Bless You!

I was an only child. Still am, if you want to get technical.

Because of that, I remember my Mom being wildly overprotective of me when I was growing up. I make frequent jokes about feeling like she wanted to cover me in bubble wrap whenever I went outside to ensure I didn’t get damaged.  That memory of being smothered (s-mothered?) was one of my main arguments for having more than one child when Sara and I started talking about our own family 15 years ago; I didn’t want my own child to feel as tethered as I did.

But when I think about it? I was allowed to do so many things I wouldn’t let my kids do now.  Or, I could do things freely that cause me now to hesitate and second-guess and worry about when it comes to my own brood.  I played football in second grade.  In fifth grade I would take off on my bike on Saturday morning (by myself) and ride all around my hometown (by myself), and not come home until dark.  Speaking of dark, in 7th grade, my friends and I would walk around the city after football games on Friday nights, not being due back home until midnight.

Would open-minded, free-spirited me let my kids do these three things? Begrudgingly, doubtful, and are you kidding me??

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Earlier this week, Laura Backman came to our house to film the final video for the Faith Five series that has been playing during the Children’s Message on Sundays for the past month. Step five is “bless.”  As in, after you share, read, talk, and pray, each family member is supposed to bless each other.   While our family is pretty adept at the “share” step (we have been regular high-and-low-ers for nearly two years), the blessing step is a new addition.  At first, I struggled.  What, exactly, do I say?  Also, what gives me the right to bless someone else in God’s name?  Finally I settled on “God be with you” while touching the head of each kid, although I reserve the right to change that to something more pithy in the future.

While I was pondering this whole blessing topic earlier this week, my mind shifted to the memories I shared above. While my parents did not explicitly bless me, I have no doubt that God was with me along those childhood journeys—accompanying me, keeping me safe, and always returning me home before curfew.  (Except for that one time, but let’s not talk about that right now.)

Similarly, I know that God is watching over my family as they go out into the world whether I perform my clunky blessing each night or not. However, that doesn’t make the act any less important.  For one, I think it is a great reminder for the kids to help them remember that God is with them throughout their days.  While they are still relatively early in their education, school can certainly make one feel separate and apart; I hope hearing that God walks with each of them gives them some solace.

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Just as important, though, is that the blessing reminds *me* that they are not walking alone. While I never won’t worry, ever since starting to do the nightly blessing I have felt more reassured that God is present in their day-to-day lives.  I know this won’t prevent them from ever hurting, but I am hopeful that it will make that hurt more tolerable.  (And, no, I still am not going to let them walk around on Friday nights until midnight.)

 

Dear God. Thank you for your abundant and undeserved blessings you give us.  Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit, who accompanies us throughout our days and reminds us of Your presence and grace.  Bless our families with peace and happiness and health.  Encourage us to bless others, to help us remember Your love for us. AMEN.

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A Story of Random Acts of Kindness

Soothing balm for the headlines in the news these days comes to us courtesy of six teenage boys in Colorado.  Some of our Advent activities have been centered around random acts of kindness.  Fill your heart with the story found at this link   A Random Act of Snow Shoveling Link.

Colorado shoveling

Share your stories of random acts of kindness.  As we share our stories, we encourage each other and fill each other’s hearts with the joy of the love that enfolds us during the Advent season.

 

December 4, Day Six of Week One – The Way of Peace though Hope

Luke 24: 36 – 40   “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”   They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?  Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”   When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

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We are Called   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luTgw96ZREA

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ReflectionWhat if we greeted people with, “Peace be with you,” instead of hello or goodbye?  What exactly would we be saying?  It is saying I wish you God’s peace, a peace that Jesus told the disciples was not just peace as the world gives.  It is more, much more.  It says I want you to be more than calm and tranquil because life’s realities are not always artful or gentle.  It says I wish you a peace that comes from God’s heart that will allow you to face the chaos, darkness and grief as well as the sweeter moments with resilience and hope.  It says I wish you a peace that brings you a calm strength when life’s harshest and warmest winds swirl around you, a depth of understanding and patience that brings out the grace in you no matter life’s twists and turns.   Isn’t that what you really wanted to say?

Action:  Choose three people today to say, “Peace be with you.”  It might be uncomfortable, but all good things start out challenging.  As you say the words, think of what you mean.  Let the meaning float through the air with your words.  You may get quizzical looks and you can choose whether to explain.  If saying it out loud is something that is completely uncomfortable, leave anonymous notes of “Peace be with you, “for three people. Peace be with you today.

Dear God, thank you for your peace, as it travels us through tough and treasured times.  Help us to remember to lean back into your peace and act with your grace and forego our human egotistical temptations.  Encourage our hearts to reach out to others and share your peace.  Remind us to not doubt that it is always within reach.  With peace, Amen.