I have not written in this blog for almost a month and finally, finally I am.
Right before Thanksgiving I purchased a new computer - preparing for my retirement and tired of the frustrations of the old one. However.....there seemed to be a problem. It was slow, slow, slow and more frustrating than the old one.
So, I messed around with it and worried and wondered what to do - and finally last night Jason came over and fixed the problem - I had purchased an antivirus and put it in - before removing the one that was already on the computer for a trial run.
And wow - 2 antivirus fight with each other and slow everything down. I think there may be a sermon illustration in this about self protection - there can be too much and it can prevent us from doing what we are supposed to be doing?? Yes, I think that is it.
Anyway, we are now fully into the season of Advent and I have not reflected at all on it - so this is a beginning. I may find myself writing a lot more for the rest of the year - because there is a lot going on.
The theme that we selected for this season is JOY and we even purchased a devotional - "Joy in Jesus." I want to highlight three occasions for JOY that come to mind as I look back on the last few weeks.
First, I led an Advent Retreat - my annual time at Camp Christian. The theme was "Comfort and Joy" and it really did provide that for me and I think for most of us. We spent the morning reflecting on the discomfort of our lives and then receiving the comfort that God has for us. Some of our activities included coloring mandalas, meditating on Bible verses and praying for one another. It is always powerful to be in a small group who listens and then prays. The afternoon was all about joy and we sang and danced and did our craft. The joy comes when we can really trust God and let go. I often see signs on facebook that says - "Choose Joy" and there is something to it!
Second, I have done three baby blessings and dedications in the past two months with the third and final one being for my granddaughter Maggie. I cannot overstate the blessing of being able to be part of this. When I walk a baby around the sanctuary - it is like I am carrying a lightbulb as everyone smiles and reaches out for him or her. Maggie is a very expressive baby and her smiles brought even more smiles. What a gift for me!
Finally, we had our Acts of Faith present acts of faith service on Sunday night. We had a lot of people come from our church as well as from the community. And it was just uplifting and fun. We ended as we did last year with the 12 days of Christmas and I got to join the group with the 5th day - "5 songs to Sing." It is me letting go and having fun and truly experiencing joy in the season.
There is a bittersweet element to everything for me as I am so aware that this is my last....district meeting, board meeting, elders meeting, acts of faith concert. Etc. And yet in it - the joy is almost palpable as I live in deep gratitude for the gift of being a minister here at Karl Road Christian Church.
Lots of questions about the future - for me, the church, but I think this is a time to choose joy. In the midst of the struggles of the world and the question of the future - there is the present. And I choose joy and get glimpses of God at work - always.