“And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Behold I am making everything new!’ And then He said to me, ‘write this down, for what I am saying is trustworthy and true.’”
Revelation 21:5 NLT
As we welcome in 2023 on Sunday, I am both sober and excited! I am sober at the reality that yet another year has passed, and they seem to be going by quicker than I remember. I am excited at the reality that God is in the business of making everything New! One of the great things about a New Year is it gives us a chance to reflect on where we have been in the last year, hopefully take stock, learn, and ultimately grow. Probably most importantly is to think about how we want to live and experience the New Year.
2022 was a year filled with many challenges as well as many blessings. I am not sure that I took the time necessary to fully experience and process it all.
As we begin the New Year my wife and I are heading to South America to celebrate our 30th Anniversary on our 33 1/2 Anniversary (you can probably guess the reasons for the delay). We are excited to spend some time together, meet some strangers, and visit some new places and cultures where we have never been.
For the last several months I am been practicing my Spanish. There is a word in Spanish “demasiado” which translates “too much” in English. When I think about 2022, that pretty much describes how I feel, in many ways 2022 was “demasiado” for me. The “Something New” I am looking for in 2023 in “Lo Justo” or “Just Enough.” I am looking forward to a calmer, slower pace in the New Year. That’s what I want, we will see what the Big Guy upstairs has in mind.
Christmas snuck up on me so quickly this year! I must admit that I struggle when I see Hallmarking Christmas movies running in July, and Christmas decorations on display at Costco in September. I am one who likes to keep the seasons in the season. It seems that in the name making $ businesses skip right over important holidays like Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas the day after Halloween. This dilutes the importance of the Advent and the Christmas season, making it about what we get, rather than who we are.
Christmas is too important a holiday, to reduce it to a retail sales goals. AT CHRISTMAS WE CELEBRATE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS IN HUMAN HISTORY, the birth of Jesus Christ the savior of the world. It is a celebration of life and hope for all mankind.
In 2022 all I want for Christmas is time, focused time, to celebrate with family and friends the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of the King of Kings & Lord of Lords, our Savior Jesus Christ. The traditions of Christmas if fully understood, can lead us to the deeper meaning of the holiday. One of the blessings I have experienced this Christmas has been watching season #3 of The Chosen. I am inspired when I watch the humanity of Jesus and the story of the Disciples as they struggle to follow Jesus. It has made Jesus very real to me this Christmas.
I would encourage you to consider slowing down, and dig into the things this Christmas season that will help you see Jesus more clearly and like the Shepards and Kings alike of old, seek Him out and come and worship Him. This is all I want for Christmas!
Several Years ago in July, I had the opportunity to travel to travel to Kosovo on a ministry trip with my family. As you might expect our days were filled with many interesting people curcumstances and things to experience. Of course in a new culture their are many things to learn and explore.
This last July was exceptionally hot and our last Friday night before returning home via Istanbul we were having dinner and a final meeting with our friend and ministry partner in a local restaurant sitting under the cool air of a nearby air conditioning vent. As we enjoyed some interesting foods and a cold drink and good conversation, the family sitting next to us caught my eye, they were a large family enjoying a meal together, what caught my attention was one of the sons was handicap and I noticed the attention and deep affection the father expressed to his son. Not to many years ago Kosovo was in broiled in a bitter fight with its neighbor Serbia, to this day you can still see the remanence of this horrible conflict. One of those remanence is many handicapped children from mothers being exposed to chemicals during the fighting , my friend told me. one thing that could not be damaged in this conflict was the importance of family in the kosovar/Albanian cultures and the deep trust and love of family members. As I watched this family eating together and the love and laughter they shared it brought a smile to my face and filled my heart with joy.
I have been away from this Blog for some time and for a number of reasons…I am back! I have decided it’s time to return to my computer and continue the long conversation I began some years ago with all of you.
One of my favorite things in life is people and their stories, people of all ages, sizes, colors and backgrounds. I am fascinated by their journey with its twists and turns. To hear their story, is to come to know them and gain understanding of where they have been, who they are and who they are becoming. I consider it a great gift when someone is willing to share this very personal part of themselves.
Over the weeks and months to come I hope to share with you on these electronic pages MY STORY as it unfolds. For me, this is a place to share the experiences and insights of my life in hopes they may be in some way useful to you.