Sunday, December 25th, 2011
“The stable stinks like all stables do. The stench of urine, dung, and sheep reeks pungently in the air. The ground is hard, the hay scarce. Cobwebs cling to the ceiling and a mouse scurries across the dirt floor. A more lowly place of birth could not exist.”
“He looks like anything but a king. His face is prunish and red. His cry, though strong and healthy, is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby. And he is absolutely dependent upon Mary for his well-being.”
“The omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable.”
“How absurd to think that such nobility would go to such poverty to share such a treasure with such thankless souls. But he did. In fact, the only thing more absurd than the gift is our stubborn unwillingness to receive it.”
– excerpts from “God Came Near” by Max Lucado
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
As I found at Easter, reflecting on the people who were there in the flesh can really make these holy days come alive.
Obviously, Mary is a big one at Christmas. But before Jesus was even conceived, she showed tremendous faith and acceptance of God’s plan. When an angel told her how she was going to fit into this miracle, “Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38)
She didn’t take the time to make a pro/con list. She said, “Ok.”
Sunday, September 11th, 2011
I have been thinking for two weeks about what I would write on this day. There are memorials to the fallen, remembrances of what we were doing that day, and gratitude to our military all around.
I am thankful today for the present. Instead of focusing on the past, or vowing what we will do in the future, I don’t want to forget the simple lesson that life is fleeting.
One of my favorite writers, Andree Seu of WORLD magazine, wrote recently about being fully alive in our everyday duties: “I had not been fully present in the task. My mind had been occupied in some hypothetical ‘important’ living that I wanted to do.”
We classify our days into good and bad, important and mundane. But 9/11 showed us that we never know when a routine day can turn into something historic – for better or for worse.
“Therefore, if these small things are the fabric of our days, and if we pass our days always focused on some imaginary future of ‘important’ things while grumbling through the chore at hand, then we are never living. We are always postponing living because we do not consider this present moment valid life.”
Monday, August 15th, 2011
News coverage of presidential candidates today was so frenzied, you’d think the election was tomorrow. Sigh.
Goodnight, Cain. Goodnight, Romney. Goodnight, Bachmann. Goodnight, Perry.
Goodnight, Man on the Street, who is already showing up in every news story.
I’ll be seeing you… for months to come.
Saturday, July 16th, 2011
I don’t have a great sense of spatial reasoning. It’s not my strong suit. So anyone who can design things in 3-D gets great appreciation from me. I visited Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello today, and that is an impressive place. Jefferson designed basically every aspect of the house, including innovations ahead of his time. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the unique rooms inside, which featured tall ceilings with skylights and beds hidden away in alcoves. One of his guest rooms was an octagon. My favorite was the tea room, which had large windows on the multi-sided wall. I have a new appreciation for Jefferson.
Saturday, June 11th, 2011
I watched the movie “Valkyrie” today, and my history-buff husband said yes, this is historically accurate. It’s a well-done movie, and it is amazing to think that these events actually happened – a German plot to assassinate Hitler (as the movie says, one of many such plots) during World War II. In our entertainment generation, a historically accurate movie is hard to come by, and such a fantastic way to learn history.
Not too long ago, we watched the movie “Agora,” which I did not enjoy… but afterward, we looked up the history and discovered it, too, was pretty darn accurate. It made it much more interesting when I learned the events actually happened.
Monday, May 23rd, 2011
I’m reading a book about Iran-contra. It’s not the best-written book, but it’s not the worst, and I’m reading it because I want to learn about the subject. I can do that because someone who witnessed history recorded it for the rest of us.
Sunday, April 24th, 2011
I wrote about Peter earlier this week. This Easter I’m thinking of particular songs that inspire me this time of year and how they refer to the individuals who were living and breathing at that first Easter.
Yesterday’s was from Caedmon’s Call: “It’s like the long Saturday between Your death and the rising day, when no one wrote a word – wondered, ‘Is this the end?’”
A fantastic line. How devastated the disciples must have been on that day. Can you imagine? It brings new humanity to the story.
Another favorite of mine is from Glad: “Mary, Mary, don’t you worry. Jesus is not dead. He’s opened wide the gates of Heaven, just as He said. …You haven’t been misled.”
This song describes the scene when Mary visited the tomb on Easter morning – how she wondered what could have happened, and how Jesus appeared and spoke her name. “And when she heard Him say her name like a thousand times before, she could hardly wait to tell the others, ‘I have seen the Lord!’”
From Saturday’s devastation to Sunday’s rejoicing. What faith it must have taken to get from one day to the next.
Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
The co-worker in the office next to mine is from Germany. She’s basically 100 percent German and 100 percent American. So she has no accent when she speaks English, but I overhear her conversing in German from time to time, which I find fascinating. I look forward to learning a lot from her about the country and the German way of life. Think of how uninteresting life would be if everyone were from the same place.
Monday, February 14th, 2011
Over the weekend, DD and I visited the Newseum. We were both journalism majors in college, so we enjoyed geeking out a bit. But this isn’t just a tribute to all things newsprint; it contains large amounts of history.
One of its most striking exhibits is on the Berlin Wall. Several sections from the wall are housed there, including one of the (extremely tall) guard towers. The exhibit tells the story of the Berlin Wall as it was reported, detailing the difficulties the media had in getting out information, but obviously the focus was the oppressive regime that kept its people walled in and shot anyone who tried to escape.
DD and I were alive when the wall came down. However, she overheard a teenager nearby asking, “What was the deal with the Berlin Wall?”
I’m thankful exhibits like this keep these examples fresh for new generations.