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Stripping Down

Philippians 1:9 (New International Version)
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

This morning I spent some time reflecting--and even praying--about the year gone by and the year ahead. And I discovered that in doing so, it was a lot of my own wishes that crept into the picture and I truly didn't give God a lot of room to speak into my life.

I do remember whispering, as I prayed, "There are no sacred cows, God," but I don't think it really got from my head to my heart, because as I picked up my pen, I wrote too easily and with too many assumptions about what is good and right and God's will in my life.

I found though, that as I stayed with God, that I began to get a different idea on what it truly means to pray this kind of prayer.

I realize that I tend to start each year as if with my toe on the starting line in a race; waiting for the sound of the pistol to send me running toward my many goals.

But what if…

Finding Peace in the Broken

My husband picked up my brother after breakfast on the day of Christmas Eve. He arrived, cigarettes in hand - no additional clothes although he was staying for three days. His first words to me were, "Why did you have to put me in there - are you mentally ill, trying to kill me or something?"

I prayed silently to the Lord for the right words, a humble attitude, a heart of love for my only sibling, a brother 19 mos. older than myself.

"Hi Stephen,It's good to see you." I said gently coming from the kitchen. He didn't meet my eyes but looked down. He muttered, "I'm going out for a cigarette."

I returned to the kitchen acknowledging that Stephen is in rough shape. The peace of our Heavenly Father settled upon me - I received it. My heart was grieved somewhat.I don't always know how to respond to Stephen and the dance that happens when my Dad and Mom, he and I are all together - my family of origin.

I sighed...a mixture of different emotions desce…

Pressing On Toward the Goal

Philippians 3:10-12 (New International Version)
10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.


As I crossed the borderland from night to day, from sleep to waking, the sound of the wind greeted my consciousness: blowing around the house; buffeting it, wind fingers prying at tiny gaps to rattle doors, rushing around the still sleeping village and the dark snow covered fields.

Later in the morning, I talked to my brother Robert, in England, and he told me that there too, it was a very windy day. I felt then as if it must be the same wind rushing around that tiny village and that the world was very small after all.

I love the wind. When I'm in, the sound of the wind outside only he…

Christmas Ease

The title of this post comes from my three-year-old grandson, Nolan. I dropped in at his house next door on my way to work Monday morning. With youthful enthusiasm, he greeted me.

"Mommy'sMum!" he cried. (That's what he and his three brothers call me.) "Know what day it is? It's CHRISTMAS EASE!" His stocky little body was wriggling with anticpation, like a happy little puppy. And I loved the message that came from Father's heart through a little boy's mouth, to mine.

Christmas Ease. I don't think I will ever refer to it as Christmas Eve again. What a wonderful reminder to do what we've all be talking about - taking Christmas a little easier - remembering what it's really for - hanging on to all the glass balls and letting the rubber ones go. "Easing" into Christmas instead of stressing into it.

My family is keeping a notebook this year. We're writing down what we didn't like this year along with ideas as to how to make…

Living Room

The phrase captured my imagination.

The first winter storm of the season was on the way and I was listening to a program on safe winter driving.

A driving instructor mentioned teaching his students to maintain space between themselves and the cars around them. He called this, the “Living Room.”

The Living Room can mean the difference between surviving or not, if something unexpected happens, but it wasn't surviving on the road that I was thinking about.

I was struck by how we need to maintain living room in our lives, too. Living room; space; margin. There is so little of this precious commodity these days and it's one of the things I treasure in the days between Christmas and New Years; the luxury of some "living room."

Somewhere, between the feasting, making of turkey soup, visits with friends and cleaning up of empty boxes and wrapping paper, I will find time to reflect and recalibrate; thinking time; listening time.

In this time of solitude I find focus and clarity. In…

A Nice Leg of Lamb

Christmas. This one has been wonderful.

It started with me dreading "the thing in the attic" coming down when Paul first mentioned it sometime in November--and somehow in the weeks since then, the days and weeks unfolded into a bright ribbon of celebrations. I let the rubber balls drop along the way, but the glass ones all remained intact.

