Joseph

joseph-maryWe don’t know much about Joseph, but I think it’s safe to say he would have been terrible on a T.V. reality show.  Think about it.  His girlfriend was pregnant, and knowing the child was not his own, he could have slandered her name via social media (literally social), drunk too much wine, and wrecked a perfectly good donkey cart.  Instead, he planned to quietly distance himself from her in a way that would maintain the dignity of everyone involved.  No T.V. ratings there.

Once Joseph understood what was going on, he trusted both God and Mary, and did exactly what the angel told him to do.  Over time, he proved he was the perfect father for Jesus, traveling long distances and making wise, careful decisions to keep his child safe.  Going out of one’s way for the sake of another?  Thoughtful decision making?  Again, no ratings.

I am thankful for the example we have in Joseph, and I am thankful for his role in the Christmas story and beyond.  I’m going to make it a point to follow his example more often and to make it known when others do the same.  I hope you’ll join me.

I hope you are finding great happiness in this week of joy.  If so, please share!

Joy

hope-peace-joy“I’ve got joy like a fountain in my heart.”  You may recognize that as a line from an old Sunday School tune.  I remember singing it boldly along with the other verses which included “peace like a river” and “love like an ocean.”  All are good descriptors, but “joy like a fountain” is my favorite.  When joy happens, it bubbles up and out like water from a wellspring.

I recently had a conversation with a grieving friend.  Though she often feels sad, she is looking forward to what she calls her “new reality.”  Planning for a new residence, starting a small business, and being with family are all sources of joy.  Sometimes she feels guilty for being happy.  Other times she worries that people will judge her for being happy at a time when she should, in their view, be sorrowful.  Fortunately, joy bubbles up pushing all that aside, making room for brighter tomorrows.  I am lucky to be standing in the spray.

In the Movies: Peace

peace-hand

Once I realized the problem was not you but within me, I found inner peace and was able to harness the flow of the universe.

from Kung Fu Panda 2

I have never watched this movie, but I love how this quote shows the value of peace across cultures.  Do you have a favorite movie line or song lyric about peace?  If so, please share!

Mary

mary-nativThough she was afraid and a little doubtful at first, Mary quickly embraced her role in what we now call the Christmas story.  Once it was all explained, her simple reply was, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.”  (Luke 1:38)

The author of Luke goes on to tell us that Mary sang praises to God, recognizing that He blesses those who are humble, those who have little, and those who serve Him.  Perhaps this example is just one more gift delivered to us through Mary.

Generations have called her blessed, and in turn, we have been blessed for generations.  Glory!

 

 

Peace

hopepeace

We live in an “unpeaceful” time.  From politics to pipelines to “taking a knee,” battles rage around us.  Historically, there have been greater conflicts, but even an argument over the color of a coffee cup seems like a big deal when you’re in the midst of it.

A little girl in my community saw video on social media of someone stealing money from a tip jar at a local donut shop.  She took her “tooth fairy” money to the donut shop and slipped it into the tip jar with a note saying she was sorry about what happened.  Though the conflict was not her own, she saw a need and stepped in to help.  That’s a pretty big move for such a little girl.

As this week of peace begins, I hope each of us will think about the ways we approach conflict and the ways we interact with those who don’t agree with us.  Maybe we can begin to speak in favor of ideals and values rather than against individuals.  Maybe we can stand up and help, peacefully, even when the conflict doesn’t directly affect us.  The example was set for us thousands of years ago by one who was called the Prince of Peace and again this week by a little girl in a donut shop.  It’s kind of a big deal.

I pray that this week will bring peace to our hearts so we may begin to influence peace in the world around us.  Be sure to stop by and share your stories of peace this week.

Truly…

One Candle for Hope

one-candle

 

Come surely, Lord Jesus, as dawn follows night,

Our hearts long to greet you, as roses the light.

Salvation draw near us, our vision engage.

One candle is lit for the hope of the age.

-from “One Candle Is Lit” by Mary Anne Parrott

 

I was going through some old papers today when I found a note a friend had sent me during her battle with cancer.  It read, in part, “Ida Beth, I have hope because of you!”  She went on to write of her faith in God and her determination to beat cancer.  I honestly don’t know what it was about me that inspired hope in her at that time, but I can tell you for sure that she has given me a new definition for the word hope.  Six months or so have passed, and my friend is feeling well, looking great, and defying all odds.

I hope you have found inspiration for hope this week.  If so, please share your story in the comments and spread the hope!

In the Movies: Hope

skylanterns

Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most.  You need to remember that when you find yourself at the beginning.  Just give hope a chance to float up, and it will, too.

From Hope Floats   

This is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies.  Do you have favorite movie lines that reflect this week’s theme of  hope?  Maybe you have a favorite song lyric that inspires hope.  If so, please share in the comments below.