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Saturday, November 27, 2010

What is Christmas?

Every year I get frustrated with the argument of whether or not retailers should say, "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays".  Every year I am perplexed at the number of people who stay up all night just to get the best bargain for Christmas.  Call me a cynic, but I don't think I recognize Christmas anymore.  Or do I?

I did some in depth research on the subject of Christmas.  Well, not really, but I did launch a Google search.  I clicked on the first link I found which was, and this is what I learned; "Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenonmenon.  For two nillennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature."  Hmm that's interesting.  So, Christmas is religious, cultural and commercial all wrapped up in one neat package.  Brilliant!

So what's the big deal if the checker at Macy's or any other department store says, "happy holidays"?  I mean, does the iPod we purchase or the new sweater really have anything at all to do with the birth of Jesus?  How would the store employee know?  How are they supposed to know our intent?  In fact, how many recipients of our gifts can in any way associate them with anything besides the time of year when we can expect anything for which we've asked?  Long before Jesus was born, were people saying, if we get a saviour this year, maybe we can spring for the new camel next year.  I don't think I recognize Christmas anymore.

 Or do I?

Today as I was sitting at the piano, alone in the church sanctuary, my mind wandered as it often does and I began to play and sing these words; "Emmanuel, Emmanuel, His name is called, Emmanuel.  He is God with us, revealed in us, His name is called, Emmanuel".  Is it enough just to know that God is in me?  I don't need to hear a department store employee recite the words, "merry Christmas" to know that God is with me and better still, that He is in me. 

Is it enough to know that Emmanuel has come to be with you and to feel the intimacy of a Saviour revealed in you?

Happy Holidays,


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thank You for Stopping By

Someone made this statement to me yesterday, "Amy, I'm not like you, I can't always find a reason to give thanks".  Maybe she is more like me than she thinks.  The truth is that some days even I have a hard time finding something to be grateful for.  One year ago tomorrow, I was sitting at my desk when a co-worker approached me to tell me that one of our dear teammates had been killed in a car accident the night before. That was a somber day.  I had to answer the question to customers all day of, "did you have a nice Thanksgiving?" For a whole day I said these words over and over until I believed them myself, "I have so much to be thankful for".

While it is true that there are days when it is hard to find gratitude, there is always something to be grateful for.  Today I am grateful for many things; too many to be counted actually.  But tomorrow could be one of those days when I have to reach deep within and simply say, "I'm thankful for so much" and leave it at that.

As I go on about my day today, I want to say that if you stopped to read this post, I am thankful for you.  Because you read my blog? No, because you may be searching for encouragement and if this blog can give you any bit of joy for today, then I am thankful you stopped by.

Blessings to you all as you read

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Gift of Laughter

I had the honor of accompanying my husband, Mike to another marathon this past weekend.  This one was in Richmond, Virginia.  I love going to his races for many reasons. I usually get him to the start of the race and then head on out to find a place where I can encourage him and the other runners.  Then I rush off to at least one more place on the course where I will spur him on before going to congratulate him at the finish line.  This is always my favorite part.  There is something else I enjoy while I am at the races.  I get to meet people from all over our country and beyond.  This race was memorable.  I met a lady who was from Poland, there to watch her husband run his first marathon in the United States. I also met a lady whose friend was running her 15th marathon this year!

The most important interaction of the day was with a local homeless man.  As I was standing along the street cheering for runners I noticed a man begging money to no avail from two young girls.  My first thought was that I wish he would leave them alone because it appeared as though he was scaring them.  I had no sooner thought that when he began to wander my way.  He asked the question, "ma'am, do you have a dollar for me?" I knew I had a dollar in my pocket, in fact it was the only cash I had.  So now would be the moment of truth. Did I have a dollar for him? I made a quick decision that day.  I said, "yes, I have a dollar and if you would be willing to cheer for the runners with me for five minutes, you can have it." He was ok with that and for five minutes or more he cheered for the runners and laughed the whole time.  He kept looking at me and asking if he was doing it right and then he would laugh loud enough to draw attention to himself and me but it didn't seem to matter.  After a short time he turned to me and said, "has it been five minutes?" I said close enough and handed him his dollar and a handshake and watched as he walked away saying aloud, "I cheered for the runners" and he was still laughing.

Some would say that I merely enabled him to buy alcohol or whatever his vice may have been.  There are those who think I may have put myself in harms way by doing what I did.  What I saw was a man who may have laughed for the first time in a long time.  It doesn't matter to me what he did with that dollar that day.  I saw him laugh.

I gave him a dollar and he gave me so much more.

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