Recalling Bygone Days While Traveling into a New Year…

When I remember bygone days, I think how evening follows morn…Ogden Nash

     2017 is fading ever so quickly into the category of “bygone days.”

     This soon-to-be-past year has been one of significant interior growth for me as I’ve focused on the matter of ‘soul care.’

     Early in 2018, I’ll summarize some of my insights from this year’s ‘soul care’ theme.

     I celebrated a landmark birthday in 2017. Since that third day in June, I’ve thought often of what my task-oriented father used to say to me when I was a child who dawdled—something I’m still prone to doing! “Come on, Susie, time’s a wasting!” Dad would say.

     The psalmist David reminds me similarly in his prayer:

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.” Psalm 39:4 (NLT)

     Yeah, time’s a wasting, I remind myself as I put last year’s calendar in the file cabinet and prepare to fill up blank days printed on pages of fresh months.

     I believe, however, because of last year’s focus on ‘soul care,’ I’m not feeling a sense of anxiety about wasting time or my “numbered days.”

     Instead of the impatient irritation I heard at times in my earthly father’s tone of voice, I’m perceiving my Heavenly Father’s voice is one of gentle invitation.

     Rather than discouragement I sometimes felt as a child, I’m feeling a sense of inspiration and reassurance.

     Sometimes my dad, who was a very fine and generous man but not a particularly patient person, became exasperated, telling his daughter, “I guess I just need to do it myself.”

     As the year comes to an end, God, whose very character is patience, whispers in a ‘still small voice,’ to this grown-up woman who sometimes still feels like an insecure little girl inside, “Come on, let’s do this together. I’ll never leave you as you walk through whatever future days are numbered in your journey. I’ll always come right alongside you.”

     Remembering 2017’s bygone days causes me to smile. The year was filled with an abundance of joyful moments. The Spirit opened my eyes of understanding in many arenas. I can say truthfully, 2017 was a year when many spiritual dots connected, and my soul uttered, “ah ha” more than once, as it grasped new realizations.

     In November, I felt the voice of The Spirit speak into my spirit with a theme for 2018. I’ve shared this only with my Spiritual Director, who was excited and recommended a 31-day devotional to begin the New Year. Amazon has delivered the book, and it waits on a shelf in anticipation of January 1st.

     I feel quite certain writing more will be part of my 2018 activities. I hope you’ll continue to travel with me so together we can discover how a never-changing God continues to lead and love us in this always-changing world through which we sojourn.

As you ponder your own 2017 bygone days, I’m asking God to bring new understanding and to bless your journey into 2018…

Sue Reeve

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O, Come, Emmanuel

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew 1:23 (KJV)

     I was asked one time, “What is your favorite name for Jesus?” My first thought was, what a great question, but, then, I was somewhat surprised at my response. Without hesitation, I answered, “Emmanuel.”

     Emmanuel (or in original Hebrew Immanuel) means ‘God with us.”

     I love the thought of God leaving Heaven to come to earth as Jesus, becoming fully human and showing us exactly what the character of God looks like.

     Perhaps, that’s why I’ve been thinking a lot this Christmas season of O, Come, O, Come Emmanuel, an ancient hymn of Advent sung more than 1200 years ago in European monasteries.

     On this Christmas day, 2017, I’d like to wish you a very Blessed Christmas, and leave you with the words to verses 1, 6 and 7 of O, Come, O, Come Emmanuel.

     I’m especially struck this Christmas Day with the hope expressed in verse 7:

O come, desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
And be Thyself our King of peace

     Many would say on Christmas Day 2017 that peace isn’t possible and that the heart of humankind is destined to become only more divisive. Perhaps that’s true. I hope not. My hope is for greater peace and for less division. This blessed holiday, my prayer is based on Hebrews 11:1:

Dear Lord,

     This Christmas day I ask for faith that’s sufficient…

          to discover the substance of the peace and lack of divisiveness I hope for.

               Help me perceive the evidence of that which I cannot currently see.

     Thank you for your willingness to become God with us and for granting us the privilege of joining generations of believers who’ve never lost the faith.

                    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel…

                          Amen

I hope your Christmas is filled with the good gifts of joy, hope and peace!!

Sue Reeve

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