One of these was our tradition of going to the Furuya's after the Christmas Eve service and exchanging presents with Frances, Brian and our three God-children, Jacob, Summer-Lily and Eden Belle.

Frances puts her whole heart and soul into this evening, plotting and planning the details of food and decor weeks in advance. Nothing less than perfection will do for her. I think she reads too many Good Housekeeping magazines.

Each year she has done something different and it is always wonderful. But what we remember is being with her and her family, who we love.

It was a couple of weeks ago that she called me and asked with the excitement of a pl…

Least Things

Micah 5:2 (New International Version)
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times."

I'm reading 1 Samuel at the moment, where Samuel, following God's instructions, visits Jesse of Bethlehem because God has chosen one of his sons to be king (1 Samuel 16).

Seven of Jesse's fine sons come before Samuel, but none of them is the one God has chosen.

"The one" is out on the hills with the sheep, the youngest son, David, not even considered; least likely to be chosen. But God chose him.

God seems to delight in using the least likely, coming to the most unexpected places; "Bethlehem Ephrathah, small among the clans of Judah."

David, the shepherd king, is a foreshadowing of the Shepherd King to come, spoken of by the prophet Micah who faithfully recorded words he could not explain. A king was to come, but had somehow …

Bathed in Stardust

I looked at the face of the man across the table from me, a face into which kindness is etched, and my lips and breath formed the beat of my heart; “I love you.”

“I love you too,” he said, smiling at me, “that’s why I’m down here.”

I had mentioned that morning that I would love to go to a particular concert that night. And that is how I came to be in the city and in Fran’s Restaurant, eating a toasted BLT, across the road from Massey Hall, where we had tickets to The Gospel Christmas Project.

Toronto, on the last Saturday evening before Christmas; a city ablaze with neon signs and Christmas trees made out of coloured lights; and all around the lights and billboards, swirling, flashing and flickering; blue, green and red, above the streets packed with shoppers.

Above us the brilliantly lit buildings towered and on every hand shoppers thronged the streets. One store window had an animated display with a model train track running through it and a crowd of adults and children huddled around t…

Joy in the Sunset

Rose light spreads across the horizon...shadowed hues softening the dark...scudding clouds drift...filtered pinks wash the sky. One day ends. Another begins. Each day a gift. Finite. The sun rises. It sets. Earth orbits the sun. Tides ebb and flow. The Lord gives, and takes away.

I can't help think of Marisa. Marisa of 33 years. Marisa who fought to beat breast cancer. Marisa...wife...mother...daughter...sister...friend. For her, no more sunrises. No more sunsets.

In her short time here, she found courage to suffer. Courage to die with grace...she truly lived. Christ dwelled in her...overflowed from her even as her earthly life ebbed away.

Marisa whose last blog spoke of the antics of her oldest child. Zion wore his underwear backwards to celebrate "backwards day" at his school. She found joy in routine, holy in the ordinary, beauty in the everyday, joy in the simple.

Our days are numbered. We know not..how many...or how few.

Mendelt and Marisa. She took her last earthly bre…

Christmas is Coming, Ready or Not!

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again..." John 14:3 (NIV)

I was out in the mall this evening, trying to finish up the last of my Christmas shopping. Someone I know from work came up to me and had to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention. I was zoned out and her face was furrowed with concern. "You look like you need to leave the mall - now." I had to laugh. Exhausted, and feeling nearly brain-dead at that moment, I could just imagine how I looked!

I didn't quite take her advice, but I did limp over to the food court where my equally lame husband, who is waiting for surgery to repair a painful hernia sat waiting for me. We had supper together, did another hour of shopping and then called it quits - for the season.

Besides shopping today for I-don't-know-how-many-people-on-my-list (I'm afraid to count them all!), this morning I did a last second edit of our church newsletter and took it to the printer's. I managed to fit that …

Peter Was Here

Peter dropped by while I was on the phone talking to a friend this morning. Later on I noticed that while he was waiting for me to stop talking, the nativity scene had been rearranged.

