Leaving on a Jet Plane

Gratitude Day 388

Sat., Jan. 4, 2019

Hebrews 4:9: So, you see that a sabbath rest is left open for God’s people.

There will be a time today that Hubby Rick and I will be leaving on a jet plane.

Yep, we’re getting out of the Wisconsin winter and going someplace WARM!

And we are excited! We’re going with family and cousins and will be enjoying sun and water and all things that make a vacation great.

I already know it will be fabulous!

Truth? A little secret?

I almost feel like it’s a little extravagant that we get to go on such a nice vacation. It’s not like completely over-the-top. But it will be nice. Fun. Warm. I can almost feel the warm of the sun on my face … and we are still in the cold!

Honestly, there’s a bit of me that feels guilty. Not everyone gets to take a vacation this winter. Some will trudge through the snow and cold ALL. WINTER. LONG. While here we are, jetting off somewhere south.

Should I feel guilty that we get to go on vacation? It’s a mixed bag for me. It certainly makes the winter feel less oppressive when we get to spend some time where it’s warmer.

Do I wonder whether it’s a good utilization of our resources? No … and yes. Rick loathes winter and a week away always puts him in a better mood for the rest of the winter. Yet, I also know it makes the rest of winter more bearable for both of us.

I also know this will be a great opportunity to spend time with family and cousins. Growing up, my family didn’t spend much time with our cousins. It just didn’t work out. As adults, I think it’s so cool that we CHOOSE to do things together. And I think we are all the richer for it.

So, I’m thinking of this time away as Sabbath. Time to recharge. Refuel. Refocus. Rethink. Relax. Reconnect.

I am a huge promoter of Sabbath. For me, Sabbath isn’t just a day of the week when we worship God. It’s time when we slow down our normal schedule and be. It’s Mary time. Yes, it will be filled with fun activities and good food and great laughs. But it’s also an opportunity to listen. Be. Get filled.

Whether you are able to get away for several days this winter or not, YOU can create Sabbath in your life. Spend an afternoon doing something that fills your tank. Create moments each day to read or meditate or be. Take an activity you love to do and turn it into time you spend with God.

We all are a little better after Sabbath. We all need time to decompress. We all need a fresh look at life.

See you in a week or so.

For the opportunity for Sabbath this next week, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – thank you for the example of Sabbath. Even You carved out space to be and recharge. I pray we discover ways to do this in our own lives. Amen.

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Jesus' Role in Your Life

Gratitude Day 385

Thurs., Jan. 2, 2019

John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Understanding YOUR role is pretty important.

As an employee, a spouse, a parent, a volunteer, a grandparent, a caretaker … each of these roles has different responsibilities.

Right?

Right.

Sometimes, how we view our role … and how someone else views our role may not be the same.

One of the joys in my life is getting to help regularly with three of our grandchildren. Sometimes, their Dad, Hubby Rick’s son Darran, will not be home from work when the kids get off the bus. My role is to be there when the kids get home, see if they have homework that needs to be done, and take care of anything they might need some help with. Usually, I make sure they are fed, or supper is ready when Dad gets home from work.

I view my role with the kids as part of my responsibilities of being a grandparent. Often, grandparents step in when parents aren’t able to be available for their kids. They fill in the gaps or pick up the slack. We take grandkids to practices, attend their games, plan a special activity, make cupcakes, take them on adventures, make sure they have a special outfit for the Christmas program and bless them with treats.

At least this is how I view my role as a grandparent. This is what my grandparents did with me. It’s what I want to do with our grandchildren.

A few weeks ago, when I was with the kids, 8-year-old Dylan wanted me to agree with something. I nixed the idea as I felt this was something he should not be doing. He came back with, “Dad would let me do it.”

I replied, “Dad’s not here, so we’re not going to do this.”

Dylan quickly replied, “But your Dad’s assistant.”

Hmm … my role was now defined as an assistant. Based on my experience, assistant’s can have a whole bunch of roles. Often, they take care of details for someone else, which in reality, I often do. Yet, I also hope my role as a grandparent means something as well.

Fast forward a week or two. Again, Dylan and I were discussing something. This time, his reply went like this, “You’re just Dad’s babysitter.”

This immediately received a reaction from the other two siblings. Older brother Waylan quickly said, “She’s more than our babysitter.”

