Yes, today is my 61st birthday.  I still think and feel that I am 35, but when I look in the mirror there is no doubt that much more life has been lived than just 35 years!  This morning I have been reflecting on my life and where I am today.  I am certainly in a very different place than I was one year ago.  So many things have changed and that is what is so awesome about living…we never know what is coming ahead and that is the adventure of life!  I have done many different jobs and changed professions; but the key to living well is to enjoy the moment…the present.  So much of my time has been spent in the “wishing” stage…wishing things could be better or different, but embracing each day and living it well, I believe, is the key to living a life of fulfillment and significance.  It is in the ordinariness of life where we are changed and developed into the unique human beings we are becoming.

I have so much to be grateful for.  There is no doubt that there have been difficult times in my life, even to the point of me not wanting to live, but even in those dark times, as I look back, there was something taking place in my life that would never had happened without those dark experiences.  I believe it is when we take a good, hard look inside to see who we really are, that we begin to heal and be restored.  Embracing and experiencing the unconditional, amazing Love of The Trinity…The Father, Son and Holy Spirit…has been the most transforming experience of my life.  As I embrace and revel in this amazing, all encompassing love that God has for me (us), and as I believe by faith in the goodness, grace and mercy, of this amazing God, my life is changed significantly and my worth and value comes just from having life, and being given the privilege of living.

I am so grateful for my family and friends.  Relationships and friendships are the most important part of our lives.  They are also the most difficult to keep.  They do not come without intentionality and hard work.  I struggle with this area of my life the most as so often I regret my behaviour and remarks that come out of my mouth!  Forgiveness is another important part of our lives…forgiving others and often, most importantly, forgiving ourselves.  I just finished reading the book “The Shack” and the chapter on forgiveness was so good.  The person who often receives the greatest benefit from forgiving, is ourselves, we are released from the chains of unforgiveness that lead to bitterness.  I have a long way to go in many areas of my life, but I believe that I am facing in the right direction.

My dear friend Alyson, gave me a book last year for the Advent Season and I have been reading it daily, and it has made me ponder lots these days.  On the second Sunday of Advent, Scott  Cairns closes his writing with this prayer, which sums up so much of what my heart desires.

“As this season of preparation continues, Holy God who is with us, may we lean into every moment of our days to redeem the time, to make the most of our every moment.  May we prepare the visible Body of Christ, our community, to receive your eternal approach and your loving embrace.  With our faces turned to you, we await your holy descent, and ask, Lord, that you hear our prayer, offered in humility:

That despite the roar of our days, our hearts might grow still.

That glimpsing the quiet cove, we may seek you in that stillness.

That resting in your presence, our hearts might be prepared to hear you.

That the angel of God might visit the chamber of our hearts.

That the angel of God might say to us, “Rejoice”.

That we might hear, and truly respond in joy.

That the angel of God might say to us, “Rejoice”.

That the servant of God might respond, “Let it be as you say”.

That our hearts might become fertile wombs in which new life begins.

That we may apprehend the infant life within.

That we might embrace that infant life.

That we may walk with care to bring about new birth.

That we may witness the seed of God bearing Holy Fruit.

As the season of incarnation approaches, as we prepare to receive Life himself, may we taste and see how our lives, the life of the world, and the very breath of the universe flow to us from the Holy One made flesh.

Lord, hear our prayer.”