When he came back later he laughed and added, "Due to confusion at the rental company, there was only a compact model available and the wise men were two years late in arriving."

I love the zany son God gave us.

The Rescuers

The main character in the movie Forest Gump is known for several memorable quotes, including, "My momma always said, life was like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get."

Not bad, Forest, but I think that life is like a paper chain of Christmases, strung from year to year. And if we look closely enough we can see them!

My team from work and I, always have a Christmas dinner here at our house. It's been happening for almost 20 years, which is quite a tradition. I cook roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, the potatoes and gravy, and everyone else brings the other parts of the meal. We look forward to just hanging out together with no pressure, playing board games and reading stories out loud that make us laugh. Stuart McLean is a great favourite and we laugh until we cry at such stories as, Dave Cooks the Turkey, or Polly Anderson's Christmas Party.

One year, all was going well until it was time to pop the Yorkshire pudding into the oven. It is quite…

A Christmas Gift

The headlines this week read, “Bert Tatham will be home for Christmas.”

The young man from Collingwood, Ontario, had been held in prison in the United Arab Emirates and had served 9 months of a 4 year sentence on drug charges. Suddenly, this week, he was granted amnesty at the order of the ruler of Dubai, in honour of the high Islamic holiday of Eid.

This started me thinking; what if we searched our hearts every year before Christmas for someone to whom we could give the gift of forgiveness?

Of course I know we’re supposed to do this all the time, but sometimes there is a “lurker” in our hearts; someone whose particular nastiness seems to warrant absolution from the rule. This happened to me a while ago. I would think that I had forgiven, but not really, because I would see the person and all of the emotions would bob to the surface like a cork swimming float.

I was finally helped by a passage not usually applied to the topic of forgiveness. It was through Matthew 25: 37-40 that I saw th…

More on Love and Respect

Susan sent me a comment and I wanted to share it, to flesh out the discussion. Thanks for the added thoughts Susan!

Ephesians 5:21 (New International Version)
21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

This is great wisdom and something that is not understood by most Christians, never mind the rest of the world.

The preceding verse to the one you quoted is key for me. It says, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ". Then Paul goes on to talk about submitting in the marriage relationship specifically. As you well know, I am not a theologian or a student in New Testament Greek, but what has come to make sense to me is that Paul is telling us always to be prayerfully willing to submit to each other. But in the marriage situation, when we are submitting, or deciding to submit, wives should keep these things in mind (respecting her husband) and husbands keep these things in mind (loving his wife).

I think it is the right thing to do for a husband to submit …

Love and Respect

Ephesians 5:22-25 (New International Version)
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.


I found myself wondering what these verses really mean when I recently re-read the familiar passage. These verses seem oddly old fashioned in this age of equality.

I find myself asking; does God really want us to do this; and does it mean that we lay aside our minds and “just submit?”

In the hilarious movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a woman said of her autocratic husband, "He may be the head of the family, but I am the neck and wherever the neck turns, the head goes.” We all laughed! What is it about that statement that is so funny? Is it the thought of the husband thinking he is in…

Chaos, Laughter, Compassion and Friendship

One by one they came, into the house fragrant with the scent of baking ham. Some were greeted with the delighted squeals of two little girls--those greetings for the big friends who hadn't been on Tuesday nights for weeks due to college or work. Sam, Lesley-Ann, Susan, Jorie, Ron, Andrew, Ann, Susan P. David, Lori-Lei, Lance and little Ava, joining Paul and me, Brenda and Jay and Tiffany-Amber and Victoria. They came bearing gifts for the food bank, which were stored under the tree so as not to clutter the kitchen. Tiffany-Amber and Victoria decided to make a sign so that guests would know where to put their contributions.I thought that it was the best decorated Christmas tree I have seen--and I think we just started a new tradition. We put food out on the table buffet style, and in the candle lit house, people found places to sit and talk and laugh while they ate. After dessert Susan played part of a CD she had brought, with the writer Walter Wangerin, reading his own imaginative ve…

Happy Birthday Susan!