I get it. Sometimes, roles can be confusing. Challenging. Unclear. Thank you, Waylan, for understanding that I want to be more than an assistant or a babysitter. I want to be their grandparent.

We’re in the midst of the Christmas season which runs for 12 days after Christmas Day. On the eighth day after his birth, Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the synagogue for official naming. They follow the instructions given to them in advance and name him Jesus.

While his official name is Jesus, his role is often reflected in a variety of names: Messiah, Savior, Christ, Wonderful, Counselor, the Word, Redeemer and others. Each of these names reflects a slightly different nuance of Jesus’ role and purpose on earth. Sometimes, we get hung up on how one man, Jesus, can have all these roles and purposes. We get confused on Who Jesus was and What his purpose was.

Just like Dylan and my role.

Take a minute. What roles does Jesus have for you? In your life, how do you see Jesus making a difference? Who do you want Jesus to be for you in this year? This decade? Today? Tomorrow?

Write those words, those roles on a sticky note. Place this note someplace were you will see it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. May it become a reminder of Whose you are and Who you long for Jesus to be in your life.

On those days when you struggle with who Jesus is? Take Waylan’s advice. God is more than your babysitter.

For discovering Jesus’ role and purpose in my life, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – sometimes, we aren’t clear of Your role in our lives. We want to assume roles for ourselves beyond our capacity. Help us pick words that reflect how we want to view you for this next year. Amen.

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Reaching Maximum Capacity

Gratitude Day 382

Mon., Dec. 30, 2019

Proverbs 30:1: The words of Agur, Jakeh’s son, from Massa. The man declares: I’m tired, God; I’m tired, God, and I’m exhausted.

I had reached my maximum capacity.

While my brain wanted to think differently, my body knew better.

Last week, Hubby Rick and I came down with awful yucky colds/flu/bugs that hung around for several days. I started to feel yucky on Christmas Eve. But I wasn’t going to slow down for Christmas Eve worship (my favorite!), hosting family at our house, spending time with friends and helping with our grandchildren.

Nope. Planned events would go on.

When I got home Thursday night after a long day, I was ready for bed. For the next oh, 48+ hours, I spent most of them in bed.

On Saturday morning when I wasn’t up by mid-morning, Hubby Rick came checking on me. He has NEVER seen me spend this much time in bed; even post-surgery.

It just seemed like my body could not move. It just wanted to stay wrapped up in warm blankets and do nothing. Or almost nothing.

The whole situation is a little ironic. Just weeks earlier, I launched my first book, The Mary Experiment: When Doing and Being Collide. In the book, I share how I have tried to slow down my Martha tendencies and build more Mary-ness into my life.

Quite honestly, the last many weeks had been full-on Martha will barely any Mary-time. More than once, I felt a little hypocritical. I’ve let people into my life and tried to convince others and myself that I had changed. But had I really changed?

Not as much as I would like others to think.

And then, my body got a bug that didn’t go away. For days. Soon, I discovered that all I wanted, no, needed, was some Mary time.

I had reached my maximum capacity. And if the only way I would slow down was to physically become ill, then, this is what my body would do.

Ms. Martha-pants would be required to slow down. Let her body recharge, regroup and replenish. Whether I liked it or not, my body was saying, “I’m tired. I’m exhausted.”

Thankfully, I did not have much planned those days. As much as I was looking forward to a couple quiet days when I could do some planning and catching up, there was a different plan. And I needed to discover and follow Plan B.

Folks – we each have a maximum capacity that is unique to us. Your maximum capacity is different than mine. And when you reach your maximum capacity, how your body responds and forces you to slow down may be different than how my body responds. Often, I get sick. Congested. Run down. Tired. Exhausted. My chest is filled with junk. My body aches all over.  And there is only one prescription that really heals me: rest.

So, when I don’t respect or honor my maximum capacity, Plan B gets rolled out. I can will myself to keep going. Often, I do. But there comes a point when it’s best to stop. Surrender. See the larger picture. Rest.

These days between Christmas and New Year’s are often get days to SLOW DOWN. Rest. Enjoy. Savor. Get filled with the right things. Before you reach your maximum capacity and something happens that causes YOU to shut down, I encourage you to make sure YOU don’t reach your maximum capacity.

Instead, fill yourself with the best things that inspire you and give YOU joy.

For days to lower my maximum capacity into a more manageable range, I am grateful.

