This Question Might Help You Rejoice Today

During breakfast, my husband announces: “The tire man really helped me rejoice today!” 

I know that some flair is coming.

“What do you mean?” 

“Well, when I dropped off the car at the tire shop, I told the man how thankful I was that this flat tire happened in a parking lot and not out on the road in traffic.  I could change it safely in that lot and not on the side of the road.  But then guess what he asked me?”

“What?”

“‘Was it raining?’ And I said, ‘No it wasn’t!  It was the only hour all week that it wasn’t raining!’  I was so thankful when I remembered that.”

My husband remarks that the tire man simply asked the right question to help my husband rejoice in the midst of something inconvenient. 

Living with flair means I ask the right questions to realize all the ways God is indeed protecting and providing even in the midst of trouble. 

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Journal:  Was there a time in my life that God protected and provided for me even during trouble? 

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Who Thinks of Habakkuk?

This morning, I recall the prayer of the prophet Habakkuk.   I normally don’t think about Habakkuk on the walk to school (who would?), so I wonder if God’s trying to tell me something.  

When it’s dreary outside with fresh snow piled up (again) on the already barren landscape, I become fascinated by the gnarled vines, the black branches that make offerings of emptiness, and the frozen expressions of leaves trapped in ice.  Nothing moves.  Nothing dances here.

The vines encircle desperately like a snake coiling upon prey.  It’s nearly impossible not to give in to that icy invitation to admit defeat and surrender to winter melancholy. 

But then I remember how Habakkuk proclaims: 

“Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.” 
As I look up into the distance, I see that we are literally standing on the heights–on one of the highest hills in our neighborhood.  Up ahead, another hill (our mountain) delights us with that bit of snow.  
 
I realize I wanted to stay and snap pictures of the gnarled vines, the stark forest.  But I couldn’t.  Not today.  Not with the sun shining on us and Habakkuk’s prayer in my heart.  I look up from my circumstances–no matter how barren–and rejoice in a far greater view.  

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Journal:  In empty seasons, how can I rejoice in God?

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Why Are They Doing This?

Just as I tuck my daughters in bed last night, the doorbell rings.  My husband opens the door, and a gust of icy air enters.  We can feel it all the way up into the bedrooms.  Who would come by so late on such a cold evening?

Then, the singing starts.  I peek down the stairs, and a half moon of carolers stands on my front porch singing, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” and then, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

I hurry to nudge the children out of their warm beds.  We gather on the stairs and crane our necks to see the carolers.  Even the cats come to witness this event.

My youngest asks, “Mommy why are they doing this?”

“They are carolers caroling!” I tell her.

To carol means to sing a joyous religious song, and last night, we had a dozen carolers caroling.  It felt like we’d been visited for a special reason–like an unexpected celebration arrived at our home.  Each carol told a story, a narrative, about Christ’s birth or some celebration surrounding the Christmas season.

I suddenly want to teach my children all the old carols.  I want to transport them back in time to when folks honored the birth of Jesus with the kind of singing that went out through the towns and villages on Christmas Eve. They rejoiced with carols.  

I want to rejoice like that.  I want to broadcast that ecstatic joy–the kind that knocks on a stranger’s door in the cold night and sings out.

I love that Christmas carols remind me of something I’d forgotten:  I rejoice in Christmas.  I open wide the door of my home and heart and let the celebration in.

Photo: Bolas Navidenas — Kris de Curtis (Creative Commons)

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