This time of Advent we not only remember the birth of our Savior but we also look forward with anticipation to His return. We sometimes long for that day when evil will finally be completely defeated and peace will truly reign.
But what do we do while we wait?
We often pray the Lord’s prayer where we ask that “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” With that prayer we try to imagine what this world would be like if God’s will was completely done on earth?
But what do we do while we wait?
We admire the beautiful sunsets, enjoy the waves of the ocean crashing onto the shore, stand in awe of the majestic mountains and long for a world free of man’s pollution. Our imagination paints us a picture of what the world must have looked like in the very beginning of creation. How we long for the day when the earth will be restored to that beauty.
But what do we do while we wait?
As we look at the chaos and tragedies all around us, we can begin to even lose hope. We can wonder if God has abandoned us.
But what do we do while we wait?
We must remember that we who call ourself Christians, followers of Christ, are called to be His representatives in this world. While we wait for that day when He returns, even now in us we can allow God’s will to be done in our lives. We can surrender our own desires, our own opinions, our own will and allow Him to use us to reach out to others.
‘Wherever God rules over the human heart as King, there is the kingdom of God established.” Paul W. Harrison
“The church is not a fortress community waiting for a future kingdom. Rather, we realize that the Kingdom of God has already arrived, in part…The church is God’s eschatological community, drawing the future into the present, living out Kingdom values and inviting the world to experience its power now….As God’s eschatological community, we hope for ultimate redemption din the future. But, in the present, we break down barriers and bear each other’s brokenness. Through this here and now experience, Christ’s bride, the church, begins to take on the beauty that will be hers when He comes to claim her as His own.” Brad Harper
But what do we do while we wait?
Let us continue to look with hope to His return. But let us not be guilty of just standing around waiting for “someday.” Let us do all we can to show the world what it means to be part of God’s kingdom even here in this world we share. Let us allow God’s Holy Spirit to move through us to bring a little bit of “heaven” to our friends, neighbors, community.
I never thought I would love to hear the doctor say I tested positive for the flu.
It started one evening with a very sore throat and a dry cough..
The next morning I woke up with a temp of 102, body aches, congestion and I felt terrible. Our state of Michigan has one of the highest rates of Covid-19. Needless to say I was very scared as I went for a test.
Three hours later the doctor called to say I was negative for Covid-19 but positive for the flu.
Who is thankful for the flu? I am.
But I have had a few miserable days. I am slowly recovering. Fever is gone, coughing spells are fewer and the body aches are gone. But I am exhausted. Doctor said it might take two to three weeks before my strength returns.
Talking to friends who have had Covid-19 I realize my days of misery were so short compared to theirs. Although I may be tired for a while I am not experiencing many of the after effects they are.
Eighty years ago today our nation was attacked at Pearl Harbor.
My parents’ generation sacrificed much in the next few years. My father was in the Navy and came back from the war with many difficult memories of death and danger.
My mother was left to take care of three children on her own.
President Franklin Roosevelt created the OPA (Office of Price Administration). This organization placed ceilings on prices of goods to prevent companies from taking advantage of the situation to raise prices on goods and also created rationing to limit consumption.
Ration books were issued to families restricting many things such as sugar and gasoline. I remember hearing stories of how people would trade their sugar rations for gasoline so they would be able to get to work.
Families were encouraged to raise their own vegetables to allow more food to be canned for the military. These “victory gardens” led to the government publishing guides on how to plant a garden and how to can the produce. Women’s clubs began with women sharing new recipes and ideas of how to create tasty food with less ingredients available.
No woman wanted to go out on the town without nylon hose. As the nylon was needed for parachute and other military needs, the hose became hard to find. (Like toilet paper in our Covid-19 situation).
When I see our generation facing a different type of crisis with Covid-19 – and the response we have made, I wonder how we compare to this “Greatest Generation.”
This past week one of the last of that generation died.
Bob Dole served in the Army and was injured in a German machine gun attack. He lost a kidney, he was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down. While he regained mobility, his arms never fully recovered. He lost the use of his right arm and his left arm was partially numb. He said he had to allow 50 extra minutes each morning to get dressed.
There are many stories of other men/women I could write about. But I’m sure you all know parents/grandparents of that “Greatest Generation” who lived through the Depression and World War II.
