A New Word for a New Year

My word for 2015 was “joy”, and I had many experiences that brought me joy, as well as opportunities to exercise my understanding of joy, in faith, because if I was walking by sight, I would not describe some of these moments as joyful.

But there was joy in the midst of it all.  There in the broken heart that chose to extend love and grace to the undeserving and ungrateful.  In the answered prayer for safety, and guidance, and wisdom for one walking in darkness.  In the packing up of dashed hopes and broken relationships, and the prodigal’s return to the family who cherishes and cares for her.  In the song belted out at the top of her voice, high above the brokenness, in the smile through the tears, in her warm hugs and acts of service.  There is joy because the Giver of joy is present, even in the middle of the pain.  He comforts, fills the heart with a peace beyond comprehension, and then fills the mouth with a song.  He comes alongside and sings the song when we forget the words.  He is present, in us, working through us, spreading that joy to others through us, his broken vessels.

This year, I was given the word “mercy”.  I intend to study the word, dig around the Sacred Scriptures for examples and pictures of this mercy, as well as follow the Holy Father’s teachings in this year of mercy.  About a week after receiving my word “mercy”, I happened on this blog post, and was challenged to view prayer in a different way.  As I meditated on this new perspective, the Holy Spirit quickened in me an acronym for mercy to use in my prayers.  

Make Every Regret Count (for) You

I read somewhere that the most recorded request of Christ when he was on earth was “Kyrie Eleison” or “Lord, have mercy”.  I’m finding it to be one of my most uttered prayers as well, and now, instead of just asking that He heal it, fix it, make it better, or make it go away…because sometimes He doesn’t…my prayer for mercy will be, Lord, make every regret count for You.  I think it’s another way of praying as Jesus did, “God, if it is your will, let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless, not my will but yours be done”, or “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, here on earth as it is there in heaven”.

I’m excited (and a little afraid…with a healthy fear) to see what will come with a shift in perspective.  I have a feeling it will dovetail with my 2014 word “surrender”, and I’d like to think I will get to revisit my word for 2015 in a new light as well.  Pray for me, we can pray for each other, that the Lord will have mercy and grant us His peace and joy as we strive to live for Him.  In Jesus Name.  Happy New Year!

Advent – Week 3

…and all the people raised a great shout of joy,
praising the Lord because
the foundation of the Lord’s house had been laid.
Ezra 3:11


O Key of David
O Royal Power of Israel
Controlling at your will, the gates of heaven
Come, break down the prison walls of death
For those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death;
and lead your captive people into freedom.

Isaiah 9:1-6
The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
Upon those who lived in a land of gloom
    a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
    and great rejoicing;
They rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest,
    as they exult when dividing the spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
    the pole on their shoulder,
The rod of their taskmaster,
    you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.[a]
For every boot that tramped in battle,
    every cloak rolled in blood,
    will be burned as fuel for fire.
For a child[b] is born to us, a son is given to us;
    upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
    Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
    and forever peaceful,
Upon David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
    which he confirms and sustains
By judgment and justice,
    both now and forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this!

Luke 2:8-20

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.10 The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 [e]For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

14 [f]“Glory to God in the highest
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

The Visit of the Shepherds. 15 When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”16 So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. 18 All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. 19 And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

This Week’s Musing

I want my spiritual nourishment to be just as important as my physical.  What if, every time I was bored, instead of snacking on food, I was grazing in the Word of God?  How would it be to hunger and thirst for spiritual communion as I do for breakfast…or my first cup of coffee?  What would my prayer life look like if it was as routinely anticipated and prepared as my caffeine intake?  Do I ever skip morning coffee?  Not without serious consequences.  Why don’t I see the spiritual consequences of skipping my prayer, devotion and Bible reading with the same attitude?

Advent – Week 2

Isaiah 52:7 – How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the one bringing good news,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”

O King of all nations, Jesus Christ,
only joy of every human heart,
O Keystone of the mighty arch of man,
Come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust

Isaiah 2:2-5
In days to come,

The mountain of the Lord’s house
    shall be established as the highest mountain
    and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it.
    Many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us go up to the Lord’s mountain,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
That he may instruct us in his ways,
    and we may walk in his paths.”
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
    and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
[c]He shall judge between the nations,
    and set terms for many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
    nor shall they train for war again.
[d]House of Jacob, come,
    let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Matthew 3:1-6
In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea [and] saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
“A voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.’”

 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around
the Jordan were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.