Saturday, December 29, 2012
Toward the end of the year – a prayer
O Lord, Thou hast been our Way all year long in this earthly life.
Support us still
Until the shadows lengthen.
And the evening falls,
And the rush of life is past,
And the year ends.
By Your great mercy, O Lord,
quiet our conscience
Still our fears,
Fill our hearts with the secure knowledge of your eternal presence.
We pray in the Name of Jesus Christ, our lord and Savior.
Friday, December 28, 2012
This date was always a celebration at our house because it was my Father’s birthday, and the family looked forward to getting out of the house in the winter. Snow covered the ground, the air was cold and crisp, and the winter “cabin fever" was starting, so this was a chance to get out and visit.
So they came, each bringing a cake or a plate of sandwiches or something else. The teenagers left to go skating at lighted Brown Deer Park, the others played cards, chess – that was always uncle Robert and uncle Oscar off in the corner,- visited, knitted, exchanged recipes exchanged news, and the youngsters played checkers, monopoly, and other games. The evening ended when Mom and several aunts made coffee, served sandwiches and cakes. Then off for home, Nice.
Such an evening never ended without singing. I can hear uncle Oscar’s booming base and aunt Lydia’s sweet Soprano yet.
“God be with you till we meet again,”
I leave you with that thought, God, who is ever present as He promised, be with you till we meet again.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Bells at Christmas.
I grew up in an area where every church had a steeple, and every steeple had at least one bell. The larger churches usually had three which were tuned to ring in a cadence.
So the Longfellow poem that begins,
“I heard the bells on Chrismas day,
Their old familiar carols play,
In Music sweet, their tones repeat,
‘There’s peace on earth, good will to men’.”
was quite meaningful. When we heard the Church bells ring out on a crisp December morning, they really did sort of sing out the story,
“Christ is born, the Savior of the world is here.”
We hardly ever give any thought to the sound of bells any more. As I write this, I really find it hard to identify any church nearby that even has a set of bells to ring. (Maybe they do so elelectronically, and there is a difference from the real thing.) Gus was my bell ringer while I served nearly 17 years in Adrian, Michigan. He had been taught by the company that installed the bells, for they were a tuned set, and when rung properly they sang, not just clanked away, but literally sang their song. And when properly rung it was a sound that delighted the ear.
And I miss that sound, especially at this time of year. Imagine with me, the air is bright and clear, the sound carries well, and we are on our way to worship. Wonderful to imagine it, is it not.
With that thought I leave you for this Christmas Season, and wish for you a blessed Christmas and rejoicing that the Lord Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem, is our Savior and our Lord.
Friday, December 21, 2012
“The crystal skulls have spoken, the world is not going to end”. That’s part of the news story about that Mayan prophecy that has much in the world frightened, or at least anxiously wondering.
But we are standing only several days away from Christmas. And we Christians celebrate the birth of a Savior. That means – or at least ought to mean for us – certainty and a sublime indifference to some crystal skulls or some ancient Mayan prophecy, because we know the truth.
And that tells us, “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, neither the son, but the Father”.
I want you to know that this is the real Truth, we are in the loving hands of a Caring Father who loves us so much He sent His Only Son to become one of us, live here, suffer, die, and rise again. And that is enough for me.
The poet said:
“God is not dead, nor does He sleep,
For Christ is here, His Spirit near,
Brings peace on earth, good will to men.”
Saturday, December 15, 2012
In these days people think about lots of things, what to buy for whom, whom to skip this year, and about how taxes will turn out in the next year if nothing much happens in the Congress. And that reminds me of a little story.
“I work for the IRS, and part of my job is to check claimed deductions. The other day I checked a contribution and automatically checked the salary. This is one we will have to check, and he’d better be able to back it up.
So I called the man in and asked him for proof. Usually we get lots of double talk, but this man handed me a notarized statement by the Church treasurer, and we allowed the claim.
But we got to talking a little, especially about life and he invited me to his church the next Sunday. “No thanks,” I said, I belong to a church”.
“Funny,” said he, as he walked out the door, “I would never have guessed it.”
That remark puzzled me till the next Sunday when the offering plate came around and I tossed in my usual dollar. Suddenly it struck me. This man gave better than 10% each week, and I gave a dollar. Makes a difference when you are a Christian, or simply belong to a church”.
So, Serve the Lord with gladness, and allow not the exigencies of some law or other to change that.
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,
And all these things will be added unto you”, said our Lord.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
You didn’t think I would pass this date by without saying something, did you?
To begin, on January 2, 1922, Texas A&M was playing Centre College in football, and their team was injury-riddled, so they called student E. King Gill out of the stands to suit up for the game. He never did get into the game which A&M won, 22-14, but this started the tradition of the 12th man in Aggie land. The student body is the 12th man and always stands during the game.
Monday was the busiest shipping day for Fed Ex. On that day Fed Ex employees globally were ready to handle 19 million packages, or 200 every second. Most of us never give it a second thought when that package arrives on our doorstep, but it does show some major planning and working for such a massive system to operate successfully. Think of your neighbor, leaving for work at 3 in the morning, so you can get your Amazon order the next day, in plenty of time for Christmas.
Michigan has the most miles of shoreline in the Continental U.S. 3,200 miles of shoreline. Texas has a shoreline along the gulf of 2699 miles.
An uplifting thought. I was guest preacher in a country in the back country of Missouri. When I stepped into the pulpit I was greeted with this sign:
“Sir, we would see Jesus”
That is a good line to remember for our daily living. That we are blessed when we lean on Him for the strength to do His will. Jesus said to us, “He who abides in Me and I in Him, bears much fruit, for without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15,5.
St. Paul reminds us that we “can do all things though Christ who strengthens us.” Phil. 4,13, and that “the excellence of the power is of God, and not of us,.” 2 Corinthians 4,7.
So ended the word on this 12/12/12. May God bless you richly.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Just have patience.
That seems to be the word of my Lord when I puzzle why He is allowing me so long a time on this earth.
Now, during Advent, we enter another church year filled with His rich blessings and the great gift of the Birth that sent Jesus to save us.
Yet, the time seems wearisome. It must have been like that for St. John on the Isle of Patmos. Lonely. He was the last of the Apostles alive, the rest all gone, martyred, and John was alone.
Then he hears this voice. He writes, “I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, Write”. And so we have this wonderful Book in the New Testament. A Wonderful gift explaining the ending. What a blessing.
So Isaiah chimes into my musings. “Even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and save.” Isaiah 46,4.
So I am content with the Lord’s will and hand in my life.