A Blessing and a Prayer

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Starving for fresh air, wide open sky, a hike and some quality time enfolded by creation, I pretty much pushed my family out the door today.  We drove to nearby First Landing State Park and took a long slow walk on the beach.  Because of the Super New Moon we are experience spring tides (extreme high/low) and so the sandbars in the Chesapeake Bay along the beach were more exposed than I’ve ever seen them.

The beach was placid, the waves lazily lapping at the sand; the pulse of the surf a soothing rhythm that we barely noticed after a few minutes of walking. I love that way the sound and feel and smell of the beach work in our subconscious, calming and re-energizing us.

You’ve heard of peace like river?

The hymn, It is Well With My Soul starts with this phrase from Isaiah 48 .  where after lamenting our stubborn idolatry, and disobedience in v. 17  calling himself our Redeemer, the Lord reminds us that if we will pay attention to His commands, teachings, directions, we will have peace like a river, well-being like the waves of the sea, descendants like sand, children like its numberless grains.

peace like a river,
well-being like the waves of the sea,
descendants like sand,
children like its numberless grains

Well-being like the waves of the sea, catches at my imagination today because the waves are not crashing and noisy like ocean waves.  Instead, they are gentle, and quiet, but regular, never-ending, and in their gentle but insistent push and release of tidal flow they have had great effect on the beach.

There are ridges and rivulets all over the beach today.  You can see where the water has worked across the sand, it’s quite beautiful, even arresting to see how the water has formed the beach.   I would like for God to work that way in my life.

We will be celebrating the Season of Christmas until the celebration of Epiphany when the Wise Men or Magi visited the Christ Child.  But, since the calendar year has changed too, I have a blessing and a prayer for you!

The Blessing:

Be still.

And let God’s peace wash over you
Like waves lapping over pebbles
Smoothing rough edges of insurmountable worries
To tiny insignificant grains of sand,
Taking the jaggedness of sin
To leave smooth shining love.

And let the peace of God,
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with you today, and every day, through this new year.

Lesley Steel (last line slightly adapted)
The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers

The Prayer:

In the name of Jesus Christ, who was never in a hurry, we pray, O God, that thou wilt slow us down, for we know that we live too fast.  With all eternity before us, make us take time to live – time to get acquainted with thee, time to enjoy thy blessings, and time to know each other.   Amen.

Peter Marshall

Happy New Year, and as always, I am blessed by your visit to our family blog!

I’ve decided to spend some time this year writing about Christmas, and I’m tagging these posts the 12 Days of Christmas. G.K. Chesterton had a bit of a rant about the way we treat the celebration of Christmas. I’ve put the whole quote in my sidebar over to your right. Here’s a small clip that inspired me to share at least a few things about our Christmas:

“But one of the queerest things about our own topsy-turvy time is that we all hear such a vast amount about Christmas just before it comes, and suddenly hear nothing at all about it afterwards…Everybody writes about what a glorious Christmas we are going to have. Nobody, or next to nobody, ever writes about the Christmas we have just had”   G.K. Chesterton

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