Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012! · 365 Project

Happy New Year 2012! by Rondi Aastrup · 365 Project

I've decided to try the 365 Project of posting one photo each day of the year 2012 that captures the essence of the day.  My friend Christy succeeded in doing it every day of 2011 and she has inspired me to try.  Not only will it keep my eyes open for the little details that make up my life, it will get me writing on a daily basis again.  Both good things!

This photo was actually taken a couple of days ago when all but one of our family was together up at Second Wind (family cabin) in western Maine.  This cabin is the site of many, many family gatherings as well as other groups, large and small.  It's a place that brings peace just at the thought, and it's a place that brought us all together again after a year and a half of separation.  Last year and this year we were missing one of the brother-in-laws for one reason or another.  Last year, Martha photo-shopped the missing person in.  She has not had the chance to do that yet, so I will change this picture when she does.  Still, I thought it a fitting way to begin this project by reminding me of the thing most important to me:  family.  This time next year, we will have an additional face to add as there will be a wedding in the spring.  So...the group does the love.

Happy New Year to each and all!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a child on earth for me?

And is it true?  For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
the sweet ad silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent 
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No caroling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare--
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

These are the last three stanzas of John Betjeman's poem "Christmas."  I love them.  The rhetorical question, "And is it true?" is, of course, true.  The Maker of the stars and sea did indeed become a Child on earth for your and me...and lives today...not just in Bread and Wine, but in the hearts of each and all who believe.  Nothing that we know or understand can compare with that.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Some Children See Him

I was listening to one of my James Taylor Christmas albums on my way home from work yesterday.  It's a nice collection of songs an carols sung as only JT can sing them.  One of the carols is particularly interesting to's reminiscent of the old Sabbath School song:  "Jesus loves the little children--all the children of the world:  red and yellow, black, and white--all are precious in His sight.  Jesus loves the little children of the world."  The thing about this carol, though, is that it takes all the children of the world and talks about how they see Jesus, kind of reverse from the song:

Some children see Him lily white,
the baby Jesus born this night.
some children see Him lily white,
with tresses soft and fair.

Some children see Him bronzed and brown
The Lord of heav'n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
with dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
this Savior whom we kneel beside.
Some children see Him almond-eyed,
with skin of yellow hue.

Some children see Him dark as they
sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray.
some children see him dark as they,
and, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
will see the baby Jesus' face
like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
and filled with holy light.

O lay aside each earthly thing
and with thy heart as offering,
come worship now the infant King.
'Tis love that's born tonight!

Coming from a school where we had more than 50 countries represented between the staff and students, I can understand why some might think that Jesus sees us as we see Him, with His traits the same as ours, whatever they might be.  But truth is, He sees beyond our surface traits.  In fact, He covers our traits with His, so that in the end, He sees our face like His, sees His righteousness instead of our sinfulness.  'Tis love beyond compare that was born that night.  'Tis the most amazing gift!  I'm so glad that He sees us from His perspective instead of ours, aren't you?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Will Go

In our staff worship on Monday, our registrar shared a Steve Green song with us that had powerful meaning for her, but also for the rest of us gathered around the table.  Every day the principal and I meet to talk and pray together about the day and for our students and staff.  It's always nice when others come, but it's not often.  This week, the registrar has joined us.  The song she brought touched each of our hearts as each of us have left something or someone important to us to come where God has led us.  The principal's wife still lives in Texas because she is taking care of her elderly father there.  The registrar and her family left a stable situation in northern California and came to a very challenging situation here in Arizona.  I left all of my family on the east coast and came here where I knew no one and nothing about what I was getting into.  We all three believe God brought us here to Thunderbird, but it has not been easy.  The words to the song gave us all hope and courage for the journey:

Give me ears to hear Your Spirit
Give me feet to follow through
Give me hands to touch the hurting
And the faith to follow You.

Give me grace to be a servant
Give me mercy for the lost
Give me passion for your glory
Give me passion for the cross.

And I will go where there are no easy roads
Leave the comforts that I know
I will go and let this journey be my home.
I will go.
I will go.

I'll let go of my ambition
cut the roost that run too deep
I will learn to give away
What I cannot really keep.

Help me see with eyes of faith
Give me strength to run this race.

I will go, Lord, where Your glory is unknown.
I will live for You alone.
I will go because my life is not my own.
I will go.
I will go.
I will go.

~ Steve Green