gifts for our Thursday workers (Chick-Fil-A giftcards!), Carson's Sunday School teacher ( fuzzy Shea socks and another filled mug) and two gift exchange gifts. The limited creativity is waning so I am open for ideas.:)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Best Part of Waking Up...

If you know anything about Josie, you know she is not a morning person. She is my little night-owl, totally happy to stay up until 10 pm and sleep until 9 am. Because Joel has to get up so early, he likes to go to bed early, and I like to have a little alone time with him. So, we have worked hard to help Jocelyn learn to go to bed at 8:30 pm. It doesn't always work, and there are plenty of times that she lays in her bed until she falls asleep after 9 pm. But regardless of her bedtime, she is rarely awake before 8 am (another bonus to putting her to bed earlier- she sleeps longer!) . Even when she gets out of bed she needs some "sofa time" to really wake up- it is kind of like her coffee.

But, they don't call this the "season of miracles" for no reason! A crazy change has taken place in our daughter. My night owl has been up before 8 am every day this week! She is bounding out of bed, sprightly as a little songbird. She has beaten Carson out of bed twice- a rare feat indeed. And what might you ask is the reason for this sudden change?

Two words: Advent Box. She knows each morning there will be a new special surprise waiting. So far there has been something new everyday. She can't wait to see what it holds. She is so anxious to discover the treasure for the day that sleep takes a backseat. The other morning when she came downstairs, Carson wasn't awake and I made her wait. She couldn't even sit still! And trust me, the gifts each day are just simple things: stackable crayons, Christmas tree brownies, slap bracelets (anyone else remember those from the 80's?). But they bring her immense joy- enought to forgo her usual late morning rising.

I love it- I am a morning person, and I think it is fun to see her excitement. And it reminded me of how I wish that I approached each day with that kind of joy.

" Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1: 17 (NIV).

He has given me such better treasures than those in that little Advent box. That silly little saying comes to mind, " Each day is a gift, that is why they call it the present". It is true- and especially so around the holidays. Taking time to enjoy the gift of God's Son is more important than any gift I will give, any treat I will bake, or any decoration that I will put up. If I didn't do a single thing that is part of a traditional Christmas celebration, there would still be reason to have joy in my heart. I want to be excited, willing to change my routines, to get up early, with a happy heart, in order to celebrate unwrapping what each day has in store for me. It may sound cheesy, but it is true. Just as Jocelyn trusts that each day that box will have something new and fun for her, I can depend even moreso on my Father's promise that:

" All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 (NIV)

And I don't even have to wait for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holly Jolly (Wally) Wreath

This is one of those projects that requires no crafting ability-at all. I didn't even use my trusty hot glue gun! I had been to Target and seen their "Merry Market" ornaments- all sparkly and glittery. That is not usually my style, but I thought that they would be really fun on a wreath. A wreath is a good place to expand your style horizons at Christmas. It is expensive to purchase all new decor for your tree, but a wreath is usually pretty cheap! I didn't really want to spend $2 per ornament when I knew that I would need between 6-10 to make a satisfactory wreath. Then I went to Walmart. I normally despise the big "W" but it just so happened they had extremely similar ornaments- for a buck! I knew I could swing a dollar so I picked up a "flower", a stocking,and a key (I thought that was so cool). The "Merry Christmas" was a dollar, and the four plain ball ornaments were sold in a pack together-a buck for all 4 made them $0.25 each! Then I grabbed the cheapest wreath you can get- $2. I also got a pack of white gauze wired ribbon- also $2. The total for my wreath: $9!
The key to a cheap wreath is to spend plenty of time "fluffing" it. It is like a fake tree, you have to bend the branches to give it some depth and shape. I made sure that it was nice and fluffed before I started. I didn't even glue my ribbon. I just twined it around the wreath and then tied a knot in the back.

See my cheapy ornaments? It will be so easy to use these on something else if I change my mind. I spent a few minutes deciding where I wanted everything on the wreath before I started tying them on. I thought the "Merry Christmas" was the perfect topper. I simply pushed a few "sprigs" of the wreath through it and then bent them to help it hold on. Can you see where it is being held on through the "a" and the "s" and the "C"? Initially I thought I wanted to have a bow on top, but I decided I liked it better without one, so I moved the Merry Christmas up some more before I put the wreath up. Still it gives you a better idea of how all the ornaments are attached.
The finished product! I used wreath sprigs to hang the ornaments on, and then I just twisted them to make sure they didn't come loose. Each sprig has wire in it so it is sort of like using a bread tie. Then I just curved the pieces around each ornament to keep it where I wanted it. No gluing and everything can be easily removed if I want to change it. I have had it up for almost two weeks now on our front door and I have lost any pieces yet. This would be a really easy, inexpensive "homemade" gift- the ornaments come in a large variety of colors- pink, lime green, and more traditional colors, too. And if you already had ribbon, it would be an even better deal!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Flash

" It came without ribbons,

it came without tags,

it came without packages,

boxes or bags..."

