Posts Tagged 'love'

The Legacy of a Smile and a Generous Heart

My grandfather on my dad’s side of the family passed away several years ago.  He was an amazing carpenter, who could turn wood into works of art the way other artists work with clay, paint, or any other medium.

I love to work with wood myself, but I have only a small fraction of his knowledge, skill, and craftsmanship ability.  I also have several of his tools in my basement, including the bandsaw pictured here.

This year, as in years past, I invited Cub Scouts to bring their blocks of pine wood over, draw an image on the top and side, and I would cut it out for them, then leave the finish sanding, additional carving, and painting up to them.  After an afternoon of helping out these boys, and receiving many warm thank-yous from them and their parents, I took another look at the bandsaw, and for a split second felt a little bad about it.  It is an amazing machine, hand built by my great-uncle especially for my grandfather, his big brother.  I felt a little bit small in the shadows of these two great craftsmen: one who could make anything out of metal, and the other who could make anything out of wood … and here I am making a block of wood to roughly approximate the appearance of various kinds of race cars.

The sensation didn’t last long, because I realized that I was creating something using this tool, after all.  It wasn’t a wooden masterpiece, it was smiles on all those little boys’ faces.  The two things I remember most about my grandfather are his smile and his laugh.  … and knowing his generous heart, I can see him smiling ear-to-ear because of several happy cub scouts benefitting from one of his tools, and a small fraction of skill that got passed down to me.

Sometimes it’s not the things that we do or make that are significant; instead, it is the love that we pass on through what we do.  That is the legacy that my grandfather, among others, have left for me to pass on to others.  It is a legacy with a deep faith tradition from our Creator who taught us to share love with everyone we meet.

Welcome to a new year.  Share your inheritance of Christ’s love with everyone you meet.

What Makes a Miracle?

I read an article that looks at debate surrounding the virgin birth of Jesus.  Quite a few different viewpoints are made, looking at Scripture, culture, and the very nature of the divine.  It is an interesting read, but it raised a different question for me: what makes a miracle?

Was the virgin birth in and of itself the miracle?

… or was the fact that God demonstrated to us first hand what it means to love God and love our neighbor no matter what the real miracle.

… no matter how much the consumer-driven world tells us that God is not relevant.

… no matter how difficult our neighbor might be.

… no matter how difficult it is to focus on God in our noisy world.

… no matter the violence around us and directed to us.

Putting love ahead of everything else is the miracle I see displayed in the Gospels.  Gospel, after all, means “good news.”

For your Christmas present this year, take the love that Jesus demonstrated for us and share it.  In so doing, you will be a miracle for those you meet.

Merry Christmas.  

To be known and loved

Before I created you in the womb I knew you …

Those are the words spoken to Jeremiah by God, but apply to all of us.  I find great comfort in knowing that before I existed or had my first thought, God already knew who I was, and loved me.  Greater still, he loved me and created me in spite of knowing me.  He knew the times I would help a neighbor out.  He knew the times I’d hug my children, my wife, and my parents.  He also knew the times I’d stumble, say something careless, or forget a friend in need.  He knew the times I’d have my doubts about him, be angry at his church, and question his nature.

It is comforting to know that I am here, sometimes struggling to discern and follow God’s will, and even when I get it wrong, God already knew I’d get it wrong.  Even better, he would forgive me, and love me anyway.  Sometimes knowing that is all it takes to give a peaceful moment into what might otherwise be a rough day.

Love Came Down at Christmas

Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent. I think it might be my favorite because it is the Sunday we focus on the Love shared with us at Christmas. Through the liturgical calendar, it is the occasions of Christmas and Easter where I feel most connected to God’s love for us. It is overwhelming sometimes.

… love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God …  (1 John 4:7, CEB)

Happy Advent.  Prepare your heart for a large serving of love this year.

Where is your heart?

This past winter, my four year old son asked me a great question:

If God is in heaven and in your heart, does that mean your heart is heaven?

I love the logic.  It’s simple … and powerful.  Knowing where your heart lives means so many things:

  • You are with God.  Always.
  • The things that matter most are usually not the concerns of this physical world, but the ones in your heart.
  • With our hearts in heaven, we should live each day with the joy and love that reflects heaven’s influence on our hearts.

May you be blessed today, with a heavenly heart of gratitude, praise, joy, love, and peace.


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