Thursday, December 20, 2007

songs from heaven

Tis the season for singing. And, my daughter does plenty of that! We prophetically named her Jenna when she was born. The name means "little bird" and she hasn't stopped chirping since. In the bathroom, at the table, in the car, during movies, when she's alone, when she's in a group of people. Sometimes, when I'm with her, I feel like a 90 year old man trying to merge my 62 Impala from the entrance ramp onto the highway. It's impossible to get a word in edgewise.
But, of course, I love her! And, I love her spirit. Whatever is in Jenna has to come out. It doesn't trickle. It bubbles up and gushes out. It overflows the banks of her little heart and floods the whole room. No matter how hard you try (and we have) you cannot corral her. You might as well try to fence the wind.

The day Jesus was born, I'm told that a whole choir of angels exploded: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests." This wasn't just an announcement, like a newsboy in Times Square selling papers. It was cosmic news that couldn't be contained. God arrived on earth with grace and peace. A Savior was born. People could be saved.

This Christmas, don't hold back. Sing often, Sing loud. Sing strong. Follow the lead of the psalmist who wrote:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

[Psalm 40:1-3]

Saturday, December 8, 2007

a bueno bride, beach and book

Tiffany and I just returned from a great anniversary vacation in Cancun, Mexico. It's the first away time that she and I have enjoyed without kids in 14 years. It's sad to say. But, the rhythm of ministry during December rarely gave me the time to get away. This year, we just took the plunge. And--wow--what an incredible time away.

We enjoyed our stay at the luxurious JW Marriott on the beach. Our 6th floor suite had two balconies and we slept with the door open to hear the ocean each evening. Our days were delightfully uneventful--searching for sand dollars on the beach, relaxing and reading. I started and finished The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. It was recommended to me by one of our worship team members and it was a fantastic vacation read. I'll reflect on the book's content in another posting.

It was difficult to leave our island paradise. But, we return refreshed. Not just our souls, but as soulmates. I'm already planning next year's trip.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

eighteen years and loving it!

I never imagined that marriage could be such a joy. Today, Tiffany and I celebrate 18 years together and we have had the unusual blessing of saying that every year, every turn, every experience has been worth it! My bride carries herself with such unmatched dignity and grace. She is compassionate and elegant. She is spiritual, playful and beautiful. She is simple and spectacular, all at the same time. I can't tell you how many times I look at her across a room or catch her eye at the table of a restaurant and think to myself, "How in the world did I get such a prize?" God has been wildly good to me these 18 years. I can't even begin to imagine that the best is still to come! I love you, Tiffany!