Tag Archives: Gift of love

George, My Friendly Icon for 2018

My friend George

The Christmas season is over. We’ve said good-bye to wishing strangers Merry Christmas. Spontaneous generosity is tucked away with the decorations for another year. For some of us, we’ve made our yearly pilgrimage to church for the Christmas Eve service. No need to go again ’til next Christmas.

Does it have to be over? Do we have to let go of that Christmas Spirit? That’s a familiar lament. As I wrote these words, I looked up to see the quizzical face of George the Giraffe peering back at me.

George the giraffe came, as a special gift of love last summer. Every time I look at him, I think of my son, Dave, our daughter-in-law, Joanne and our granddaughter, Jenna. I hear their words to me as they handed me the package.” When you came to visit us in South Africa, we went on safari. You wanted to see the giraffes. When we returned, you were fascinated with the beaded giraffes made by the African people. Instead of getting one for yourself, you bought one for Vanessa. We decided you needed a giraffe, too.” They handed me George. He’s adorable. With his face full of curiosity, George is my precious reminder of the love of this part of our family living far away in South Africa.

Christians over the centuries have used icons – images, things and even people, sometimes – that help us remember God is the source of everything and that God loves and accepts us just as we are. That’s what the Christmas tree, the songs, the decorations, do for us. They remind us of our Christian story, and Jesus’ lessons of love and forgiveness. This year, I’ve decided that George the giraffe, with his rainbow coloured beads, his big ears that stick straight out, and his long neck and legs, will be my icon to help me remember to live God’s Christmas Spirit all year long. I see George every time I sit down with my computer on my knees. Every time I walk past the living room and see George, peering at me with his quizzical expression I will think of God’s call to love and forgive others as God loves and forgives me.

As you start another year, I suggest you identify something in your home that is connected to love, something that you see every day. It could be a family heirloom (Mom’s china cabinet, Grandpa’s favorite chair), a gift you’ve received (a painting, a bowl, a knick knack). Choose something to remind you daily of the many blessings you have received, something to trigger words of thanks for your abundance, something that brings to your heart a response of love. That icon can help you keep God’s loving Spirit that thrives at Christmas time, with you all year long. You see, we don’t intend to pack away our love and acceptance, our joy in living with the Christmas decorations. We lose our Christmas Spirit in the busyness, the sadness, the craziness of everyday living. Let your icon be the reminder you need for 2018.

A Sunday Dinner


Last night, Tom and I sat on my daughter’s deck with family and friends. Some of the circle were missing. Sickness, work, life had led them to different places at that moment. We ate well from a simple and delicious meal prepared with love. We shared stories of the past and present, and we shared dreams for the future. I felt love’s mantle enfold us and with it came inner peace.

It was just a Sunday dinner; a rare occasion in today’s world; a quiet gathering. For me, it was a glimpse of heaven. I could have missed it. We could have gone home early or been too busy to come. I could have been focused on my own concerns, but last night, my heart was open – open to God’s special gift of love. In Biblical terms, “Last night, I joined Moses as he saw the burning bush, took off his shoes and walked on “holy ground.” I’m truly grateful.

I’ve been practicing. Just as a child needs to learn to stop, look and listen before he/she crosses the street, I have been learning to stop, open my heart, look and listen for the moments of joy that God offers us daily.

I recommend you start this journey for yourself. It means letting go of whatever is going on in your mind – plans, frustrations, fears, worries –  letting go for just a few moments so that you can become aware of the love and joy around you.

All God needs is a crack in our armor, just a crack. Open your heart to the love that surrounds you. Whether it’s the joy that comes with a stranger’s smile, a child’s laughter, or a dog’s cold nose on your arm, let it in. These moments will stay with you. Their memory will give you strength in your darkest hours.

Remember, God’s “holy ground” is where you are at the moment. And…Don’t forget to give thanks.

My thought this morning is, “With moments like last night as part of God’s heaven, I have no fear of death.”

Christmas Thought for the Day

Christmas 2015

May I Receive God’s Love for Me Today.

 May I Pass It On!!!

Rejoice! Rejoice!  Whatever is going on in your life, rejoice. Give thanks for live. Rejoice that we believe in a God of love who has created us to learn. We can learn to love more and more deeply. We believe in a God of love who trusts us with creation, who has come to us in a beautiful baby, in every beautiful baby that is born. We believe in a God of love who has entrusted us to care for all of new life, human, animal, plant. We believe in a God of love, for forgives us, who never gives up on us. We are truly blessed. In the deepest recesses of your mind today, accept the love that God offers. Your thought for today is:


Blessed Christmas everyone.  Love to all, Janet and Tom

With God, A Tiny Drop Can Make A Big Ripple!

This is the first time I’ve been stuck at home because of a physical injury on Ash Wed. I’d like to be up and going but I must find value in being still.

The scripture I was offered from Daily Disciplines this morning talks about prayer. Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matthew 6:6) I know this is only one of the instructions Jesus gave us for prayer but it is the instruction I need for today.

I cannot attend an Ash Wednesday service, but I can pray here in my quiet home. I can focus on God. Many times I have told parishioners in nursing homes who were feeling useless, that they can have a ministry of prayer.

Today, I will begin my ministry of prayer. I will focus on God, and pray for healing for myself, and my family. I will follow that with prayer for specific friends, and then reach out to people I don’t know, farmers who provide our food, factory workers, ministers, community leaders. Gradually I will enlarge my circle of prayer to Canada as a whole and her leaders, the U.S., trouble spots in the world, and the world as a whole. I will pray for all of creation.

In my mind I can see the power of prayer spreading outward like the waves ripple out from a tiny drop of water. Yes the water will smooth again, but it will not be the same. It will contain one more drop. I believe that there will be a different energy composition in the world because of my prayers today. It may be small, or it may be monumental. This may be the day that one world leader needs the tiny nudge from my prayer to act compassionately, or this may be the day when one troubled teen needs that extra blessing of my prayer to choose to life rather than death.

I may be stuck here in this chair today, but I can pray. I believe that God will use the love I offer in my prayers to bring goodness to the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to pray my injury has given me. For today, for these moments I’ll set aside my frustration and peacefully pray.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, why don’t you do the same?