Sunday, December 02, 2012
I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.---Rick Warren
I was reminded of this Rick Warren quote after the weekend we just spent. The wife, the kid and I visited the in-laws. We crashed at their place Friday night. Saturday we drove out to the beach for a reflective retreat. We joined a small group for a time of prayer and celebration entering into Advent. As one member said it’s all about, “Location, location, location.” The church is located three-block between ocean harbor and sandy beach. It lends itself to quiet meditation, to stillness, like the glass smooth water calm in the harbor. The retreat ended with hugs and deepened connections to the group and with God.
Connecting on a different level all the girls in family at large got together to bake cookies whilst me and father-in-law went out for steak. My daughter was there as were the nieces and in-laws. Some in the group are going through significant trials; cancer and brokenness. In the midst it was enriching to see the family network opening arms to pray and sing, and share life with those walking the ‘bad’ in life.
It’s those connections that we give thanks for even as we struggle together with the hardships life throws at us. The conversations and the baking, the praying and the singing, the love, laughter and the hugging seem more meaningful against all the little and big trials we walk through. That’s what Advent is about as well. Christ gave up equality with God to make connection with us. Against that backdrop and the darkness of the world the love of a Saviour causes us to give thanks.