This year, I just want it to stop. Talk of Covid, protests, looting, brutality. I don’t know about you but sometimes, I lose my way. Could this ‘new normal’ be my real life?
Recently, I met an 87 year old man who talked about living through polio, diphtheria, Vietnam protests and, yet, seems to be enchanted with life.
He seemed surprised when I said that 2020 must have been especially challenging for him. ‘No,’ he responded slowly, looking me straight in the eyes. ‘I learned a long time ago to not see the world through the printed headlines. I see the world through the people that surround me. I see the world with the realization that we love big. Therefore, I just choose to write my own headlines … “HUSBAND LOVES WIFE TODAY” … “FAMILY DROPS EVERYTHING TO COME TO GRANDMA’S BEDSIDE”. He patted my hand. “OLD MAN MAKES NEW FRIEND.” And, I smiled.
I saw you stand bravely through the years
And saw no sign of senseless fears
I saw you stand quietly through the stress
And saw no glimpse of bitterness
I saw you prayerfully in grief
And saw no sign of unbelief
though you spoke well of Jesus Christ
I caught your faith by watching your life.
Though difficult to see, God’s goodness is present in our most challenging life experiences.
We received some heartfelt comments this Christmas season:
These crosses are so special. Concordia’s ladies’ group has been assembling Blessing Bags for Christmas (containing various items such as hats, gloves, and personal items) to be given to those in need who come to the food ministry. The Food Ministry will be adding your beautiful crosses to each bag.
Karen, Concordia Food Ministry ~ Stafford, VA
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Thanks for the thoughts in your well written Christmas newsletter message. I commend you for your work, having some of your crosses still being seen in South Sudan where several years ago we distributed them to Sunday school students. The church in South Sudan, which we helped form is called the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan. It is a growing church with 150 congregations and 140,000 members. They have had a very difficult year with the virus, flooding and the plague of locusts. Our prayers for them and the persecuted church around the world are needed and the message of the cross is the foundation of their hope and ours. A blessed Christmas.
Rev. Robert Rahn, Lutheran Heritage Foundation ~ Macomb, MI
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Sending God’s Blessings and all my Hugs to All for a Healthy 2021! I have enjoyed giving out the Crosses, and seeing a sad face become a happy face!
Dar ~ MN
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We praise God for you all! Thank you so much!
Mary ~ OK
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I am so grateful for your crosses which have given me a ready way to witness and of helping to turn people’s hearts up to the Lord. Everytime I go to the store, I usually hand out 2-3 and sometimes wish I had more.
Joy ~ MN
And, this interesting note also from Joy:
In our neighborhood, neighbors bring cookies, etc. to each other. One neighbor brought a tin to us with a cross on it. She said, “You gave this to me and I’ve passed it around. It’s come back to me and I’m giving it back to you. This is what it says “Pass It On”. I was bringing a plate of cookies at that time so I taped it on her plate and kept it going.
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And, these folks blessed others with the cross during the month of December:
Carol ~ NV
Hearts of Heaven Ministries ~ Waterloo, NY
Heartwood Senior Living ~ Crosby, MN
Pablo ~ TX
Jeanne ~ MI
Christelle ~ WI
Diane ~ AZ
Tom ~ CA
Omaha Baptist Church ~ Unionville, MO
St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK
Joy ~ MN
Stephen ~ MO
We are inspired by brave warriors who stand up for justice, such as firefighters who run into buildings when everyone else is running out. Heroes don’t do what they do for recognition, credit or fame. They do it because they can take something wrong in the world and set it right again.
Isn’t it interesting that when we read these stories, we don’t consider ourselves in the same category? Maybe we’re asking some of the right questions, though:
God, how do You want to use me?
What are my gifts, and who are they for?
Then God presents opportunities for us to take the answers to those questions and put them into action.
As we start this new year, I come to You. Now more than ever before, I am pleading for Your continued guidance. I want so desperately for my thoughts, words and actions to be representative of You before they reach others. I want to act as Your servant at every possible opportunity given me so others will see Your love and goodness reflected through me. But, with all the anger, aggression and confusion surrounding us all right now, I fear I’m falling short. Today, I am on my knees, asking You to please show me, again, how to live genuinely; show me, again, how to love genuinely. Help me to put prioritizing the building of Your Kingdom above everything else so I can live faithfully and fully in the light of eternity. I ask this in Jesus name.