Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Thanksgiving

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone at our house.  I think this one will go down in the books as one of the most unusual.  It was unusual because this year, both of my children are married, and their spouses were with us for dinner.  That was especially joyous, since their work schedules usually make it impossible for all of us be together at once. 

I generally insist on having Thanksgiving dinner around 1 pm.  This allows time to play games in the afternoon and eat turkey sandwiches later on. But the pie baking got delayed (my fault!), which caused the turkey roasting to be delayed (no, we don’t deep fry turkey at our house, thank you!).  We had to juggle oven times to get all the side-dishes properly cooked.  My new daughter-in-law shared her grandmother’s sweet potato casserole and macaroni & cheese recipes, but an error in the cookbook resulted in several phone calls and a longer-than-expected cooking time.  Of course, a fussy grandbaby only added to the general confusion.  Just as frustrations were beginning to build, in walked our son-in-law — off work earlier than expected and able to join us for dinner — a wonderful surprise.  The meal was hours later than intended, but as I looked around the table  at my family I realized all these delays were for a good reason. 

Yes, the turkey was tender, the gravy was tasty, the stuffing — which included sausage — was interesting, the sweet potato casserole and macaroni &  cheese were yummy.  The pie crust was appropriatly flaky.  But as long as we were all together, it wouldn’t have mattered if we were eating pizza or peanut butter sandwiches.

I know all too well that even on Thanksgiving, many families deal with issues far more serious than an ill-timed dinner.  Past hurts, broken relationships, missing family members, health and economic problems can all combine to create deep sadness, or explosive interactions.  Others face the holiday alone, hoping for the generosity of strangers to fill the void.

I don’t know what future Thanksgiving dinners will be like at our house.  It may be a while before all of our feet are under the same table together.  At some point, I’ll no longer be the kitchen manager, but hopefully I’ll still be able to put together a decent pumpkin pie.  No matter the circumstances, I hope I can always find a reason to be thankful, and rejoice in God’s blessings of family and love.

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what he has done.  sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.”  Psalm 105: 1-2 (NIV)

Copyright 2011 Mary E. Egidio

A Second Look

Okay, I have to admit it.  I cheated on my driver’s license test last month.  There.  Now I feel much better.  Except I hope my friend the police officer isn’t reading this.

Actually, I cheated on the eye exam.  You see, when I put my eyes up to the machine, I was instructed to read the letters on the third line.  I saw three rectangles in a row, but  the first rectangle was empty!  I could see letters only in rectangles two and three.  Never fear, I knew exactly what to do (this is where the cheating comes in).  I closed my right eye, and letters magically appeared in rectangle number one.  After I read those letters aloud, I simply opened my right eye and closed my left, and read the rest of the letters.  In the busy DMV office, no one even noticed.

Fact is, I’m able to see pretty well out of both eyes, just not at the same time!  (see Body Parts) Friends who know this about me get a little nervous when I’m driving, since depth perception isn’t my strong suit, but hey, I’ve got a great driving record.  If you don’t count that red light in April … but I digress.

A man in the Bible was having some trouble with his vision, too.  He was a servant of the prophet Elisha.  One morning this guy woke up to discover the hills were alive – but not with the sound of music!  Instead, an army with horses and chariots, sent to eliminate his boss, surrounded the city.  He ran off to deliver the bad news, but soon learned he needed to take a second look:

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (Our friend had to be thinking –‘So, exactly how many imaginary friends do you have?’)

And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.”  Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  2 Kings 6:16-17 (NIV)

When he took a second look, with a different pair of eyes, he discovered the true picture.  Phfew!  What a relief.  God was in control.  Nothing to worry about here.

Like my eye test, and Elisha’s servant, sometimes I miss it on the first glance.  It’s too easy to focus on the circumstances and the problems, and forget to take a second look with God’s eternal view in mind.  When it seems like the odds are overwhelming, I have to remember the God who created the stars is on my side.  It’s a huge relief when I finally see the real picture and realize God is in control.

You may not see Him yet.  But, trust me, He’s there.  Look again.

Copyright 2011 — Mary E. Egidio  Permission is granted to share this work, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.

Dressed to Be Blessed

I have a ‘vacation shirt’.  It’s a black sleeveless polo that is as thin and soft as a well-worn hanky.  Most of the year, it lives quietly tucked away in my dresser drawer.  But my family knows I’m officially on vacation when they see Mom in that shirt.  It’s comfortable for hanging around the house or walking along the beach.

We all have certain clothes for various occasions.  They’re our church clothes, wedding attire, gardening grubbies, our favorite torn T-shirt for washing the car or the sports team sweats for watching the game.  We have that special outfit that we wear when we want to feel confident, professional, even powerful.  Don’t believe me?  Next time the President of the United States gives his State of the Union address, just count how many women in the audience are wearing a red suit!  Even the president’s tie choice is scrutinized that night.  Leaders understand the importance of dressing for success.

The prophet Isaiah had something to say about clothing, but he wasn’t talking about power suits:  “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness…” Isaiah 61:10 a (NIV- emphasis mine)

Righteousness is a word that appears in almost every book in the Bible.  It describes both the nature of God and His desire for His children.  The Lord is described as a righteous judge.  Jesus encourages us to “seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and everything else will fall into place.”  Matthew 6:33 (paraphrase  mine)

The thought of trying to achieve that righteousness in our own power is overwhelming.  But Jeremiah, when prophesying about the coming of the Messiah, proclaims, “This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness”  Jeremiah 23:6 b (NIV)

Not only is God the Righteous, Almighty, Eternal — but because of His love for us, He sent Jesus to become Our Righteousness.  He gives us — yes, clothes us, in that same righteousness.  It’s something we can’t earn or strive for or manipulate.  Whether in my sinfulness, or when I’m struggling to achieve religious perfection, He reaches out His hand, gently wraps me in His love, and whispers, “Here, I’ve got this.”  At that point, I have only to let go and surrender to Him, and  find myself arrayed in a “robe of righteousness.”    It is both freeing and humbling to realize it is nothing I have done, but only God’s love and mercy.

That’s some wardrobe!  It’s what the “well-blessed” folk are wearing these days.  How about you?

Copyright 2011 Mary Egidio — Permission is granted to share this work, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.