2015 was a very hard year for me and for my family, as many of you know. It began on January 6 when my dear friend and colleague Roy did not show up for an Epiphany service he and I were to lead together at Lindenwood. As it turned out he had fallen unconscious at home the day before due to a very aggressive infection. Heartbreakingly, he was not able to overcome the infection and he died a few weeks later; his absence loomed over many of the ministry events in 2015, as things he and I dreamed about happened, but he was not there to see them. Though I did not know him for all that long — just a few years — he was a dear friend and his huge personality has been sorely missed.
A series of other painful difficulties have mounted since then with family and work, not the least of which being my dad's stroke in May. Much of 2015 seemed like an ever more uphill battle in which the terrain just grew steeper as the year went on. While there may be no substantive difference between yesterday and today, it feels promising to turn over the page and start with the fresh canvas of a new year.
I'm praying all of you have a very happy New Year!
I remember growing up that every year I would wake up on the morning of December 26 and see that the neighbors next door had their Christmas tree lying next to the trashcan. I suppose by the time the festivities of Christmas Day had wrapped up they were so tired of the holiday season that they had to rush the tree outside either that night or early the next morning lest its smell pollute the house like old fish.
I can't say I ever really understood that.
I hope you have the happiest of 2015's! And, that any ideas you may have during the year will turn out just like those in this GE commercial. I'm excited about what this new year holds. Are you?
Happy Independence Day! If you are still looking for some fireworks to use for today, check out my 2010 post on St. Charles fireworks stands which mentions the details on my two long time favorite stands, one of which I've been shopping at since the early 2000's and one since it opened in 2007. Both have their own, interesting inventories of fireworks, a few of which have become family favorites that are must haves each year. Both offer massively better bang for your buck (pun intended) than the big chain stands. Here's a sample of new and old favorites:
- From Red Dragon: Lava Lamp, California Sunrise, Pacific Paradise, Funky Fountain, Havana Heat and 2 Cool.
- From Powder Monkey: Attack, Evil Stairs, Bees in a Thicket, Angry Alligators and Smoke and Mirrors.
Also consider some classics that have been around for decades and virtually all tents stock, such as Happy, Golden Silver Flowers/Flowering Peach, 96 Shot Colored Pearl, Cuckoo, and (naturally) long lasting mammoth smoke.
I hope everyone has a blast today!
To all of my friends in the blogosphere, I hope you have the merriest of Christmases. May Christmas Day be a joy for you as we reflect on the joy of Christ's coming and may the days beyond glow richly with that same good news.
As I reviewed my notes on Dr. Michael William's book, Far as the Curse is Found, for the office training class I'm co-teaching, I was struck by a helpfully stark statement Williams makes: “The future collides with the present in Christ.” As Christ ushers in the Kingdom of God, Christ himself represents the point of collision between the old and the new promised in “the Day of the Lord.” Likewise, Advent serves to point us to the wait for that in-breaking of God's kingdom and the Twelve Days of Christmas serve as a sort of “second wait” very much parallel to the world today: Christ has come, yet we await Christ's coming again.
Happy Twelfth Night! Tomorrow, the Magi find the Savior on Epiphany.
A very thoughtful post by Lindsey Crittenden on the Twelve Days of Christmas:
Not yet. Advent is all about waiting, about living into the not yet, and Christmas is about Emmanuel. God is with us. We are always waiting—for Christ to return, for peace, for good will, for those things we yearn for yet can’t quite, on our own, bring about.
Christmas lasts twelve days as an invitation to sit in this place with the God-made-man a bit longer. We’ll get it again—painfully so, of course, in Lent and Holy Week—but for now, let us rejoice for all twelve days.
I hope everyone had a happy New Year! I think a good resolution for the new year might be to get back to more of a regular posting frequency here on asisaid. There is something good about the discipline of regularly posting to a blog. Sometimes, the opportunity to quickly share things on Facebook has a tendency to lead me away from posting as regularly here, but really I ought to aim to post more here instead, since my blog posts appear on Facebook, anyway.
I sometimes wonder what will happen in five or ten years to all of the data so many of us have put on Facebook. Unlike data on sites we control, will it eventually just fade away? Given that increasingly important information is sent through the service, that could actually be quite unfortunate down the road.
Well this is it. The last post of 2012, the tenth year of asisaid. It is amazing how many things have changed in the last 120 months, some of which have been chronicled thoroughly on this blog and which faithful readers have journeyed along with me on. I'm looking forward to 2013 and the new challenges and discoveries that lie ahead. I wonder what all will occur in this first year after the end of the Mayan long count calendar?
This past year has presented many challenges, but also a bounty of joys. A year ago just 17 days from now was when the Missouri Presbytery approved my ordination and call to serve at Grace Presbyterian Church. Nine months ago, I was ordained into that call — which seems both like a split second ago and an eternity. Over the year, I had the privilege to officiate three weddings, and officiate the sacrament of baptism three times and the Lord's Supper eight times. A year ago last May, I completed my first year teaching at Lindenwood and first year of Ph.D. studies. It has been a fascinating year.
I'm very thankful for all of the ways God continues to bless me, with my wonderful family, wonderful friends, wonderful opportunities to serve in the church and a wonderful place to teach. I am looking forward to 2013.
A bit of Christmas poesy from Christina Rossetti that I was thinking about yesterday while updating my office hours sign at Lindenwood:
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.