You can’t be merry by yourself.
Sure, you can be content, happy, possibly even delirious. But merriment requires a group, and that group is almost always a group you can see and touch, one that’s sharing the same molecules of air, face to face.
The digital revolution continues to get deeper, wider and more important. But it has made no progress at all at increasing merriment. That’s up to us.
Our respect for people who serve for years on foreign soil and then re-integrate back to Canada is increasing rapidly. We had “the best” day with Stu and Lyn and their middle son Joey last Sunday. Went to church at the Penticton Vineyard with them in the morning, and then over to their place for lunch and the afternoon. They served in Brazil for 5 years, and have now been home for 6. They told us only this year are they really feeling like they are getting the rhythm of life here and they are starting to feel at home again in their church. It is quite a journey, moving from one country to another.
“Do you miss Brazil?”
“Only every day.”
Way to go, Stu and Lyn, for your faithfulness, perseverance and friendship. May God continue to bless you and your growing family in ways that surprise and amaze you!
This reminds me of some verses from Hebrews, Chapter 11.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Bella, Emma and I hiked to the top of some cliffs upcountry. There were deer everywhere, and breathtaking beauty. It was dark with no moon by the time we got down the narrow cliff trails. We made a small fire and roasted some marshmallows and thawed out a bit. Pretty fun.
Travelled upcountry to Okanagan Falls last week.
What a beautiful area of apple orchards, vineyards and desert mountains.
The area has abundant wildlife. We saw swans, geese, eagles, quail and lots of deer. One morning there were 10 deer just outside our window.
Psalm 19:1-4 MSG
1-2 God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.
3-4 Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.
4-5 God makes a huge dome
for the sun—a superdome!
The morning sun’s a new husband
leaping from his honeymoon bed,
The daybreaking sun an athlete
racing to the tape.
I trust all is well and you are looking forward to some extra special time with people you love, and maybe some people who need your love. In Esther there is a story of temporal deliverance and how the people celebrated.
He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy. Esther 9:22 NLT
How much greater is God’s gift of eternal deliverance through Jesus?
FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
Look around you for a sign of God’s presence. When you find it, share it with someone.
Here are the last two of our Christmas Paintings for 2011.
We prepare this week by feeling the joy. We move through this week feeling a part of the waiting world that rejoices because our longing has prepared us to believe the reign of God is close at hand. And so we consciously ask:
Prepare our hearts
and remove the sadness
that hinders us from feeling
the joy and hope
which his presence
Each morning this week, in that brief moment we are becoming accustomed to, we want to light a third inner candle. Three candles, going from expectation, to longing, to joy. They represent our inner preparation, or inner perspective. In this world of “conflict and division,” “greed and lust for power,” we begin each day this week with a sense of liberating joy. Perhaps we can pause, breathe deeply and say,
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
I copied this reflection on “joy” for this week’s meditation from Online Ministries .
Here are three more of our set of nine 2011 Christmas paintings. RGB
Phil and Jen Snell are raising up a support team so they can be missionaries in Brazil.
This week they were interviewed on national television, here in Canada.
Here is the first part of their 14 minute interview.
Here is a photo of Jen and Monica, studying Portuguese.
Here is part two of Phil and Jen’s interview.
Here is a photo of their son Lucas and Ivanildo and Monica’s son, Marcos.