Loving Beyond Self

One of the books I’m currently reading is Donald Miller’s, Searching for God Knows What. Donald Miller gives the reader much to reflect upon, going straight to the heart with honesty and intelligence while writing in a deceptively simple but beautiful style.

I, like much of the human race, tend to be self referential in conversation and relationship but Donald Miller put this into words when he wrote of how rare a thing it is for someone to lose themselves in the presence of other human beings. Further on in the same chapter, talking again about relationship, he mentioned how we will close ourselves off at the least sign of danger. Again, I put up my hand. I don’t like it, but I admit; too often “It’s all about me.”

Recently something I had offered was not received as I expected. It would cost me something, but I thought that the person had need of what I offered; me; a gift of time.

The person’s apparently diffident response, elicited an emotional response. The need seemed to be less pr…

The Still of Winter Deep

I long for the snow...pure...white...deep - soft heaps of winter still. Eventide comes. Lights glisten on crystal flakes. I too, await the snowstorm. Expectant...hopeful...yearning. Will it be?

I seek more than snow. I long for peace, a quiet in my soul, a heart prepared during this advent season.

Advent means "to come"...celebration of birth of the Christ. Immanuel...God with us.

Still dear heart, quiet the chaos from within, from without. Look to your Father.Come kneel awhile.

Ponder tiny babe...swaddling cloth...the straw...shepherds...angels...Mary...Joseph a king born in manger...simple,beautiful,the message of Christmas...

Love, peace, and joy...in my heart to spill over...to touch the ones I love...who love me too.

Again His still, quiet voice whispers...I need to hear.

To remember...a promise given.

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty Go…

Snow Storm

As I turned off the highway, onto the road leading to our small hamlet of Bond Head, the snow was just starting to fall. All day on the radio there had been warnings of a bad winter storm approaching, but it was hard to take them seriously while driving under the blue, sunny skies we had enjoyed all day.

The bright globe that had shone so clearly a few moments ago was softened now, by the veil of snow that was drifting across the sky reflecting back the hues of the setting sun. The storm seemed to be heading in and I was glad to be nearly home.

I was uncharacteristically downhearted as I went inside for the evening. Something was weighing heavy.

I didn’t have long to dwell on that train of thought as Paul and I were looking after six grandchildren for the evening. It wasn’t long before they all arrived in a bustling crowd and gathered with chatter and laughter around a box of pepperoni pizza that their parents brought for supper and which we served unceremoniously on the kitchen table.

In…

Is There Snow in Heaven?

"Miss Cheryl,” asked Stephen “is there snow in heaven?"Stephen’s question took his school bus driver by surprise. Her young passenger, whose short, dark hair was as hard to tame as his spirit, looked up expectantly. His brown eyes, normally dancing with mischief, were serious and shining with curiosity.Stephen; named for one of the saints of the Christmas season; knew that Miss Cheryl could be counted on as a source of reliable information. This warm, kind hearted woman, had the biggest of gentle, blue eyes that twinkled with good humour. She had forged a special relationship with the children on her bus. This question though, was out of her league."I don't know, Stephen. You could ask your dad--he's a pastor after all.""He hasn't been to heaven," stated Stephen, with all the logic of a 6 year old.Miss Cheryl had to laugh and agree that he was right.Neither of them was aware of the rustle of angel wings around them, and of ears bending close t…
“When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”-Matthew 2:4-6

My car is filled with remnants of last night's party. Plastic bags with leftover plastic cups and paper plates, rustle as I get in. Perching atop the mound of bags, is a left behind gold tinsel Christmas wreath , decorated with red poinsettias--and who knows what else lies below them? I only know that my car is full!

As I set out for my first destination of the day, the sun shines bright in a deep blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds. The storm of last night has left behind a fresh layer of snow upon which freezing rain has left a glistening icy crust. The …

We Really Should Sell Tickets

Tonight was the perfect antidote to all that can disappoint and burden at this time of the year.

It was the essence of Christmas, distilled into one magical evening.

In spite of dire weather warnings, some eighty of the people with disabilities supported by Christian Horizons, and their staff, braved the snow and came from a radius of 60 kilometers for our annual Christmas party.

