Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Rear View Mirror

My favorite comic in this morning's newspaper was Fox Trot. The dad asks if there are any rice cakes in the house in order to deal with his new year resolution of losing weight. The mom says "no" but reminds him he has a couple of days until the new year and he can wait to buy them. Then he explains he's talking about 2012's resolution to lose 15 pounds. She says she thought his resolution was to lose 5 pounds in 2012. He says, it was...turns out he gained ten. The last caption is the mom saying, "How very, very, very sad."

I found it both funny and sad mostly because I can relate to it. There's a lot of truth in that comic. It's ironic how very unresolved most of us are about our resolutions. I don't bother making them anymore. If there's something worth changing I best get about it right then and there. Problem is it's very tempting to give myself a couple more days before embarking on that diet.

Thinking back over this year, some of our experiences seem like ages ago and others feel as fresh as if they'd happened yesterday. It's often true that objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear.

Then again, so are the things to come.

Before I know it I'll have a daughter driving, then away at college. There are two more right behind her. There's bound to be more weddings, babies and funerals in the years to come. I think the more I realize this the more I have this twofold reaction.

The first is to slow down and enjoy the moments.

The second is to hold them loosely.

This life is most assuredly fleeting. I don't find many people to argue that point that aren't stay-at-home moms with multiple kids under three. Even they will admit the days drag, but the years fly. The Bible says in James 4:14 that we don't know what tomorrow will bring and our lives are but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

That's some serious time perspective.

Like the mom in the comic this morning, I'd find that very, very, very sad if there wasn't more to it than this life. So less than a week after Christmas I find myself thinking less about the new year and more about the centuries to come on a new earth with the Savior who promised to come again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

T'was the Night Before Christmas 2012

T'was the night before Christmas and all through our home
There are little clues hidden, one or two are in poems
They will guide our sweet children to their one Christmas Gift
Carefully chosen to give their hearts lift

There's some trinkets in stockings but that's about it
This year we cut down on the merchandise blitz
Instead we were focused on the present of old
Each day during advent a story was told

Of a God who left heaven and took on our flesh
As the babe in the manger you see in the creche
Though seemingly helpless He had all the power
And chose not to wield it until the right hour

His purpose in coming is hard to concieve
He came to pay ransom for all who believe
He lived His life sinless yet died on a cross
So sinners like me would no longer be lost

The treasures we'd valued are shadows for sure
Next to God's Gift they have lost all their lure
The life He has offered is bright and unending
My prayer is more open the Gift He is sending.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sweet Sixteen

Sixteen years ago at this time I was lying in a hospital bed amazed at the miracle God had just worked. Lying next to me was a brand new person - I remember thinking she was the longest baby I'd ever seen (23 inches) - one that had been entrusted to our care and for whom we were tremendously grateful.

She was by all accounts a very low maintenance baby. She slept well, rarely cried and was very content doing the same thing for long periods of time. She had big eyes and no hair (oh the irony, her hair is EVERYWHERE now).

She was adored by all who knew her.

Sixteen years later she is still very low maintenance. She has managed to be the exception to nearly every rule for girls her age, abstaining from all the popular activities including; rolling her eyes at her parents, texting non-stop (or in her case at all), slacking on homework, swearing, shopping for increasingly low tops/high bottoms and begging to drive. She does none of these things.

She is, in fact, the anti-teenager.

She still sleeps well, once her overactive, creative mind allows her to fall asleep, still rarely cries, and we often find her in the same place for hours on end. A book or computer is usually involved.

She is still adored by all who know her.

Tonight we were treated to a wonderful display of just a few of the gifts God has blessed her with from her animated song introduction (wonder where she gets that public speaking thing from?) to her exceptional muscianship on the French Horn during the concert band's winter performance.

What a blessing Caitlin Camille is to me. She puts the "Sweet" in Sixteen.

Monday, December 3, 2012


How is it that a month has passed since my last post? The days are flying and I hear cries of "Slow down," "I need more time," and "There aren't enough hours in the day."

I wonder what the Israelites felt like while waiting centuries for the promised Messiah. I bet they were eager to have a few months pass by in a flurry.

As Christmas approaches I'm determined to concentrate on one day at a time and spend as much time reflecting as looking ahead. It's easy to get caught up in the culture's priorities. There were 178 emails in my inbox on Black Friday. About 25 of them were not from a retailer. I deleted them all without even opening them. By God's grace I exercised enormous restraint and ignored the many ads of promised value and urgent deals. It's helpful to worship (and work) at a church that is preaching eternal treasures over the temporal prized possessions of this world. I keep hearing the hymnal lyrics "Come quickly Lord Jesus" in my head.

I find that having made the decision to purchase much fewer gifts this year is allowing me to feel increasingly relaxed about "preparations" for the season. Spending time walking through an Advent devotional each day with the kids has become more important than decorating, making cookies, addressing cards, buying gifts or finding outfits to wear this season. Though admittedly there's few outfits that fit anymore and that's making the selection process much less time consuming.

Last night we read Mary's Magnificat (see Luke 1:46-55) her song/prayer of response after an Angel of the Lord told her she'd conceive a child as a virgin and that child would be the Son of God. Personally I'd have been completely freaked out if I were a young teenager who had been visited by God's messenger with the daunting news and responsibility of giving birth to the Savior. Mary rejoiced and glorified God.

It's good for me to watch the days leading up to Christmas with my eyes focused on the Scriptures instead of the advertisements. It enables me to give better gifts to those I love.