Gratitude Day 183 – Light of the World

Wed., Dec. 26, 2018

John 1:9 – The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

From Christmas Eve night to Christmas Day, doesn’t it seem like the world stops? Seemingly, all divisions seem to stop for maybe, 36 hours. Less chaos. Less drama. Less confusion.

I know all Christmas celebrations aren’t grand and perfect. Things happen. There is disappointment and let downs.

But for a short period of time, doesn’t it seem more peace? More getting along? More love?

Why can’t we seemingly stretch this quiet and peace from 36 hours to a bit longer period of time?

Why can’t we hang onto the feeling at the end of Christmas Eve worship and stretch it out a bit?

family Christmas Eve
Part of my peeps …

It seems to happen at every Christmas Eve worship service I’ve been a part of. We sing Silent Night. Everyone has lighted candles. Maybe a bit of wax drips on our clothing. Or a candle gets a little too close to the woman’s hair in the pew in front of the young child.

But when the song ends and maybe a few words are shared, no one wants to leave. We all stay glued to our pews or chairs. We want this moment to just hold on …

trio on Christmas Eve

It happened on Christmas Eve again this year. Jared and I played our guitars during Silent Night, just like the song was sung for the first time, 200 years ago. His daughter, Ella, helped lead the singing. We finished. A few words encouraged people to take the light into the world. Go in peace.

No one moved.

It was beautiful. It was precious. It was special.

candle at Silent Night

Look at this candle from Christmas Eve one more time.

It’s a symbol that God came into the world … as a baby. As a human being. Because God loves us.

Now, we are to take God’s light, which represents God’s love for us, back into the world.

Before you rush back into the normal, regular, every-day-life events, please hold onto the candle. Hold onto the light. Sit with it for just a bit longer. Remember why we sing Silent Night. Why we light candles. Why we celebrate Christmas Eve.

Christmas is just but one day. However, we can live as children of the light every day. Let’s do so. Together. Let’s be the light together.

For God’s light in this world, I am grateful.

Holy God – thank you for coming into this world. I pray we find love and peace in your light. May we stretch ourselves and be the light of You in this world today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 40 – I Made It Through the Day

tree

Mon., May 14, 2018

Psalm 105:4-5 – Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wondrous works he has done, his wonders, and the judgments he has pronounced.

I made it through the day. I made it through Mother’s Day.

Earlier last week, God’s strength showed up in a very unexpected way. My friend Mary sent me a card. It said:

Dianne – Thinking of you as Mother’s Day approaches. These milestones can be challenging. Hope you feel the love and support. Mary.

I’m not sure Mary fully understood what this Mother’s Day would entail. She didn’t need to. She had a hunch that this day might be more difficult than normal … and she sent a card.

I knew in advance that May 13, 2018 could be a perfect emotional storm for me.

This would have been Hubby Rick’s eldest son, Nate’s, 40th birthday. This is the first Mother’s Day since my Mom passed away. And I have come to dread Mother’s Day because I am not a Mom. While I know it is a special day for many women, it is a difficult day for me and some women. We have our own reasons for not being comfortable with this day.

Rick and I talked in advance about how we would commemorate these events, which all fell on one day.

Friday night, we went out to dinner with Marcus and his family. Marcus was a classmate and buddie of Nate. Rick and Marcus drank Bud Light beer in honor of Nate. It was a good night. For many years, I gave my Mom perennial flowers on Mother’s Day. On Saturday, Rick and I visited a couple Amish greenhouses. We came home with some perennials along with a flowering tree which we planted on the sunny side of our house on Sunday.

This Mother’s Day was the first time in 19 years that I was not leading worship. Rather, I was sitting in the pew. I was apprehensive about attending worship. But we did. I was even more thankful the message was not about Mother’s Day. It was about being in a difficult place and not knowing how to get out of it. Hearing the pastor’s words encouraged me to contemplate sharing my feelings in this space.

The pastor’s words reminded me that from our brokenness, we can grow. When we experience disorientation and realize things can’t be fixed, we should go back to our faith. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word sheol is used to indicate a place of darkness. When our hearts are darkened, we experience our own version of sheol. In the darkness of life, Psalm 105 encourages us to seek the Lord and the Lord’s strength. When we are not strong enough, it is time to stop depending upon ourselves and depend on God and our faith in God. When things can’t be fixed, our best opportunity is to no longer expect ourselves to be strong enough.

Rather than being strong enough, I just needed to make it through the day. I just needed to make it through May 13, 2018.

My point in sharing my feelings is not to garner empathy or sympathy. It’s to share a glimpse into my heart on a day of darkness. And my choice to let God’s strength help me through the day. I purposefully choose to not let my mind and heart get stuck in a place of complete darkness. I could make it a good day.

As I felt brokenness on Sunday, I knew that God was with me. When you feel disoriented, I pray you will remember that God hears your prayers. Pray for strength to seek God and God’s strength. Pray that you will remember the wonderous things that have happened in your life even though your heart may be crying out in unrelenting pain. Pray for a brighter day tomorrow. Just make it through the day.

I made it through the day. I made it through Mother’s Day. For this, I am grateful.

Lord God – thank you for being with us in our brokenness and disorientation. I pray we turn to you on our sad days and seek your face. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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