Advent Photo-a-Day: Hope

I preached a sermon last Sunday on “The Roots of our Hope,” one that was for my own ears as much as those listening in the congregation. It’s funny how that happens…

Today’s picture reflects the hope I have in God, despite the changing and challenging ways of life. Winter has just begun in our back yard, but spring will come.

Hope
Hope

I love the beauty of my yard in the winter, though the shorter and shorter days are hard to take.  This morning, the rising sun on the snow in our backyard was bright and cheerful, despite the cold temperatures outside. Things may be frozen, but I can hope for new growth, and for spring.

I sat with a Bible on the table and a cat on my lap, thinking about the recent death by suicide of a classmate, wondering how and why and what… and having no answers. I’ve come to the conclusion that emotional pain is so real and  deep that sometimes we do not give it a voice, for fear of scaring others. Or when all the lush growth of summer is gone, we forget to look for the underlying promise of God’s faithfulness to us.

Sometimes all we need is a glimpse of God at work to have hope. A glimpse, a brief flash of love and providence to shout to our hearts that God hears and loves us more than we can possibly understand. And so, I offer these lyrics to a song by Michael Kelly Blanchard.

Glimpses of God

There are glimpses of God
in the snow-covered chill
that seeps in the doorways
and the windowsills
and blushes the boys
as they sled down the hill
to the twirling of girls
on the pond scarred and still.

There are glimpses of God
in the spring of the earth.
The song of surprise
that breaks forth at birth.
The hello of hope
that wakes up our worth.
The laughter of love
that heals with its mirth.

There are glimpses of God
in the summertime plays
that pose like tulips
in a backyard parade.
The gossip of crickets
as the sun has its way
with the warm and the wind
and the dandelion days.

There are glimpses of God
in the dying of things.
The autumn of hearts,
the fluttering of wings.
The face of farewell
in the stares of suffering.
The falling of leaves
such a long way from spring.

It’s all we’ll remember,
As angels applaud,
The traces of tender,
The glimpses of God.

– Michael Kelly Blanchard

Advent Photo-a-Day: Peace

I’ve had one of those days where my “do list” is longer than my energy or brain power can handle. I confess I almost skipped today’s photo prompt when I read it. And then I turned the corner, walking in to my study, and found Henry, my study buddy and companion.

Ah, yes. Peace.

I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give.

It isn’t like the peace that this world can give.

So don’t be worried or afraid.

John 14:27

Peace
Peace

Advent Photo-a-Day: GO

GO
GO

After a fun, busy weekend, the birds have flown the nest. This is a pile of some of the things that went out the door this afternoon. Clean laundry, leftover turkey, books and supplies, computers… they were more than ready to go back to their own haunts. It is as it should be. But in this going, it’s sometimes hard to see a turn of the calendar and a new season (for all of us!)

I thought about ‘GO’ all day. It was a reminder to me that we are not created to “sit and suck up real estate” as my friend Richard used to say. We were tagged by God to GO and do things that will make a difference in the world. And so we do.

There’s another part of ‘GO’ that is important — it’s being and doing the authentic persons we were made to be, the persons that will  be the highest impact for the world who needs their joy and light and love. I want that for my daughters, my husband, my friends… rather than impressing my ideas or framework on their lives, it’s very freeing to let them GO off in the direction God leads them.

I haven’t seen “Frozen” yet — but this song from the movie had a strong message of not only letting go, but going.