Lays His Glory By

Jesus and manger.jpg

We attended a local Christmas Eve service last night – thankfully, no bats in the sanctuary –  and sang “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. Not the first time we’ve sung it, and probably won’t be the last. You know the song:

Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn king…

Now you have the Charlie Brown Christmas version in your head, right? Admit it.

The team last night, either on purpose or by mistake, changed the words. The third verse says:

Hail the Heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! the herald angels sing:
“Glory to the newborn King!”

But we sang “mild he lays his glory by” for the second verse, too. It bothered me. Not just because the words were wrong, though for the life of me I couldn’t remember the right ones. Just an old Episcopalian here, folks, singing hymns and carols for most of her natural-born life. Anyway, then it hit me in the gut.

Mild he lays his glory by…

We don’t lay our glory by in any mild fashion. No. When we run the 100-yard dash in 6 flat, everyone knows. If we sing for the queen, Instagram lights up. If we get all As, it’s the biggest news since the moon landing. We celebrate our successes, and well. And that’s not all bad.

That wasn’t Jesus’ path. He let his deity rest in human flesh. It was enough. He didn’t strive. He didn’t self-promote. No paparazzi lined up for shots of the manger or the bewildered parents. He let his life unfold into being the King of kings and Lord of lords. It was enough to be humble and join us in our humanity.

Today, I am grateful. All 4 of us are home and soon the house will be filled with family and friends. It’s weird to be home on a Wednesday to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Not going to lie. But maybe Jesus was born in the middle of the week, too, awkward for everyone in the short-term. Yet what an eternal blessing to us all.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  – Isaiah 9:6

 

One Year

 

calendar pages ripping

(source)

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my job with Thurston County. It’s been a good ride so far. I started out in the prairie office, working on the jail expansion project. Didn’t have much work there, but the lovely break walks and quiet time were a balm to my soul. Now I’m in Central Services proper, in the bowels of Building 1. I’ve got a few projects to my name and loving it.

I’ve learned a few things in my 365 days…

  • Parking in the spleen lot, aka designated employee parking, is a 5-minute walk. Maybe longer with pouring rain, snow or ice thrown in. Plan accordingly. Bonus: Parking is free *and* paved. Holla!
  • I am a backup for the main phone line and the on-campus mail route to 3 buildings. Bonus: I know where to go to resolve parking tickets, obtain concealed carry permits and marriage licenses.
  • Early on, I took notes in meetings with the County Commissioners, department directors and elected officials. I know who most of the major players are. Bonus: I’ve gotten a good overview of upcoming issues and how things run here.
  • You can call in late, not just sick. Like one, two, or three hours late. No penalty or recriminations. Bonus: The phone messages get distributed to all of Central Services, so everyone is in the attendance line loop.
  • Food brings people together, well, to eat and generally hobnob. And if you bring in something delicious to share, it starts a chain reaction. You inspire others to bring in their homemade goodies, like beef jerky, pies, salsa, etc. It’s a win-win. Bonus: I won’t go hungry. Ever.
  • Bummer: I need to monitor my intake, or I could end up big as a house.

I am so grateful for my supervisor, project managers and co-workers. God has blessed me. Sometimes, blessings aren’t obvious right away. But they show themselves eventually, if we’re willing to wait in faith.

So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
    so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
    Blessed are those who wait for his help. – Isaiah 30:18

Comeback Trail

pine trees.jpgThis past weekend, we visited Long Beach to celebrate our anniversary. I took walks in the early morning. It was overcast, with some sunbreaks. The sky held bruised spots of dark clouds. A cool breeze blew in from the sea. Birds swooped and dove all around me. Crows held court atop the stubby pine trees, slightly above my eye level. Trees don’t grow very tall on Long Beach. Too much open area with no protection.

So two days ago, on Sunday, I started running again. It was also my birthday. My foot didn’t hurt too badly. I thought, why not? Time to fully move on from Wally, my sexy recovery sandal. At least, as a test run.

But I didn’t want to rush it. I decided on one minute on (running), one minute off (walking/stretching/strolling). Seemed to work well. I walked for 5 minutes before the two 10-minute sessions, as well as for awhile after. It felt so good to run again, just breathing and admiring God’s creation. I stretched and iced after, and put Wally back on for safety.

Today, I hit it again. I drove out of our local neighborhood war zone (see last week’s blog)to a paved street. This time, I left my orthotics at work by accident. No matter. I did the 10 minutes running/10 minutes walking consecutively, with no long break. The minutes of running passed quickly, so quickly I sometimes ran over into the walking minute by mistake. However, the walking minutes went by the quickest. I definitely felt the lack of orthotics, but the pain wasn’t horrible. I stretched when I needed to. I made it back to the car and drove home.

