It’s a week before Christmas.. well… almost anyways…the volume of people in the shops is a very big clue.. the Christmas music playing in every store… people frantically searching for the perfect presents for cousins once removed, or the distant aunt whom is only thought about cause her Christmas presents already arrived under the tree.
I love Christmas, don’t get me wrong. I love the lights, the thought of peace.. the tranquil spirit shown in every magazine and shop window…
However, as I sit here drinking a cup of tea I can’t help but remember that story about Jesus clearing out the temple because He disagrees with what His Fathers house should look like. Did He know 2000 years ago how commercialised Christmas has become and how the most important element to remember at Christmas is all but forgotten about? Am sure He is sad about that.
Jesus came to this world as a little baby, which we are privileged to remember at Christmas time. He did not stay a baby… he grew up and showed us unselfish love when He died on the cross… which we remember at Easter.
I wonder what would happen if we all slowed down and took the commercial aspects out of this period of the year. Would we truly have that Christmas atmosphere every song sings about?
I hope I will be better about it all this year… yes, am in a shopping mall, but I went to look at the fishes… they remind me about the verse in the Bible were it says ‘don’t worry about tomorrow’… I know those were birds.. but it’s winter, cold and the fishes were available to look at.
Colossians 3:17 New International Version (NIV)
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I had heard Jaime Jorge was giving a series of concerts in Minnesota… a quick check on his schedule gave me the idea to drive to Hutchinson MN to listen. It has snowed here, and it’s a little icy out.. but I really wanted to go. I set off early.
I arrived a little early, and waited a little in the car before venturing in the church. I have had the privilege to meet Jaime on a few occasions, and as we happened to walk into the building together we chatted a little.
His concert was centred around Christmas. The most beautiful renditions were played of some of the more well known Christmas carols… even though I loved it, it was not what grabbed me…
He started playing Silent Night… just on the violin, no back up track … and asked us to join in singing in the second verse. Maybe there were about 150 people there… and the beautiful sounds that raised from the audience accompanied by the violin moved me. The sprit of Christmas started for me right there.
Right after he played one of my favourite hymns… I surrender all… and he expressed how easy it is to play the song, but how difficult it is to live that out in life.. to surrender all. I can sympathise with that. I am a control freak, and surrendering is the opposite of control… it’s asking God to be in control. That will be my learning and struggle for eternity!
His witness and stories about his mission ‘healing music’ are worth listening to. You can hear he speaks from a living relationship with God. He lives out the words of Coll 3:17 I quoted above.
If you have an opportunity to hear him… do it! His schedule is on his website. (www.jaimejorge.com)
The long drive was worth it. My Sabbath is blessed already..
Quite a number of years ago there was a Dutch entry for the European Song Festival… the chorus had the sentence ‘een beetje van dit, een beetje van dat, een beetje zus, een beetje zo’… (English : a little bit of this, a little of that) Not sure why that song popped into my head but I guess it’s like that cause my thoughts are all messy…
My family is currently over the ocean, flying to Tobago to celebrate with the bride and groom there.. a wedding on the beach, how awesome is that! Sad I can’t join them, an experience I have to live through their eyes backed up by photos and FaceTime (what would we do without it).. meanwhile I am busy at work, currently in the US, which feels less like home now I am staying in hotels again..
Am sitting here in the Mall of America, eating an ice cream, listening to all the screaming from the people in the rides in the theme park in it.
Carefree they are, not burdened yet by all we as ‘responsible’ people deal with on a daily basis…
Jesus said ‘be as the kids, as they will inherit the Kingdom’
Maybe that is my topic of today… it does not matter where we all are, as long as we can enjoy and share together.. and be spontaneous and carefree as the kids are…
See, this and that… really nothing much…
The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind in the truest sense of the word…I have been to both the east and the west, and find myself once again in America.
Time sometimes goes so fast, you just want to grab it by the horns and say: ‘hey! Slow down!’
I so wish I could… grab the thing that I love, slow down time and speed it up when the times are a little more complex.
Life is not like that though… you have to take the good with the bad and make the best of it.
For that very reason I decided to tattoo a phrase on my foot to remind me of the most important thing in my life… ‘saved by grace’. He died for me so I can live eternally… I will have all the time in the world then… I can do all the things I long to do but can’t make the time for… hang with friends, work in the garden, knit and crochet, be with my family, enjoy the golden streets and my mansion He is preparing for me… I can’t wait!!!
