God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chistmas, Not this Year

Not celebrate?
Your burden is too great to bear?
Your loneliness is intensified during the season?
Your tears seem to have no end?
Not celebrate?
You should lead the celebration!
You should run through the streets
to ring the bells and sing the loudest!
You should fling the tinsel on the tree,
and open your house to your neighbors and call them in to dance!
For it is you above all others who know the joy of Advent.
It is unto you that a Savior is born this day.
One who comes to lift your burden from your shoulders,
One who comes to wipe the tears from your eyes.
You are not alone, for he is born this day to you.
Ann Weems, from Kneeling in Bethlehem

We turn this time of year to the celebration of Christmas - a time that for some is filled with wonder, excitement and happiness.  Children are a quiver for the arrival of Santa, cookies are being baked and carols are being sung.  Party invitations abound.  Yet, for some of us, it is difficult to celebrate Christmas to experience the joy.  You may find yourself alone without family and don’t feel like celebrating.  You may have a hard time celebrating because this is the time of year when those you loved passed away are unemployed, far from family, or worried about money.   

All of us have experienced a Christmas when it just seems to be too hard to be festive.  The first Christmas after Reed’s father and I separated, I had done all the right things.  We went to a Christmas tree farm, cut down our own tree, lugged it home and decorated.  We baked cookies and made fudge.  But it was two days before Christmas and Reed was on a plane to Arizona with his dad to visit his grandparents.  Sadness was just part of life.  On Christmas Eve, I sang with the choir for the family service; but after I got home it was hard, so I decided to attend the midnight candle light service.  I had never been before.  So there I was alone for my cousins and grandma had already headed to bed.  I got in the car and drove into town. I was feeling a little sorry for myself.  As the bell struck midnight, the service stopped and everyone began hugging each other to pass the peace and welcome in the new child.  The people who had welcomed Reed and I in were greeting me with love.  The hug from the pastor meant more than he will ever know.  The guitars started playing Joy to the world and I got it. 
I knew the joy of Christmas.   It was still hard, but God was with me.  As Barbara Brown Taylor has written, "The only condition for joy is the presence of God. Joy happens when God is present and people know it, which means that it can erupt in a depressed economy, in the middle of a war, in an intensive care waiting room."  The joy we find at Christmas is based on our experience that God is with us.  At Christmas we are meant to stop and remember that God is Emmanuel – God With Us.  Our church community can help us to rekindle our joy this Christmas.  When we sing of the glad tidings of comfort and joy, when we sing joy to the world, and sing Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.  These words we sing at Christmas give us the words we need to rekindle the joy in our hearts during the Christmas season.  These words help us to remember that God is with us always and forever.


  1. This is beautiful, Charlene. Thank you.

  2. Beautiful truth. Thanks, Charlene. X