Sadly as my generation is gone, I wonder if anyone will remember and appreciate the sacrifice of that generation.
St. Nicholas: The Real Story of the Man Who Became Santa Claus
Many American children are looking forward to the arrival of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, bearing presents for good little boys and girls. But most of those celebrating don’t know that there is a real man behind the story of Santa Claus, and that real man was a Christian persecuted because of his faith and actions.
The following is excerpted from “A Note from the Author to Parents and Educators” that is included in The Story of St. Nicholas: More than Reindeer and a Red Suit,a book for children published by VOM that tells the true story of St. Nicholas of Myra, the man whose story became the basis of our modern-day Santa Claus.
Fifty-one years ago today I became a mother for the first time. That day will always be one of my favorite memories. As I held my little girl in my arms I whispered to her that we would be best friends. All the fun we would have – shopping, reading books, playing games, singing songs.
I thought then that I had all the time in the world with this little one. I was wrong. Too quickly she became a toddler getting into everything. Then a little girl off to school. Her first day of school she gave me a scare as she did not get off the bus at our street. We still laugh about that day, but at the moment I was one frightened mother.
Then a teenager. Although we often hear parents complaining about teenagers I found the years when my daughters were teenagers some of the happiest of my life.
Finally she was a young woman in love. Then came marriage – and later three beautiful children making me a grandmother. Time has passed too quickly and she is now a grandmother (which means I am a great-grandmother). How did that happen?
Fifty one years – looking back at 1970 – what a difference.
In 1970 prices were:
Hershey’s candy bar – $.15
gallon of milk – $1.15
dozen eggs – $.62
pound of coffee – $.91
loaf of bread – $.25
can of Coke – $.10
average movie ticket – $1.55
postage stamp – $.06
median cost of house – $26,600
average cost of car – $3,500
Of course, income was much less then also. Median wages was $8,734
The top 10 TV shows were:
Marcus Welby M.D.
The Flip Wilson Show
ABC Movie of the Week
How times have changed. We did not have cell phones. The first commercially available cellphone was developed by Motorola and went on sale in the U.S. in 1984. The phone was huge, cost $3,995.00 and was only good for about thirty minutes of use before you had to charge the battery again.
Other technolgies we did not have in 1970:
MRI – 1977
e-mail – 1971
post-it note – 1974
Rubik’s Cube – 1974
first commercial barcode scan – 1974
Apple computer – 1976
Sony Walkman – 1979
Looking back over these fifty-one years, while life has changed in so many ways – not only in my family but in my country, one thing remains true.
I have not lost that magical feeling of being a mother. Although my daughter now lives hundreds of miles from me and I do not get to see her as much as I would like, when I hear her voice on the phone or get a text, my heart still smiles.
Growing up every year as fall began, I would begin getting excited when the mailman came. I would come home from school and ask my mother, “Did it come today?” Anticipation grew each day until finally Mom would smile and say “Here it is!” How excited I would be as I opened the Montgomery Wards Christmas catalog.
Aaron Montgomery Ward launched the nation’s first mail-order business with a one-page price list boasting 163 items, which he sent to farmers’ cooperatives throughout the rural Midwest. Unlike existing mail-order businesses that dealt only in individual items, Ward offered the rural consumer a variety of merchandise and, by eliminating the middleman, kept prices low. His new business found a ready market as homesteaders pushed west across the frontier. By the spring of 1874, his price list had grown to 32 pages and was bound into a catalog. Ward offered a guarantee – “Satisfaction…
I hate waiting in line at the grocery store. I hate waiting in the doctor’s office. I hate waiting on my husband who is always talking to someone wherever we go. Did you notice? I don’t like waiting.
This Sunday marks the first Sunday of what the church calls Advent. Growing up in a non-liturgical church I never really celebrated Advent as it is done in main stream churches that follow a church calendar recognizing certain festivals and reading certain portions of Scripture. Only in the past few years have I come to appreciate this observance of “waiting.”
“Advent” literally means “coming” or “arrival.” It is a Latin term which was used when translating the Bible from Greek. In the Greek the word used is “parousia.” It meant “a coming” or “presence.” In the Early Church this term quickly became associated with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ disciples were waiting for His return – as the Christian church still is today.
This season of Advent is a time of waiting for the coming of Jesus. We celebrate it from three different views.
