Time – Advent & Christmas Photos (2015#31)

31 12 2015

Boy, thats a tricky one isn’t it? When you’re in a car with three kids in the middle of summer, and a broken AC, an hour is about 10 minutes shy of eternity. But sit on the beach, looking out over the Gulf of Mexico on an 80Β° day with a gentle breeze ruffling your hair, and your toes curling into the warm sand, knowing you’re flying back into a winter snowstorm the next morning – 5 hours goes past in what seems like the blink of an eye. We give credit or blame a lot on time. “Time heals all wounds.” “Only time will tell.” “Time is on my side.” But time doesn’t do anything, time just is. We do something with our time. The saying that takes the cake when it comes to misunderstanding time, is one that we’ve probably all said this week as we contemplate the coming new year and consider what changes we need to make; “I’m going to make more time for _______________.” The reality is, no mater how long we live none of us will ever make a single second of time. Time can be neither made, nor saved, only spent.

Regardless of race, creed, religion, gender, socio-economic level, time works exactly the same for each of us. Time is the great equalizer. My day today had the same 24 hours in it that yours did, no more, no less. Time is a resource given to us brand new every single day. None of us can ever replace a single minute. When I spend money, I make more to replace it, but time; time isn’t like that, once it is spent it can never be replaced.  

This photo is of a clock my parents purchased when I was young. Its chimes have marked the hours of my life throughout my growing up years. Every half-hour, a single chime, and every hour the number of chimes equalling the hour. Ticking off the minutes of each day, each one spent, never to be seen again.  

So how am I spending my time? Would I have joined an unscheduled trip into town to visit a baby with the shepherds, or would I have been too busy? Does a months long road trip for the singular purpose of worship, like the wise men made, sound slightly ridiculous? I mean, I’ve got “real life” that I’m living over here. 

What does it mean to do what scripture instructs and “redeem the time?” Surely, when viewed through the lens of the Nativity story we can see that it must mean more than the endless busyness that our culture fosters and promotes. Are the things I’m spending my resource of time doing bringing the Kingdom of God into my home, my family, my friendships, my workplace, my neighborhood and my community?

  

  





Treasure – Advent & Chrisrmas (2015#30)

30 12 2015

Some things don’t need many words. A happy family, a healthy teenage boy, who they said wouldn’t be. Music. A warm home. Love. Acceptance. Plenty. I hope you have taken some time during this Advent and Christmas season to look at and appreciate your treasure.
  





Do Not Be Afraid – Advent & Christmas Photos (2015#28)

28 12 2015

When we were visiting the kids in Florida, we went fishing off the Skyway Bridge Fishing Pier and we inadvertently “caught” a gull. It flew into one of the lines and became tangled. We were fishing with a Florida fishing expert, and Adam quickly pulled the bird in, restrained it, and worked to remove the knotted line from around the bird’s wings and body. There was NO part of this process that the bird enjoyed. It was frantic with fear, and frankly I couldn’t blame him one bit. I mean, one minute he’s targeting a fish that was, for some strange reason, flying off of a bridge into the Bay, and suddenly with no warning, life is a hot mess. Some invisible force is trying to pull him out of the air, into the water. No matter how much he tries to fly away, his wings just aren’t working right, and there is pain to top it all off. Just when it seems like it can’t get any worse, a person grabs him by the neck and starts trying to kill him with their bare hands. At least, that’s what it must have seemed like from the bird’s perspective. We tried to calm the bird with gentle words and Adam and Paula worked quickly and purposefully to save the bird from a painful and certain death. But the bird didn’t know that, and he was afraid.

As we approach the end of this calendar year, some of us may find ourself “caught in the fishing line.” Circumstances that seem hard and perilous aren’t changing, if anything they seem to be worsening. Maybe it’s the fishing line of sickness, or financial insecurity, or relational conflict, or addiction, or… We look around and the only things that are visible, all that we can see within our field vision breeds greater fear and dread. Ah, but here is where the difference happens. That night on the bridge, we didn’t have any way to communicate to the bird that it had nothing to fear, that we were in the process of providing a permanent solution to his problem if he would just trust us for a few moments. But, in our lives we DO have the assurance that we need not be afraid, because a Savior has come into this world and salvation is at hand. We have the promise that we are in our Father’s hand and His plan is to prosper us, not to harm.  

I don’t know about you, but I needed the reminder that I do not need to fear the future, that what is unknown to me is well known by my Father, and what time I am afraid I need only to trust in His loving care.  

The bird flew off, unharmed, but could have suffered even less had he been able and willing to trust and not fear.

  





Child – Advent&ChristmasPhotos (2015#26)

25 12 2015

Text: Traditional English carol, adapted by William Chatterton Dix circa 1865
What Child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?

Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,

While shepherds watch are keeping?
Why lies He in such mean estate,

Where ox and ass are feeding?

Good Christian, fear: for sinners here

The silent Word is pleading.
So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,

Come, peasant, king to own Him.

The King of kings salvation brings;

Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
This, this is Christ, the King,

Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:

Haste, haste to bring Him laud,

The Babe, the Son of Mary!