Tag Archives: angels

Angels Lead Us Home

We’re at the Airport, or more precisely and formally, “Liszt Ferencz International Airport.” On boarding passes and baggage tags, is written “BUD” bound for “YYZ” (Toronto).  It’s August 26th. Tonight, we’ll be home. This is a joy filled moment.

 

The trip home today has surpassed all my expectations. This morning, the courteous and ever-helpful front desk clerk printed our boarding passes and summoned a taxi for us. He negotiated the fare to the airport in advance, allaying Tom’s fears. The cab was prompt and spotless, the driver polite and helpful. He even folded down the front seat and pulled it forward, unasked, accommodating Tom’s size thirteen feet. We spent the long ride to the airport giving thanks Tom wasn’t driving. That was joyful. We felt God’s guiding hand leading us home.

 

 

On the plane from Budapest to Amsterdam, I was entertained by a most interesting, generous and kind man. When I struggled into my seat, he very carefully cleared the seat belt to the side. Our conversation began with my thank you. He seemed to want to talk so I asked him if he was visiting in Amsterdam.

 

“I’m Dutch,” he said, “And I’m heading home to Amsterdam.”

 

We talked. Proudly he told me about Amsterdam and the places that it would be good for us to visit. In the end, he ordered from the duty free shop on the plane, a tin of special Dutch waffle biscuits and the neatest music box egg timer painted in the Delft tradition.

 

“These are for you and your husband,” he said, “a gift.”

 

He touched my heart with his generosity.

 

The plane had been late leaving Budapest, shortening our connection time. Our new friend, Eugene, led us through the maze of the vast Amsterdam airport. He made sure we had our documents verified and escorted us into the correct line up. He couldn’t have been more caring and kind. He was an angel in disguise. Meeting Eugene was a total joy-filled experience.

 

Our good God had yet another angel in store for us. When I boarded the plane for Toronto, I was pleased to discover that my seatmate this time was a lovely women from the Ukraine, who spoke very little English. We had a great time as we struggled to share info about our lives, our children and grandchildren. The stewardesses, through their access to her passport, had discovered that today was a her birthday. They, brought her a birthday surprise of lemon cake and champagne which she shared with us. I got to pay Eugene’s kindness forward as I helped her get the movie screen going and fill out the Canada Customs form we all have to fill out. She enjoyed her company even with the language barrier. It was a privilege to sit beside her.

 

We have been truly blessed by angels of joy to finish our special journey.

 

 

Thought for Today

cropped-rainbow-more-blue-pink.jpg

I Can Trust in God’s Extravagant Love.

My daily reading tells me to trust in God’s extravagant love. That sounds simple but I know it’s not. This Christmas, in our family, the fear that comes with serious illness is threatening to wipe out our joy. I know we are not alone. There are many among us who are afraid. Illness, loneliness, violence, grief – Christmas is often laced with fear.

Our precious Christmas story is filled with angels saying, “Don’t be afraid.” Over and over again in the stories of Jesus we hear his message, “Don’t be afraid.” Our faith tells us we can trust in God’s extravagant love. Yet as we journey to Bethlehem this year, many of us are afraid.

Years ago, I read these words in a tiny tattered book that has long since disappeared, “Pray as if.” At 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning I heard this message, “Listen to the angels of Christmas. “Do not be afraid. Come and experience God’s extravagant love in baby Jesus. ‘Pray as if’ you trust in God’s extravagant love”.

If fear threatens to take over your life this Christmas, I offer to you what I am doing. I am praying “as if”. I am leaning on the love and faith of friends. Some days, trusting in God’s extravagant love feels solid. Some days my faith feels based in quick sand. Still, I will continue to pray. I will pray “as if” I am without fear and wait. I can trust in God’s extravagant love. I will open my heart to God’s peace for today.

Guardian Angels Doing Their Jobs.

September 4,  Day 6

Tom's Breakfast
Tom’s Breakfast

I have to begin tonight with breakfast this morning. It was absolutely fabulous for a hotel included breakfast. We ate in the dining room decorated to match the hotel’s era with comfortable Edwardian chairs and lovely matching cream and wine table cloths. A cheerful friendly waitress, Ryell,  greeted us. We chose to sit at a table that caught the morning sunshine and faced the sparkling blue harbor. Ryell brought us water and coffee, while we filled our plates at the buffet. Here is a picture is of Tom’s meal.