First, we remember His first coming to earth in Bethlehem. What a time to remember and celebrate. That the Creator of the universe was willing to become one of us is amazing! To subject Himself to human limitations was in itself quite a sacrifice. But He not only came to be one of us – but chose to be born to a poor, simple carpenter and his wife.
This is also a time to celebrate His coming into our own life. To reflect on what his birth, death and resurrection means to us personally. In all the busyness of the season, we need to schedule some time to examine our own heart and make sure we have really made room for Him in our own heart, our own mind, our own life. To remember the real reason for the season.
Finally it is a time to remember that Jesus has promised to return again. We can get so focused on the “here and now” that we lose sight of that hope of the Christian. In today’s world when so much is chaotic it is good to remember we have hope beyond this life.
I hope you will take time this month to “wait” and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
Shortly after posting that blog my youngest daughter called to tell me she had some bad news. Our granddaughter had been sent home from school that morning, along with all her class, because they had been exposed to Covid-19 the day before. They would have to quarantine for Thanksgiving and would not be able to join us for the day as we had planned.
Of course, my first concern was that she and her parents would not get Covid-19 in spite of the exposure. But immediately I also realized what this meant for us. They would have to spend the day with just the three of them and my husband and I would be just two for Thanksgiving.
We have a large blended family but they are scattered all over the USA. We have children and grandchildren in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri and Illinois. As the grandchildren have grown up and married with families of their own, our Thanksgiving gathering has slowly gotten smaller.
Moving three years ago to Michigan we only have one daughter nearby. And yes, she is the one who had to quarantine.
As I started to feel discouraged about that, I remembered my own blog I just posted.
So I began looking at what I have to be thankful – even as my Thanksgiving feast will only have two seats at the table.
Here are just a few of the things I found I have to be thankful for:
Thankful for cell phones and FB so I can still wish loved ones Happy Thanksgiving and see pictures of them.
Thankful that none of my family have died from the Covid-19 though a few of them have had the virus.
Thankful that I have my husband – my bbf – and I will not be all alone at the table as some may be.
Thankful for my beautiful home and that my table will still be full of good food.
Thankful for health so that I can prepare the meal not only for us two but also take a meal to my daughter’s home and leave it on the porch for them to enjoy.
Thankful for being granted the privilege of being born in this country.
The more I thought about it, the more my list of things to be thankful for grew.
The best thing to thank God for is that we will soon be celebrating his coming to earth to live, to die, to rise again. That in the midst of chaos, He is there.
How did my Thanksgiving day go?
My husband worked with me fixing the turkey and all the trimmings, then quickly took some of it to our daughter’s home. We enjoyed the meal, shared a time of prayer and Bible reading, played Scrabble (we are Scrabble’s addicts), and ended the evening with a movie.
As we went to bed last night my husband said, “This has been a different Thanksgiving and I missed family, but in a way it was one of my favorites. I spent the day with my best friend doing things we loved to do. It caused me to really take a look at all the blessings God has given us and I am very grateful.”
The day ended well for me – I won the Scrabble game!!!!
My daughter sent me a picture of my granddaughter enjoying my pumpkin pie – with loads of Cool Whip.
And after almost a week – it appears my family are free of symptoms – no Covid-19.
I posted this last year thinking that by Thanksgiving 2021 we would be through this Covid-19 mess. Sadly, in my state of Michigan it has gotten worst. Last year I did not know one person with Covid-19. This year I have friends who have lost family members from the virus, I have had family members very sick from it. I know many are feeling so weary – teachers, healthcare workers, pastors, retail workers, children and the list goes on and on. I still believe God is with us and it is good to give thanks to the Lord. Praying that all of you who follow my blog will be able to find something to be thankful for – and that next year will bring us all relief from this crisis.
I don’t know where I got this story – so I can’t give proper credit to the writer but it really makes me think as we approach another Thanksgiving season – one that is full of chaos and difficult decisions. Do we keep our gatherings small? Do we ignore warnings and enjoy our family and friends?
“One afternoon a shopper at the local mall felt the need for a coffee break. She bought herself a little bag of cookies and put them in her shopping bag. She then got in line for coffee, found a place to sit at one of the crowded tables, and then taking the lid off her coffee and taking out a magazine she began to sip her coffee and read. Across the table from her a man sat reading a newspaper. After a minute or two she reached out and took a cookie. As she…