24 December 2008

merry Christmas...

i just did my Bible study, and every Christmas Eve, i always read the part of Matthew 1 with the story of how Jesus came to come on this earth. it always surprises me what Christians assume about the Bible.

you know, when you think about it, really, why WOULDN'T joseph plan to divorce mary secretly? i mean, what in the world are the odds that a teenage girl engaged to be married to a man would be carrying the King of the Universe? i mean, think about it. billions of girls have been engaged to be married to billions of men. what are the odds that mary is the one to carry Jesus? i mean, i can imagine that every girl that ever lived always hoped that she would carry the King of the world, but who would have dared to expect that it would be her?

and why do we wonder why joseph was about to send mary away secretly? stories like these have become more like a mathematical equation we have come to expect rather than a story we have heard for the first time. how sad.

this week, i've been struggling with a relapse of my depression. i dealt with it a lot while i was at union, so i'm really afraid that things will just return to how they were when i go back january 4. i have to go, though. i have the ticket, i'm registered to attend... i just have to figure out classes and finances. and i remember reading one december post of matt hammitt's--it was so cool. i'm sure the words aren't exact, but i would love to memorize them soon. he says something to the effect of "Lord, the gift of Jesus will always be enough, but if i can ask for something more this Christmas..." matt goes on to ask for the gift of wonder, like he sees in his young daughter, emmy. not me, this year, though. this year, my prayer is "Lord, the gift of Jesus will always be enough, but if i can ask for something more this Christmas... Lord, give me the gift of joy." i've been praying this a lot this season, not because i lack it all the time, but because i have lacked it in my life, and i don't ever want to lose sight of it again. Jesus brings so much joy to my life, and i want to live that joy out throughout my whole life. i want Jesus' Christmas joy.

it's so amazing to me to imagine that the improbable happened to a girl who hoped but never thought her hope would come to fruition... hope came to a girl who always dreamed, but thought she was destined to be a dreamer. nothing else. when hope came to a world who only hoped and never believed, when hope saved the world... it wasn't this night. it wasn't the 24th of december, but this is the day we celebrate it. at least some of us do. and i just want to have the joy and hope this night that i know mary and joseph and the world received over two thousand years ago.

merry Christmas, everybody.

19 December 2008

this Christmas...

this Christmas has been interesting this year... my grandmother is in the hospital with cancer and pneumonia, my parents are really stressed, and i have been so busy with finishing up my semester in public school and working at taco bell and getting ready to return to my Christian college that this Christmas season has been different. and not in a good way.

i was told i couldn't say merry Christmas at work. every time i said it to a Christian, they just about blew my head off. then i had to explain to them that i went to work with this one girl, this other guy was my teacher in high school, and so on. SOOOOOOOOOOOO annoying. now i just say have a good day, because it makes me seethe inside to have to say happy holidays instead of merry Christmas. *sigh*. i still sometimes forget and say it anyway. i saw a lady with a pin that said "it's okay to say Merry Christmas," and i smiled. i wish i had a chance to tell her Merry Christmas.

this Christmas, i am learning more the "reason for the season". i always knew it was supposed to be Jesus, but it never really hit me here, deep in my heart. i've been learning about that. every year it becomes more important, and, this year, i think i would be okay if i didn't get any presents. sure, i really want that new purple iPod and a bunch of new books and that different version of the Bible that i don't have, and one of the sanctus real songs that i still don't have in my possession, but if i didn't get any of that... if i didn't get anything material, if my family didn't celebrate Christmas... i don't think i would pass out. i've been thinking about Jesus a lot. about how beautiful was His love when He came to sacrifice Himself for me, and what it must have been like to be Mary or Joseph. i like that. that i am seeing this season the way Jesus wants me to see it, whether or not this was when Jesus came to this earth.

the past two days i worked, there was this family that came in to taco bell. every time i see them come in, i'm excited to take their order, because they're deaf. the father has a cochlear implant, so he can talk a little, but the wife and children don't talk at all. it's so interesting to watch them use asl as they eat. they can talk with their mouths full! (haha, lame joke, but it was an interesting observation when i made it!) but it's always been a dream of mine to meet and talk to someone who is deaf... (i really want the conversation to be in asl, but for now, i will have to deal with this.) so what does this have to do with Christmas? i am not sure, actually. i guess it just teaches me to have more of a servant's heart. i realize i treat them with more love than a lot of people i serve.

tonight i made some pretty cool ornaments while i watched "the inn of the sixth happiness" (about gladys aylward) for family worship. i'm pretty stoked about that. i'm gonna collect them so i can use them on my Christmas tree when i don't live with my parents anymore. :)


that's about all i have to say right now. Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (cuz i can say it here!)

till the next time,

08 December 2008

i need africa more than africa needs me...

i know i've talked about mocha club a couple times on this blog, but this time i want to talk about them a little bit longer. they started this, well, i guess it's a campaign, using the slogan "i need africa more than africa needs me," and, as soon as i heard it, i was so psyched to get involved with it. it's taken me a while to get to the place where i can blog about it, but i'm finally here.

i need africa more than africa needs me. i really do mean that, with all of my heart. there is a breathless desire, a RAW NEED to change the world. if i lived my whole life and just went to school and went to work and got married and had a family and walked around this world, day in and day out, never doing anything to make life here more bearable and hopeful on this earth, then i think i would die. i had all these dreams about changing the world for years now, and i haven't had a clue how to change the world, to build hope, to cause more laughter and more smiles. but then, when i went to the sanctus real concert a couple months ago in september, sammy a. was telling us all about how we could LITERALLY CHANGE THE WORLD!!!!!!!!! not figuratively or in a small way, but to save people's lives. that was amazing to me. so i got behind mocha club. but that is not the only reason i need africa.

when i see africa in the news or in movies or tv shows like 24 redemption and some of the episodes of ER, it reminds me of people. people who have hurt and cried and died and that need my help. God has granted me gifts for a reason, and seeing these people reminds me to love. wherever i am. because all people want to be loved.

you can get involved, too... it's only seven dollars a month, and how much is that? not very much at all! you aren't giving up very much... just two mochas a month, or going to the movies a time or two a month, or maybe a book, or eating out instead of packing a lunch... that's all it takes. and you're saving lives. if you join mocha club, you'll get a pretty cool tee-shirt for free, too. think about it. pray about it. and do it. please.

When I think of Africa, the following images immediately come to mind: Starvation. AIDS. Child soldiers. Genocide. Sex slaves. Orphans. From there, my thoughts naturally turn to how I can help, how I can make a difference. “I am needed here,” I think. “They have so little, and I have so much.” It’s true, there are great tragedies playing out in Africa everyday. There is often a level of suffering here that is unimaginable until you have seen it, and even then it is difficult to believe. But what is even harder is reconciling the challenges that many Africans face with the joy I see in the people. It’s a joy that comes from somewhere I cannot fathom, not within the framework that has been my life to this day. [read more]