What I love about our faith is it’s power to reconcile. At the birth of the Christian community, just after Christ went to be with the Father, the Spirit was sent to reconcile Jews and Gentiles (and yes, even Muslims) with no shortage of truth. But the spirit of that movement was love and peace, even if it caused an enormous amount of tension.
We all have a favorite Christmas story. Whether it’s the one about the elf with a strange affection for maple syrup, the boy who inevitably shoots his eye out, or a guy named Clark whose unwavering optimism makes him an expert at “external illumination.” What I love most about Christmas time is the amount of second chance stories that flood our televisions all throughout the season.
Like Mary, I think we get to decide what we will treasure up and ponder. There is no shortage of painful circumstances to which we can turn, but I have far fewer than young Mary had. It is up to me to elect the hopeful, good, and encouraging things. I think it matters what we choose to treasure up and ponder in our hearts: treasuring problems leads to anxiety, treasuring hope yields joy.
A couple years ago, I spent a month in a cabin on Bainbridge Island. I was working on a book and I wanted to get away from the city and the temptations that keep me from writing. If you’d have asked me when I left Portland for the island whether I was stressed, I’d have told you I wasn’t. But the island revealed my stress level was at an all-time high. I only knew that when I began to calm down. There’s something soothing about the ocean and the forest. It’s as though God reminds us through creation all things live, all things die, and He is in control.
A Meditation for Advent
Why We Distract Ourselves With Things of Pleasure
How to Deal With Your Inner Grinch
When You Can’t Find Joy in the Christmas Season
Why the Most Magnetic People in the World Aren’t Flatterers
9 Important Tips for Sometimes Writers
You Should Give Yourself a Little More Grace