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Archive - December, 2009

Holiday Gift Suggestions

christmas_tree

Oren Arnold, a writer and newspaperman, beautifully captured the sentiment of gift-giving at this time of year in the quote below :

“To your enemy, forgiveness.  To an opponent, tolerance.  To a friend, your heart.  To a customer, service.  To all, charity.  To every child, a good example.  To yourself, respect.”

There’s a sense of wonder in the air.  The anticipation is almost palpable as we count down the days.  And opportunities to invest in the lives of others await around every corner.

Which of these gifts are you giving this Christmas?

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The Pleasure of Being Known

Knowing

I know you

A week or so ago, Mary Graham and Sheila Walsh were tweeting.  It’s wonderful to see the Women of Faith ladies interact, as it’s clear they truly are family.  In one of her tweets, Mary was referencing an artist on the tour and said to Sheila, “One of life’s greatest pleasures is in being known.  And she Knows You.”  That phrase has stuck with me ever since, and I’ve been pondering why God planted that little nugget so tightly in my mind.  I didn’t understand it until this weekend.  God knew I’d need to chew on it a bit.

In a very unplanned twist to our day, we ended up at Davis Kidd bookstore on Saturday evening. As we wandered downstairs to visit the kids’ area, I noticed folks setting up for a live performance.  I paused as a man uncased a beautiful bass cello.  You could tell from the worn wood that it had been a well-loved instrument.  At that same time, someone began warming up, and I knew we’d be staying to see whoever was performing.  Music moves me.  All music, and not in a small way.  God knows that about me.  I think music is one of His very best gifts to us.

The event turned out to be a tribute to a woman named Ruth McGinnis.  She and her band had been regular performers at Davis Kidd (and many other places), and she had sadly passed away from ovarian cancer in October.  I hadn’t seen Ruth perform before, and it was only when her quiet, gentle-spirited younger sister, Erin McGinnis Long, shared that I began to catch a glimpse of who this amazing woman was.  It made her death more real, but also made the tribute that much richer.  Through Erin, I felt like I knew Ruth. 

Thinking back over these past two weeks, here’s what I keep coming back to:

  1. We all want to be known.  We want a mate, friends, and our family to “get” who we are and love us, warts and all.
  2. We want to know others.  To understand what makes others tick.  To know their joys and pains before a word is spoken.
  3. Being known and knowing others is such hard work.  To get past the superficial is hard.  It takes commitment.  And sometimes, it’s painful. Most of the time, though, it’s truly rewarding.

But I think more than anything, we have this insatiable hunger to know and be known by our maker.  There are days when I struggle with both.  But after those bad days, I wake up thanking God that He hasn’t given up.  That, as in Isaiah 46:19, our names are carved in the palm of His hands.

Who knows you best?  And what keeps others from knowing you more?

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Be The Change

change

You’ve seen that great quote from Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Lately, those words have begun to take on new meaning for me. 

I saw The Blind Side for the first time with friends.  I cried, laughed, and then cried some more.   Knowing that aside from a few choice words and one intense scene towards the end, the movie was safe for mature kids, I took my daughter.  As we were walking out of the theater afterwards, I choked up as I said to her “what an honor to have that kind of impact in someone’s life.”   It led to a great discussion on those things, big and small, we can do for others that make a noticeable difference.  The most powerful line in that movie, to me, was during lunch when one of Leigh Anne’s friends said” You’re changin’ that boys life.”  To which she replied “No, he’s changin’ mine.”

Here are some ways I think we can really Be The Change:

  1. Live Fearlessly-In Max Lucado’s book, Fearless, he asks this question: “How long has it been since “a fresh understanding of Christ buckled your knees and emptied your lungs? Since a glimpse of him left you speechless and breathless?”   When we are being agents of change, we get to be front row participants in these breathtaking moments.
  2. Give freely- We’ve made big changes this year about how we are “doing” Christmas.  We all have so much.  And there are too many who have nothing.  Choosing to not give gifts to family (or get them in return) and instead invest that in others has been a million times more rewarding than any gift-swapping I’ve ever done in the past.
  3. Love one another-This is challenging sometimes, isn’t it?  I have a hard time praying for the people who cause stress in my life.  And often, they are the ones who need it most.  But it seems that the best opportunities to help others appear when our hearts are unburdened by chaos.
  4. Listen-Sometimes God gives us a booming directive, but often it’s that still, small voice directing us to stop and help someone, donate to a new chairty, or take our lives in a completely new direction.  Only by listening–and acting–can we drastically affect the world around us.

In what other ways do you think we can live out a desire for change?

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