Sunday, December 26, 2010

Speak to me in Sea Glass - Understanding the Search

As a young woman I recall my mother in law going on long walks in the early mornings.She collected treasures on these early morning beach walks. Beautiful colored glass that was then referred to as "beach glass". Nuggets of colored glass polished and worn smooth by the churning of the sea and the constant tumbling in the rocks.I asked her how she found it and she spoke of the color or the shine making it stand out. When I walked on the same beaches I would never find them so I gave up looking.
Only now, many years later do I understand what she was trying to teach me.Now when I go for my walks I know what I am looking for. I am drawn to it and excited with each new treasure I find.
So it is with faith. Sometimes in our lives we are blessed to be around someone who is more mature in their faith who reaches out to us and tries to show us how to find what they have found. Sometimes we are just not ready to really search for these nuggets of truth so we give up our search. Only later, sometimes much later, do we "get" what that person was trying to teach us. But when an "ah ha" moment happens we can go right back to that long forgotten truth and understand and grasp it and call it our own. We can recreate conversations that we thought were only passing time and realize that an important "nugget" of truth was being planted into our spirits lying dormant under the surface until the Father wills it to be born again in our hearts, take root, and grow into a belief.
At 55 years old I can remember my Aunt Bam telling me exciting, bewildering things about Jesus coming back that I did not understand. And now nearly 50 years later when I hear of the second coming of Christ I am once again in the backseat of her car hearing this amazing thing! Those seeds planted then, reaching maturity now, where the seeds can be passed to another generation of children. They too will hide things in their hearts and when the time is right it will spring fourth into a personal belief.
My mother in law did not live long enough to see me seek and find my own beach glass. Sometimes that is also how it works with faith. It is not our job to make someone find the treasure. It is our job to share what we know and to let God do with it what He chooses to do and when He chooses to do it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

"All generations shall call you blessed."

As a child I attended a beautiful Catholic Church in Southampton NY. It really was (is) an amazing structure and the ornate detail of each and every carving, painting,stained glass window gave a child much to study and day dream about during the weekly services and countless Catholic school related programs I was required to attend. The statues and impressions of Mary the mother of Jesus were beautiful and saintly often exposing her bleeding heart for the world to see.
I admired her but I did not 'get her' until many years later. When I was carrying my youngest daughter Melody. She was due in November so I was 'great with child' when all the Christmas activities started to get underway. And then, holding this precious babe in my arms so fresh from the heart of God at Christmas time caused me to have this wonderful realization. Mary was a mom. She nursed her baby and cared for all of his physical needs. She sang to him like I sang to my Melody. She felt the warmth of his breath on her cheek. She did not have a halo. She was a young girl. A girl who believed and obeyed. Her heart portrayed outside her chest was not unlike my own mother heart. Evident and obvious for everyone to see and to know that I loved my baby. She loved her baby. Just like I loved mine.
I don't pray to Mary but I understand why my mother felt that so easy to do. I admire her. I called her blessed because that is what he word of God tells me she is.And tonight, the night that we remember the birth of THE baby I thank God for giving us such a beautiful picture of the mother of my Jesus. And I thank my Melody for teaching me the tenderness of Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Christmas Letter.

Some people hate them, some make fun of them. I spoke with a woman at the Post Office who had just mailed off her NINE page Christmas letter. I resisted the temptation for a long time. Too impersonal I thought. Corny. However each time a Christmas card arrived in the mail that contained a "Christmas Letter" I was really pleased. An added photo was a great bonus! In a world where distances prevent us from regular communication with friends and family and epically pre-facebook the Christmas letter was a great way to catch up with all the cousins and classmates and people you may not have seen or talked to for 20 years but is nice to see their smiling face. If you have been sending me Christmas letters over the years, I still have them. Kept in a special (now over stuffed album) where from time to time I pull them out and see how you have grown and changed and aged...documented history of your life. The joys and sorrows the trips and weddings, the deaths and births..they are all there in your Christmas letter. I love Facebook and am amazed at how I have reconnected with so many from my past and delighted with the day in/day out interaction with my circle of friends and family. But you can't hold Facebook in your hands and read and remember.
Today I got a Christmas letter from a friend I met in 1980. We camped together at the Creation festival at Muddy Run in central PA. I was 24 yrs. old..Chris and I never lived near each other but for several years were always together at least that one week in June at the festival. Her daughter needing a place to get away for a time came to stay with my family..knitting our families in a tighter weave. Time and distance and Chris's family no longer coming to Creation did what one would expect. We drifted apart. But that time and distance did not change our love for each other and when we both found ourselves on Face Book we reconnected.
When the 'letter' arrived today I expected to see some crazy photo (like the one from her daughter's wedding where her whole family and the bridal party were dressed in roaring 20's garb...always an actress :) but instead of her smiling face I found myself looking at the latest photo of my daughter Gwenn and her husband Nick and all 11 kids they are raising in Haiti. I did a double take, turned over the envelope and then began to cry when I read the title "Thompson Advent conspiracy Letter" Instead of the normal things one might find in a typical 'Christmas Letter' this one was not about her family but about mine! She said
"When I asked the Lord what I could do in the world to make a difference this Advent/Christmas He inspired me to write this letter." She went on to share about the work my daughter is doing in Haiti and shared how to help with the challanges that they meet everyday in this broken country. I am crying as I write this. Honestly..the most selfless, beautiful greeting I could ever imagine! She spoke with graditude about her own family and the blessing they are for about two sentences. Then continued to tell the reader about child sponsorship and prayer support.
This letter will go in my Christmas letter album and it will stay very close in my heart.Feeling very thankful for "Christmas Letters."