Saturday, December 22, 2007

heading north

I've been the last one in the Transit house for about 21 hours now. It's been a little strange. But it was a nice evening. I did a little writing a little reading and a lot of watching Gilmore Girls! I ate dinner by candle light and enjoyed Italian cookies, chocolates, wine, and lady grey tea. It was a lovely time.

Now, the house will be empty (for a few hours until Adri and her family get back from Wales) I am leaving to spend some time in London with my sister Emily and then taking a bus to Scotland for Christmas with my Kirstin and her family.

It all seems a bit idyllic...

Friday, December 21, 2007

in heavenly peace

I've been thinking about peace this last wee while. So many Christmas songs are full of poetic lines expressing the beauty of the moment the Prince of Peace entered the chaos that is our world:

Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Peace on earth, good will toward men

Now the reality of these songs sometimes seems a bit dodgy; we know Jesus wasn't really born in the middle of a snowstorm and the night was most likely full of noise. But I think there's something very important about the reality behind the imagery.

God had become man. The all-encompassing one had stepped into the finite product of his own creative word. And so whether or not the earth really did stand still in awe and recognition of that moment, whether or not Mary cried out with the pain of her labour, whether or not baby Jesus cried when the lowing cattle woke him up, the deep, dear silence of God Almighty broke into the piercing, anguished clatter of our world and everything changed in an instant.

Jesus, please come and be born in me today. Bring your peace into my hurriedness. Bring your stillness into my noise. Bring your calm into my anxiousness. Teach me how to rest in your heavenly peace...

Friday, December 14, 2007

a Christmas present for Jesus

Been talking and thinking a lot about Justice and social issues and stewardship of the earth. More will come about that later but, I was just reading Amos 5 and discovered what God wants for Christmas:
"Do you know what I want? I want justice - oceans of it. I want fairness - rivers of it. That's what I want. That's all I want."


Tomorrow is our Christmas party!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

simple acts of love

I've just come back from a Boiler Room meeting. We had a lovely service celebrating Advent, expecting Jesus' coming. As I listened to the different readings I was reminded of these thoughts I posted back in July:

serving savior
"Today I read the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet in John. Isn't it interesting that he did this to "show them the full extent of his love." The simplest, most mundane act of serving was how Jesus showed the full extent of his love. Not in the huge, grandiose act of dying to save them, but in washing their dirty, smelly feet. (You know, that's also how Mary of Bethany showed her love for Jesus.) Of course, that ultimate display showed the ultimate love. Big, widespread, overwhelming love. But sometimes it isn't the o'er sweeping acts of love, the giant incomprehensible acts that keep us going day to day. They are too big, too unfathomable, to be the thing we hold onto, and Jesus knew that. So he covered all the bases. He showed his love, not just by an ultimate sacrifice, but in simple acts of service. In small words of encouragement and comfort, not just sweeping exhortations and challenges. And isn't that, in the long run, the reason that we love him?'

Jesus, thank you for all of the ways that you show your love for me. I don't take any of them for granted, I treasure each of them.

Monday, December 10, 2007

my favorite Christmas ornament

My family has a tradition, every year we each receive a new Christmas ornament from a series put out by Hallmark. I have had the (ahem) privilege of having the same series my entire life. It's called Frosty and Friends. In all honesty I'm rather tired of it and have spent the last probably 10 years wishing for it to come to an end so I can have a new one. I mean this year is the 28th in the series! (My parent's didn't realize the first one they got me was actually the 3rd the in the series.) And they're just a bit too cutesy for my grown-up taste.
So it was rather funny when I decided to look at the Hallmark website to see what this year's ornament was. I couldn't find it and started to panic. No, last year can't have been the last one, there was no warning. I actually started to cry. My first Christmas away from home and family would definitely not be a good year for it to end!
What relief when I discovered that Hallmark has a separate website for their keepsake ornaments! I started to cry again, this time with relief, and I have the pleasure of letting you know that on the 2007 Frosty and Friends ornament, 28th in the series, Frosty and a little penguin friend are making ice cream.
All of that to say that my favorite ornament from my rather extensive Frosty and Friends collection is from 1992, when I was 10 years old. Frosty sharing candy canes with a little killer whale.
I also have some beautiful beaded snowflakes my Grandma made when I was little. But since all of my Christmas decorations are in my parents attic approximately 4,000 miles away I have no pictures of them.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

a longing

I spin and twirl
my journey held in place
by an unseen hand

my deep, dear silence
is broken by whispers
I become unsettled

a knowing presses on me
something is missing
I cry for the moon

Thursday, December 6, 2007

a shepherd's prayer

I've had a hard time "getting in the Christmas spirit" this year. Being in another country where things are celebrated in different ways is a big part of that. For some reason holidays seem to be really dependent on nostalgia. At least for me.

But I was thinking about this song from my childhood. A rather cheesy 80s Christmas song called "A Shepherd's Prayer." It's the story of a shepherd from some one's nativity set crying out because he has been placed too far away from Jesus.

"Move me closer. Move me closer. Move me closer to the child. Let me see him. Let me hold his hand. Move me closer to the child."

I was just thinking, isn't this what Christmas is about? Remembering that Jesus came close to us? Remembering that we need to come close to him? Remembering that we need to bring him close to those around us?

And so I'll echo the prayer: "Move me closer..."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

some elfin' fun!

Click here:
to see my siblings turned into elves!

And here:
to see my sister's retaliation!

And here:
to see one my mom made of her, my dad, and her best friend!