A Bad Rap?

donkey-by Sebastiano Rizzardo_Pixabay

Think now of the mule, the donkey, the goat…
Such creatures as this who bear a great load!

Such poor reputations and so misunderstood
For services provided on a regular basis

Now Jack, now Jenny the sun is well risen…
Come on! You’re well rested! Time for a new day

Let’s go! … Please?!
Hey, wake up! Ah well…

Here Sweetly. You too HeeHaw.
You can join your friends in the cow pasture.

Guard duty today. No, over here…
Ohhh! I’m your friend. Run everyone! Run!

Billy! Where are you going?
Get out of the way! Don’t eat that!

…There we go. All settled now?
All in a day’s work for my unappreciated friends

What’s that? You’re considering getting a camel?
Hey! Watch out! He’ll spit in your eye!

Reflections on Sawdust

sawdust-by Alicja_pixabay

The bits and pieces we leave behind speak of life lived
• We gain in wisdom as we are shaped
• The remnants we leave are our legacy
• A protective surrounding will shelter and nourish new life
• Warmth and support bring contentment
• A soft bed and peaceful rest are not to be taken for granted
• The smell of worked wood inspires creativity
• The unfolding of outer layers can be difficult
• An artist forms things of wonder and beauty
• The Master’s hand can form beauty from the roughest exteriors

Requirements!

note-wood background_bruno germany_pixabay

Papers please… Don’t forget to renew by… You must have… Payment due… Reports needed!

Life seems to be a never-ending cycle of requirements just to keep the daily gears turning! How do I keep up? Sometimes things come all at once. I get flooded with extra work to do, insurance payments, certification and dues renewal, vehicle registration and inspection, extra commitments, and more.

Honestly, sometimes I wish that I could just sit back and let go of some of my responsibilities. Don’t we all feel overwhelmed sometimes? Whether from a paid job or volunteer positions, there are always associated requirements.

Yet in the midst of all of that, I am ever aware of the richness of life and I am thankful. A job and income provide basic necessities. I have a car, which enables me to drive so that I can work. I have a home to live in and family around me. There are friends to share with. Church, music, dance, and writing have special places. My life is full.

As I think about that, I am reminded of what Micah, a prophet living in Judah in the early 700s BC, said. “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” * In that is the true stuff of life, isn’t it?!

Even when I tire of the many requirements, they are a part of all we do and are not always a negative thing. They provide direction, maintain what is needed, and allow us to follow our call. What does the Lord require of us? To give our all, to extend His love to others, to walk humbly… with Him! Despite all the craziness or stress, the pain and grief we may encounter, and the loss of loved ones… in those words there is fulfillment and contentment.

 

*Micah 6:8

Reflections on Slippers

Slippers 1_IMG_1466

• Each day needs slipper moments
• Rise to a new day with anticipation of good
• A warm smile and kind touch bring comfort
• Soft words encourage healing and rest
• Protecting others is a most noble call and occupation
• Reach out to others like a warm home on a cold day
• Slip on true friendship and slide off falsehood
• Put on that which will enrich life
• Embrace laughter and silly slippers for a joyful heart
• A peaceful evening of rest is a great blessing
• Knowing we are useful brings contentment
• The Comforter is always with us

Celebrate

Christmas tree_lights_Monicore_Pixabay

That’s wonderful! Yay! Great! Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! You did it!

We enjoy celebrating those noteworthy moments in life. Whether it be the result of long hard work, another year of life, a special anniversary, or a new life born… times of celebration express joy and excitement.

I remember the celebration of my mother’s 80th birthday. Friends and family worked to make this a special surprise. The church secretary asked my mom to stop by to pick up something and the plot was sprung! What joy shone on my mother’s face as gathered family and friends all wished her a happy birthday and expressed our love for her, to one who was so giving and compassionate. I treasure that memory.

I celebrate too, the quiet satisfaction of accomplishment… perhaps a completed task for work, a finished piece of writing, simple tasks around the house, or doing something for family or friends. These daily celebrations are as important as the larger occasions and are a source of contentment and affirmation of life.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the quiet of the night was awakened to joy-filled words of celebration! “Glory to God in the highest heaven,” the host of angels proclaimed, “and on earth peace…” When the shepherds found this newborn Son of God, they celebrated by spreading the news to all who would hear. * Can you imagine the amazement and excitement in the little town that night?

There were other celebrations in the coming days as well, the praise of Simeon when he recognized Christ and the thanks of Anna who shared the news of his birth to all of those who had been waiting for that day. *

When the wise men arrived at the home of the child Jesus, they celebrated through worship and through the giving of gifts. They too had been searching for the child who had been born to the world. *

Something which is especially meaningful to me is Mary’s quiet and strong celebration, simply stated in Luke 2:19. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Her thoughts must have gone back to the earlier encounter with her cousin Elizabeth as they celebrated together. * After months of carrying this child, now came further affirmation. Imagine her awe and joy, and perhaps also the fear or questions about what this motherhood would bring in days and years to come. All the pain, discomfort, whispers, and exhaustion must have faded as she looked upon her son and saw the face of God.

As we travel through life, may we treasure those moments of celebrations. May we ponder deeply and long the greatest gift of all, Emmanuel, God with us!

* Luke 2:13-30 (Shepherd and Angels); Luke 2:25-28 (Simeon); Luke 2:36-38 (Anna);
Matthew 2:10-11 (Wise Men); Luke 1:39-56 (Elizabeth and Mary)