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An Unexpected Christmas Blessing

If I only knew the workings of the passage of time, perhaps I would have a clearer understanding of where this past year, 2015, has gone.

But I don’t.

In fact, there isn’t much I do understand. It has been a hard year in the world. So much to grieve – both personally and in the universe. So much to be angry about. Injustice. Senseless executions. Purging entire cultures from their homelands. Slavery. Disease. Murder. Mental Illness. Addiction. Broken families . . .

The escalating challenge of how we choose our words – it feels like there is a mad attempt to erase what makes us all individuals – to create a generic, speak without offense – yet feeling so helpless because no matter what I say – I am going to offend someone – imitation vanilla conversation. Is anyone else out there feeling the pressure? My prayer echoes the one of the writer of Psalm 19:14  – May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Don’t laugh but just the other day I caught myself worrying if I had put the recycling in the garbage can instead of the recycling bin and the pressure of that distracted me until I got home and checked to be sure.

What if . . .

I lean on what I do understand . . . the passion God created you and me with.

Recognizing His hand in the creation and accepting the fact that He gave us free will. Each person has free will – not to choose their life circumstances but hopefully the ability to choose how they will respond to the one life that is theirs.

This past week started with two of my grandchildren spending several days with  me. A sunset. Conversations during a sleep over with a four-year-old cousin, the six-year-old and eight-year-old. They taught me a lot.

Listening to their conversations with themselves, their prayers to God and with me are precious memories. The questions. Goodness. Challenging as we read the story of baby Jesus’ birth and then walking into the room and watching as together they were discussing the characters in the nativity scene. Don’t you love how they arranged them in circles with the animals nearest baby Jesus? I see my animal lover – Laura Beth’s hand in this.

My nativity scene from Israel

My nativity scene from Israel

 

This one is from Peru

This one is from Peru

 

I really thought my Christmas blog this year would be a picture journal of my trip to Israel in October. However, this week, I was led from the physical place of Jesus’ birth to a place near my own backyard – in my day-to-day life.

So, I share with you my photo blog from my Facebook page at this week.

 

Day One

Life has taught me so much this past year. It has not been an easy one but the one constant in my life is the presence of God. No matter what bizarre, interesting and hard places I have found myself in - He is always there. He continues to teach me the importance of living well - in gratitude - peace and hope or whatever comes next - because He has promised me He will always be there with me. #gratitude #2015 #reflections

Life has taught me so much this past year. It has not been an easy one but the one constant in my life is the presence of God. No matter what bizarre, interesting and hard places I have found myself in – He is always there. He continues to teach me the importance of living well – in gratitude – peace and hope or whatever comes next – because He has promised me He will always be there with me. #gratitude #2015 #reflections

 

Day Two

Some of my favorite things - sunsets - snowflakes - clouds - grains of sand on the beach - mountain peaks - drops of dew on the grass - the smell of new born babies and the sweet kisses of little children - giggles of my grandchildren and hugs from my kids - coffee with friends - all remind me how different every part of this creation is - God created this world 0 He created us in His image. A tiny baby was born in a manger in a stable shared with the animals that night. He came so we could spend eternity with Him. We get to choose - do we accept His love or do we do life on our own - do we live covered in grace and forgiveness because Jesus died on the cross or do we do life on our own? #ichoosegrace #ichooseforgiveness #livingforGod #nofilter

Some of my favorite things – sunsets – snowflakes – clouds – grains of sand on the beach – mountain peaks – drops of dew on the grass – the smell of new born babies and the sweet kisses of little children – giggles of my grandchildren and hugs from my kids – coffee with friends – all remind me how different every part of this creation is – God created this world – He created us in His image. A tiny baby was born in a manger in a stable shared with the animals that night. He came so we could spend eternity with Him. We get to choose – do we accept His love or do we do life on our own – do we live covered in grace and forgiveness because Jesus died on the cross or do we do life on our own? #ichoosegrace #ichooseforgiveness #livingforGod #nofilter

 

