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This time of year seems to bring out joy, wonder, sadness, mourning, inspiration, and anticipation more than any other. I have been reflecting over the recent 12 months as a new year approaches – a time of endings and new beginnings.
Among all the lights, festivities, and holiday preparation, I got a phone call that my cousin passed away. She was almost 16 years older than me, but a part of my growing years. She taught me to twist, was glamorous, my big tall older cousin with the big smile and ready laugh. We kept in touch on occasion – my last email from her after the Las Vegas massacre was “We’re fine – we weren’t near the Strip — you can’t go anywhere and feel safe anymore — it’s awful!!” Her sister tearfully called me, saying she was in the middle of life, groceries still on the counter. This time of year can be tough.
I remember a vivid thought that popped into my head unexpectedly, as I was shocked to read of a former co-worker’s passing in the paper and then started to dwell (too long) on thoughts of mortality…. The thought was “Life is for the living.” It was like God was whispering in my ear. I said it over and over. I was immediately reminded of Solomon – the wisest man who lost and gained everything. He said there was a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time for joy in Ecclesiastes 3. I read its timeless message and prayed for my cousin. I needn’t worry. God holds her in the palm of His hand.
Another Star Wars movie was just released – the reviews are in – it’s good, it’s not so good, the greatest movie sequel ever! Yet our president just acknowledged Jerusalem as the official capital of the state of Israel, a known fact to every Jew and most Christians since time began. We have a front-row seat to history being made in the Middle East, far more interesting than any movie.
This past week I’ve seen six shooting stars in the late night sky. As we drove into our neighborhood today, a baby doe stood silently in my neighbor’s front yard while the next-door neighbor hung more holiday lights, unaware. I went out with a cup of coffee early yesterday morning and saw two American bald eagles fly over our neighborhood. I saw them nest in the tall trees along the Choctawhatchee Bay here in Florida only one other time. A symbol of America to remind me – after a politically tumultuous year, our Republic is still intact, and life is all around.
Nature goes about winter quietly in December, while the world prepares for the biggest birthday bash ever known, so, polish the silver, bake the cookies, wrap the gifts, call your loved ones, decorate the house, sing the carols, eat too much, share the bounty, be content, pray and don’t worry, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” — Isaiah 9:6
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!