A New Year’s Prayer

A New Year’s Prayer

Dear Lord, please give me
A few friends who understand me and remain my friends;
A work to do which has real value,
without which the world would be the poorer;
A mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail be not blazed;
An understanding heart;
A sense of humor;
Time for quiet, silent meditation;
A feeling of the presence of God;
The patience to wait for the coming of these things,
With the wisdom to recognize them when they come.
Amen.

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Give To Your People

Lord, revive us!
All our help must come from you.
Give to your people your love,
Your confidence,
Your holy daring,
Your consecration,
Your liberality,
Your obedience,
Your holiness.
Walking among the golden candlesticks,
Trim every lamp and make every light, even those that burn feebly now,
Shine out gloriously through Your Spirit.

– C.H. Spurgeon

To Be A Christian

To be a Christian is to live dangerously, honestly, freely – to step in the name of love as if you may land on nothing…

– Cornel West posted at A Still Life

God Is Present

Life is fragile. Time is fleeting. God is present.

– An Orientation of Heart

Seek Joy

Seek Joy, in all the dark corners, in all the uncertainty, in all the worries & in all the mishaps, seek joy & it will enliven your heart. Why seek joy? Shouldn’t it just happen, just be? Why do I have to do all the work, why do I have to chase it?

If you want joy in your life, if you want to feel good, uplift others, enjoy your work and your loved ones, meet new people, ponder new possibilities and experience all the best that life has to offer, you must decide you will seek joy.

Seeking is not chasing, it is not desperate and it is not angry. Seeking is intentionally keeping your radar up, your eyes open and your energies open and receptive. To find joy in each moment, in places and experiences you have not before, then you must look for it and know in your heart it is there.

Seeking joy is making a commitment to a life of happiness, fulfillment, adventure, exploration and amazement. You will not love every experience, but that is why you tried it…. just to see if you would like it, to see if it held any joy, expansion for you.

Joy is a ladder and it is your own personal ladder, that allows you to reach heights in love, wealth, health and experience you have only dreamed of. When you make it important to seek joy, see it, find it, feel it and enjoy it, you will be amazed at the world that is before you.

Make a commitment to yourself that you will, at all time, have the dominant intent to see, feel and enjoy JOY in all circumstances. Your intention to experience it will highlight it. It will stand out and you will find each day, more and more opportunities to feel good wherever you are, whatever you are doing!

– Nan Akasha, Seek Joy at Create Your Own Reality Blog

Let Me Not Keep Christmas

“Let me not wrap, stack, box, bag, tie, tag, bundle, seal, keep Christmas.

Christmas kept is liable to mold.

Let me give Christmas away, unwrapped, by exuberant armfuls. Let me share, dance, live Christmas unpretentiously, merrily, responsibly with overflowing hands, tireless steps and sparkling eyes.

Christmas given away will stay fresh—even until it comes again.”

– Linda Felver, Let Me Not Keep Christmas

I Cannot Tell

I Cannot Tell
Words: William Young Fullerton, 1857-1932

Music: Londonderry (aka “O Danny Boy”)
Midi and Noteworthy Composer Score at Cyberhymnal
(the link above)

1. I cannot tell why He Whom angels worship,
Should set His love upon the sons of men,
Or why, as Shepherd, He should seek the wanderers,
To bring them back, they know not how or when.
But this I know, that He was born of Mary
When Bethlehem’s manger was His only home,
And that He lived at Nazareth and labored,
And so the Savior, Savior of the world is come.

2. I cannot tell how silently He suffered,
As with His peace He graced this place of tears,
Or how His heart upon the cross was broken,
The crown of pain to three and thirty years.
But this I know, He heals the brokenhearted,
And stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
And lifts the burden from the heavy laden,
For yet the Savior, Savior of the world is here.

3. I cannot tell how He will win the nations,
How He will claim His earthly heritage,
How satisfy the needs and aspirations
Of East and West, of sinner and of sage.
But this I know, all flesh shall see His glory,
And He shall reap the harvest He has sown,
And some glad day His sun shall shine in splendor
When He the Savior, Savior of the world is known.