From "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas"

Few things surprise me anymore. It is one of the sad, cliched parts of being a grown-up. Christmas is still one of my favorite times of year, but it rarely inspires the awe that it once did. I have devoted serious time and thought for years now to provoke emotions that the holiday season inspired in me as a child. It is time well spent. However, today, I was given a gift.

I had coupons. Coupons that must be spent or they would expire. That is the only reason I dared to tread in the mall on a Saturday in December. I despise crowds, rude people and stupidity, and unfortunately those conspire in the most bizarre of ways in a mall at Christmastime. However, I was pleasantly surprised. While busy, it was not overwhelming, and the sales persons who assisted me were definitely polite. I redeemed all my certificates and then we discovered that lunch time was upon us.

On our end of town there is no freestanding Chick-Fil-A. The only one is inside the mall. Sad, but true. So, of course, when Carson realized there was a "Chicken Fillet" in the food court, that was where he wanted to go. Fine by me! Of course, there was tons of people in line, but the kids got pictures with "the Cow" and coupons for free kids meals so it was worth it. However, there was no place to sit. We searched and then finally settled at a tiny table with two chairs- for the four of us. We begged a chair from another table, and while I was getting the food, Joel nabbed another tiny table and pushed them together. We started eating, wondering why it seemed that the food court was so very busy, and many of the people didn't seem to be eating.

And then something strange started happening. People started pointing to the floor above us. If you have never been to the Citadel mall, it has a rather unusual food court. All the restaurants are on the first floor, then there are stairs down to a central middle seating area, and then more stairs to the bottom floor and more seating. Where we were sitting was almost like a courtyard, and we could see the "balcony" all around us. I noticed there were quite a few people lined up around the railing. Almost as if they were in line for something.

And then they started singing. Over 100 very practiced voices, all together, in perfect harmony. Truly, it was like the angels were singing. "The Hallelujah Chorus". It was majestic. Thinking of it now is giving me goosebumps. I stopped, the kids stopped, Joel stopped. No one said anything. We just let the music flow over us. It was magical.

I was disappointed when it ended. I recalled hearing a similar story about a "Flash Mob". People decide on a place and time, and without warning the all do something simultaneously. In this case, it was singing. It was such a wonderful Christmas surprise.

But I also noticed something else. Most of the people around us did not stop what they were doing. Here was this beautiful, amazing singing, and they just kept shopping and eating and serving and talking. I couldn't. I had to just sit awe-struck in appreciation.

I thought of another Christmas event that suffered from the same lack of attention. But it was the most important one. A Baby was born, and few stopped. A Child came into the world and few noticed. The King came with the beautiful singing of angelic voices- "Glory to God on the Highest" and only the lowest of low paid any attention at all.

I did, though. I wished that I could have thanked one of the singers. But everyone was dressed in street clothes and once the song ended they all blended into the crowd. They did not come demanding that I take notice. They did not have an announcer, or matching outfits, or a program. They did not have any instruments besides their voices. I don't mind being so naive that something like that brings joy to me. And I don't mind being so lowly that I have a chance to celebrate the arrival of the King.

I don't want to miss Christmas. I will search for the joy, and sometimes, I will find it. And sometimes, it will find me. In a food court, or in a manager. Thank You, Father, for joy. Thank you for the gift of a group of people unashamed to praise Your name-at the mall. Thank You most of all for not demanding my attention, but allowing me the privilege of giving it. Thank You for the gift of Jesus- may He always have all my focus.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent"urous" Box

I remember the Advent calendars of my childhood- sometimes we did the little chocolate in the cardboard window ones, sometimes they were more intricate. One year in particular my mom wrote a poem that included the name of the surprise for that day in some clever way. So talented! Anyway, I knew I wanted an Advent count-down for Josie and Carson. I wanted one that had a fun surprise for each day, but also helped them to see how many days were left. I picked up the box at Hobby Lobby for $3. I knew it would be a good size to fit the variety of things I wanted to give the kids.

