A Date with God

A Date with God

Dates are on my mind. Quite a few of them.

At this time of year, attitudes around dates make significant differences.

Today is my father’s birthday. He was called home to our Lord eight years ago. I tell myself I should celebrate the date of his passing instead, August 28th, as his new birthday to eternal life. But December 2nd has been an annual marker for over fifty years.  I don’t think I can change that, so I take it as a reminder to thank God for all the wisdom and lessons Dad taught me, and most especially for the love that he showed in the many memories he created for the six of us. And for his unconditional love. I choose December 2nd to be a day of joy, not of sadness.

My Advent Practice This Year

Today is also the last day of ordinary time in the church year. Advent starts tomorrow but since it’s been so late in the calendar this year, I’ve mentally entered Advent space this week in little ways this week. It will be good to hear “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” again tomorrow at church and to light the Advent wreath before dinner. I love candles. The symbol of Christ’s light speaks instantly to me and reminds me to be a light, His light, for others. To be a model of His joy and peace. To love as He loved.

Set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

It will be good to try again at creating quiet time to rest and luxuriate in the presence of God, to give Him daily gifts of more time together. I know that even the desire to be with Him pleases God even if I do not succeed each day in accomplishing it.

I wrapped and delivered presents recently to our daughter’s family. It made me smile as I did so, thinking of the joys they’d bring. Why then, do I sometimes forget that same joy when wrapping up twenty minutes of centering prayer for my gift to God on a given day? Perhaps that will be my Advent practice this year: picturing my daily prayer time as a wrapped present I place in God’s lap and focusing on the word JOY. The joy of giving Him my heart. His joy at receiving it.

The Big Date

While at my daughter’s house this week (she lives out of town), I had the pleasure of seeing her and her husband spruce up for a rare date. They are parents of two boys under four years of age. Both smiled broadly at the delicious freedom of leaving behind parental responsibilities for a little one-on-one husband-and-wife Friday night date time. My heart swelled with joy at being available to give them such a gift of time to nurture their relationship.

In Advent this year,  I want to make more dates with God to nurture our relationship.

Christmas opens my heart wide open and I wonder every year, why can’t I be like this all year long? I think of the Holy Family: Mary’s trust in Joseph as they traveled to Bethlehem just as her baby from God was due; Joseph’s trust in God’s many surprising messages. What a present it would be to trust God as purely as the Holy Family.  I will schedule more dates with him. Perhaps He will teach me to trust more.

I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly.

Ezekiel 11:15-16

I want to be shepherded rightly. I like knowing I need not be “sleek and strong” but am best used by God when I am weak. Did you know a shepherd uses his staff to break the legs of a strong-minded ewe who leads the herd astray? Since that ewe then cannot walk, the good shepherd carries the ewe across his shoulders for the weeks it takes to heal. A close bond naturally forms. The ewe obeys and follows the shepherd after her legs heal and she can walk again.

At Jesus’ birth angels called to the shepherds in the field to bear witness to the newborn king. We are called, too.

What gets scheduled, gets done. When is your next scheduled date with God? Let us find time for Him this Advent. Let our green this season be the green pastures where he leads you and me.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.

Psalm 23:1-3

About Chris Manion

The parable of the talents drives Chris Manion to keep sharing what God has offered her. If you heard her honky laugh, you might have a hard time believing a deep well of Christ’s peace resides within her. God’s joy is contagious and easy to join when Chris’ poetic side shows itself in her memoir God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul, as well as when she speaks of how she learned to trust God. Visit her website for more info.

Comments

  1. Wow, I LOVE this advice and story, Chris! Especially this: “What gets scheduled, gets done.”

    True!

    Thank you for that, and welcome to Putting on the New.

    [Reply]

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Cherie and for your welcome. I feel so at home here. I’ve felt a little orphaned this past year as I birthed my spiritual memoir, my first book, in February. It feels so easy to write in this community. I’m sure God led me to all of you. 🙂 He is so good.

    [Reply]

    Cherie Burbach

    Cherie Burbach Reply:

    He is!

    [Reply]

  3. Welcome, Chris, to Putting on the New!

    [Reply]

Speak Your Mind

*