O God – too often, we think we know best … when really, we don’t. Help us respect and honor our maximum capacities. Encourage us to stop flirting with overload in our lives and slow down and savor the things that fill us. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Telling Stories

Gratitude Day 381

Tues., Dec. 24, 2019

Luke 2:6: While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby.

I love to tell stories.

This is one of the main reasons I blog: so, I can tell stories.

Often, the stories are about what is going on in our little Vielhuber world. Something that’s happened to me, Hubby Rick, our grandchildren. Someone we’ve encountered. Or something that has happened to someone that we know and love.

The stories maybe funny, sad, touch your heart or maybe, even make you think. I tell the stories from my perspective and often wonder if others who have experienced the story would agree with my observations or not. But then I remember: this is my story and my perspective.

Likewise, your stories are told from your perspective.

One challenge with stories?

People don’t remember them the same way.

Hubby Rick and I can recall the same event. Often, our details are slightly different. Of course, we think our version and details are right. And sometimes, we just have to agree to disagree.

Christmas is based upon a story. The story of the birth of a baby named Jesus Christ. We are told he was God’s son and born to a teenaged girl named Mary. This is the most retold story of all time. Think of all the children’s Christmas programs. The musicals and plays and movies and dramas that have been created to tell this story over and over. And the details? Well, they aren’t all the same.

Sometimes, we take liberties with this story. We envision how we think the story might have played out. Or we create details that make the story more interesting. It’s hard to relate to a culture from 2,000 years ago, so we adapt the story to accommodate today’s culture and perspective. Is it wrong to do this? Depends on who you ask!

Tonight, we remember and celebrate the birth of a baby. A baby named Jesus who came into this world to change the world forever; which he did. No matter how you see or read or experience the story being told, it’s the basic story that is most important.

And however, you celebrate and remember this story, I pray we let this story make a difference in our lives. Not just for one night or one day. But every day.

This story is the story that has changed history for all time. I pray it’s a story that changes how you view this world, your life, our call and your purpose.

Have a most blessed Christmas, my friends. And thank you for reading along with the stories that I tell here in Simple Words of Faith. I value and love every single person who reads along. I only pray that sometimes my stories encourage you and your story.

Now, one more way to tell the story:

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/embed/311061?fbclid=IwAR2K5TNNgYSfSG1Ie6nD15jRs_4X5oNrQRDRkboHF8xTrK-Fy3K-mDMYgyI

For stories that change us and make us truer to our calling as Christians, I am grateful.

O Holy Night – I pray we celebrate the story that changed the world tonight. Speak to us once again, Most Holy God. Thank you for creating a story that is so special we keep telling it over and over and over. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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The Longest Night

Gratitude Day 379

Sat., Dec. 21, 2019

Isaiah 9:2: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.

Today is the longest night

Or the shortest day of the year.

It’s not any shorter hours-wise.

For those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, it’s the day with the least amount of possible sunlight in the day.

The day when the sun comes up the latest and dips below the western skyline the earliest.

When I was a child and growing up on a farm, I remember coming home from school on Dec. 21st. While us kids often wanted a short break before heading outside to do our evening chores on the farm, I remember my Mom encouraging us on Dec. 21st not to wait. “It will be dark soon,” she would say. If we wanted any daylight to aid us in doing chores, we needed to get our feet into boots, put on our chore coats and move on outside … as quickly as possible.

We don’t know the exact date that Jesus was born. In fact, we’re not sure what month or even what season. Late December was chosen because this is when the least amount of light is possible. It’s like all the people have seen such darkness in the world. And now, the Light of God is coming into the world.

Why wouldn’t the Light arrive during the longest nights of the year?

Why wouldn’t the Light want to shine as brightly as possible?

Yesterday, Hubby Rick put up a lighted star on the side of our carriage house. Usually, there is also a nativity in this area. The nativity isn’t out yet … but the star is. Just before we ate dinner last night, Rick said, “Have you seen the star in the east?”

I thought he was being funny, when in reality, he just wanted me to look out the window and see the star of the east on the side of our carriage house.

It was dark. The light shone bright.

The Light of the World has come.

We celebrate it again in just a few days.

If you are feeling darkness in your life right now, turn east and find the star.

If you wonder if God loves you, turn east and please find a star that is shining bright, for you and all the world to see.

If you are feeling a little frazzled or distracted or not prepared for Christmas, just stop. Stop. Turn east. Find the star. See the Light of the World.

