Quiet

During this season, I crave quiet, but it is not a great time to access it due to business demands. So, I combat it by getting up earlier than others in my household and going to bed earlier as well. By the time Christmas comes around, I don’t have energy for much of anything. But, for me, that is ok. Sometimes the preparations for a Christmas event can distract from the reason of the celebration.

Is there something that you can remove from your schedule that will allow you to relax and help you savor this time more?

Laughter & Joy

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them. [Psalm 126, NIV]

Yesterday, I was visiting with one of my children about how our mood can change just by being able to see a photo or video of one of the babies in our family. They have been the source of a lot of laughter and joy for all of us this year!

The heaviness of the complications and challenges of our daily lives these days threatens to steal our laughter and joy. I don’t know about you, but I am wee bit tired. If I don’t leave the house very often and the news is not on, I don’t think about this pandemic very much. But then, I have to do something and I remember — everything takes longer. And, too often, I forget to build in that extra time to accomplish the task I set out to do.

The Lord has done great things.
The Lord is doing great things.
And the Lord will continue to do great things.

Even in the midst of the challenges of our days — and we are all facing some level of challenge — the Lord is doing great things. Take time to focus on those things and, quite often the laughter and joy will follow.

He Prepares the Way…

You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
    you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people
    and covered all their sins,
You set aside all your wrath
    and turned from your fierce anger.

Restore us again, God our Savior,
    and put away your displeasure toward us.
Will you be angry with us forever?
    Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
    that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
    and grant us your salvation.

I will listen to what God the Lord says;
    he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
    but let them not turn to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
    that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
    righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
    and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give what is good,
    and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
    and prepares the way for his steps.
[Psalm 85, NIV]

His steps…our steps….

We aren’t ever really standing still. There is always movement. The challenge is always in the direction.

God draws me near, but do I resist? Do I see His faithfulness and provision? Am I in His path? Under His guidance?

We always have options. But His grace covers a whole lotta ground. When I wander, am distracted, and deliberately choose an ugly path He loves me and waits for me to recognize my errors. Sometimes it is a long wait while I dig in my heels and protest my justification for my behavior. Sometimes there are lots of tears, hurt, and anger. And, unfortunately, there are usually the natural consequences that are still a part of my reality.

And yet, He prepared The Way even as He prepares the way…

In the name of the Father, + Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have graciously kept me this day. And I pray that you would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into your hands I commend myself, my body, my soul and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Luther’s Evening Prayer

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz