Thursday, December 11, 2014

Advent and a poem

We are having a special Advent chapel next week at school. I get a little crazy excited about Advent. Our wreath is maybe  my favorite thing to unpack when the decorations are hauled out. I force my family to endure a weekly Advent devotion and sign up to light the candles and do the readings at church because I LOVE ME SOME ADVENT. It kind of summarizes everything about my personality....anxiously awaiting something awesome, but not really quiet waiting. The kind of waiting where you count down the hours and mark the minutes. It's an active waiting. Pacing, watching out the window, wringing your hands, celebrating your anxiousness...all that's okay in Advent! Yay!

Anywhoooo, our principal asked for teacher participation in the special Advent chapel. Normally, I'd be all, "Ooooh, oooh, pick me!!!" except that what teachers traditionally do is sing or play an instrument or do something else cool and musical. I was probably sitting in the corner for talking when the music talent got passed out. I don't have even a dribble of it. I can do lots of things really well: cook, crochet, nap, plan stuff...but none of those things translate really well on the stage. 

So, I wrote a poem. It's probably terrible. You are my friends. Don't tell me if it is terrible. Just pretend like you didn't see it and smile at me anyway. I'm going to share it with the students next week. They, like you, are used to my special brand of crazy, and most of them just give me that "Bless her heart" look and go right on. I love them for that. 

Here is my poem...enjoy (or pretend that you do...I'm okay with that!)

A Poem for Advent
by Elly Gilbert

A circle of candles, wreathed in green
Mark the days in anticipation.

Light one for hope-
We found it first in a promise fulfilled, tiny and innocent, in a manger in Bethlehem.
We remain steadfast in that hope
Waiting, trusting, expecting His return.

Light one for peace-
We rest in it, turning from evil, seeking reconciliation.
We let our feet be guided in peace’s path,
Praying, practicing, preaching its gospel.

Light one for joy-
We shout it loud, all the Earth sings it!
We let our wailing be turned to dancing, change our sackcloth for joy,
Praising, radiating, bearing its fruit.

Light one for love-
We share it with our neighbors, our enemies, the least of these.
We are loved by the One who is love
Unending, unfailing, unmerited favor to us.

Light one for Christ.
The Light. The Holy One.
Son of God, fully human and divine.
The promise fulfilled, the reason for our hope, joy, peace
Love embodied, broken, emptied

Light the candles, study the flickering flame.
Then, just like that,
Extinguish them!

In the quiet, dark stillness
The smoke swirls and evaporates.
But the Light of the world,
The Light that shines in darkness,
The Light of life,
It remains!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Words from a wimp: Prayer

For quite a while now, I have felt this urging to improve my prayer life. As a result, I took a few tangible steps to help me move in the right direction. I began participating in the intercessory prayer ministry at my church. I constructed a prayer journal.  I have read a number of books about prayer and I'm currently in TWO Bible/Book studies about prayer- Approaching God by Steve Brown and Before Amen by Max Lucado, which begins with the author declaring that he is a "recovering prayer wimp." Max. A giant in the Christian world. If he thinks he is wimpy, then what am I? Queen of All Wimps!

As I'm drawing closer to Christ, one big thing strikes me: none of all that stuff- the studies, the books, the journal- is necessary. All that is needed is for me to COME TO HIM. The Bible provides us with very specific yet very simple  instructions from Jesus Himself about how to do prayer, and as it turns out, a wimp can do just fine following His instructions.

So, I'm practicing following those instructions. I pray the Lord's Prayer. Sometimes I put it into my own words and fill in my needs and the needs of others, but sometimes I just repeat it as is. Sometimes I'm more elaborate, but sometimes my prayers just consist of a single word or phrase repeated over and over. "You are good." "Help me Father." "Thank you, Lord."

And guess what? It's enough. Just bringing myself to His throne, sitting in his presence, letting my heart be open, stilling my self. It's enough.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I guess I gave up blogging...

I could make a million excuses as to why my blog has been silent for so long. However, it really boils down to one thing: I had lost the desire to write anything for public consumption.

Well, aren't you glad to know that I've got my mojo back? Seriously, back when I was blogging regularly, I felt a burning desire that I know God placed in my heart to share my thoughts, struggles, insights, and, well, my life. Then, it went away. The words were still there, floating around in disjointed clusters in my brain. The struggles were CERTAINLY there. I just couldn't get it all together in a way that made any sense. I have a dozen draft blog entries that I started but lacked the oomph to complete.

For the past few weeks, I've felt that stirring again. That prompting to put my thoughts out there for others to see. Several times, I have experienced a strong leading to write. Finally, I'm getting to it.

Now, I don't have anything big or profound to say today. Just wanted to tune up my old blog and get it ready for whatever God has in mind for me to say.

Are you ready? I am!