God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Good morning. It is Friday, December 5, 2014. Welcome to the Friday PTO edition! Only 20 more days . . .

Did you know that there are studies that show that listening to music while eating makes the food taste better? Makes sense. Music makes everything better, doesn’t it?

Today is Salesperson Day. I surprised myself by picking this one out of six other choices, one of which was Bathtub Party Day (seriously?? I don’t think so). But the salesperson, especially during this season of the year, hardly gets a day off, and don’t you know everyone is just yelling at them all day long about something or other? So have a care for the salesperson, and treat them, well, like you would want to be treated.

Yesterday was an okay day. Work was fine, but I had a “shadow,” all day, which I really don’t like. We got a new employee on Monday, and he has been just watching people all week, and yesterday was my turn. I got nothing against him, personally, he’s a great guy. I just don’t like having that shadow all day. He also has no access to anything, which means he has to be escorted everywhere. It’s not horrible, just a slight inconvenience, and it’s not his fault.

Christi had her Huddle meeting last night, which went okay. I guess it might be a good thing that we have segregated Huddles, this time. There is a lot more openness and transparency when spouses aren’t around, which can make for some tremendous ministry. But it can also tend to distract from the main purpose of the Huddle group, so the leaders have to do a good job of keeping on point.

Today, as referenced above, I am on PTO (Paid Time Off). I really wish that we could roll over our vacation time. I would rather not have to just take random days off at the end of the year, just because I’m going to lose the PTO time if I don’t take it. Don’t get me wrong . . . I would always rather be at home than at work. But I’m taking PTO days for no reason, other than to not lose the PTO. Seems useless to me. I am, however, planning to go have lunch with my favorite person in the world, in a little while. That’s my wife, Christi, in case you didn’t figure that out. 🙂 Stephanie may or may not go. You never know with her. But we love her dearly, anyway.

Any other plans today? Not really. I will probably put up some laundry, maybe practice trombone, maybe play WoW . . . I don’t know.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

It was on this date that Father Louis Hennepin, while visiting Niagara Falls, drew “the first known sketch of the awe-inspiring landmark.”
niagara falls louis hennepin

Today’s birthdays include Walt Disney, Frankie Muniz, Kali Rocha, Little Richard, Amy Acker, Martin Van Buren, George Armstrong Custer, John Rzeznik, Margaret Cho, Andy Kim, Nick Stahl, JJ Cale, Jim Messina, Fritz Lang, Sonny Boy Williamson, Alvy Moore, and Jim Plunkett.

Amy Acker is an actress, born on this date in 1976, in Dallas, TX. She has appeared in many of Joss Whedon’s projects, but the character I love her most as, is Fred/Illyria, in Angel. Here is a clip from the episode where Fred dies and Illyria “awakens.”


(From The Divine Hours)

First Week of Advent

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Psalm 66:5
Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,

Psalm 17:7-8
Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.

Psalm 118:25-26 (The word for “save us” is “Hosanna!”)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8
The Cry of the Church
Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Marana tha!)
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Almighty God, give all of us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the
armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came
to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his
glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today’s Gospel Reading

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:14-20

At first, Jesus’s words seem harsh. “O faithless and twisted generation . . .” My question at this point is, who was Jesus speaking to? He seems to have been speaking to the father, not the disciples. Note that the disciples seemed surprised and disappointed that they could not accomplish the healing. Did this happen so that they would realize that they are, indeed, powerless without Christ’s presence in their lives? Were they overly dependent on their own “power,” which truly is not their own, at all? In Mark’s telling of this event, the nine disciples (for three of them had been on the mount with Christ, during the Transfiguration) were arguing with the Scribes over their inability to heal the boy. Afterwards, the disciples came to Jesus in private, wondering why they were unable to cast out the demon. The first thing he said to them was, “Because of your little faith.” Is he speaking here of “little” as in “not a lot?” Or is he speaking of “little” as in “young, immature?” Frankly, I’m not sure. Once again, he uses the simile of a mustard seed in comparison with faith that can move mountains.

Reflections for Ragamuffins
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A People of Hope.”

Brennan Manning wrote these words in a private journal: “Jesus Christmases in us whenever people come home to themselves in our presence, and when they feel a little less hopeful and joyful because we are absent.”

We who call ourselves Christians are (or should be) people of hope. Others should be able to “find in us a source of strength and joy.” If we are not, all of our professions of faith and creeds are “academic, tentative, and hopeless as the alcoholic who promises, ‘I’ll quit tomorrow.'”

These are challenging words, but truthful. We should be people of joy, people of hope and strength. This doesn’t mean that we always present a face of having it all together, because we most certainly don’t. But it is in those times of not having it all together, the times when our lives appear to be turning upside down, that we can present the strongest face of hope to the world. Not because we know all the answers, but because we know the One who DOES! whatever the circumstance, Jesus will get me through it. Therein lies my hope and strength!

and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

Father, may your people be people of hope, strength, and joy, not just during this season, but especially during this season, when people all around the world experience an epic amount of depression and lack of hope. May we be the beacon that is needed, not simply to draw people to you, although that should be one of our primary purposes, but also simply to let people know that there is hope, and that all is not lost. Just as in yesterday’s song choice at the end of my blog, all is well. Heaven is coming to earth, and has already appeared in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the one in whom our hope is founded. He is the one who knows all the answers that we do not. He is the reason that we can have joy, even in the darkest of times. He is the reason that we do not despair when our circumstances go haywire. I pray that we can present this truth to the world around us, in a manner that is reasonable. I pray that we would spend more time showing the hope and joy to the world than chastising them for not saying “Merry Christmas.”

I pray for this day, Lord, that Christi would have a good work day. I pray for safe travel as I go to have lunch with her in a little while, and that we would have a joyous time during this rare opportunity. I pray, as always, that you would show Stephanie your great love for her.

May your grace shine brightly during this joyful Christmas season.

May we be people of hope this Christmas, for those who would be hopeless.

Grace and peace, friends.


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