Wednesday, December 31, 2014

One Word for the New Year

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
—Luke 2:52

I can’t ignore it. Everywhere I look, there it is. My eyes are drawn to it. I look up, and there it is. I drive down the road, and there it is. I open a book, and there it is.

It all started before Christmas. I cannot say exactly when, but sometime around Thanksgiving—the time when Christmas decorations went up, when I sported a Rudolph nose and posed for my annual Christmas card photo, and when it made its way on the page of my Christmas devotion. It drew us outside the night after Thanksgiving to interest little boys in the formation of stars, and two weeks later it drew me to the deck to witness a seemingly personal meteor shower in the eastern sky.

Light. A five-letter word that has manifested itself in countless ways this holiday season—from the lights on my Christmas tree to the lights strung across the streets of LaPlata, the town of my birth—but most importantly, in the birthday celebration for the One Who offers new birth to allChrist, the Light of the world, Who brings new light to our dark places.

With the New Year just hours away, many folks have already packed up Christmas and moved onto making resolutions for self-improvement. But as for me, I can’t bear the thought of packing it up, especially the lights. Perhaps I don’t have to.

Allow me to explain. Several years ago I read about an alternative to New Year’s resolutions. Rather than making a resolution, you choose a focus word— just one word to guide you in the coming year. The first year I chose “balance.” Another year I chose “perseverance.” But this year…well, it’s been chosen for me. I can’t ignore it. It’s light.

You may be confused. Balance, you get. Perseverance, you understand. But light?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Lessons Learned from Reindeer Games

It seemed like the perfect time to do it. In fact, it was the first time that all of us had gathered under one roof since the birth of my youngest grandchild Javi.

“Time for my annual Christmas card photo!” I announced.

With Thanksgiving leftovers yet under wrap
We settled on the sofa, babies on lap
When what to our wondering eyes did appear
But a spirited Grandma and six tiny reindeer
More rapid than eagles the photographers came
They whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now, Javi! Now, Eli! Now, Layla and Addison!
Come on now, Nicky! Come on now, Cristian!"

But soon we discovered that babies aren’t into reindeer games. All that shouting and waving outstretched hands that resembled reindeer antlers themselves did nothing to coax a simultaneous smile from the herd, but everything to terrorize and conjure cries from our wee ones.

It was time to call it quits on the pics and pull the babies in for some mommy comfort.

This experience with my miniature reindeer taught me a lesson with more points than the record-breaking number on the deer display at Cabela’s—well, at least six. Allow me to share.