Thursday, December 29, 2005
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
and every year since then, i've had the chance at christmas to reflect on my life as a child of God, to consider where i've grown and where i've regressed, to contemplate what God might have for me next. at times, that is a happy task; at others, it is sobering and even sorrowful.
this is my 24th christian birthday. a quick assessment reminds me of what i already know: i am not yet all that God intends, nor, perhaps, am i even as far along as i could reasonably expect to be. i still have a bad temper. my instinct is too often not to be kind or compassionate, especially with people whom i think should already know or understand something. i worry too much about money. i don't take risks of faith easily. i am easily distracted by work and worthless pursuits like television. my intimacy with God is uneven.
but this christmas, for all of my shortcomings, my heart is not sad. i know that God loves me. i know that he is faithful, and that i can count on him. i know that while i am not all that i ought to be, neither am i what i used to be. and i know that i am in the middle of a story that is bigger than i am, responding to a call that i do not understand, in a place where few know Jesus and few seem to want to know him. i am reaching out to and loving people who are a long way from home, welcoming strangers while living as a stranger myself. and my sense of hope and anticipation is alive. how will God provide for us? how will he work faithfully with my daughters? where will he lead me from here?
i believe that a key part of my calling is to be living proof that the promises of God are true. it's a calling that stretches me; a life of faith doesn't come naturally to me. as i've said many times, i'm so much better at walking by sight. but i'm learning.
and perhaps even more significantly, i am learning that everything depends on God. he is the end; he is the means. it really is all about him. maybe that's why my heart isn't sad. he will not fail.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
in this advent season, i’ve been struck by the manner of Jesus’ coming — that the creator of the universe, the one who sustains every living thing — came as a human baby. he lived our life; he suffered our sufferings; he became weak so that we could know God’s strength. though he was God, he made himself vulnerable to pain and loneliness and rejection, for the sake of loving us.
though Jesus was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. he made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.
philippians 2:6, 7
theologians call it ‘incarnation.’ it’s just a fancy way of saying that Jesus didn’t wait for us to make our way to him; instead, he came to us, as one of us. he laid down his rights and depended on the Father, so that people could come into contact with God and be reconciled to him.
our calling to montreal is also a call to be incarnational, to live as displaced people — loving, serving, and being a witness to those who are studying far from home and all that is familiar. we have at least an inkling of what that experience is like. it’s ministry from a position of weakness —kind of like coming as a baby.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
the snow removal was supposed to begin last night. but these piles were still here this morning when the photo was taken. it's been rescheduled for tonight, but i haven't seen any snow removal equipment yet. i think it will take over a week for the city to return to normal.
did i sign up for this? yes, i actually did. God knows what he's doing -- but i sure don't!
Friday, December 16, 2005
i can see a lot of use for something like this. for one thing, i write so much faster on a computer, and secondly, it's much more legible. it makes me sad to think about how much my handwriting has deteriorated, but that's another subject.
i hope that the journal will stretch me, not only in helping me to reflect on my life (which i need to do more), but also to dream, to pray, to get poetic. it'll also give me a chance to get some thoughts down about my wife and kids. i love them a great deal, and try to send e-cards and notes, but i don't really have a place where i've talked about just how precious they are to me. such things ought to be a bit more permanent.
wrong. supposedly, we're getting 30cm of snow today, mostly before noon (it actually ended up being over 41cm, a record). i really had quite a task trying to dig out the car; i was thinking of going to the ymca later today, but the shoveling may be enough exercise all by itself. in one of those funny not-funny moments, i had almost finished digging around the van when a patrol of 3 small snowplows (the kind that usually do the sidewalk) came down the street and plowed me in again. i couldn't stop myself from crying out, "noooo!" but it was actually pretty humorous. it helped that i didn't really have to go anywhere.
check out the story here.