This IS enough.

This IS Christmas.

This IS what is most important.

See the light.

Feel the light.

Give thanks to God.

Amen.

And if you need just a bit of inspiration today, listen to a favorite Christmas carol.

For the Light of the World on the longest night of the year and every other night, I am grateful.

Dear God – Thank you for bringing light into a dark and often dreary world. Thank you for shining brightness into my life. May I reflect Your love to those around me. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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When Life Throws You Lemons

Gratitude Day 378

Fri., Dec. 20, 2019

Psalm 9:9: The Lord is a safe place for the oppressed— a safe place in difficult times.

When something difficult happens, it is never easy. But around the holidays? It seems even more challenging.

Recently, our dear friend Tatev had an unexpected lemon thrown into her life. Tatev is from the country of Armenia. She is currently working on her PhD at Michigan State University. For many years running, Tatev has spent Christmas with Hubby Rick and me. It’s become an annual tradition for her to travel from Lansing, MI to Poynette, WI. While it’s not traveling to Bethlehem and Tatev has the advantage of more modern transportation, this has become her Christmas homage.

Once in Wisconsin, we spend several days celebrating Christmas, reconnecting and doing fun things together. Often Tatev has participated in Christmas Eve worship. I always knew that I could just write her into the program.  

Tatev planned to spend Christmas 2019 with us as well. About a week ago, tickets were purchased so she could make her annual trek to Poynette.

And then, life changed. Really, it almost stopped for Tatev. Her father unexpectedly passed away last Saturday. It was a shock for Tatev, her Mother and her sisters.

For Tatev, being so far away only made the situation more challenging. Her family encouraged her to stay in American and continue with her “normal” life. But honestly, how can anyone really revert back to “normal” when your world has been turned upside down?

When Tatev and I spoke Saturday night, it became clear that she wanted, no needed, to go back to Armenia. Overwhelmed by her emotions and feelings, Tatev was struggling on trying to decide what to do. When I suggested that I start looking for flights, she accepted my offer to make her travel arrangements.

Per Armenia tradition, the funeral was held three days after the person’s passing. With the time change involved, it was IMPOSSIBLE to get Tatev back to Armenia before the funeral Nonetheless, we agreed that getting Tatev back still priority.

On Sunday morning, a ticket was booked. Tatev would leave on Tuesday and arrive in Armenia on their Thursday. This made the most sense, as Tatev needed to make a couple arrangements with the university before leaving the country.

On Sunday night, I spoke with Tatev again to confirm the travel plans. Her friend Erika was with Tatev. After Tatev and I spoke, Erika came on the phone line. Sunday morning, I had quoted Tatev a ball-park figure for the airfare. By Sunday night, people from Michigan had provided more than enough money to cover the airfare. Erika had shared with folks from where Tatev has participated in church know of her circumstance. In less than 12 hours, several people provided funds to cover more than what was needed for the ticket.

I knew of some other folks who also wanted to support Tatev. We reached an agreement and agreed that the additional funds would be used for incidental travel expenses, as well as be available for Tatev and her family once she arrived in Armenia.

Here’s the deal. Loosing a loved one is difficult. Losing a loved one close to the holidays is painful. Losing a loved one who is half of a world away is ridiculously impossible to navigate. While no one can remove Tatev’s pain and hurt, we could help her get back to her family as quickly as possible. And this is what we did.

I don’t know the names of all the folks who helped cover Tatev’s plane ticket. I don’t need to know them. What I do know is that when life threw Tatev a lemon, they tried to offer her just a little bit of lemonade.

Fortunately, Tatev and I have a wonderful mutual friend named Pam. Pam knows Tatev’s family and was able to attend the funeral. She was met Tatev at the Yerevan airport when Tatev arrived in the middle of the night.

I’m confident each one of us can quickly find someone who is going through one of life’s lemons right now. We can’t fix every situation, nor should we try to do this. What we CAN do is step in and serve up just a little bit of lemonade in their situation.

I know that it’s Christmas next week. I know we all have lots of things to do. But if you become aware of a lemony situation in someone’s life, please stop. Listen. Hear what the person is saying and help them figure out what their next best step is. You can’t remove the lemon for their life … but you might be able to make even a small glass of lemonade for them. Along with the Lord, may we be a safe place for them to land during any difficult time.