It was not flashy or sophisticated in any way; it was old fashioned, simple, abandoned and unpretentious fun.

There was a contest for the best Christmas craft, and for weeks people worked together in groups, or individually, letting creativity run rampant. There were entries as diverse as a small orange pig to a large and a beautifully decorated large wreath with lights. Every entry won the same prize, a lovely silvery Christmas ornament and was celebrated and applauded for its unique claim to fame.

People brought their instruments and singing voices. They sang and played and were cheered and clapped. A microphone…

Fingerprints

Romans 1:21 (New International Version)
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 12:2 (New International Version)
2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

As I drove home from church on Sunday, listening to CBC radio, a young woman was talking about reducing our "carbon footprint" in the world. This of course was referring to the toxic waste we humans leave behind us. But I got to thinking, not about footprints, but fingerprints.

I often think of the fingerprints we leave on people's lives.

Have I left behind something as simple as a warm smile; a kind word of encouragement? Or have I left an atmosphere polluted by negativity?

It is a powerful thing to realize that we have a choice. We are…

Lord, Help Me To Choose The Rocks

Whenever I am driving between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.,I have always enjoyed the program, "Candlelight and Wine" on weeknights on 98.1 FM. Although I seldom listen to it now, I had the privilege Friday evening, while driving home from Barrie after a Christmas shopping marathon.

I relaxed as the easy-listening music softly filled the suburban and the glistening snow sparkled from the streetlights. Soon, Don Jackson's deep, soothing voice began sharing a story.
Expectant now, I turned up the volume. I knew I was in for a treat -this is the part of the program that has always resonated so deeply with me.
Don Jackson talked about a professor of philosophy who was demonstrating a life-principle to his class.

The Professor carefully filled a large glass jar with rocks. When he could get no more rocks in the jar, he asked the class if it was full. They responded "yes".

He said, "Not so", as he reached down under his lectern and then proceeded …
There will be less someday--
Much less, and there will be More:
Less to distract and amuse;
More to adore;
Less to burden and confuse;
More to undo the cluttering of centuries,
That we might view again
That which star and angels point to:
We shall be poorer and richer;
Stripped and free;
For there will always be a Gift,
Always a Tree!

Ruth Bell Graham

Just a grateful prayer at the end of the day. Thank you Lord for the Gift and the Tree. Thank you for friends and for family.

This day started with pancakes and children and cookies and laughter. Chaos reigned in our kitchen as 6 grandchildren rolled out dough and cut out and decorated Christmas cookies. But oh, it was fun!

Yesterday, one of our friends Arun, who had read of the impending cookie fest on the blog, called and asked it was for family only. Paul. who had answered the phone, said, "Yes, it is, that's why you're invited!" So Arun joined us for pancakes and lent his hands to the cause of the cookies.

We ended the day with our…

The Value of Waiting

It's the end of a busy week. An incredibly busy week. My assignment from the Lord seemed clear to me: "Trust me. Don't give in to the temptation to get stressed."

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, not for me. The only way I seem to get anything accomplished is through pulling myself up by the bootstraps, letting the stress rise up in me to monstrous proportions and then chanelling that energy into driving me to getting the job done. I joked with a co-worker today, "Thank God for the last minute because if there was no "last minute" I wouldn't get anything done."

It's true. I seem to do 90% of everything I accomplish in the last 10% of the time before it's due. But God has been unwaveringly leading me to believe in the last little while that though this seems to have worked for me pretty well in the past, and has certainly become "my way" of doing things, it's not really one of "his ways"." I began to see t…

Christmas Bulletin!

Confession is good for the soul.

After finishing last night's blog post, I stayed up until 3.00 a.m. decorating the house. Once I gave up the idea of doing it--I wanted to, and found the energy.

The thought of the children arriving on Saturday and seeing the old familiar "friends"--the much beloved and handled nativity set and the wonky old musical Christmas tree, and the wondrous fibre-optic angel that glows on the wall--well I thought of that and I had to do it.

