For me, September has always been a time for new beginnings.
From childhood on, it meant a new school year was beginning. And that meant new school books, a pile of them! Back then, there were few books in my family that I could call all my own, so each fall I treasured those text books.
Every September as I breathed in their new book smell and flipped through their shiny new pages, I made the same resolution: THIS YEAR I WILL NOT MESS UP MY BOOKS. ( You know: draw mustaches and beards on the pictures of the women, especially Queen Elizabeth, or black out a few teeth on pictures of the men, or scribble jokes and comments in the margins of each page, no matter how boring each class might be.)
But each year, even by the time Christmas holidays rolled around, it was obvious I had broken my resolutions. By Easter holidays, my books were interesting, to say the least, and by the end of June, they were a mess. I had failed to keep my promise to myself once again. “But, not to worry,” I told myself, “when school starts again in September, I’ll begin again with new books! And this year I will not mess up!” And so it has gone, right through university and into the present time.
My life, and your life, is all about “beginning again” and the good news for us today is that God is all about “beginning again”, also. Our loving God does not search through the textbook of our life, looking for our scribbles and mistakes because God did not come into the world in the person of Jesus Christ to condemn the world, but to save the world. (John 3:17) Even when we have trouble forgiving ourselves for “messing up”, God forgives us, picks us up when we fall, sees hope and promise and a new start for each one of us, yes, even in our times of anxiety, hardship, sorrow, illness and whatever else may be crowding in on our life at this time.
As we wrestle with uncertainty and fear in the midst of a pandemic this fall, know this: You are loved by God and you are not alone.
British poet, Minnie Louise Haskins ’poem, God Knows, offers us wisdom for “beginning again” this fall:
I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.”
Join me next time for “Everything you always wanted to know about WWJD and were afraid to ask”. And remember, wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome here!
Peace and Love,
The central core of the Christmas story is that God came to live with us on Planet Earth in the person of Jesus Christ. I came across a lovely explanation of what this is like in a book I was reading a few days ago.
A grandparent was visiting her small grandchild in her daughter's home. The child had been naughty and had been placed in her playpen. She was not allowed out for a short while.
Naturally, the child was crying. And, naturally, the grandmother wanted to pick her up and hold her.
But the child's mother said, "No. She stays in there."
So, the grandmother climbed INTO the playpen and sat down with the child and cuddled her until she was comforted.
That's something like what happened when God joined us in human flesh that very first Christmas.
As the song goes: "We sure could use a little good news today."
Well, CHRISTMAS IS OUR GOOD NEWS!
Whoever you are, wherever you are on your spiritual journey this Christmas, know this: God is not 'somewhere out there', just beyond the reach of the Hubble telescope. God is WITH us and AMONG us. God is with YOU and YOU are LOVED!
Peace and Love this Christmas,