Tag Archives: New Year

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.

Happy New Year!!!!

Another year, another 365 days to  fill with laughter, kindness, generosity, gratitude and love. May you recognize the abundance of God’s blessings surrounding you. May you be a blessing to everyone you meet. Regardless of what comes your way in 2018, may you know the joy and love that comes with compassion, kindness and generosity. God bless you all. Janet

What Will We Do Differently in 2013?

A New Path

What will I do differently in 2013? Is there anything I can actually change? The Biblical story about the Wise Men seeking Jesus is often the topic for the first Sunday of the New Year. If you know the story, you’ll remember that after giving their gifts to Jesus, “and having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” I smile when these wise men do as they’re asked without even one question.

Most of us are not nearly as compliant as those wise folk. When the suggestion is made that we do something differently, we often refuse. After all, we’ve always done it this way. Why change? Even when what we’re doing is unsuccessful, we find trying something new difficult.

Still, as we open our calendar to January, we hope that this year we’ll do better. Maybe we’ll eat less, exercise more, and lose a little weight. Possibly, we’ll read our Bible regularly, or join a Bible study group. For me, in 2013 I’d like to be in bed by eleven most nights. I plan on spending several hours a day just writing. We all have our list, but we’re not like the Wise Men of the Bible. We get busy and forget. Change cramps our life style. We don’t go home a different way.

In 2013, I suggest that we try one small change. Do one random act of kindness every day. Remember to thank the clerk who helped you find something in the store or send a card to tell a friend you care. One tiny act of kindness as you hurry through your day will make a difference in your life and someone else’s.  The ripple effect will change the world.

 

“And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”  Matthew 2:12

 

For more of Janet Stobie’s reflections go to www.janetstobie.com