Ministry – Reflection, Nov. 2012

Rain, clouds and the gnawing, damp cold of a mid-November morning were my welcome into the world today. I had to get up early to get my car in to Clarence’s Garage for a little tune up and headlight repair. Fortunately, Clarence’s is just down the road from our house, yet in this foul weather, my walk home felt like two or three times the distance it does on a clear sunny morning.
How we feel deeply impacts how we perceive the world around us, doesn’t it! On a beautiful day, the world seems like such a kind and welcoming place, and yet when inclement weather lays its burden upon us, the world can often seem, bleak, hopeless and even cruel. For most of us, it’s easy to sing in the sunshine, but singing in the rain, well, that’s pretty much Gene Kelly’s domain.
In 1 Chronicles 16:34 we hear these words: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His love endures forever.” I imagine most of us would have no problem giving thanks to God when our lives are filled with sunshine and good things, but how hard it is to utter words of thanksgiving and praise when we feel like we are living under a cloud and we’re sick, weary and weighed down by the burdens and cares of life.
My neighbour has a lovely pond out beside his house and he has a dozen or more ducks, of various breeds, that live in and around the pond. Some of these ducks are really rather beautiful with iridescent blues and greens on their backs and wings, while others are – shall we say, interesting, with rather odd colourings and heads that remind me more of turkeys than ducks. But I digress – on a beautiful day the ducks, as you might imagine, enjoy both the sunshine and shade in and around the pond, and yet when the skies are gray and the clouds have opened up, sometimes it’s as if they don’t even notice – the rain rolls off their backs and they carry on as if it wasn’t even there. Perhaps they know in their little duck hearts that there is more sunshine just around the corner, or perhaps they have just accepted that both sunshine and rain are a part of their lives, and so – they carry on with life.
Faith is the unseen power that can lift our hearts, that we may carry on through both the sunshine and showers of our lives – giving thanks to God, for he is indeed good and God’s love truly endures beyond the boundaries of time and space. A thankful heart recognizes God’s work, blessings, mercy, provision, forgiveness and grace as they touch, contour and mold our lives. A thankful heart nurtures within us an attitude that keeps us focused on all of the amazing and wonderful things that God has done, and is doing in our lives. It shows us hope filled new directions and possibilities and draws us away from wastingour valuable time and energy lamenting over the things and experiencesthat we believe we have deserved or that we perceive we may lack. A thankful heart is strong in faith and well prepared for the challenges we may face in our day to day lives.
By the time you are reading this, we will have entered into the Season of Advent, a time of thankful, expectant waiting – waiting as we both remember and look forward to the incarnation of God’s love in the person of God’s own son, Jesus Christ. This is a time when we are called to pause from all of the busyness of life, and to remember and give thanks for the power and wonder of God’s self-giving love, a love that was, and is, and is yet to be. It is a time when hope reigns, grace abounds and we are reminded that in God, all things are possible.
May this Advent and Christmas season be a time of many blessings, both given and received by thankful, grateful and giving hearts and may the love of Christ come to dwell more fully in your hearts, each and every day.

Blessings, Rev. Brian

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