Friday, January 25, 2013

Colorado Christmas 2012

Reflecting . . .

Knocked down, bowled over, gang tackled, amazed . . . and all the other descriptions we use to capture that circumstance or event that leaves us wondering, “What just happened?” Or, “Didn’t see that one coming!” Just recently, I received an email from a friend of Cedarly Pastors Retreat, telling us of his (and his church’s) decision to give Cedarly a significant sum of money to help pay for a long-desired project. I was stunned, completely caught off guard by the generosity, the amazing grace displayed. Even now, I’m still reduced to tears thinking about it.

Since then, as I’ve reflected on that gift, as well as the trajectory of the past year, I’m chagrinned to admit there have been more than a few other events and circumstances that probably should have had a similar impact but somehow didn’t, and I wonder why? Just not paying attention?

As the pictures show, our family is growing up rapidly, we’re blessed to enjoy great times together, we’re healthy, we love Jesus and seek to represent Him faithfully, we have fresh opportunities to minister, serve, and the list goes on and on.

Even in difficulty, we’ve seen God’s grace. This past September, while on a sailing vacation around Door County (Wisconsin) on the north end of Lake Michigan, in haste I misread a sailing chart and ran the boat aground on submerged rocks. It was perhaps the most unnerving, terrifying few minutes we’ve had in a long time. Could we recover? Would the boat sink? Did Nancy break something in her foot in the confusion of the moment? Thankfully, the boat didn’t sink, we did sail it back home, but Nancy did dislocate three toes!

As this past Christmas season rolled around, we had full plates, planning a trip to Colorado, with all the attendant fun activities – skiing (and ski lessons for some), dog-sledding, a sleigh ride, tubing, and lots of good food. Somehow, the amazing, stunning, reality of the incarnation, God Himself enfleshed in humanity, living a real human existence, so that He could pay the ultimate price for our redemption; that reality got over-shadowed by all the other good things. I’m resolved in 2013 to be more attentive to God’s grace, to see and understand more of His purposes, and to be more grateful. As Ben Patterson wrote in He Has Made Me Glad, when you understand more about grace, you’ll be more grateful, and when you’re more grateful, you’ll be more joyful. May your 2013 be filled with “much joy” too! Jesus said, “I have come that your joy might be full. . .”

                                                                                                       Andy (for both of us)