Thursday, December 20, 2012

When Darkness Shrouds Bring the Light

"I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark." John 1:46 The Message

Text messages poured in interrupting my holiday errands. Overloading the grocery belt with baking supplies and Christmas feast items, I glanced at the first note. It read, "Are you and the grand babies okay?"

An odd question from a friend, I thought, so I answered, "Yes, why?" Her reply stopped me cold.

"School shooting in Newtown. Kindergartners dead."

Before I could respond, my phone interrupted the cashier's question, "Any coupons?" Another friend texted, "Have you seen the news? I can't believe it! We were just there. Met all these families."

It felt surreal standing amongst Christmas shoppers, joyful greetings, blipping cash registers and questions like, "Any coupons?" knowing only an hour west, Evil ran rampant and darkness shrouded this community my friends and I spent time with in September.

After days of weeping, holding my own children and grandchildren physically close, God reminds me of words He spoke to me just a four days prior to this tragedy.

Darkness always tries to push back the Light, but it cannot distinguish it. Light is always stronger, always brighter, always reveals the Truth. Darkness hides, runs, disappears in the Light. Keep shining My Light.
And God gives me this idea: Words Heal.
Writers know this truth, don't we? God heals us through words whether we write them ourselves, read His Word, or read others' words. Words bring healing  as we rummage through pain and allow God's Holy Spirit to minister through recording it all. Somehow seeing is believing and seeing our thoughts through the written word becomes very therapeutic.
So, I take this thought and share it with an author-friend and God directs our conversation this way: "What if local, CT authors rally and freely offer their time and writing talents in conjunction with the school guidance department and grief counselors and facilitate writers' workshops, teaching the children (all ages) to journal through their grief?"
Light pierces the Darkness during this conversation. We can see it - how we can bring Light back into this town shrouded in Darkness; how we can push back the Darkness and reveal Truth.
The idea grows: seven local children's and young adult authors and I are in preliminary conversations with the Newtown guidance department to move forward once they settle back into school.
Will you help us push back the Darkness and bring God's healing and Light to Newtown?
While we wait for the details to iron out, we are collecting journals and asking all who donate to inscribe words of encouragement and healing on the inside cover to the child/student recipient. They don't have to be expensive or fancy. If God moves you to participate, please mail the journals to:
Words Heal
c/o Knee High Academy
43 Hall Avenue, 3rd floor
Wallingford, CT 06492
To keep up with our progress with the Newtown school guidance department as God moves us forward, please join us on Facebook at Words Heal.
May God be glorified as we watch His Light push back the darkness and witness His healing through words.
Shining His Light,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting Hope-Full

"Though you have not seen him you love him...believe him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy." 1Peter 1:8

Red and green stockings dangle empty below four red blocks, carefully centered upon my back-lit mantle. The Christmas story framed between two brass angels, nestled amongst these blocks that spell out H-O-P-E. Oh, how I need that reminder, today.

You too? Join me over at Christian Children's Authors blog and let's fill up with hope.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Un-plugged

Jesus spoke to all the people, saying, “I am the Light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will not walk in darkness. He will have the Light of Life.” John 8:12 NLV

Returning from morning worship, white Christmas window candles cut through the Sunday fog, beckoning family fireside.

Every corner glowed with winter scenes and perfect tree trimmed branches while simmering chili and hot, baked, golden-crusted bread teased our senses all afternoon.

The house warmed and filled and we lingered with one another - caught up on the week, watched grand babies immersed in imaginative play, and even enjoyed a bit of football. It wasn't anything special...and yet it was everything special.

Christmas unplugged.

No presents, no pressure, no skirmishing or deadlines. Simply worshipping the God who became man, born of a virgin, sacrificed all unto death, rose again and still lives - within us. He draws us together - family, friends and strangers - gives meaning to life on earth and fills our hearts to overflowing.

He - Jesus - who cuts through the fog,  illuminates every corner of our lives and beckons us home? He is Christmas.

Christmas unplugged.

Jesus comes, wrapped-up in the Father's extravagant love, offering abundant life and we need not wait 'til December 25th to experience Him. He's ours for the taking any day of the year.

He is Jesus and He is Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Waiting Together

"At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,  where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth." Luke 1:39-40

Holding an unbelievable secret, Mary ran for the hills--quite literally--seeking the only one sharing her inexplicable circumstance.

Who would believe she received a visit from an angel, let alone a personal word from God and most explosively, carried his son in her belly by some miraculous conception? Who could fathom God's choice in Mary, an engaged, Jewish peasant girl?

 Only Elizabeth.

 And so Mary ran; ran as fast as her pregnant legs could carry her to Elizabeth--the only woman who understood the great honor and the great horror of carrying God's Promise into a dark, confused world.

 I often imagine their relationship those three months--Elizabeth's relief to finally have a two-way conversation after six months living with mute Zechariah; Mary's doubts replaced as Elizabeth's undeniably swollen womb leaps for joy at her voice; Elizabeth's nurturing arms wrapped around Mary's retching body, feeding her unleavened bread and water until the nausea passed; their giggles watching Mary's tight, slender waist disappear under Christ-child bump--their hearts humbled knowing they carried fulfilled prophesies within--the second Elijah and God's Word made flesh--Immanuel.

Oh, can you imagine all the joys and fears and hope shared around Elizabeth's table? How wise for God to provide this companionship--this small community--to sustain one another physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Hasn't it been like that since Creation? God created man and woman to fulfill His desire for communion (with us and us with each other). We are meant to live in community--to share one another's burdens, joys, fears, accomplishments. But even more, we live to infuse God's hope and courage into one another's lives; to help tie the knots at the ends of our ropes and strengthen our hearts through God's word. We are God-flesh to others.

This Christmas, are you in need of some God-flesh wrapped around your shoulders? Pray God's provision for that person (s) who can wrap arms, speak encouragement, nourish starved, lonely hearts. Are you that God-flesh to someone in desperate need? Draw near and encourage that heart.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."  1Thessalonians 5:11

Lord, in the business of today, may we seek community--May we be your light, your arms, your love made flesh to those in need; not just the poor, but also the poor in spirit, the lonely, those in need of divine encouragement. Amen

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Did You Know God Ordained Kids to Praise?

"From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies to silence the foe and the avenger." Psalm 8:2

Children carry the spirit of truth. Ask anyone who spends significant amounts of time with little ones and they'll concur. As self-centered as children can be, they can sincerely size you up in five seconds flat. There's no faking it around them. If they're too timid to verbalize their opinions, give them a blank piece of paper and a marker and they'll show you exactly what they're thinking.

(Pssst! I'm over here at Encouragement Cafe today...please join me? )