Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Excitement verse Wonder

I have to say, that the older I get, the less excited for Christmas I am. Now before you all conclude that I am depressed, let me elaborate. As a child, I was super excited about Christmas. Who wouldn't be? It is a day or multiple days filled with getting new toys, pajamas and of course the treasured bubble bath in my stocking. (Seriously every year my parents would give us bubble bath that came in the shape of a cartoon character and I LOVED it!!) My brother and I were so excited about Christmas that sometimes we couldn't wait and we would unwrap our presents before Christmas day, when mom and dad were gone and then carefully wrap them back up. (Don't worry we confessed this a few years ago.) As a child, Christmas is so exciting. Maybe I am the only one who feels this way, but as an adult the excitement is overtaken by all the things that need to get done. You stress over purchasing the perfect gift for someone or at least a gift they won't want to return. You get overwhelmed by the amount of parties you need to go to or you feel pretty poopy when you are sitting alone hearing about how everyone is so tired from all the parties and you have none. Or maybe the doctor just said the one word you fear the most and you are trying to be brave for those around you, but inside you don't have the strength to face the people and the questions they could ask during a get together. Let's face it friends, sometimes Christmas is hard to get excited about.


it is very easy to get lost in the wonder of it all.

It is Christmas Eve. I just enjoyed a great dinner of sushi and in the stillness of a quite house, my mind turns to the very first Christmas Eve. What was going on?

Were the shepherds ready to take a new journey?
Was Joseph stressing over Mary and feeling pretty lost as to how to deliver a baby?
Was Mary scared?
Were the angels doing vocal warmups, to make sure that everything sounded perfect?

What was the first Christmas Eve like? I wonder, if it was a little like our Christmas Eves? When you think of it, as Christians our journey is founded on a pretty scandalous event. A unwedded teenage girl giving birth in a cave or stable. What would people say if that would happen today? How many of us would judge Mary and call her names behind her back? How many of us would close our doors to them, if Joseph came knocking? On the first Christmas Eve, I can only imagine people were rushing. Caesar Augustus made everyone go their home town to be counted. That meant people would be traveling and most likely staying with relatives that they hadn't seen in a year. I am sure people were stressed, trying to make sure every thing was perfect for their out of town guests. Couples were probably snippy at each other because if we are honest we all know that family reunions can intense. Think of Joseph's family. How many of them would have wanted to welcome him and his pregnant teenage fiancé into their home? What would with neighbors say? When we try to wrap our minds around it, it just seems wrong. But was it?

God chose an innocent, pure girl to birth a warrior. He chose a time when people's lives were busy and overflowing with to-do lists to send a savior to wipe away every sense of "measuring up" that was taking place. He chose to make people stop their over scheduled daily tasks in order to see the innocence a baby in a donkey's cereal bowl. How many of us would just keep on walking? "Don't stare" is what we would tell our children as they asked why someone so young was having a baby. It all is pretty scandalous and yet, perfect. Perfect, because in order to find the joy and mystery of the moment, one needs to stop and be overwhelmed by the wonder of it all. In order to find to find the joy, one needs to let go of the lists and gifts and look to an unwedded couple and their bravery to care for the savior of the world.

I am not sure where you are at this Christmas Eve. Maybe you are overjoyed to be with those you love. Maybe you are lonely. Maybe your life couldn't get any better. Maybe you feel so weak you are just trying to hold it all together until everyone goes to bed so you cry. No matter where you are at, stop...take a breath...and think about that first Christmas Eve. Was the world ready for a savior? And then ask yourself...

Is the world ready for a savior today?

No matter what your answer, remember that the baby is Immanuel, God with us, so no matter where you are spending your Christmas Eve, God is there, holding you. Embrace the wonder of it all.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Meeting Needs

This time of year is always overwhelming. Everyone has a list, not just santa! There are things that need to get done, gifts that need to be purchased, people that you desire to see and work that needs to be completed before the end of the year.

In October, Bryan (Director of BG) sent me an email about a new child that they received. This child had a special need that BG could help with and didn't think twice when they came to the campus. The need was simple, hearing aids. The price was something that BG didn't have, but they won't allow this child to miss out because of a dollar amount. Bryan went ahead and covered the cost of the hearing aids from the budget and then sent me a note. "Can you raise this money?" Because of the growing interest of BG in my home town and the out pouring of gifts from people there, I didn't feel comfortable contacting anyone that already gives to BG, because they already give so much. I sat for a week and just prayed, "God I know you can fulfill this need. Show me who you are going to use to do it." The next week I was presenting at a new church. I was reassured time and time again to simply present the need. I chose not to share the exact amount, but told the congregation that there was a child who needed to hear and they could help. At the end of the night they counted the offering for BG and it was $600. The cost of the hearing aids were approximately $600.


I share this story with you today to let you know that all around you there are lists and needs that need to be met. There are moments when we feel pressured and want to help, but there are so many good causes around us, how do we chose which one is right. It is a tough journey. I feel it too. In moments like this don't give up and do nothing, because you are overwhelmed. Simply take some time to quiet yourself before God and allow Him to show you which need He is choosing to use you to meet. Somewhere in the world there is a need created specifically for you to meet. Don't allow it to go unnoticed.