My apartment is now almost empty, just the cleaning left to do. 3 more days and I am moving out. My year in America has come to an end. However, yesterday was my Sabbath day, so no cleaning involved. Instead I visited a local state treasure and historical side. It was open for the weekend, before it opens for the season in 2 weeks.
Fort Snelling is a fort build at the crossing between the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. A strategic point to be able to see what’s coming from both sides. In these days a pretty idillic spot, from days gone by. It was not always perceived like that though, as it’s also an area where the Native Americans were driven from their lands and send to another state. It’s Dakota land, and for some reason it resonates with me.
Maybe it’s because I am adopted and know very little about my birth family and sometimes feel myself like I am driven off my land. Or maybe it’s because I have felt a little lonely this past year, away from my family and friends. Or maybe it’s just the historical movies talking… over the last couple years my family and I have visited various of these historical areas, learning about the Dakota and other tribes ways of lives.
In today’s day and age, where everything is fast, often changing and hard to keep up with, their lives looked to have a simpler purpose. Gather food, gather families and enjoy the spiritual.
Back to Fort Snelling, a kind of open air museum, with few re-enactments scattered through the day. I had visited before, on an equally hot day, but still enjoyed seeing the living quarters, hearing about the story of Scott Dredd and seeing where they were gathering their foods, enjoying their lives. A fort is a military place, so learned that the soldiers came through this place till just after the Second World War. More recent than I would have thought.
Below a few snaps.
Now am looking forward to coming back to England, where the age of my house would be visited like a relic here in the US…
About a year ago, Melody and I took a cruise down a part of the St Croix river, from Taylors Falls. A beautiful trip, I blogged about it previously and posted pictures.
I wanted to recreate that feeling of peace I had then, after busy days of preparing for the movers arrival next Monday. So I booked a river cruise on another part of the St Croix river. This time from Stillwater.
The weather forecast was showing rain, but when I arrived there were very little clouds in the sky and it was beautifully sunny. I could pick my spot as I was early… top deck near the front. I missed my chatterbox daughter… but the instant peace of being on the water was there…
There is nothing more calming to me than the sound of the water, with beautiful birds up in the sky. Especially my favourite in this part of the world… the bald eagle. Such majestic soaring over the waters…
It always reminds me of the sermon Geert preaches often.. the song of Moses in Deuteronomy, where he compares the father Eagle to our Heavenly Father. Soaring, watching, feeding, and there to catch us when we fall. Seeing these eagles puts things in perspective. He is in control…
‘When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with You above the Storm. Father you are King over the flood, I will be still and know You are God…’
Enjoy the weekend, my soul is calm.
Yep, my favourite past time… crocheting takes my mind of lots of things. Anyone who knows me knows I can’t sit still.. I need to have something to do, something to not only keep my hands occupied, but something to take my mind of things. So hands race over the wool…
With my soon return to England, a lot of things need to be arranged.. simple things, like changing my phone plan, to more complex things like arranging the movers and applying for customs exemption…. my mind is racing, and so are my hands… I like straight forward patterns for this… something I do not need to keep my mind on… no complex patterns (unlike my daughter Melody does)… just straight forward and fast… counting till 7.
Blanket after blanket, with a scarf or two in between are getting finished… if you happen to receive one from me, yep… crocheted with a busy cluttered mind… if you did not receive one… it’s not personal… my stress period is not over yet… hahaha
“Crocheting keeps me from unraveling”
Am curious to know what your way is of stopping the mind from ‘unraveling’. Everyone copes in their own ways..there are no good or bad ways… but curious I am!
Another weekend is here. Am so glad the snow has finally given in to beautiful sunshine and is nearly gone. The lakes are still frozen but the scent of spring is in the air. Not long now and the trees will start to show their green leaves… hope the flowers start soon to bloom too. All in time for me to experience a last spring while living here in the USA.
Yes, the year in America is coming to an end. 5 weekends left before my home address goes back over the pond again… England, I have missed you!
But first… weekend! Sun, God, me-time..
What are your weekend plans? I hope your weekend will be peaceful with unexpected blessings!!!