Monday, December 14, 2009

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #209 Treasuring and Pondering

Hi Folks:

What a mixed-up kind of week. It started as the week of apologies, as I apologized for several issues I had created. I didn’t mean to, but I did, and felt really very bad. I apologized in each case and hoped I had undone at least some of the damage I caused. Apologizing is hard work, and I felt drained as I replayed the footage of those various events over and over again, trying to figure out where I went wrong and what I would do differently next time. That was the beginning of the week.

In the middle of the week we started the musical, White Christmas, at Ian’s high school. I got involved after the musical director discovered I play trumpet and she asked me to help out. The musical opened Wednesday with a matinee and an evening show. I played in 5 of the 6 shows. What a whirlwind of activity! Home to eat quickly and then back out until 10 at night. Staging a play or musical is an exercise in stamina. My arms still ache from holding the trumpet for 13 hours this week.

A highpoint of the week happened on Saturday. While in my office at the church in the morning, I looked up to see my mother and step-father outside the door. They had arrived as a surprise to attend the musical that night. That meant so much to me, that they would want to see the show. I really liked looking out to see my family enjoying the production.

And then there were all the normal parts of my week, like planning, organizing, meeting, speaking, teaching, writing, worshipping, praying, reading, talking, listening, and helping friends.

So that was my week. I don’t often think this much about all that goes on, but this was such a different week that I couldn’t help ponder it. At different levels I was processing pain, success, fear, failure and joy, all at the same time. We are complex critters, aren’t we, living in all these different kinds of worlds at the same time?

Simple sounds good, right about now. Take away some of the complexity to make life a little easier to fit together.

"Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.*" These are simple words which cover a lot of jumble and complexity. A mysterious pregnancy before marriage in a deeply religious community. Uncertainty and travel in the last days before birth. The mixed blessing of finding shelter in a stable. And then, as if wasn’t complicated enough for the poor young couple, Jesus was born, bringing shepherds, Magi, and angels in dreams pointing the way to Egypt. What to think of all this? Joy, confusion, fear.

Two ideas from these words bring me comfort. First, it somehow brings me comfort to know that the first Christmas wasn’t so simple, that Jesus was born into a world of complexity. It seems hard to identify with simple.

And then, second, it brings me comfort to know there are things to treasure in the midst of everything else. There are some things which will make us ponder, but other things which we will treasure.

These things help me as I process last week. I don’t understand everything about it, and so I will ponder. But I will also treasure some things, like my mother’s visit to see me play, and some other neat stories from people about how God is providing for their needs.

I hope this helps,


OnFire is a weekly letter on authentic faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Dec 14, 2009. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at *Luke 2:19 New International Version. See also Matthew 2 for more of the Christmas accounts.

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