4. I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship,
When, at His bidding, every storm is stilled,
Or who can say how great the jubilation
When all the hearts of men with love are filled.
But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
And myriad, myriad human voices sing,
And earth to Heaven, and Heaven to earth, will answer:
At last the Savior, Savior of the world is King!

The Gifts of Christmas

The Gifts of Christmas

Consider the real role of gifts in the Christmas story…

Those gifts were wrapped in miracles
which is probably why
we can’t find them at the mall
or in the mail order catalogues.

The first gift was of Spirit – unconditional love.

The next gift came from a Jewish teenager named Miriam
who was known to her family and friends as Mary.
Her Christmas present was availability and waiting.
the complete surrender of ego and will
needed to bring heaven
down to earth.

The gift of her fiancé, Joseph, was trust.
He trusted that Mary wasn’t pregnant
with another man’s child.
He really believed
there was a plan in the heart of God
to get them through this mess.

The Child brought forgiveness,
healing,
second chances.

The Angels’ gifts were comfort, joy and peace.
the reassurance that there was nothing to fear,
so rejoice. He has come,
as He promised.

The Shepherd Boy’s gift was generosity.
He gave up what he loved the most –
his favorite lamb was the baby’s birthday present.

The innkeeper’s Wife gave a gift too. Hers was
selflessness and compassion.
She worked, in her own way, to find a warm, dry, safe place
for the homeless child to stay.
Her best blanket, which belonged to her grandmother,
was given to wrap the new mother and the little boy.

The father, too, felt the love and caring
of the innkeeper’s wife.
Even the donkey had fresh hay.

Three from the East
traveled many hot, dusty miles
in search of a recent birth.

But when they arrived in Bethlehem,
they found the newborn Prince
in an appalling situation –
a smelly cow-stall instead of a palace.
The shocked wise men unwrapped
gold, frankincense and myrrh,
but their real gifts were
courage, acceptance, and faith.

Courage – that allowed them to set out
on a long and difficult journey
that tested their perseverance
and their hearts.
Acceptance – that helped them trust their own instincts,
and outwit the dark and dangerous Herod
searching to destroy the Child.
Faith – that freed them from their own limited logic
just enough to follow a star
to find the One
who came to bring
Peace.

Ah yes, Christmas is all about gifts,
nothing but gifts.
Gifts tied with heartstrings.
Gifts that surprise and delight.
Gifts that transform.
Gifts that nurture the souls
of the giver
and the given.

Unconditional love
trust
availability
waiting
surrender
faith
forgiveness
healing
second chances

Adapted from Simple Abundance by S. Ban Breathnach

The Way

Just the right moment
when all is still
and all is at rest
there! I see it!

The way across…
the way through…
the path beyond
reflected in my heart.

It’s known as reality –
a place to bring vision
and joy and peace and light
where there is blindness
and anger and brokenness and darkness.

More than ever,
as You shine within my heart
I know I am made
to spread that Light.

– Deb Vaughn

Advent Reflection: Bethlehem

Advent Reflection 3: Bethlehem
I suppose it’s natural
how we took Christmas and prettified it,
round yon virgin
and candles
and all.
But I’ll bet it didn’t feel too pretty for Mary,
our mother of the homeless, the unwanted
in Bethlehem
and every city.

But it was there,
amid the dung and dirt and heat,
with no helper, no mother, no midwife
only Joe
and the smells of the barn,
that the mind and heart of the universe
lay cradled in the arms of a poor girl.

Why would you do that, God?
Why come as a helpless infant
born to a peasant?
What’s that got to do with making galaxies
and running the cosmos?
Surely you could have picked
some more respectable place,
a palace perhaps
or at least a temple
someplace more dignified
more appropriate to Someone of Your Stature.
Almost any place would have been better than that.

If heaven is your armchair
and the earth your ottoman
why pick this peasant girl?
this obscure place?
this pain-filled time?
What was it you wanted us to understand?

– posted at the back room blog