Gift – Advent & Christmas Photos (2015#35)

6 01 2016

Another Christmastide has passed, the Magi have arrived at the home of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus with their gifts for the Christchild; the calendar moves forward to Epiphany. Such is the nature of time. And though we may at times wish for a way to slow its pace, I want to always be careful to view each day as a gift. A gift that was not extended to 151,000 souls. Each day will hold new challenges, I may have entered today as a caterpillar, and tomorrow will wake to discover that my world has forever changed, but I want always to see the arrival of another day as a priceless gift. A gift to be treasured, not wished away, not squandered in frivolous wastefulness that bears no eternal fruit. I will never earn the right to another day, I don’t deserve to have one more opportunity to experience the changing beauty that is this life, it is always, only a gift. May God help me to see its glorious opportunity, the breathtaking potential for me to fly. And may my attitude ever be one of joyful gratitude, for the gift of today.

Blessed – Advent & Christmas Photos (2015#27)

26 12 2015

Although gift giving and receiving is not what defines Christmas Day, for most of us it is certainly part our our celebration tradition. There are some things that we wanted, hinted for, or in some cases bought for ourselves and told our spouse what “they” had gotten us:-). It’s fantastic to get something you wanted and needed, but if we’re honest, there is something extra special when we’re surprised by a gift – when receive something that we hadn’t even known to ask for, but after receiving it, we can’t imagine doing without it. Friendships are often that kind of gift. We find ourself sharing a particular place and time with someone, and as our life paths overlap, we begin to discover a relationship that we hadn’t realized our life was missing.  

The word blessed means divinely or supremely favored, and that absolutely describes my life. But of all the blessings that God pours into my life, friendships are the one gift that continually surprise me. See, I know me. I know that I’m an odd duck. I know I can make it challenging to remain connected, and yet there are some people in my life who choose to remain there, just because they want to. They don’t have to, they have no family responsibility to meet, but they choose to be my friend. Across time, with varying degrees of connection, but always there. I’m still surprised by it, and I’m ever aware that I am indeed blessed! When we participated in the relocation of Highpoint Nazarene Church to its current Pollock Road location back in the 90’s, of all the things I was asking God for, a friendship with a newly relocated from California, recently retired couple never once crossed my mind, let alone made it onto my list of petitions. Now, in 2015, looking back on a business partnership, purchasing our home from them, countless meals, years of science experiments between Jylian and Mr. Hendershot, I cannot imagine not counting them among my friends. One of those surprises that God has gifted to me.

It’s impossible to photograph all of the relationships that equal blessing to me, so I’ll just allow this one, taken following our early morning Christmas carols to our friends and neighbors, Bill and Bobbi,  to represent all of those unexpected surprise gifts of relationships. Friendships that give me the encouragement, laughter, accountability, and comfort to keep pressing forward. Relationships that reflect the companionship that Jesus modeled for us, in His life here on earth. I hope you have opportunity to enjoy friends during this Christmas season, and that you keep your heart always open to the surprise gifts that our Father knows we need. I pray that you too are blessed with true friends.