I picked up the "Countdown to Christmas" tree kit at Hobby Lobby for 90% off last year. It is really cute- you put a different ornament on for each day. I glued it to the front of the box. It is great because the extra pieces can easily be stored in the box.

The first day's activity was cinnamon ornaments. I put all in the ingredients for them in the box. The kids were a little confused about what the things were for, but that was part of the fun!

The kids were anxious to make their ornaments. We used this easy recipe-it worked perfectly! The dough was a little dry, but the more that we kneaded it, the easier it was to work with.

Carson did not really grasp that he was supposed to be using the cookie cutters. However, he really enjoyed crumbling up the dough.

Josie did a great job! She told me she wanted a "real ornament". I finally deciphered that she wanted a circle.

She also informed that her candy cane needed stripes. We discovered that tooth picks make great detailing tools.

Josie's finished ornament. She even made me add the little box at the top so it would look "real". The design is entirely of her own making. She is so creative!

This one is "Carson's" or mostly mine. He pushed the cookie cutter into the dough. Mostly he was just interested in crumbling the dough between his fingers.
Our collection of ornaments. Now we just need a tree to put them on! We are really enjoying the wonderful smell for now. I do think the kids' will enjoy making real cookies, so that activity will probably find its way into the box. They already have started looking for it first thing when they wake up. I am on the lookout for more fun activities and surprises- 22 more days to go!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The More Things Change...

The more they stay the same. Or so the old saying goes. Somedays, it is hard to believe that. I have been trying desperately to keep the days from flying away from me. I just want one day to last a little longer. My life is not perfect-no, it is far from it. But I know enough to know how blessed I am. I know that tomorrow my sweet children will not be as little, as precocious, as darling, as they are today. And I hate that. I want to be in control-even though I know in my heart that I would be terrible at it. Because I want sameness, and I can't find it.

I establish routines, and plans, schedules and dates, but in the end, every day will be different. I am destined in some ways to carry on exactly as every generation before me: Eating. Sleeping. Clothing. Schooling. Trying very anxiously to make the minutes count. Without counting the minutes. It is an impossible task. And sometimes it makes me angry. I want (or I think I want) things to stay the same. My life has been full of changes I can't control. Some of the changes are good: gaining a new sibling or child, taking hold of opportunities to teach or serve, finishing projects to improve my life. Other changes are mixed bags: moving, graduating, choices that lead through an open door, but close others. I strive to be gracious, to accept all things as being for my good, because I do try so hard to love Him. But sometimes it just makes me so tired.

And I think that is why so often I don't understand God. In a world where EVERYTHING changes: from the moment we are conceived we begin to move towards our end, He never, ever changes.

"Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever." Hebrews 13:8 NIV

I get frustrated because I can't reconcile His constant, immovable, sameness with my continually shifting circumstances. How can He understand my heart when I can't even find the time to catch my breath in this whirlwind of shifting sand? But He does, and I know that.

I was putting up my Christmas decorations a few days ago. As I placed some decorations on a shelf, I asked myself, "Why do I do this every year?" In a few short weeks I will be taking these same decorations down, packing them away for another 11 months. I will be telling myself how eager I am for the cleanness of the new year, happy to have my house back to "normal". But a little part of me will be sad. Sad that even though Christmas can be a little crazy, that I like the purpose it brings. That I don't want it to change, because even though I know that every year will bring a Christmas, that the next one won't be the same. It might be better, but I can't know that. And sometimes that makes me fearful.

And that is true about most of life. It will probably get better-if in no other sense that it will draw me closer to the Father. But I will tell you the reason that I like change the least: it means I am not where I am supposed to be. I want to feel that I have "arrived" and that will never be true. On the other hand, the One who never changes doesn't need to change. He has arrived.

" In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made
His dwelling among us."
John 1:1-2 NIV

He has been perfect from the dawn of time, and He will never cease to be. I need to change, He doesn't. Every single quickly altering circumstance that passes in my life is for one reason: to make me more like Him. He came to allow me the privilege of becoming, of changing, to be more like Him. He is the one orchestrating every single change that happens. And I need to quit trying to hold on. I don't want to want to stay the same. I want to want to change. I want to be more like Him. And the unchanging part will probably come last. Because the more things change, the more He stays the same. I am glad that He came, as a Baby, but still perfect, full of grace (Thank God!) and truth. He lived that way, He died that way, and He rose that way. He lives in my heart that way, and God willing, and I know He is, I will live through each and every change-small or life-altering- that comes my way and He will make me more like Him. And that is a change I need.


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