Friday, December 11, 2015

The Distracted Light Man

I need a wake up call...a gentle, festive face refocus. Maybe more people than I do as well. The Deceiver is up to it again...His game of distraction! He'll do anything to keep our eyes off of Jesus. One of the things He likes to do most is get us focused on our niceness, our works, or our "people" rather than on our Saviour. It's a crafty trick, since Christmas is all about giving, helping, family, friends, strangers isn't it? Yes, it is...but not primarily. We are such creatures of indulgence and unbalance, that this season is a particularly easy one to distract us from the Truth and Joy. 

Remember the Nativity scene? It's all over facebook pages, now, for reasons other than the gospel. Humble Mary, Selfless Joseph, rejected, homeless and afraid? Even they would not want us to shine the David star light on them rather than the babe. Christmas pageants can quickly loose their meaning and purpose if the well intended light man gets his cues mixed up and spot lights the wrong characters and scenes.  Yes, it's true, we should be hospitable, to love the stranger and to give till it hurts, but the light is shining on the babe. Of course, I see the parallel of current affairs to the manger scene, but the light is shining on the babe. The's shining...on the babe. He is the center of the scene. All other people and issues are peripheral and should be kept there, because none other is deserving of the glory. The Nativity is being hijacked and we need to keep the focus...the Light on the babe. 

We throw around the "love" word so carelessly. Referring to making people feel good, Doing what is considered the "right" thing, when the world is obviously very confused about what that the point of war. We can't love each other without the babe, His Word and way. We've tried for centuries. Something close to love happens, for awhile, then it usually falls apart and makes a worse mess than before. The divorce rate, job dissatisfaction, substance abuse and ya, war, are kind of proof. No matter how many times history repeats itself, or how many Christmas pageants try to spotlight the babe, we still insist on focusing the light elsewhere. He IS love. Not the food banks, the wrapped gifts, the hugs and visits. By all means, love by giving, but love in the deserving order...

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself."
Matthew 22:37-39

If you had none of those wonderful things, you still would have true joy and that lasts much longer than December 25. There is no boxing day with Him. No post Christmas blues, no January depression and no countdown to the next magical moment. You can live supernaturally "happy", free from circumstantial dependence and smothering from the past. But you have to keep focus, refuse distraction to other good things and put your hope in that one unlikely and unimpressive as His circumstance was...He is Christmas

"It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them."
Ecclesiastes 7:18

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our Own Secret Annex

Caught between being a planner and an "in-the-moment" home educator. 
The security and tidiness of schedules gives my heart peace but the wow, the power punch and depth of teachable moments cannot be passed by. I tend to call is Spirit led education...when God guides and provides the learning, the curriculum, without much of my own effort. Often, it's just an experience to hook the knowledge onto...something to make it unforgettable.

November largely centers around Remembrance Day. We watch old war movies, attend the services and read about heroes. This year we've been into The Diary of Anne Frank. The kids really like it, a little to my surprise. Even with the reading challenge it is for them, with all her Dutch interjections and old, unfamiliar sayings. Upon getting to know Anne and playing the role of "Kitty", we are engaged in journaling for ourselves too. They've picked names for their friend notebook and tried to model Anne's ways. It was an honourable attempt, however, deep talks with Kitty turned into narratives about Pokeman and comic strip pictures of ball gowns. I guess that is ok too...just roll with it...teach proper letter writing and punctuation. 

Timely, is our upstairs home renovations, so our main living area will be out of commission for 2 weeks. We'll be cramped into a small spaced basement, with little light and make-shift cooking  appliances. I think this opportunity will help all of us understand a little better what Anne experienced in the Secret Annex. Maybe we can feel her frustration a little and become more grateful for our freedom, space and abundance of  resources. When the two weeks are over, we will ascend to the bright and fresh living...and intentionally remember that it never happened for Anne. Her end was far from the comfort and joy of ours. May this lesson make Christmas more meaningful and others focused.

I mostly appreciated Anne's honesty in regards to competing feelings of gratefulness and self-pity. On one hand, she felt unworthy to be safe in their hideout, and at the same time, angry that others get to live the way a young girl passionately desires. It was nice to share that with her and to be pushed toward the gratefulness again.Whether in war or in peace, inside, we battle the same flesh. The war He won for us by total sacrifice...comfort, family, honor and glory...He gave them all. 

Notice the moments, the opportunities, to really teach. Information is lost easily unless it is attached to an experience. The knowledge coupled with something to form a relationship with will last and create character. Follow His educational leadings and learn well.