For opportunities to witness to others and help them turn a lemony situation into just a bit of lemonade, I am grateful.

Holy God – You are definitely aware of those around us who are struggling with lemony situations. Place it upon our hearts ways that we can take their challenging situation and create just a bit of lemonade for them. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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When It's Not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Gratitude Day 376

Tues., Dec. 17, 2019

Psalm 6:7: My vision fails because of my grief; it’s weak because of all my distress.

As much as we want to think this is THE MOST WONDERFUL time of the year, for some it is NOT.

It’s a difficult, sad and lonely time of the year.

Or there is remorse because everyone else thinks it’s a wonderful time … and you don’t.

Maybe you’ve lost a loved one.

Maybe you are struggling with depression.

Maybe your finances are challenging.

Or there is a broken or difficult relationship that clouds your brain.

Possibly you just don’t feel at the top of your game and you would gladly skip over all the holiday stuff and jump right into a new year.

There can be a hole bunch of reasons why the holidays are difficult for us. We don’t have to know WHAT is going on in a person’s life. We only need to be COMPASSIONATE.

Grace-filled.

Patient.

More willing to listen than we are to speak.

And so, be gentle this Christmas.

Be aware if someone you know is struggling.

Filled with grief.

Not sure they want to celebrate.

Just be present. It’s not your role to fix things. YOUR job is to simply be.

This is enough.

For those who are willing to allow themselves to struggle during the holidays, I am grateful. I pray someone walks with them.

Holy God – You know exactly who is struggling these days. I pray that you will make it clear to us who is struggling and how we can simply be present for them. May we be gentle with those who holidays does not feel very festive. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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When Martha is in Overdrive

Gratitude Day 374

Fri., Dec. 13, 2019

Luke 10:38: By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for their meal. So, Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.”

Imacon Color Scanner

The irony is NOT lost on me. In this time period when I have just published my first book, I feel life is a bit out-of-control.

What makes it even more ironic?

The book is about slowing life down. Ideas for busy-body Martha’s to discover that sitting at Jesus’ feet is absolutely necessary. How to be more aware and intentional about what we do and how we do it.

In the last month since the book officially launched, my schedule has been, let’s say, tight. Crowded. Full.

Oh, Ms. Martha Dianne, will you ever learn?

This is exactly why I call myself a recovering Martha. She still has lots of opportunity for improvement.

I often remember the well-known words from the found in the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes: “To everything there is a season …” Yes, some days are simply seasons of longer to-do lists than other seasons.

When I find myself in a more-than-unusually busy period, I often tell myself that this season is just for a “period.” It’s not how things will be forever. I just need to make it through this season. Overdrive lasts for awhile … but is not a good long-term solution.

Some of these over-full seasons are just for a day or two. Other seasons encompass a week or two. Possibly month. While in seminary, I felt that I just needed to keep myself alive while juggling school, two churches AND a new husband for a couple years.

If you feel like you are in a season with more going on these days, slow down. Pick only what MUST be done today. Find moments to be. Relish these moments. Remind yourself that it is just for a season.

If you find yourself in a very Martha-like season right now, give yourself permission to accept this season. But set an end-date. Stick with this date. Be OK with this busy season as it is not for forever.

To everything there is a season. No matter what season you are experiencing right now, love it. Celebrate it. Honor it. Relish it.

 Celebrate being a Martha who is seeking more Mary-ness in their lives.

Holy God As we accept the season of life we are in today, may we accept this responsibility with intention. May we relish the season we find ourselves in today. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Saturday Inspiration

Gratitude Day 373

Sat., Dec. 7, 2019

Amos 5:14: Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of heavenly forces, will be with you just as you have said.

Happy Saturday!

I am a person who loves to be inspired by others. I am a person who loves to be inspired by regular people doing little things that become extraordinary things day after day. Here’s a few things that have inspired me lately.

This Mom. It’s not too often that a Mom has three sons playing in the NFL at the same time. But Connie Watt does. Watch her share. The interview is about 10 minutes long … but it’s worth the time. Connie did not raise her boys to be NFL players. She raised sons who would be outstanding individuals that would inspire others. Oh, and she just happens to be from Wisconsin. You may have heard of her eldest son, JJ Watt. He’s not afraid to do big things for ordinary people through his foundation. And Connie helps him do it.

