– Where traditions create an atmosphere of;
– Where traditions create an atmosphere of;
So it’s been Christmas. I think that’s a part of a song lyric actually. Never mind.
I love Christmas. My parents instilled in me a love for the traditions and the holiday and as a child: The presents!!
Once I got older, I remember their annoyance as to why I was so keen on keeping all the Christmas traditions every year… They wanted to change things. I disliked change. A lot!
Don’t mess with my Christmas mister!
But life happens… all the time. Can’t really stop it even though it sucks and cuts deeply at times.
My mom died suddenly. Then Christmas had to change.
Then I got married and Christmas really had to change.
Celebrating Christmas in Japan without the goodies I was accustomed to from Denmark. They simply couldn’t be bought… So I made the best of it.
Then I met Jesus and had the most wonderful Christmas of my life: The one where traditions mattered absolutely ZERO.
By then though, my husband had gotten a taste of my traditional Christmas and so did my daughter… all those lovely presents!
Then my dad died. I blogged a lot about the journey toward the end of his life. Goodness – that was hard!
This was my third Christmas without my dad in my life. The first year I handled really well. Keeping up appearances. “It was the best thing for him to let go of life” etc. I did good.
The second year was not that “easy”, but I thought I made it through alright. It felt harder and I thought I’d make up for it by putting more presents underneath the tree. Maybe it would help. Boy, was I wrong!
Oh dear. Total emotional breakdown in the middle of cooking Christmas dinner. I had to run out of the home… So I took out the trash. Well, in more than one way. All through December I had heard my dad’s voice in my head so often it nearly made me deaf. The pain of remembering! I wanted to scream and run away. His voice might have brought comfort, if I wasn’t so keen on running away from it.
In the parking lot area of where we live, I let the tears run… Nobody and everybody could see me. The mail guy came on his little motorcycle with letters and postcard. He looked at me with such compassion but couldn’t do anything.
I had to get myself together… and made Christmas happen.
The one thing I want to get back to, is to celebrate the Christmas where tradition matters ZERO. They’re good to have, granted. But the main thing isn’t that. It’s JESUS!
And New Year is rapidly coming my way. New Year used to be champagne at midnight. That was life pre-marriage, pre-grey hair, pre-I-need-my-sleep-at-night, pre-wrinkles… You get the idea!
In Japan, New Year is January 1st and spending the day with family. We drink a special sake, so thick with sugar it screeches in the ear canals. The Buddhist bow before their ancestors in front of the family alter… I usually need the bathroom during that time or I shrink and blend into the background. Never knew I had “chameleon traits”…
Then we eat. The food is great – “Osechi” they call it. Well, some of it is tasty… Ahem. Some of these traditional Japanese dishes aren’t my favorites! It used to be the big cooking spree for the Japanese housewives, but these days the New Year dishes (can!) come ready made and packed from the supermarkets in Japanese, Chinese or Western styles… yeah.
Then we watch (those who can keep their eyes open) the annual “Ekiden” – relay run from Hakone to Tokyo. The TV is utterly boring but the atmosphere is good.
To the whole Blogosphere: I wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year 2018. May this be the year of love, joy and laughter – even through the tears. Because tradition matters ZERO ; And Jesus matters all!
Because only in the mess, will I be able to truly see the Lord’s hand at work.
Actually, please don’t leave me in the mess, because it’s the last place I want to be in!
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in circumstances and messes where this dilemma exists.
I love seeing how God works in my life. I really really really love it.
At the same time, I thoroughly dislike being in those situations.
Then, of course, an average person, preacher, pastor, sermon etc proclaims that if I didn’t sin, I wouldn’t be stuck in bad situations. While this may be true… I’m pretty sure Jesus found Himself in a few “bad situations” during His 3 years of ministry and He for sure did not sin!
So… May I just conclude, that even if I were entirely sinless (yeah, that’s not gonna happen!), the devil would just come at me with all the more force and all the more temptations and all the more… catch my drift? And eventually he would either win over my poor selfish soul or kill me in the process, so to speak. Either would work for him because seriously; the devil would truly slay your newborn baby if he could! The guy has no clue how to spell “mercy”, let alone show it.
Sure… God always provides a way out: Yes indeed the Lord does!
But that will inevitably mean you have to get stuck in messes sometimes…!?! So while we do have the power to not sin, we will. The way out of it goes along “the narrow road”, but there are some HUGE gates along that narrow road!
So please don’t leave me in the mess… LORD!
Because only in the darkness can we all truly see the light. Amen.
So instead of acting upon what can clearly be seen, like a friend or church member being ill, people regress into an indifferent state of mind; Telling themselves “She said she was fine. I must respect that, so I’ll leave her to her own devices, shrug my shoulders and tell myself “that’s what she wants”… Despite it being visibly crystal clear that the sick friend was not fine at all.
Don’t you know?
Haven’t you heard?– We make Yahweh smile by loving Him – and putting a smile on the faces of our family in the unity of His body – in our faith.Jesus loves us – and enough to give away of… so pass it on, shall we?
Illness and bad circumstances are no strangers to anyone I think… but I have seen several things lately that has thrown me off. One or two which I would actually have been willing to share but I would be breaking God’s rule of “don’t gossip” so I won’t.
In reality:– Does a friend cross the line if they help you, without asking permission first?– Is it inconvenient to have a meal hung on your doorknob?– Is it a bother if someone would say “I’ll come by Saturday and mow your lawn!”?
If there is a struggle between the willingness to act vs a fear of being disobedient, then perhaps we can remember Ruth when she obeyed Naomi and went to lay at the feet of Boaz… but what did Ruth actually do?
This post was sparked by my dear friend Joel and he brought up Ecclesiastes 7:16-18, because it talks about the extremes… I personally prefer to look up several translations before settling on one that, to me, will make most sense. In this case, I’d like to read the passage in The Message translation:
Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 MSG
So don’t knock yourself out being good, and don’t go overboard being wise. Believe me, you won’t get anything out of it. But don’t press your luck by being bad, either. And don’t be reckless. Why die needlessly? It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.