New Year, New Beginning

Transformation.  I am praying that 2010 brings true metamorphosis to God’s people.  I know that Scripture says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12: 2) and I need that to happen to me.  I need a NEW year.  I’m ready.  I want a year that reflects what it means to truly abide in Christ.  I want to BE different one year from today.  My circumstances may be better, they may be worse.  My hopes and dreams may be realized or they may be dashed and shattered.  2010 could bring the best or it could bring the worst.  Whatever it brings, I want to abide. (more…)

Looking for the Rainbow

Christmas was not exactly what I was hoping for.  I’m not sure if because half my family was in Kenya this year while the rest of us tried to have fun or if it was just an off year.  All I know is that it was difficult.  Sometimes when storms hit families the impact is unsettling.  My family went through a bit of a storm this Christmas.  Nothing serious.  Just difficult.

So when the storm hits we hope for a rainbow. (more…)

Silent Night

Merry Christmas!  Have you done it yet this year?  Have you fallen back into the same pattern of promising to keep the true meaning of Christmas but then yielding to the craziness and busyness and losing it again?  I know.  I’m there, too.  So let’s get back on track together, shall we?

As you read this, take a deep breath.  Jesus became human to save you.  He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but, instead, let go of it, becoming human.  Not just any human.  Christmas is the fulfillment of dozens of Old Testament prophecies pointing to the manner in which God would save His people.  Jesus is the “Seed” of Eve that would crush the Serpent’s head.  Jesus was the plan from the beginning, a plan that worked to reconcile us back to God.   (more…)

Traveling

I got back from a visit to Germany last Saturday.  I spent a week with my brother and his family and, while I was there, saw some of France and Switzerland.  This is a picture taken from Interlaken, Switzerland in the heart of the Swiss Alps.  Amazing place!

As we traveled around a small section of Europe in his Ford Focus, my brother and I had a chance to talk about many things.  We talked about serious things, funny things, and nonsensical things.  I enjoyed it all tremendously.  When we would arrive at our destination for the day, we would talk about what we wanted to do.  My brother would then calculate in his mind the words he would need to be able to communicate it in the local language and within the boundaries of the local culture.  For example, apparently in the part of France we visited, it is rude to assume someone does not know English.  If your French is weak, it is appropriate to ask if they know English.  BUT, it you don’t try the local language and ask, in French or German, if they speak English, that is also slightly rude.  Whew!  That’s a lot to remember. (more…)

Christmas Traditions

This is a scene from my parents’ house.  Every year the mechanical Claus family, including Rudolf, relocate from the attic to the ledge above the refrigerator to bring my family a sense of familiar.  Each time I see them I am reminded of previous years and all the memories that have accumulated under those animated decorations.

This past Friday night, I celebrated Christmas with my brother and his family in Germany.  While they have established their own traditions, they still reflect the familiar patterns and style of how he and I grew up: they read the Christmas story, everyone opened one gift at a time.  The only significant differences were the fact that my parents were not with us in Germany and there was no crackling sound from Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  I guess it’s not the decorations that make it familiar.  It’s not even the location.  It’s the family part of familiar that counts.   (more…)

O Holy Night

“O holy night, the starts are brightly shining.  It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.  Long lay the world in sin and error pinning ‘til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

The soul felt its worth.

Christmas is the time when we can embrace how much value God has placed on our humanity.  As we watch all the holiday movies and find that the meaning of Christmas is not shopping and presents but a spirit of giving, we are still missing the point.  Christmas was God’s rescue mission to save us from our own demise.  His sacrifice was not just 33 years of walking the Earth and then dying.  While this is a huge deal, it is bigger still: Jesus is still human, raised in perfection.  He is still fully God, but He is also still the Son of Man.  He became one of us forever.  O holy night… (more…)

Packing to go to Germany

In just 48 hours, I will be getting ready to board a plane to Atlanta.  Once there, I will board another plane to Zurich, Switzerland.  My nephew, Alex (who turns 9 on Sunday), has no idea that I’m coming.  The plan is for he and Krista (my sister-in-law) to pick up a woman, named Raye (my middle name), from the airport.  After I surprise him (hee hee) we will drive back to Kandern, Germany where they live.

It’s hard to believe I will see my family so soon.  I have a lot to do to get ready.  But I’m so excited that it shouldn’t be a problem. (more…)