Reflections on Clouds

  • Many things contribute to our formation
  • We choose to be cooling and soothing or a disappointing wet blanket
  • It takes energy and intention to encourage and build up those around us
  • Seasons of storms are part of life
  • Change springs upon us or silently grows
  • We sometimes drift far from home
  • Rising to challenges can be very difficult
  • As experience accumulates, we are better able to nourish others
  • We seek to shield those we love from hurt and harm
  • A protective covering and caring arms bring comfort and strength
  • Settling down on a quiet slow day brings great contentment
  • A day to drift brings peace and releases stress
  • Celebration is great when darkness and strife are broken
  • Like light bursting through dark clouds, let God shine through you

from “Reflections from the Everyday” c-a allen

When clouds are full, they empty rain on the earth” Ecclesiastes11:3

Tender Child

This special child
Now held so close
Cradled softly in loving arms
Resting, trusting, safe from harm

Compassion born
Full of grace and truth
Heaven announced
Good news, great joy

Peace and goodwill
Now come, make haste
True light’s glow
Awaken our hearts

Cast aside our fears and doubts
Draw us close as tender child
To treasure words of hope
Christ Jesus come to earth

*Luke 2:8-20, John 1:14, 16

Reminders

Heading home one November evening, I pass the yard with the purple flashing lights of a Halloween skeleton which had been left up. As I turn into my driveway, I see that my neighbor has set out his Santa figure and manger scene. Have you noticed a trend too? As the seasons move forward towards year’s end, decorations are being put out earlier and left up longer. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas…

There is a positive hope in these simple and familiar decorations, despite the challenges our world is facing and adjustments to a “new normal.” They reflect a strength of spirit and make room for happier times. I love the positive celebration of life! This time-of-year is a good opportunity to offer encouragement to others, to realize anew the value of family, community, work, church, giving to others…

As we go about our daily routines, what are we doing to strengthen and help each other? Everyone appreciates encouragement and recognition, or a listening ear. The lighted decorations make me think of the verse that says, “Let light shine out of darkness” (*2 Corinthians 4:6). Think of all the workers, the medical community, educators, transport services, and more who have struggled to keep things running. They have truly been a source of light. How are we impacting others and how have we been impacted by loss and a changing economy? How are we celebrating the good and coming together in our shared humanity?

May the flashing lights of the seasons’ decorations or the quiet humble manger scene be reminders. See through the darkness, give thanks for what we have, and remember the Christ child come to earth. In this journey I pray that we will grow stronger, wiser, more caring… trusting and serving God. May His light shine through each of us.

Vistas

Looking out upon such vistas
Endless vault of sky above
Sunshine’s glow and feathery clouds
Or stormy and heavy laden with rain
Night’s darkness broken by heaven’s shine

The earth spreads ever before us
Rolling hills and shaded byways
Surging seas and sandy beaches
And the packed mass of humanity
Rushing past upon busy highways

Light’s beacon beckons life
Sometimes elusive and sometimes bold
Calls us and draws us to security
To calm and quiet our anxious thoughts
Come closer breathe deeply

God’s arms to enfold us.
He weeps. He laughs.
He comforts. He strengthens.
We look upon eternal vistas
And give Him thanks and praise.

Seeking Comfort

Day in day out
We have ups and downs

When times are dark
And hearts are torn

Shattered deeply…
Where do we turn?!

Lean on God’s strength
Embrace His light

A starry night
To wrap us ‘round

Gentle touch
Or presence near

A listening ear
Someone to hear

A sunny smile
Upon a child’s face

Warm sun’s touch
Or cool shade’s shelter

Quiet solitude
And a place to shout!

Now draw us closer
As we come

Seeking comfort

Hearken

Soft rustle at woodland’s edge
Shyly peering out at winter’s passing

Long slumbering beneath earth’s cold bite
Now reaching out a questing toe

Chill breezes steal day’s brief warmth
And residents shiver in protected nooks

Frost yet bites tender growth
Then yields to dawn’s new light

Nostrils raise to scent and tread
And life stirs within seed and soil

Rain-washed earth and ways are
Streaked with plants’ golden offerings

Stone and wood yield welcomed warmth
Hearken, hearken …

Holy

Christmastime! For me, no matter what the year had brought or what the circumstances may have been, the songs of Christmas brought renewal and anticipation. “O Holy Night” … “Silent Night, Holy Night” … They are reminders of the “holy one” which the angel foretold of to Mary, this baby who grew to show us the way and to bring us hope (*Luke 1:35).

Holy, special, set apart, belonging to God. The words and songs bring to heart and mind the mystery and awe of God and of coming before Him in worship and praise. Can you imagine it? Can you see and hear the story unfolding on that holy night?!

And the angels rejoiced at the birth of His Son to a world so in need of him. Like the shepherds drawn to the stable and the wise men who came from distant lands, we are drawn to that baby, Jesus. The light of that star is the light we too seek.

O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth…
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

The holiness of God. The holiness of that night. The holiness of infant Jesus, God’s Son, Emmanuel (*Matthew 1:23). When the world is dark and cold. Emmanuel. When the sun rises fresh and bright. Emmanuel. When we miss loved ones. Emmanuel. When the lights of Christmas shine. Emmanuel…

I am thankful for that holy infant Jesus, who came to us on a dark night. When I struggle with doubts and fears or am feeling worn or alone or afraid, the events of Jesus’ birth are welcome reminders of God’s holiness and presence. When joy and happiness surround me from family and friends and awesome new life, the Christmas story draws me into the life of that other family so long ago.

May the light of that star and the events of that story draw you too to our holy God and bring you comfort and peace.
—————

Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. NIV

Matthew 1:23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” NRSV

Charlotte-Anne Allen
12/20/2020

Reflections on Stars

• Starshine inspires awe and wonder
• Imagination leads to inspiration and discovery
• Discovering what forms the whole leads to greater understanding
• Coldness and distance are a matter of perspective
• Light can seem distant when we are in a dark tunnel
• We often crave guidance and assurance of our way
• Having a reference point helps determine our position
• Argument is a heat that burns deeply
• A positive personality brightens those around them
• Gaze into the clear night sky and feel your worries recede
• The vastness of the heavens is a small taste of eternity
• Our Creator knows every star by name