Building and Crushing

We used to build these, only to crush them a few weeks later.
I think this one's from 2010—so long since I huddled 
with my school-age sons around this edible architecture project.

The traditional house smashing on New Year's Eve was always hard for me, 
although the guys could hardly wait for that part. 
Children have less trouble letting go than adults, I think.

What will we build in 2017? 
How much of our work will be crushed and swept into the garbage?
What will survive to nourish and bring good pleasure to those around us? 

Please join me to prayerfully consider what will be built in 2017, 
in our lives and in the lives of those we love.

To ponder - Psalm 127:1
Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.


An Unexpected Gift

We took our tribe of guys, their friends, and some older family members out 
on a gray, blustery day to see a Christmas program

The auditorium was packed full, and the seats we finally claimed were on the extreme right 
edge of the stage. By the time we finished shuffling our elders to the better seats, 
I had no view of the set at the back of the stage at all, but a decent view of the stage itself. 
Circumstances were not ideal, if you get my drift. 

The house lights went down, the play began, and my heart was tossed right into a hurricane.
The music, the props, the movement ... I was swept, unanchored, into the drama of the incarnation.
My neighbors to the left and right—unaffected.
Those in the rows around me rustled and shuffled as you would expect, but I was 
bolted in my seat, blanketed by a downy heaviness, the very last thing I 
expected to experience. 

I'm not unfamiliar with what happened. 
In the old-time church circles of my youth, they'd say, 
"The Holy Ghost was strong in the house today!"

I came away refreshed and almost raw, with a newly circumcised heart
a precious Christmas gift from my heavenly Father. 

Have you ever had a similar experience? 
I'd love to hear about it.


Quite a Trick

The Christmas tree is up and trimmed. 
It's our tradition to slug all the holiday containers down from the attic, order 
Chinese food, and decorate the tree and house in one evening
with It's Wonderful Life playing in the background.
My family's favorite part of this might be the egg rolls.
But this year, I sensed an undertone that surprised me. 
Turns out I wasn't the only one to figure out that this is our last holiday like all those 
that came before. I knew it, of course—our Oldest is on the brink of buying a home of 
his own, our Second is getting married in the spring, and our Youngest is off to college 
next fall. Yes, for sure, next Christmas will be very different. 
And it seemed that each of us paused for just a moment and nodded to that fact.

One of the tricks of parenting adults and almost-adults, I think, must be 
to spend more time anticipating what's to come than clinging to what's passed by
Not an easy trick, my friends, especially with a bellyful of shrimp lo mein.