Day Three

Much of my life has been spent outdoors soaking up the beauty of God's creation. Grandpa Wiggins lived next door as we were growing up on the farm in western PA. His love for flowers, gardening and raising animals was a big part of my life. Being observant of life around us and learning how the weather impacted every part of our work and our success at harvest was essential. We faced east and watched many a storm rollin across the fields from the shelter of the front porch with our dad. We knew the stars. The constellations had names. There northern lights occasionally put on their show for us in the deep, dark winter nights. The sky holds great intrigue for me. I always wonder how the shepherds outside of Bethlehem felt that night as the sky they knew intimately changed dramatically as a great star appeared. The significance of its appearance along with an angel bringing a message of hope forever changed their lives. And changed ours forever too. #starrynight #messageofhope #changedlives #changedbyHislove

Much of my life has been spent outdoors soaking up the beauty of God’s creation. Grandpa Wiggins lived next door as we were growing up on the farm in western PA. His love for flowers, gardening and raising animals was a big part of my life. Being observant of life around us and learning how the weather impacted every part of our work and our success at harvest was essential. We faced east and watched many a storm roll in across the fields from the shelter of the front porch with our dad. We knew the stars. The constellations had names. There northern lights occasionally put on their show for us in the deep, dark winter nights. The sky holds great intrigue for me. I always wonder how the shepherds outside of Bethlehem felt that night as the sky they knew intimately changed dramatically as a great star appeared. The significance of its appearance along with an angel bringing a message of hope forever changed their lives. And changed ours forever too. #starrynight #messageofhope #changedlives #changedbyHislove

Day Four

Our concept of God is ever changing, As a small child trying to confine Him into something tangible to seeing Hi in a manger to just standing in the evening sunset - still as the day draws to an end 0 realizing He is in the air I breathe, felling the touch of the breeze drifting by, hearing the last call of the seagulls as the day fades, to the smell of the brackish water of the lake moving into the rice fields, it is here His peace fills my heart and I am drawn to the manger again and stand in awe of His love for me. #nofilter #inaweofHisloveforme #gratitude

Our concept of God is ever changing, As a small child trying to confine Him and make Him tangible to seeing Him in a manger to just standing in the evening sunset – still as the day draws to an end – realizing He is in the air I breathe, feeling the touch of the breeze drifting by, hearing the last call of the seagulls as the day fades, to the smell of the brackish water of the lake moving into the rice fields, it is here His peace fills my heart and I am drawn to the manger again and stand in awe of His love for me. #nofilter #inaweofHisloveforme #gratitude

Day Five

Sunset reminds us our lives are passing through time and we can live our days well. Jesus still heals. As we choose to bring Him our broken hearts and struggling souls, He will fill us with a hope that gives us the courage to walk gently our paths - sharing His hope and His love to those we pass each day. A deliberate decision to live our lives in such a way brings healing into our own brokenness. He heals.

Sunset reminds us our lives are passing through time and we can live our days well. Jesus still heals. As we choose to bring Him our broken hearts and struggling souls, He will fill us with a hope that gives us the courage to walk gently our paths – sharing His hope and His love to those we pass each day. A deliberate decision to live our lives in such a way brings healing into our own brokenness. #Heheals #hopeandlove

Day Six

And on this day the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I invite you to seek Him. Look for Him and celebrate His gift to us. #Helives #nofilter

And in these days when much of the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I invite you to seek Him. Look for Him and celebrate His gift to us. Live loved. #Helives #nofilter

“Lord, please be with each precious one who turns an ear to hear You and an eye to see You in our world. God please stay close – protect us – this new year will bring new challenges – fill us up with Your love – let us see the world through Your eyes. Let us be Your hands and feet as we travel our journey this year – let us trust You as life is hard and let us remember always – You wait for us in eternity – Thank You for Jesus – thank You for forgiving us and for Your grace and Your love and Your hope.  Amen”

2 Responses to “An Unexpected Christmas Blessing”

  1. betsy piper says:

    Powerful pictures. Beautiful words. May God fill you with joy and hope in 2016. You are such a blessing, Janet!

    • Janet Reeger says:

      Thanks for reading Betsy! One of my greatest blessings has been reconnecting with old friends (from my youth) to making many new ones too. I hope to see you again soon. Come to LA my friend.

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