Monday, December 31, 2012

Sweet Sixteen and a Thousand Gifts

Hello last day of 2012!
You, dear year, have been quite exciting and full of growth.
This was evidenced well on Saturday. 
I had my sixteenth birthday,
And was surprised with a roller rink full of family and friends!

There was even an assortment of beautiful balloons in the deal! 

Later (with the comparatively smaller group of my mom, dad, and sisters) I enjoyed my first ever carriage ride around the city. . .

See the wheel theme? :)

Strawberry cake ended the day fittingly sweet. . . 

And today? 
It was exciting too, with snow deciding to fall. 
I attempted to take pictures of the flakes. . 

Then my sisters and I enjoyed the wonderland in our backyard. . . 

Today also happens to be a Monday.
And, though the time is always right for gratitude, it is nice to participate in Multitudes on Monday on the day it specifies. . . . 

989. candlelight Christmas Eve service

990. afternoon enjoying Christmas decorations, trees, and lights in the city

991. gift giving and opening 

992. going bowling for the second time this year

993. reorganizing/decorating/expanding Barbie World in the basement

994. seeing the movie Parental Guidance at the theater (really enjoyed it!)

995. my mom finding chai scones to make for my birthday breakfast

996. surprise party! sweet family and friends celebrating with me

997. my parents giving me a fountain pen 

998. full, golden moon

999. big, beautiful snowflakes

1000. a new age and a new year

This year has shown me the beauty and freedom that comes with Giving All to God, trusting His Grace, and allowing Him to spread what I have. 
Spread it around dance and school, gratitude and art. 
And, despite growing responsibilities and varying busyness, there has always been enough. 
Extra, in fact. 
When contemplating my name for this new year, another g word came to mind. 
Gather the beauty and freedom, the over-flowing extra.
I am excited for what 2013 holds! 
Blessings~ Megan

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rescue Mission

Enjoying pictures from this past weekend along with Christmas contemplations. . . 

Over two thousand years ago, the world hit an identity crisis.

The Roman Empire just kept growing bigger and bigger.

Europe, then Asia, then Africa were being sucked into its dominion.

Not even the blessed people of Israel could escape its grasp.

All of the conquered cultures melted under the power of the new rulers.

Yet Israel held out hope of deliverance.

They thought that surely this time would be right, surely the evil too great to last.

They awaited a Savior, promised hundreds of years ago, who would strike down their foreign foes.

They awaited a rescue mission.

Meanwhile, their God, the God of the whole universe, had a plan.

And nobody saw it coming.

That great invasion came in the form of a baby.

A young woman and a young man were recruited as this baby's parents.

Crazy as it was, they believed in God.

They believed He was sending help—coming personally.

But Israel's idea of rescue and their Lord Jesus' idea of rescue were two very different things.

They wanted a King to restore their nation.

And Jesus? He came to restore their lives.

He didn't even stop there—He came to restore anyone and everyone.

This incarnate God hadn't come to beat down Rome.

There was a bigger battle at play–one that had been present since the garden.

A heavenly servant had rejected God, inevitably falling to the lowest of places.

He had forgotten his mission was to glorify God, and he had turned instead to glorifying himself.

The only thing he could pursue now was bringing others to his debased state, so he insinuated self-glorification into the very beautiful world God had created.

And the world listened.

So here were cities and countries and continents full of people whose mission had gone amiss. No one could escape this new evil—sin blew around like dust, covering even those who stood upright.

But God so loved His world that He came, a little baby Jesus, to remind His people who they were.

He offered to clean them of the sin and redirect their mission.

He wanted to bring them back to Himself, back to being His children on a journey to a good eternity.

Some people would call Him crazy.

Some would say He was flat-out lying.

Others would believe parts of His story, but tell Him to keep quiet. They thought He was on a secret mission; that He was supposed to reach only selected people and stay safe in the meantime.

But this was no secret. He had come to reach every human being in the whole world.

As far as safety goes, that wasn't in the plan either.

The story of the baby and how He grew up continues.

This is really just part one of the mission. Rescuing takes time.

We'll reflect more on that rescuing when Easter arrives.

But for now, we can marvel at the arrival. The brilliant entry of God into the world of man.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Running Songs and Christmas Days

Christmas Time is Here, but I haven't been doing much Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree. Even so, songs have run through my head today, reminding me It's Christmas.

I awoke to a Marshmallow World, a snow globe newly shaken. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, the first snow of this winter. 

Normally this would make my sisters and me cheer, "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!", but we kept quiet today. My dad had a flight scheduled. After a week of work across the country, he was coming home. Looking outside this morning, however, travel looked hardly appealing, let along possible.  

Dentist appointments, however, had us girls piling into the car (seeing as we couldn't catch a Sleigh Ride), and braving the Winter Wonderland. Though the wind and check-ups didn't leave us feeling that it's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, we arrived home safe and cavity-free. 

By now the snow had stopped, and the sun was smiling through the icy air. Bundling up, my sisters and I headed out to shovel the driveway full of Winter Snow

Then the phone rang and brought tidings without comfort or joy. It was my dad. A flight cancelled. Another night spent in a hotel. But, yes, we'd be able to exclaim "You're Here" to him tomorrow afternoon, thanks to an incredibly early flight in the morning.

Back indoors, I finish making my Christmas gift for my dad. Next my mom tackles the roads once again to take Youngest Sister to a birthday party for one of her friends. A weird evening follows, only three out of five present at the table. We weren't exactly feeling the Joy to the World

And then comes another call. It's no Carol of the Bells either. It's my dad saying that his connecting flight from Denver to us has been delayed eleven hours. This puts him arriving home sometime past 2:00 A.M. Saturday morning. 

My dad's no singer, but I'm thinking he could sing a stirring rendition of I'll be Home for Christmas. My mom, sisters, and I might even be able to pull out an All I Want For Christmas Is You

And in the midst of this, as well as events more mundane and others more exciting, I find myself trying to live up to this season. To focus on The First Noel, the Jesus Born on This Day. To be productive and pensive and prepared. 

And then I feel comforted to remember that He didn't arrive on a Silent Night. His earthly parents welcomed Him into the world away from their home, in a stable in Bethlehem, in the midst of a bunch of animals. They were long past plan B. They were safely lost in trusting God's plan, simply being available for what He had in store.

He came and He lived up to perfection 
so that we can live where we are with peace.

We're all a little like stables, with dirt and noise and dilapidation. And the wonder of Christmas? Jesus  came to make stable hearts His home. By admitting our own messiness and simply, humbly being available, the Savior of the world came to fill us with light and a purpose. 

So good to remember the beauty of brokenness. To observe the Heaven Everywhere. To take time and simply adore the baby. I can relax in knowing that He has the whole world in His hands, watching over my dad and his travel, as well as my heart.

Though it's not The Night Before Christmas, I think I may have Christmas Dreams

Praying that you Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas~ Megan 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dear, Dear, December

Welcome to a month of gifts, journeys, light, plans, and majesty~ Megan