Both our souls and our tummys were nourished. When we checked out we reserved the room for our return journey.

Our first stop was Trinity United Church. Rev. Randy, as well as his secretary welcomed us. We learned about the innovative cluster ministry with fully streamed Sunday worship that has been developed by Cambrian Presbytery. The home of Presbytery office is right there at Trinity. We sold copies of Dipping Your Toes as well as Spectacular Stella and A Child Speaks. I promised to make sure that Pat Gilmore from National sends more for the book display at their Presbytery meeting in September.

We left Thunder Bay feeling good, good about a beautiful city and its friendly people.  The drive to Kenora was only 5 hours including stops, a short run. When we arrived in town, we had lost the paper with the name of the hotel that we booked last night. All we could find was the confirmation number. We stopped at a Comfort Inn and offered the reservation number. No it wasn’t one of theirs. We asked for the telephone exchange and then searched back through the recents on the cell phone. We found the number and discovered we were booked into the Days Inn hotel. Sometimes cell phones are extremely helpful. A landline wouldn’t have kept that record for us.

Once again we have a lovely hotel with a gorgeous swimming pool and a water slide. I lamented that I could no longer climb all those stairs and my ears couldn’t take the underwater pressure. So I looked at the slide and imagined myself flying down. This was not a problem for Tom. We swam, exercised and enjoyed the hot tub. Once dry and dressed again we drove further into town and parked on the main street, intending to check out the restaurants for supper. We were checking the parking meter to see if we still had to pay, when a passerby called over, “Don’t put any money in that. It’s after hours.” We thanked her and then ask for a recommendation to a restaurant. She pointed us to a Greek restaurant that was not too expensive. In Kenora food in general is expensive. Since we drank water and skipped dessert, $42 plus tip paid for dinner. Tea and coffee of course are available at the hotel. The food was delicious. Our waiter helpful, friendly and willing to chat.

Where was God today. Choosing Trinity United Church was one of those God-incidences that some people call co-incidence. In fact, it feels as if a guardian angel travelled with us today, reminding us how to use a cell phone to solve a problem, sending that friendly woman to direct us to a restaurant. And of course every day we pray for safety on the highway. This is a long trip. We definitely need God’s help.

Bring on the gifts!

 

Gifts, Gifts, Gifts I love them.
Gifts, Gifts, Gifts
I love them.

Gifts gaily wrapped with colorful paper, ribbons and bows are definitely a symbol of Christmas. At our family gathering, even one gift per person mysteriously results in a mountain of gifts under the Christmas tree.

The giving of gifts at Christmas began long before Santa Claus started his journey from the North Pole. The Christian Christmas story involves “Three Wisemen or Kings” who travelled from far off places to bring gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Today, the gold makes sense. We know its value, but Frankincense and Myrrh?  What are they? Frankincense and myrrh are both expensive tree resins valued for their fragrance and for medicinal purposes. Frankincense was often burned to release its aroma, especially at religious occasions. Its fragrant smoke symbolized prayers rising to heaven. Myrrh was often used in burials and symbolized death. Actually all three gifts were valuable and useful. Given by strangers, they speak of security and respect, faith and leadership, compassion and caring.

I believe that we truly understand this part of our Christmas story when we give gifts that reach beyond our family and friends to our unknown neighbours here in Canada and around the world. We can know the joy of the Wisemen when we deliver baskets filled with food, warm coats and mittens, a few toys and maybe even gifts of money to those who truly need them. I like to shop in the United Church’s “Gifts with Vision” catalogue for special gifts of education, food, community wells, farm animals, and much more.

I believe the angels sing and the hallelujahs sound in heaven when we give gifts of love to our family, for sure. But when we reach out to our “neighbours” near and far, the heavens resound with God’s joy. We have truly celebrated Jesus’ birthday.

Need ideas check out www.giftswithvision.ca

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of goldfrankincense and myrrh.”  (Matthew 2:11)