Consider

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6:28-29 ESV

One of the earliest memories I have of mom is her typing furiously on her Royal typewriter at the kitchen table. The melody of the tapping keys, punctuated by “ding” at the end of each line often, soothed me to sleep when I lay down for naps. Whenever mom wrote another book, she first began with research, which I think she liked the best. Being a Sci-Fi writer, she wanted to make sure her background on the people, planets and space travel actually fit with real science. In one of her books there were people who got around the way bats do, by their hearing. So, she studied braille, talked with blind people and asked them a million questions. Then after months of brainstorming, researching and outlining she began the rough draft with pen and paper. Because mom never had an office, the tall stacks of paper sat in piles on end tables, her nightstand or any handy flat surface in the house. Then came the second draft, on a thin cheap paper called onion skin. The wonderful nature of onion skin is that any attempt at erasure invariably leaves a hole in the page! This, mom meticulously edited, crossing off paragraphs here and there and filling the margins with notes accompanied by circles and arrows. Finally, after months of work, she was ready to break out the higher quality bond paper and begin her finished manuscript. The typing on the final was slower and mistakes were gently erased, with the correct letter carefully typed over the spot. Yet even after all the work that went into her manuscript, the journey from an idea to a book was not over. I still remember the day when she received the acceptance letter for her first book. You would think this might be a time of celebration, but far from it. The publisher was ready to publish the book only on the condition that she cut the book down from 500 to 250 pages. Mom burst into angry tears, shouting various things about the editor and then sat down and began her work again. Thinking back, I am amazed how anyone wanted to be a writer!

Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina on Pexels.com

In today’s world of word processing that cuts and pastes and autocorrects while smoothly and silently generating text, we move too quickly. We breeze through thousands of words, without taking time to consider the details. When Jesus tells us to consider the lilies of the field, He is saying more than just, “Don’t worry be happy!” He is telling us “Slow down enough to notice the lilies.”  Instead, we speed ahead, forgetting that God when spoke lilies into existence, He didn’t hurry. He carefully designed their root system and leaves and, chose the color of the blossom for every variety. Yet we rush past what God has given us, not only in His creation but in the lives of the people around us. He is commanding us to slow down, so we can see the beauty of people and flowers, noticing every detail and hovering like a hummingbird, appreciating its sweetness. Only then can the peace of God will flow into our minds as we consider, linger and trust that God has every detail of every day under His amazing and loving control!

The Grandfather I Never Knew

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6 ESV

The fading photograph of he and my grandmother sits on our bookshelf, and the shadow of his hat covering his eyes makes me wonder what color they were. Though our youngest son is named after him, the life he once lived is as mysterious to me as the lost continent of Atlantis. All I know is that at the ripe old age of 16, he boarded a steamer in Naples and arrived in New York to begin a new life with the help of three brothers who had come before.

All that remains behind is a 100-year-old barber kit that sits on the dresser in our guest bedroom and an antique barber chair that a local shop bought from my cousin. I never heard his voice or knew what his favorite food was. He never took me for ice-cream or walked with me to a park. But my grampa missed these things, not because he was a bad guy, rather as a result of my parent’s less than amicable divorce and his passing away just two years after I was born.

This morning as I was thinking about all I missed from never knowing my grandparents, I remembered our grandchildren. The Bible says that God has given them to us as a crown. and a crown should be on our head, just as grandchildren should always on our mind. When we give them our time, watching a movie together or playing with them in the back yard, we are giving them the memory of the sound of our laugh, the touch of our hand and the color of our eyes. As we share in every little moment – yes, even the hard ones, they will want to know why we pray with them as we put them to bed. They will remember the songs we sing as they sit by us in church and every hug when we can no longer be there to hold them. Though we may not leave them trust accounts brimming with cash, if they receive our faith then they have received our greatest treasure. Grandchildren are given us as a crown, so while we have breath let’s not be the grandparents they never knew. Instead, may our lives remind them, when they are in the middle of their own storms, to trust in Jesus and find that He is the one who has known them and loved them from the beginning of time!

With Us Always!

While we sat together in our favorite restaurant after the Christmas Eve service it was hard to imagine (or even remember!) that we have celebrated 48 Christmases together. Through both the wonderful and the most difficult times God has shown us that He is good. He has been faithful and because He chose to come to Bethlehem, He has been with us.

But God with us is only good news because of grace. If He came only with justice then Emmanuel – God with us- is very bad news indeed. But He came to seek out and save us if we will only stop running and allow ourselves to be found. So, Merry Christmas and may His grace reach down to wherever you are and remind you that He came for you as well. Nothing more important was on His agenda that first Christmas morning and nothing matters more to Him today than your soul and your heart. He is our Emmanuel – God with us – both now and always!