The house is transformed into "Christmas." Nothing elaborate, but enough to welcome my dear team today.

Happy Friday. God bless you each and every one! :)

Christmas and Falling Angels

Tonight I'm taking stock of how I'm surviving the Christmas craziness this year. So far I'm doing okay, which only means that I'm not too stressed.

The tree came down out of the attic and Paul set it up. Tiffany-Amber and Victoria decorated it and loved doing so. I enjoyed watching them. The angel, having fallen off every time I put her up, is standing beside the tree.

I bought chocolate letters, a Dutch tradition! But I haven't written a single card yet, and I don't know if I will. I haven't done any more decorating, even though my team is coming here tomorrow for a Christmas lunch, and at the back of my mind I feel a little like someone going on vacation with no luggage packed.

All of our neighbours seem to have their Christmas lights up already, but our house is distinctly plain and un-Christmassy. Paul was too busy getting ready for his trip north, to get our lights up. I'm enjoying other people's lights though--they don't have to be on our hou…

Heroes

Hebrews 12:1-3 (New International Version)
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

These are some of my favourite verses. There is so much about them that I love. I love the part about the "great cloud of witnesses" that surrounds us, for one thing.

Last week I was at leadership training and we were each given a "Leadership Agent Dossier" in which we had to write our name and an alias, which was to be the name of one of our heroes. We then had to write the three most inspirational traits of our alias.

On…

Update on the Mission of Mercy

Just a quick update for those friends who were praying for the trip to the north. Paul walked in tonight at 7.00 pm after a loooooong drive today, all the way from Cochrane.

He has just begun to tell some of the stories from the trip. For now I'm just glad he's home.

Serious Parenting

I lounged in a comfortable, wing back chair in our big sunny room at the back of the house, chatting with my brother on the phone. As usual, we laughed a lot.

“It’s good to look to a funny side of things if you can,” said Robert. Reflecting on the past, he said,“I always took myself too seriously.”

I’d been sharing a funny conversation that I’d had with some friends the week before. We were talking about how much has changed in one generation, when it comes to bringing up children.

We remembered the amount of freedom kids had a few years ago. We would leave the house in the morning and maybe drop back in for lunch; or maybe not. Nobody worried too much. Parents knew that you were with friends and would come home eventually.

Someone said that his mother used to lock him out of the house. As people compared notes, it seemed that this was not an uncommon practice! One person after another said, “Yes, my mother did that too.” Some mothers did it to clean the house; other mothers did it to…

Mission of Mercy

Isaiah 32:2 (New International Version)
2 Each man will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

The weather is nasty and the roads are dangerous tonight. I hear the wind against the skylights in my loft room, and it is comforting to be at home.

Downstairs a Christmas tree stands twinkling with coloured lights in our large hallway. It is hung with all manner of glass balls, an assortment of ornaments, and little stuffed animals clad in scarves and hats.

Our Burston grandchildren came for a family dinner after church yesterday, and they stared in wonder at the tree, as it was the first time they were seeing it this year. They circled it, studying all of the ornaments and it was fun watching them. Emily, who is experiencing only the second Christmas of her life, had fun taking things off the tree, and the angel fell from the top at least three times.

But amid the family time, my heart and t…

Insight from AFRICA

I sat quietly last sabbath- so desperately needing a touch from the Master's hand. I was worn from a week of busyness...my heart dry,my soul thirsting...I willed my mind to empty of the grime and find, amid the chaos of my thoughts... a place of rest. I wanted to trade my agitation for His peace. To this place of worship, I brought my burdens and laid them down. I allowed my voice to lift up His praise in song with that of the others. All week God had prepared my heart for what I was about to hear.

There was a small space of stillness before Kayla was introduced to share her experiences from her summer's mission trip. A second-year, mechanical engineering student, she went to Tanzania, Africa with Campus Crusade For Christ. Kayla spoke quietly yet she spoke with conviction and an intensity that moved me.

She shared how her trip to Africa changed her life. Kayla learned to speak Swahili and to assimilate into their culture. Kayla described how in North America, our culture focuse…