Advent Thoughts: 11.30.15 The People Walking in Darkness Have Seen A Great Light #advent

Isaiah 9:2

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
I really don't know historically what happened between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament.
It seems like a very dark time.
God seemed to have a presence in the people of Israel throughout the Old Testament.
But the presence went away for over 400 years.
And the people were patient.  They waited for the Messiah.
I think of advent as this dark time.  The days not only are getting shorter and darker, but I look at Advent as a time of darkness that wait for the great light.
As the verse in Isaiah says, the people walking in darkness have seen a great light.  Those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
People are afraid of the dark.  Dark makes them uneasy.  People are relieved when light comes into a dark room.  We often don't know all that is going on in the dark.  It can be scary.
But the light brings about clarity.  The light shines on the darkness.   It often brings comfort.
That is what I am hoping this Advent season.  That the areas of my life that are dark, and scary and uncomfortable become illuminated by the Light of the World. 
I find comfort in God's light.
I find peace in God's light.
I find joy in God's light.
God's light often illumines things in my life that make me uncomfortable, but that is only for my good, to make me more loving and more lovable. 
And gives me the ability to love others as well.
We all have darkness within.  I like God's plan on how to deal with the darkness.
Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
In this world of darkness and fear, God tells us that He is our light and salvation, and whom shall we fear? 
This is what I believe. 
Therefore, as I walk through whatever darkness comes into my life, I need not fear.
And I find much comfort in this reality.


Advent Thoughts: 11.29.15 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel #advent

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Emmanuel.  God With Us. 
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  Matthew 1:23
I love this Christmas song.  It helps my heart prepare for Emmanuel.  God With Us.  Why wouldn't I want Emmanuel, God With Us? 
I am like Israel in this song. 
I have been ransomed.  I was taken out of lonely exile. 
I have been freed from Satan's tyranny.  I have victory o'er the grave.
The gloomy clouds of night have been dispersed.  Death's dark shadow's have been put to flight.
Our heavenly home has been opened wide.  The way that leads on high has been made safe.  The path to misery has been closed.
Thou Lord of might has come, the same who in ancient times gave the Law in cloud, and majesty and awe.
The Lord of all creation is with us!!
We have relationship with Emmanuel.  God With Us.
He has come into this dark, lonely world, and brought the Light.
He daily comes into my dark, lonely world, and brings me His Light.
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word, meaning "coming".
This year, I want to be purposeful in my heart preparation throughout the Christmas season.  I hope to write a little bit each day as I prepare my heart for the celebration of the Birth of Jesus.  Emmanuel.  God With Us.
"The Lord kept his promise to send a Savior, the Righteous Branch of David's house."  Jeremiah 33: 14-16
I have been saved by Emmanuel. God With Us.


Sibling Assignment 2015.20: I Don't Remember Fall Colors #3Siblings

When I thought up this sibling assignment, I realized my fall memory is pretty boring.  It is actually more of an observation than a memory.

The thing that came to my mind when I thought of fall growing up, compared to now, is the lack of fall colors.

My assignment to my siblings this time was: 

"Write about a memory or memories of the autumn season growing up in Kellogg, sometime before you graduated from Kellogg High School."

My sister wrote a nice memory of her second grade teacher here, and my brother wrote about fantasy sports in his youth here.

We had two maple trees in our front yard.  I never remember them turning beautiful colors in the fall.  My memory is they turned brown, curled up, and fell off the tree.

I never remember Kellogg as having much beauty in the autumn season.

Not like now.

Now the maples turn red and yellow and orange, full of vibrant colors.

The aspen on the hillsides turn yellow, a contrast to their evergreen neighbors.

The burning bushes turn a vivid red.

I don't remember this spectacular array of colors from the foliage in my youth.

This was a new thing.

This was a result of the pollution stopping.

This was a result of people planting beautiful kinds of trees and plants and shrubs throughout our valley that cause the beautiful colors.

I am not saying there were not fall colors in Kellogg growing up.

I just don't remember any.

Here is a photo of Kellogg this fall. (Photo cred to sister Christy).

That is not the memory of what the Kellogg of my youth looked like during the autumnal season.  In my mind, these colors did not exist.


Sibling Assignment 2015.19: Memories of Montana #3Siblings

Our recent Sibling Assignment was given to us by Christy.  It was simple.

Memories of Montana.

Christy's wrote about her Montana memories here, and Bill wrote about his here.

This was not an easy task, because I have a lot of Montana memories.  I moved to Montana in 1985 to work at my first job as a college graduate.  I was the Director of Admissions and Public Relations at Dawson Community College in Glendive, Montana.

I also lived the first four years of my married life in Montana.

I had my first baby in Montana.

But this past weekend, I attended a football game in Caldwell, Idaho, where the College of Idaho Yotes played the Montana Western Bulldogs, and this reminded me of a very fond memory from Montana involving Paul.

When Paul and I started dating, I was a student at the University of Idaho in Moscow, and he attended what was then called Western Montana College in Dillon, Montana.  I was a member of the University of Idaho marching band, and the band would often travel to different locations.  This fall we made a trip to either Idaho Falls or Pocatello, Idaho to play at a football game.  Since Dillon was relatively close to both of these towns, Paul borrowed a friend's car and came and met me at the football game.  This was on a Saturday night.  We drove to Dillon after the game, and I stayed the night at his friend Marcia's apartment.

I spent the day with him in Dillon, then he drove me back to Moscow.  The drive from Dillon to Moscow was about a 7 hour drive.  On the way to Moscow, we talked and Paul sang to me some songs from his childhood.  One was called "By Rocket to the Moon", and the other was "The Animal Grocery Store".

I think this moment of him singing these childhood songs to me helped me fall in love with him.

Here is what "By Rocket to the Moon" sounds like:

And here are the lyrics to Animal Supermarket.

We arrived in Moscow at the Tri-Delt house, and my best friend Carolyn had made a poster welcoming Paul that she put on the balcony of the front of the house.

Paul dropped me off in Moscow, got out and stretched a bit, then got back in the car and drove back to Dillon.  With his window rolled down most of the 7 hour drive to stay awake.  (Ah, the things we do when we are young, crazy and in love).

But things haven't changed much.  We still sing goofy songs to each other.  Now it just happens to be on a stage in front of an audience. 

I guess we were meant to be.