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Helping people can be tricky.  We see someone with a problem.  We know, just know, how to help them.  So we do.

The problem was theirs.The solution was ours.  And there are times that all is well and good.

But what if they had another solution in mind?  A better solution?  A solution that didn’t create an us with power and a them without?

When we help someone, we need to do it with love which is what makes helping people tricky. Love listens.  Love opens up to new ways of doing things.   Love doesn’t assume that there is only one way, our way.

Love, like Christ, moves among those in need, getting to know them, seeing them, speaking to them, sitting beside them.   Only then does love act.




“You cannot live for yourselves alone. You depend on the rest of the world and the rest of the world depends on you.”  That’s how Eleanor Roosevelt expressed it.  To me it seems like her take on “no man is an island.”

But I think this is something we tend to forget.  Some of us forget about those around us because we are focused on our health issues, earning enough to feed our children, or keep a roof over our heads.

Others forget because we are working toward a degree, a promotion or a bigger house.

Then there’s that time you lose yourself in social media.

Every now and again, stop what you’re doing and look around.  Check on those around you.  Look.  Listen.  Ask questions.

Recently, a friend of my niece contacted me to ask about getting a story published.  We messaged back and forth for several weeks.  She’s probably still processing all of the information I gave her.

Then she sent me a school fund-raiser.  I know the district is struggling for money but really?  I have my own kid, my own concerns.  And I really wasn’t certain my niece wasn’t also taking part in the fundraiser.  So I asked her.  She’s not but we got to talking about her friend.  Her friend who lives with an older sister because her mother just died.

It is so easy to cut ourselves off from others.  We can always come up with reasons not to help.  But sometimes, we need to do as Christ did, and look for a reason to help the Centurion who was bold enough to ask, the woman who pursued him through the crowd.

Every now and again, alter your focus.  See what you can see.


When I saw this quote, I immediately recalled one of the year-long Bible studies I did in our church’s women’s circle.  The topic for the 2016-2017 was Who Is Jesus? The cover image was a photomosaic.  This is a compilation of photos used as mosaic tiles.  In this case, photos of the natural world, combined to create an image of Christ.

Look on it too closely and you see only each animal or plant – the bear, the owl, the fern.  And while these things are fascinating in themselves, pull back and you see Christ.

You, me, that annoying dog barking next door?  We are all parts of the Creation.  Pull back, look at the whole, and see what you can see.



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.



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.



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,


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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