Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The First Snow

There’s nothing like the giddy surprise of waking up in the morning, looking out the window, and seeing a blanket of freshly fallen snow…especially if it doesn’t snow very often. This week the Seattle area was transformed into a winter wonderland.

Neighborhood kids squealed with delight as their dad pulled them on a sled down the snow-covered sidewalks. I remember how excited my brothers and sisters and I were when we woke up on a snowy morning and found out there was no school. We gleefully spent the day sledding, having snowball fights, making snowmen and snow angels and ice skating. Now, once again, I became like a kid and bundled up in warm clothes to go play in the soft snow.

I marveled at the pristine winter scenery and the beauty of the majestic evergreens. They looked like huge Christmas trees as they stood tall and strong with a blanket of snow beneath them and a dusting of white decorating their boughs.

After a while, my toes started getting really cold, so I headed home and gathered firewood from my woodpile. By the time I got inside, I had rosy cheeks and popsicle toes. So I built a crackling fire in the fireplace, made hot cocoa and popcorn, lit scented candles, and got cozy as I snuggled in the blankets with my warm, furry kitty cats.

That night as I watched big snowflakes float softly to the ground, I stepped outside and enjoyed the silence of gently falling snow. It was so calm and peaceful; and a special glow shined everywhere as the snow reflected the light of the moon. I thought about how every snowflake is unique; and that God creates us uniquely, too, with different gifts and personalities.

This Christmas as you gather with family and friends to celebrate the miraculous birth of Jesus, remember to cherish the uniqueness of each person. No matter what your differences are, make sure they know how much you love and appreciate them.

As I reflect on the joyous wonder of the unexpected gift of that wintry day, I’m reminded that God wants us to always have a childlike wonder as we look to him as the source of our joy and peace – like the gently falling snow on that silent holy night when Jesus, our Savior, was born.

Merry Christmas!

In Christ's love,
Martha Hadley

Luke 2:8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

Copyright © 2008 Martha Hadley. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanks to God...For Everything!

Thanksgiving is a time of year when we gather with family and friends around a table overflowing with food. It’s a time that is centered around food and fellowship. It’s easy to let that take center stage on Thanksgiving Day and say a quick prayer before we dig in to the feast.

But, we also need to make sure that we sincerely thank God for not only providing the food we eat and the gathering of our loved ones, but to thank him for EVERYTHING. And that includes things that we may not normally consider a blessing.

As you count your blessings and thank God for the good things he’s done in your life, make sure you thank him for not just the roses, but the thorns, too!

Sure, thorns hurt, but when we trust in God and his plans for us, it makes it a bit easier to weather those storms that inevitably come. When I look at how God has worked in my life, I see situations that I prayed for and thought I knew what the best outcome of it should be, but God had another plan for me.

I’m thankful for those times when he said, “no” or “wait” to my prayers. Of course, I’m also thankful for the times he said “yes” and the incredible blessings he’s given me!

But, when we truly thank him for both the joys and the sorrows, he gives us that peace that passes all understanding… and isn’t that really more important than any kind of blessing he can give us?

This Thanksgiving, I pray that God showers you and your family with his love and grace… and peace.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bountiful Blessings,

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)

Copyright © 2008 Martha Hadley. All rights reserved.