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Yesterday we had a guest preacher who discussed the feeding of the 5000.  The interesting thing was that he discussed it without ever discussing the actual meal.  Instead he talked about what was going on in Christ’s life at the time.

John the Baptist had just been beheaded.  John was Christ’s cousin and fellow minister.  He was a friend and someone who truly understood who Christ was.  His death had to be the kind of blow that Jesus felt in his chest.  Christ tried to take off and regroup.  He needed some time to get his head back together.

But the people needed him just as badly.  Everywhere he went, there they were.  Asking for help.  Calling for his blessing.  Reaching, demanding, draining.

It would have been so easy for Christ to turn his back.  It would have been so simple to refuse to see what he could do.  Instead, he saw them.  He reacted to them.  He interacted with them and he cared.

Seeing people and caring.  Are these not the greatest acts of kindness?

The next time you check out at a store, look the clerk in the eye.  Speak to her.  Listen to her response.  You’ll still have plenty of time to go about your day.

We encounter so many people everyday who just need a little kindness.  Sure there will still be things that require a lot of hard work.  But pair this with kindness and see what happens.

I dare you.

–SueBE

prayerWe’ve had something of an ongoing situation at church. Our choir director resigned last spring. We are still trying to find a replacement. Recently a fellow choir member asked me what I thought God was trying to tell us through this long, drawn out journey.

I opened my mouth to answer and then stopped.

I know what I think, but I couldn’t speak for God. You see, I hadn’t asked. Not recently.

When our previous director resigned, I prayed. “Dear God, please help us find someone who will lead us in the way that you want us to go.”

But that was months ago. Although I believe God is at work, I hadn’t recently lifted up this particular issue in prayer. I’ve posted the ad on a few online boards. I’ve passed the word around through human channels, but I hadn’t prayed.

What I need to do is pray like it matters. I need to pray like Christ prayed – frequently, with the belief that prayer will work, and with the expectation that things will improve after time spent with God.

Prayer may not bring an immediate fix. But that’s not the issue. Prayer, time spent with God, is never wasted because I come out of it centered on God and his plans vs centered on me and my own.

Whether you are hoping for a new choir director, a new job, or positive results on a medical test, pray like it matters, because it does.

–SueBE

christmasAre you one of those people who love Christmas?

There are people who don’t. People who fight depression and loneliness this time of year.  People who hate the glitz and the commercialism. The bustle and the activity.  They long for the simplicity of the Christ Child in the manger.

There are people who dread the coming of Christmas. Maybe they dread it every year.  Maybe it’s just this year because of the loss of a loved one.  Or the loss of a job.  Christmas actually causes them more distress than joy.  They long for the Peace that only Christ can bring.

Then there are the people like me.  I love the music and the lights.  Cards with glitter?  Love them!  Yes – love them.  Even when the sparkles get all over the front of my black wool coat.  And on my nosey black cat.

But more than anything, I find myself drawn to the Nativity.  When God sent us the solution to all our woes, if only we will accept it, He sent us a tiny little baby.  A baby who would bring us His Love, His Peace and His Joy.

And the most marvelous thing about it?  If you’ve accepted Christ, it doesn’t matter where you are on the Christmas spectrum.  Love the day or hate it – Christ is with you.  Jazz over glitter or loathe Christmas lights – Christ is with you.  Spend the day surrounded by family or serving soup in a shelter – Christ is with you.

That is truly the miracle of His Love and it is in his name.  Emmanuel means Christ with us.  Wherever we are physically or emotionally, Christ is with us.  Whether you celebrate in a community with a fire truck Santa, have a Christmas birthday, or you start the day at the nursing home like we are doing, Christ is with us.  And the best part.  He’s with you too.

Emmanuel. Christ with us all.

Wishing you and yours a  Blessed Holy Day,
SueBE

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