As you are looking ahead to a new you in the new year, reading the Bible more may be on your list or part of your "2012 - Year in Review" letter. If so, I wanted to share something I've been doing in this area for a while now. In fact, I help produce a video that explains it and allows you to look in on a group following this method...enjoy! (Click the link below...)
It's the week between Christmas and the new year. It's the week we take down the Christmas decorations, return gifts, close the book on 2011 and start looking ahead to 2012. My guess is that we look ahead to the new year because when we reflect back on the previous year, we see plenty of things we wish had ended differently. We want to make changes.
Due to the blessings of my wife's very generous parents, our family just returned from a trip to the Hawaiian Islands. While we were there, we visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. If you've never been, it needs to be an item on your Bucket List. (That list of things you want to do before you "kick the bucket.") There's much more to see along with the Arizona. Things such as artifacts from the Pacific War of 1944. Among them are Kaiten Torpedos.
Kaiten Torpedos were very unique underwater missiles the Japanese created to destroy U.S. battleships. Along with the 3,000 pound explosive warhead, these torpedos were constructed to be driven by an individual Japanese serviceman who would manually steer the torpedo directly into the side of a battleship. It was a suicide mission. What struck me as I studied this instrument of mass destruction was the interpretation of the name Kaiten.
It appears the trend of sending family Christmas cards may be in decline. My mailbox hasn't been quite as full as in years past. Nonetheless, don't throw away the ones you get...Check this out: Christmas Cards Around the World.
It's a few days before Christmas. What part of this season are you most excited to experience? Is there a family tradition you only experience during this holiday season? Are there any relatives you can't wait to see? Is there a gift you're pretty sure is going to land in your hands? There's something to be said for the pure anticipation that goes along with the Christmas season.
In the Christmas story we read in the Bible, a man named Simeon is overlooked quite often. But he fully understood "anticipation." He had been tipped off by God's Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. We don't know who long he had been holding on to this promise. But I have to imagine that holding on to that promise for just one day would be enough to overwhelm anyone with anticipation.
Let's assume for a moment that he had this information for quite some time. Everyday he arose wondering if that day would be the day he would witness prophecy being fulfilled. Or would it be just another, ordinary day? How do you prepare for a day like that? You just can't block out time on your calendar for that appointment. I think a bigger question is how do you prepare for the day after? What do you do after you've seen the promised Savior?
When I look at my role as a parent and consider the many responsibilities I have to lead my kids, none gives me greater joy than simply spending time with them. One of the first bits of wisdom I received as a new parent was to cherish the time I have with my kids. Conventional wisdom says that they WILL grow up and leave the nest...no matter how much we might resist.
A friend of mine tells the story of her husband coming home one day to find her sitting in her closet in a complete emotional meltdown. It was just a few short days after they had brought their newborn son home from the hospital. Apparently she had just come to the realization that her precious bundle of joy was already growing and changing and, in her mind, would be leaving for college tomorrow. Her husband just chuckled, "Now, now...It will be OK."
Fast forward to that very event. It's the night before her firstborn leaves for college and the family is sitting at the dinner table. By this time, there's a second son added to the family and he's so giddy, he can't stand it. Why? He's about to get a promotion. He's moving into his big brother's room and his enthusiasm only announces one thing: the first born had grown up and is leaving home.