Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holidays: A Time for Reflection ~ 2

The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27

Today is January 1, 2011! Yesterday I was surprised and pleased to get a gift from three of my grandchildren: Jon, Phillip and Ray. It's an iPod!!!!! I'm thrilled--amazed really--and want to thank them with all my heart. Paul is the fourth Musketeer, but had already sent a very nice gift before this plot was conceived. I couldn't get the box open, so I had to wait to see it until Steve got here in the evening. But it's wonderful--a beautiful red! And it's already full of songs and sermons and books! Thank you Jon for taking so much time and trouble to add them. And I'll enjoy all the Irish music too. You know I'm not speechless very often, but I actually don't know what to say except thank you! And I thank all my family for the extremely nice gifts I got at Christmas. I am SO blessed! Thank you all!

Now I want to continue with thoughts about holidays from Meeting God in Quiet Places: The Cotswold Parables  by F. LaGard Smith. I began a special journal yesterday (I have always journaled about what I'm thinking)  with the idea that noting the realities of my life would help me make better decisions, as well as remembering why things are the way they are. So much goes on in our lives--and I find that in everyday life, I'm furiously coping with today's duties--that it's easily forgotten that someone in the family is causing me to feel anxious. I realize this when Lisa and I are talking about things going on in the family, and sometimes I end up realizing how much has happened that I'd forgotten. No wonder my heart is pounding out of my chest!

So the suggestion to jot down something each day, allowing us to return to it and remember the feelings that were experienced, or a problem that popped up, can give us a chance to think about its effect on our life. And the more reflection, the more in charge of our lives we feel. And getting into a reflective mode automatically moves our minds into praying mode. Experience it for yourself. 

We can look at what Jesus did during times of pressure, remembering how thousands of people followed him and made demands, not to mention those who opposed Him and tried to kill Him. He would go off alone, where there was quiet, to have solitude and commune with His Father. And when His disciples were very tired and hadn't had time to eat, He would say to them: "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." And they would go to rest in a solitary place.

And so it is with us...we, too, need a solitary place to rest and think. Quiet times and quiet places help us get closer to God. Most of us are aware that God is always close. But because we live in a world that ignores God and often opposes Him, we must retreat from it, and remember who we are and why we are.  LaGard says: In the Cotswolds, I experience daily the words of that great hymn written by I. B. Sergei:

My God and I go through the fields together.
We walk and talk, as good friends should and do.
We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter.
My God and I walk through the meadow's hue.
 He tells me of the years that went before me,
When heavenly plans were made for me to be.
When all was but a dream of dim conception,
To come to life, earth's verdant glory see.

Are you walking hand in hand with Jesus every day? If so, every day is a holiday--a holy day before God. Now I realize that some of us are blessed to have a life that is more conductive to being peaceful and to walking with God. But the challenge before all of us really is to find time and energy for Him within our busy lives.

Recalling the rituals God commanded the Jews to keep reminds us that there is a reason for remembering God every day with reading, listening or somehow regarding Him and His word. We tend to focus on what's going wrong in our lives, without even noticing what's going right. There is always a danger of forgetting our blessings and all He has done for us. Why not write down at least 5 blessings every evening? We're so busy fixing our lives, that we forget to enjoy them. If you're sincere about wanting more quality time in your life, then you must take that responsibility upon yourself. You must look for ways to change the pattern that draws you constantly into chaos. We're so easily hooked into it. I should know. 

 If you'll list your blessings each day, or even several times a week, you'll have a list at the end of the year that will shock and surprise you. We tend to  resist contemplation...shifting our view to higher and more spiritual planes, but there is no other way to walk with God. Make it your #1 priority in 2011!

Many blessings on you and yours in this new year...Mimi


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