Especially Now

My thoughts for Monday School are all about Advent….this season of waiting and hoping.

I wrote part of this last year. I share it again because I’m even more aware of the longing……the deep ache within my heart…..

And I know I can’t be the only one.

“Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. 
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might;
come and save us.

Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

How long, Lord God Almighty……….”     Psalm 80:1-4a

The nation of Israel cried out for hundreds of years waiting on the Promised One. My favorite Christmas hymn expresses the same longing for salvation.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

The promise was kept.

Jesus came. Emmanuel.

He is here. God with us.

Jesus, come into our world. Come and change our hearts. Come into our brokenness and apathy. Come and shine your light into our darkness. Come and awaken within us the wonder of the babe in a manger.

The One who has come now asks us to come.

He invites us to peace and rest. Even now.

Especially now.

In the midst of the decorating and parties, Christmas programs and overindulging. In the traffic, long lines and shopping malls. In the middle of our desire to give out happiness in perfectly wrapped boxes. …….He asks us to come.

Come and reflect on the miracle of God becoming man. Come and remember. Come and follow Him with all our hearts.

Jesus says, “Come.”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”       Matthew 11:28-30

I’m reading an Advent devotional from Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts. You can check it out here.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Negative Space

 

Eclipse

My daughters and I went to Green Mountain for our eclipse viewing. It was exactly what we hoped for. Serene and beautiful. The eclipse began shortly after we arrived but I hiked the loop trail while the girls picked the perfect spot on the dock for us to watch the moon cover the sun. While on the trail I found several clear sunny spots, stopped to put my eclipse glasses on, and viewed the moon edging its way over the sun. I was awe struck and rushed my way through the forest to join the girls on the dock.

We reclined there, viewed the eclipse with our glasses, noticed the fading light, laughed at each other, guessed at the percentage of coverage, watched a newly arrived spectator look for a good spot to sit or point to the eclipse shaped shadows, put our glasses back on and did it again and again until the moon hid the sun as much as it would on Green Mountain.

The eclipse was amazing. The whole thing of it. The going there, the watching and waiting, the laughing with my girls, the riding home afterward. But there was another wonderful part of it.

Throughout our time at Green Mountain, my oldest daughter was very aware of others around us. The couple fishing on the other dock when we arrived. The old couple sitting on a swing near the entrance to the park. The young men glancing toward the sky occasionally. The photographer setting up his special camera for the perfect photo op. There were others around but these were the ones she noticed. None of these had glasses.

She spoke first to the couple sitting in the swing who didn’t realize the show had started.

“Is there something to see?” the elderly lady asked. “Oh yes,” my daughter said as she handed her glasses over.

The sweet elderly lady was delighted to see the crescent shape of the sun. The gentleman in the swing told us he’d seen two eclipses in his lifetime and thanked my daughter for the offer anyway. The fishing lady took a break from the fishing and my daughter saw her walking nearby. She gladly put the glasses on to see what was happening up above and thanked my daughter over and over. My daughter walked to the other dock to share her glasses with the fishing man, shared them with the photography man and eventually gave them away to the young glancers so they could enjoy the rest of the eclipse without worrying about their eyes.

My daughter wanted everyone to see the wonder in the sky.

She enjoyed the eclipse but was overjoyed to see others enjoying the eclipse.

Caught My Eye

My husband tells me I ask more questions than any person he’s ever known. It’s probably true.

Mom used to tell me I was curious from the beginning with a genuine desire to learn all I could. She called it a zest to investigate and it landed me into some pretty funny situations when I was younger.

I’ve not lost the zest. I wonder about things. I think of a question then search for the answer. Or something catches my eye so I’ll take a closer look.

I was pulling weeds when I noticed a few mushrooms on the other side of the yard. As I walked closer I saw this little family of mushrooms. IMG_5660.jpg

I spent the next few minutes or so observing and taking several photos of the mushrooms.

Just because they caught my eye.

We came into this life so generous, alive, unarmored, & curious.  Curious, in the best, silliest, most fixated, life-giving way. ~ Anne Lamott

A Face in the Crowd

Wonders

“Outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary, but the common mode of existence.
It is our daily bread.”        Wendell Berry

 

Elemental

Sunset

 

What a beautiful way to begin the wrapping up of a day. All of my scurrying around……checking off my “to do” list……working at this and planning that….

Comes to a stop.

As I look in wonder at the sunset. Taking it in.

The pinks and blues and light oranges come through the darkened trees…..

Moments later the colors fade…..the sky is darker….

And I’m thankful for the Giver of colorful sunsets.

 

 

Ambience

Overflowing

I sit here in wonder………….my heart overflowing with thankfulness.

Thankful to the Giver. The One who gives me all that I have.

Thankful to the One who turns it all into something good. My mistakes and rebellion, my faith and doubt, the joy and trials and all the pain, the good parts and the ugly ones too.

In wonder of the Heart Changer. He’s mending the broken places and softening the hardened ones.

Praising the One who loves extravagantly and is teaching me to do the same. Patiently.

He never gives up on me. He’s always with me.

Thank You God.

You are a good, good Father.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.            I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Magic

When it snows in Alabama it feels like magic.

The white stuff causes wonder and excitement like nothing else. We watch the snow as it falls and we pray that it “sticks”. Most of the time the ground is so warm around these parts that the snow melts as soon as it touches.

But sometimes……  img_1109-1

Sometimes……..

It sticks.

And it’s one of the most beautiful sights you’ve ever seen. Especially in the country. Where the cows are in the fields and the trees are big and the sheds and fences are covered with snow.

And the roads are closed because no one knows how to drive on snowy roads and we don’t have chains on our tires.

But we play in the snow because it may be the only snow we get for a few years. We build a snowman and ride garbage can lids down hills and have snowball fights.

Then we gather enough snow to make snow cream and eat it while we talk about how we hope the snow stays another day.

But it doesn’t take long for the magic to melt and we wait for it to come again.

In response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge Temporary.