I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. This two months of walking only has tested me mightily. No, I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be. It’s a small step forward. I get to rediscover all the stages of learning to run. But I’m coming back.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Adventure is Out There

I’m 5 months out from leaving my job. I know it was the right decision, yet the pain of it has tortured me. I wished and prayed for a different outcome, over and over. It went a different way than I’d wished.

As I drove in this morning, under a sunrise that started out with a red sky and a few silver clouds, and moved to pink and then bright salmon, I thought about how I got here. I thanked God for the growth birthed of the most excruciating times. I thanked Him for leading me to this new position. Peace fills my heart as I drive in each morning. I know have a contribution to make. Many paths lie open to me now.

adventure is out there

It’s so easy to forget the most powerful, peaceful place for a Christian is at surrender. Thy will be done. My will subsumed into Christ’s, every day, all the time.  He doesn’t waste a thing. Want to have a more adventurous, exciting life? Submit your life to Jesus and let Him guide you. You may not understand or sometimes even like the journey, but I guarantee you won’t regret it.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:9

For Every Mountain

Happy Friday! I’m sitting here again, coffee and smoothie at my elbow. I’m thinking back over the last few months and I’m thankful for all God has done. Like the song says, “For every mountain…you brought me over….for every trial you’ve seen me through…for every blessing…Hallelujah! For this, I give you praise….”

minion-dance

Ah, here’s the song:

It’s not over yet. Still a lot of walking and some running to do. But He didn’t bring us out this far to to leave us. So, we press on. He holds us up.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

O Come

angels-and-sheep

I’m sitting here, drinking coffee and my blackberry smoothie. Ruby sits across from me, eating a cinnamon roll. This song rolls on:

It’s Advent Season now. Perfectly acceptable to blast the Christmas music. This particular version has no instruments, only voices. The haunting beauty of the melody has its roots in medieval times. Some think the stanzas date back to 800 A.D.

But we don’t need Jesus only during the Christmas season. He didn’t stay a baby forever, but grew up to be our Savior. We need Him every day, every hour. He still bids us to come to Him. In fact, God has been calling us back to Him since the Fall.

“Come now, let’s settle this,”
    says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
    I will make them as white as wool.” – Isaiah 1:18

“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink–even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk–it’s all free!” – Isaiah 55:1

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” –  Matthew 11:28

Once we receive Jesus and surrender to His cleansing and lordship, we’re in the Beloved. We have eternal life and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. We’re in the everlasting arms of the Father. Then it’s our turn to say, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. – Revelation 22:17

He’s still calling out. He still longs to be in fellowship with you. You have nothing to lose. It’s the perfect season to receive God’s greatest gift. Won’t you come to Him?

 

 

Living in Limbo

Not this. Although it looks fun.

I went outside this morning, hoping for light rain on my run. I got blessed. A watery half moon peered down as the trees dripped. No new precipitation. The leaves have fallen, so the streets and sidewalks held no slippery leaves. The streetlights glimmered on the wet pavement.

As I pounded up the hill, I considered all the things that we still have no decision on. The house hasn’t sold. We got a low-ball offer , asking us to pay closing costs as well, more than a week ago. When we countered with full price to account for the closing costs, they disappeared. Things at work still hover in the land of indecision. How will our department reorganize in the wake of staff changes and budget cuts? And the biggest question of all: Did I win the $320 million Powerball Jackpot?!

Probably not, since I never buy tickets.

Anyway.

I dislike limbo land. Immensely. I’m a yes or no person. I’m not a fan of indecisiveness. If I can’t decide on something, I usually default to no. So to me, waiting around feels like a negative answer. But my way of thinking isn’t God’s way of thinking.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

Okay. So what do I do in the meantime, when the answer doesn’t come in a timely fashion and I start to feel foolish for even believing? Did I even hear right, Lord? Or was that some bad pizza?

Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
 – Psalm 27:14

It’s never seemed courageous to me to wait for anything. My paradigm consists of practicing and working for things. But there’s a meekness to waiting, and a surrender. You’re not solving it yourself. You’re not chasing answers. David, who wrote Psalm 27, knew something about this as he waited to become king, and in the meantime, got hunted down by the existing King Saul. Several times, he had Saul in a vulnerable position and could have killed him. But he didn’t. He trusted God to bring it to pass.

So this season of waiting is not wasted. I’m learning patience. Not my strength, honestly. But I know Jesus walks with me, and I can keep doing what I know to do in the meantime.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31