Archive for December, 2012

This Christmas

Posted: December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Note: this will be the last post before Christmas. One may be published before the new year, however, that is not definite. But keep your eyes peeled.

Christmas

When I began to have serious complications with my right leg, which was the epicenter of my first diagnosis, I would catch myself staring at people. A strange, and somewhat disturbing notion, I agree, but nonetheless quit frequent. This was particularly true in my freshman year of college, just a year ago, where I was surrounded by hundreds of healthy, active young people. But the only thing I had in common was the young part. In fact, most of my spring semester was spent in a wheelchair. I finally came to the conclusion that, yes, I was a bit envious of everyone else. My friends would go on spontaneous walks in downtown Minneapolis but I would be left to forfeit. Or we would all go to an ice-skating rink, but I would have to remain seated on the cold, hard stone steps while watching my friends have a good time, fall down, and get back up and laugh. Falling down! What I would give just to be able to fall down without injuring myself, let alone being able to use my legs properly, or technically leg, due to the amputation.

And yes, while I watched all these activities from the sidelines, I could not help having the faint, innocent thought of, “Why can’t I do that? Do they even know how grateful I would be just to do that?” But I knew that if I let this thought fester in my mind, as it still makes an appearance even today, that it would consume me to the point of bitterness. And I do not want to be bitter. To allow that thought control would mean to become a single-minded fool, thinking nothing but myself and never looking at the many multitudes of blessings around me.

Which brings me to the point I want to make; this Christmas, be thankful. Sure, Thanksgiving the holiday has passed, but the season of thanksgiving should never be banished from our hearts. God doesn’t want you going through life writing down all the cons. Because if you do, the list will never have an end and you will not have any pros to notice because a selfish, self-centered heart will drive them all away. The Psalmist wrote about how we should be thankful, first and foremost:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.           -Psalm 100:4-5

These two verses are quite simple but ever true in explanation. God commands us to be thankful and to worship him. And the reasons given are simply because the Lord is a merciful and loving God, and his promises will never be dismissed. Even if we have absolutely nothing, we must still be thankful. Understand, we look at thanksgiving as counting the blessings we can touch, feel, or see. What do most people say they are thankful for? Their families, their home, their jobs, their friends. All things well and good, but simply because God is who he is we must be thankful.

So this Christmas, as we gather around a tree to unwrap gifts, or to travel to see family, or enjoy a Christmas Eve service, remember to be thankful. Because, guaranteed, there are  many others who are less fortunate than us. Many during this time will spend Christmas in a hospital, or find out some devastating news, maybe even gather with an empty seat at the table. So celebrate the coming of Christ and all that God has done for us! And bask in the numerous blessings he has given us. But also celebrate the simple things, too, like walking, for instance. God Bless and have a merry Christmas.

-Nick

In my room, hanging beside the window just above a desk, hangs a painting. Now, whether it is a real painting or not, I do not know, it could just be a simple, computer-made print out. As for the artist, if there is a real one, I do not know that either. But I do know that I enjoy this painting very much. It depicts a rocky coast, with waves crashing up against the boulders, ocean-spray being flung into the air. All the colors are very dark, deep blues. You can clearly see to the left the dismal openness of the ocean, with heavy, rain-filled clouds bearing down on it. There are even some scattered sea birds who probably got lost and are now stuck in this dreadful gale.

Sounds like a lovely picture, doesn’t it? No, not really. However, I didn’t describe what is in the middle of the painting. Up in the corner the clouds break and a strong shaft of light pierces through the storm and, it seems, where it hits the water, there is calm. Now, there is no sun, and you can just barely make out some sky, but it is there; the light.

I purchased this piece of art for cheap at a garage sale several years ago and ever since then I have never been able to take my eyes off of it. It is possible to draw up an appropriate metaphor because, to me at least, it screams to be explained in comparison to my own life; the hard waters, the troubles of life, the shaft of light, the hope in Jesus. I could go on.

Even though the eye is naturally drawn to the beam of light, I’ve come to a point in my relationship with the picture when sometimes, especially recently, I look first to the daunting sea and oppressive waves and to them, I just stare. I know I shouldn’t because to fixate on that instead of the light seems almost wrong.

The past few weeks have been rather difficult. And I can tell you that every fiber of my body wants to look to the sea, instead of looking to the sky. But I can say without a degree of difficulty that there will always be a beam of light waiting to shine down, a ray of hope to take you out of the despair if you trust and obey. Paul knew what it was like to be in despair, especially as he wrote in prison to the Christians in Rome. He said,

“We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has lured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given.”    -Romans 5:1-5

No matter how bleak the storm may seem, there is a hope. Hope in an everlasting peace, a peace that gives us what we need, even though our problems will not all but dissolve. But never forget this because it is easy to say when everything is peachy. Try saying it in the lowest valley. You may be surprised to find that you won’t spend that much time down there, after all. God bless.

-Nick