Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Make a Beginning

Now in the second year after their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak made a beginning, together with the rest of their kinsmen, the priests and the Levites and all who had come to Jerusalem from the captivity. They appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to supervise the work of the house of the Lord.
—Ezra 3:8 ESV (emphasis mine)

I can hear some of you groaning already—just from reading the title of this message. Here we go again! Someone else is pushing me to make a New Year’s resolution.

With everything you hear on TV this time of year, there is no wonder you would suspect nothing less.

When spending the day home alone, I kept the TV on for some company. In the background, I heard others promoting their strategies for losing weight, reducing stress, and becoming financially successful. I even heard one speaker lay out her blueprint for optimum health—a daily dose of Aloe Vera.

If we’re not careful, we can allow these voices to infiltrate our thoughts and lead us on a path to self-destructive thinking. We may feel guilty because we don’t have it all together already or overwhelmed because of all the changes we need to make to live up to these standards, to aright our lives. We may resent having to give up things we enjoy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Perfection, Sweeter than Gingerbread

By Desiree Glass (aka Grandma)

Adults and children converged upon the kitchen table—and two gingerbread houses, previously constructed by Aunt Bekah and Aunt Emma. Multi-colored candies awaited their purpose in clear glass dishes, while children awaited their signal to begin. Grandma worked quickly to squeeze rows of gooey white frosting on rooftops to create a sheathing for confectionary shingles. Then children grabbed communion-wafer-like discs to decorate in a mix-match pattern across the gable roof. Chewy gumdrops and candy beads left glass dishes and found their way into toddler’s hands—but more landed in their mouths than on the house. Uncles painted clothes on gingerbread men and drew faces with smiles to match the grandchildren’s. Little ones climbed on the table and reached over the gingerbread house to snag more candy, while Grandma prayed the icing mortar was strong enough to prevent a collapse. Aunt Tara snapped photos as fast as she could to keep pace with the flurry of activity and hopefully capture the perfect shot for the front of Grandma’s card.