This 5-year-old boy named Michael. This week, Michael found his forever family. He was adopted! What makes the story super heart-warming? He invited his entire kindergarten class to witness this happen! Look at the picture. The hearts Michael’s friends are waving behind him. They are cheering him on. I don’t know all the details of what happened in this Kent County courthouse in Michigan. What I do know? This little boy was so excited to share a life-changing event with his friends. And the school, the teachers, the parents made it happen. Talk about a life lesson. Right here. Right there. A super cool Christmas present wrapped up in all the right kind of love.

A woman named Elizabeth. For the first time in a couple months, I’m sharing a message in worship tomorrow. I’ve felt inspired to dig a little deeper into the story of Elizabeth and Mary, found in Luke 1:39-45. When Mary discovers she is pregnant, she visits her elder cousin, Elizabeth, who happens to also be pregnant even though she’s way too old to be carrying a child. I feel both of these ladies are inspiring: Elizabeth for being so willing to mentor a younger woman and Mary for knowing she needed to seek the comfort of a seasoned woman. Whether you are a bit older or just getting started in your adult life, there’s lots here. I encourage you to spend just a few minutes with this story today.

I love sharing stories because I feel it is through stories that we CAN inspire ourselves and others. How will you write your story today? Who can you inspire with some little random act of kindness? What can you do to express love to a person near and dear to your heart?

For daily inspiration, I am grateful.

Dear God – Thank you for gifting us a book chuck-full of stories of inspiration. We call it the Bible. I pray we use these stories, as well as ones that we encounter every day, to inspire us to seek good and not evil.  Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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And Then It Was Advent

Gratitude Day 372

Thurs., Dec. 5, 2019

Luke 1:38: Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

My name is Dianne. And somehow, I missed the beginning of Advent.

You know, the period of time before Christmas. The time when we are supposed to prepare our hearts and minds and souls for the arrival of the Christ-Child on Christmas Eve. The days that often get so full that we forget to breathe and wonder why and how Christmas became this huge commercial engine that never seems to slow down.

Somehow, the first Sunday of Advent appeared and happened … and I missed it.

Oh, I went to church last Sunday. I watched the first Advent candle be lit. It’s the candle of hope, which says to us that we hope for something outside of ourselves. After worship, people decorated the Christmas tree and set out the nativity scene.

Advent began whether I was prepared or ready or even knew it was happening.

Truthfully, I realized Advent began last Sunday when I sat down Saturday night to prepare music for Sunday worship. I wished to myself that I had taken time the previous week to find a special Advent song for worship. But I didn’t.

Nonetheless, Advent began anyways. With or without me. With or without a special song for worship. With or without my heart being fully prepared to become prepared.

Often, I pull together a little Advent calendar with little ways we can keep ourselves close to God during Advent.

Epic fail this year.

There have been the suggestions floating around on social media of reading a chapter of Luke every day from December 1st until Christmas Eve. With 24 chapters, this allows a person to ready through an entire gospel before Christmas Day.

Nope, I didn’t encourage anyone to do this.

I barely showed up.

Maybe this is a bit how Mary felt when the angel visited her. Completely unprepared. Majorly blindsided. Unsure what this all meant but also ready to accept this wildly challenging but also truly honor that had been laid at her feet.

Mary’s response was only one word: “Yes.”

Yes, I’ll show up and be the mother of the Savior of the world. Yes, I’ll become pregnant before I am legally married, even if this means the potential of being stoned to death. Yes, I’ll carry this baby, even if it means not marrying the man who I am engaged to.

Here’s the little secret: Mary didn’t know it was the beginning of Advent either.

And she still made it to Christmas Eve.

She still journeyed to Bethlehem while nine months pregnant. She still gave birth to a baby in a stable, no less. She didn’t know what to be afraid or scared of. And she did it anyways.

The baby was still born. Joseph still accepted her. An amazing thing happened beyond her control.

Advent can still be amazing. Christmas will be magical whether I get everything crossed off my pre-Christmas to-do list or not. It’s not too late for my heart to be turned towards preparing for the Christ-child.

Just in case you kind-of missed the beginning of Advent? It’s not too late for you either.

For Advent grace, I am grateful.

Holy God – I’m sorry that life got in the way and I’m not really prepared for the beginning of Advent. My heart and soul are still trying to deal with today’s issues rather than finding time to relish in the story from Luke’s Gospel. Please forgive me. Help me accept myself. Give me hope that I will determine just what I need this Advent. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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