Saturday, December 24, 2011

treasure . . . ponder . . .

According to the clock on my computer it's been December 24 for 2 minutes right now. Christmas Eve. How did it get here so fast? Seriously. I'm sure that it was just the beginning of December a couple days ago! Things in life seem to be going by so fast lately.
When I stop to think and realize how fast time seems to be going, I find myself starting to wonder if this is how life is really supposed to lived? I mean, did Jesus come to earth as the promised and long-awaited Messiah for us to just try to fit Him into the busy-ness of our lives? Is life meant to be so busy we feel like days or weeks or months have just disappeared?

I think we miss a lot when we just allow life to pass us by. But sometimes that seems like all we can do as we try to keep up. And then when we do stop for a moment, we realize that far too much time has passed us by and we don't even remember how we used that time.

I wonder what things would be like if we didn't allow time to pass by as we were busily running from one thing to the next. What if we took time to stop and savour every conversation with someone? Every sunset or sunrise? Every night sky? Every moment of beauty we see? What would life be like then? I don't think we would so often stop to find that days just seem to have disappeared.

It makes me wonder if Jesus' birth was one of those moments for Mary and Joseph, for the shepherds, for the wise men. One of those moments where they did stop to take it all in. It was a world-changing event. God come to earth in human form. Scripture tells us that "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19, NIV). It seems to me like Mary was taking the time to really stop and notice all that was going on, rather than just allowing things to slip by.

It's something that has come up on more than one occasion for me in this last month. Those words from Luke 2:19. Maybe there's a reason. Maybe I need to stop and do the same thing as Mary did. Maybe, just maybe, I need to stop and treasure the moments with family and friends, the beauty that surrounds me where I live, the incredible gift from God that we're celebrating during this season.

After all, I have much reason to thank God for all He has given me:
-for sisters and brother-in-laws that are all here to spend time with
-for parents who love all their kids
-for laughter with family gathered around the table
-for a job that I love most days
-for a church that I can be involved in and a church family that cares
-for friends that make my life better just by being a part of it
-for a good place to live and more than enough food
-for freedom to worship and follow God
-for a God that loves us all enough that He would stop at nothing to reconcile us to Himself
-for the gorgeous part of the world God has provided for me to live in
There's so much more I could add. And so much of that I don't even notice in a day. The moments that could be treasured are passed by without a second thought.

But, the good thing is that can change. I can choose to treasure and ponder those things. And so can you. We may not always get it. We may get caught up in the busy-ness of life from time to time. We may take things for granted sometimes. But, when we find ourselves doing so, we can choose again to treasure those moments, to ponder the significance of them. We don't have to stay caught up in a life that passes us by without us knowing it. We can choose a different way.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

christmas music

I've never really been a fan of Christmas music. Just ask my former roommates my reaction if they played or sung Christmas music before December 1. But over the past few weeks, I've found myself choosing to listen to more of it than I have in the past. It's prompted me to think about why I'm not really a fan of Christmas music.

I think one of the big reasons comes from being in band from grade seven through to grade twelve. We started working on Christmas music by the beginning of October. Long before the Christmas concert date came and very long before Christmas actually came I was tired of the same songs. I don't think it helped that we seemed to play the same songs in band every year - just different arrangements of them most years. And even though the selection of songs was limited, I just grouped everything into the same category.

But ten years past my last band Christmas concert, I would hope I was over the majority of that. (But, if I hear "Carol of the Bells" more than once over the Christmas season, I will still run screaming from wherever that place was. I can still play that one in my sleep. I don't know if I'll ever get over being tired of that song.) So I've been pondering to see if high school band was the only reason for my dislike of Christmas music.

I've noticed that while I'm listening to more Christmas music this year, it's all of a limited portion of the Christmas music options av available. I'm still driven crazy by the songs about Santa or what we want for Christmas or white Christmases or things along those lines. I have nothing personally against any of it, but there is so much more to Christmas than that. The songs that don't drive me crazy and that I enjoy listening to are the one's that speak of Jesus' birth and what it means for the world that the Messiah has come. There just seems to be something to those songs that the other songs don't have in them.

Surrounded by a world that focuses on materialism and getting what we want at this time of year it's easy to lose focus on what we're actually celebrating as followers of Christ. And music can easily turn our thought - sometimes without us knowing it has done so. That's why I think I get so easily frustrated with Christmas music. Music definitely influences my thought and I want them to be focused on the right thing at this time of year.

I've never understood some of the really sappy songs that come out at Christmas either - some from Christian groups and some not. I don't understand how they fit. Sure it's a time we often spend with those we love and care about. Maybe I just don't get it because I spend time with my family year round and feel the same way about them all the time. I don't know. That part of Christmas music just doesn't make sense to me.

So, I guess I don't really dislike all Christmas music as much as I thought I did. I just don't like some of it. And maybe I don't need to try to avoid it like the plague for as long as possible as Christmas draws near.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

God is with us

I'm not usually a fan of Christmas music. I tend to get tired of it pretty quickly, but for the last week or so, there has been a song that has stuck in my head and I have listened to it over and over again. It's called "God is With Us" and it's on Castong Crowns' Christmas Album "Peace on Earth".

The message of the song is the same of lots of other Christmas music, but for some reason this song has struck me and stuck with me in light of my great-grandmaother passing away almost a week ago.

"God is in us. God is for us. God is with us."

That's a truth to hold onto when life brings the unexpected your way.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I had intentions of having a series of posts that followed the different Sundays of Advent, but as is clear because there is no post from two days ago, that is not happening quite the way I expected it to. Sometimes life gets in the way of our plans.

The Sunday that we lit the candle of peace at church was also the Sunday that my great-grandmother passed away. It seems almost fitting in an odd sort of way. After 98 years of life on earth, my great-grandma is ultimately at peace.

I know I have been lucky to have great-grandparents in my life for so long. They may not have always understood my world, but they loved me nonetheless. Every time I saw them, I never doubted that they cared about and loved their entire family's, including me. I heard stories of life in a world I could only imagine. And I was inspired to follow God in my own life by their example.