Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh Traditions...

My whole family is very content with spending the day hanging around the house doing things like watching movies, knitting, surfing the internet, and reading. I, however, go crazy after a few hours of this. Every Christmas we spend the day in our pajamas watching movies that we got for Christmas and playing around with the things we got that day. I respect the tradition and try my best to be happy about it but usually by about 2pm I start getting a little jittery and bored and eventually lose my mind. The rest of my family however is still happily enjoying their hermit ways. This year was worse. I love and adore chocolate covered coffee beans. So, my mom decided to be wonderful and put a whole bag of them in my stocking. How do you think that turned out? Take a girl who is already almost incapable of sitting still for longer than 25 minutes, throw in some chocolate covered coffee beans and other various sugary treats, and force her to stay home all day. Thankfully I had a little project I had to finish which kept me busy for a bit, and then we went for a 3 or 4 mile walk which helped a lot. Let's just say that the day after Christmas they can no longer force me to stay home, and I no longer have to wander aimlessly around the house hoping i'll find something to do.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and a time to reflect on who Christ is.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Heart the Old Testament

I'm done. Well, atleast until February. That feels good to say. No more homework, no more deadlines, no more giant projects and papers, and no more sitting in class for six weeks.

*insert happy dance*

Last night my sister Afton and I helped our sister Cate study for her Old Testament final which she was convinced she was going to fail. It was hilarious. Turns out Afton is really good at studying for tests, and I remember random things from my Old Testament survey class freshman year. Like the year that King Josiah died, and the three deportations of the Jews out of Jerusalem into exile. Useful information right? I also know both names for King Xerxes, the capital city of Persia during the time of Esther, and why Purim was started.

I think I remember all of these random facts because I loved my Old Testament class. Yes, it helps that I've also had other more specialized Old Testament classes and the Old Testament comes into play in pretty much all of my New Testament classes at some point as well, but I think it's mainly because of the love. The Old Testament is fascinating! Yes, some books are not so fascinating, but if you can get past Leviticus and Numbers you will get to the good stuff. The Old Testament is full of epic battle scenes, sojourners, love stories, good kings, bad kings, strong men and women who stand up for what Yahweh has told them is right, weak men and women, and women who use their tent pegs as weapons. It's also the story of redemption broken up into mini-redemptions. It is the story of the People of God, His gracious interaction with them, and His unrelenting desire for relationship with them. It is also the foundation of God's ultimate plan to reconcile all to Him. How could we not love it?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Christmas Miracle

Hi Friends, would you like to know what stands in between me and Christmasy freedom?

1 exam and 1 paper. That's it! yay!!! Just thought I would share that with you.

And now time for a story about a Christmas miracle.

Once upon a time, my friend Heidi and I loaded up her violin and my guitar and drove with my dad up to Forest Home Christian Camp. Awaiting us there was a recording studio and a wonderful guy named Ian who had offered to record my CD for free. We recorded six tracks in 8 hours and had a great time doing it. When we left Ian said, "i'll work on these rough tracks and send them to you in about 4 weeks!" I thought, "This is amazing! I've been working on this for so long and it will finally be done!" That was April.

Fast forward 8 weeks. It's been four weeks longer than Ian had promised and I have not heard a word from him. Even though I probably called him 20 times. About 6 weeks after that I find out that Ian no longer works at Forest Home and I am transferred to the new AV guy. New AV guy tells me, "Sure! I'll go look for your tracks and call you back." About another 4 or so weeks later I have heard nothing, and i've called him about 300 times.

Fast forward to last week. I call Forest Home again and get Jarell. He apologizes for everyone elses incompetence and says he will look for my tracks and call me back by early next week (i.e. this week). I thank him over and over, hang up the phone and think "Yeah. Sure. He'll call."

Tuesday evening at about 4:30pm I receive a call from Forest Home and it's Jarell!! He informs me that he has found my tracks and he is mailing the CD to me. I squeel with glee, tell him he's my new best friend, and hang up.

So. All this to say that a Christmas Miracle has happened and my CD is FINALLY going to be back in my hands. The odds are that it hasn't been touched since we recorded, but that's ok since I have friends who can make it sound wonderful.

Oh, and Forest Home is no longer dead to me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Strange Sacrifice

My project on forgiveness is finally finished. As much of a relief as that is, I still find myself thinking about what i've learned and what exactly it means to truly forgive from your heart. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit's help cause it is also even more clear to me that without it forgiveness would be impossible. Last night as I wrote my final reflection paper for the project I began to think about God's gracious act of forgiveness and I was struck by the beauty of it. In the ancient world forgiveness was attained through a sacrifice. The person offering the sacrifice was never the person who also offered the forgiveness. However, this is not the case with God. God Himself offered the sacrifice and the forgiveness on our behalf. For some reason I never fully connected just how strange this act would have been to the Jewish and Pagan world into which Christ came. They knew how the sacrificial system worked. This was weird.

Maybe this hits me harder now than ever before because of the time of year. It is the time of year that we as christians celebrate the first coming of Christ and we remember what that coming initiated. God sent His one and only son into this world as not only a little baby, but a poor one at that. He sent His son to atone for the sins that we committed. The Creator of the universe sacrificed to reestablish the relationship with His creatures that was broken in the garden. He was and is still justified in simply letting us go the way we chose, but in His grace and mercy He refuses to let us continue on in our ignorance and disobedience. In Christ we have the sacrifice for our sins and our only hope of forgiveness. It is a beautiful gift that we must not only receive but also continually remember and be thankful for. It is the gift of abundant and eternal life. It is the gift of forgiveness, the complete wiping away of all our transgressions. It is a sacrificial gift, and it is a gift that we cannot just receive and not give away again. Although we cannot completely wipe away another's sin, we can and must forgive them for any of their trespasses against us. This is one way in which we can reflect the image of the Almighty God during this Christmas season and through out the rest of our lives.

Merry Christmas to you all, I pray that this season is a source of joy and peace for you all as you rest in the knowledge that you are loved, forgiven, and that God Himself came to earth as a sacrifice for you.