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Coffee Shops, Frank Sinatra, and Immanuel

Christmas is a season of shining lights, glittery ornaments, and glowing candles.  We celebrate Jesus’ coming as the light of the world, but it can be a dark season, a time of tears for some whose hearts are still tender from a recent loss.  Even if we’re not feeling the “Christmas joy,”  God is right there with us.  Today I’m sharing a story about loss and comfort written by Brockie, one of the women in my prayer group.

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Ever have those moments that come from nowhere. You know, those moments of grief and loss that are overwhelming, and you couldn’t have seen them coming from a hundred miles away?  I had one of those today in the coffee shop.  Frank Sinatra music was playing, and I found myself lost in my dad’s voice, singing with his quartet . . .

“and then I go and say something stupid like I love you.”

brockie and dad

I sat with my three-year-old daughter by my side, wishing Dad was here to hear her sing “Away in a Manger” a hundred times this season.  I kept thinking how much he would love to watch my high-school-aged daughter make that left handed lay up that looks so smooth in her basketball games.

How proud Dad would be of the older boys and their academic accomplishments, as well as the wonderful young men they have become (all the while wearing the great socks that he would give them at Christmas time).  So if this is your first Christmas without a loved one or your 50th, I pray you will find the words of Isaiah, repeated by Matthew to be comforting:

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).   Matthew 1:23   NIV

May you find God’s presence near to you in the middle of your grief and sorrow, and may you know you are not alone.  Blessings!

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Photos by Barb Briggs

Keeping the Faith When It All Falls Apart–Jennifer Dukes Lee

Lovely story by Jennifer Dukes Lee

of God’s care and comfort

in the middle of trouble with a capital “T”

Jennifer Dukes Lee coffee cup faith

photo by Jennifer Dukes Lee

We Got Trouble, Trouble with a Capital “T”

We got trouble

Right here in River City.

Trouble with a capital “T”

And that rhymes with “B”

And that stands for “bee!”

barb sunflower bee very close

Bees (and wasps) are trouble.

Big ones, little ones,  bumble bees, yellow jackets,  honey bees.  They’re all the send-me-to-the-emergency-room-if-they-sting-me kind of trouble.

Trouble with a capital “T.”

But who is there that doesn’t have some kind of trouble?  Becoming a Christian doesn’t give us a get-out-of-jail-free card and exempt us from all difficulties in life. We can expect trouble.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33  NIV

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What happens when (not if) troubles come into our lives?  Does God just give us a quick pat on the head, saying,  “Yeah, life is tough . . . See ya later?”  No, Jesus cares about the condition of our heart, and He wants to give us His peace in place of fear.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John14:27

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33  NIV

God is there in the middle of our difficulties to strengthen and help us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3, 4  NIV

It’s hard to see how anything good can come out of our troubles, but this verse in 2 Corinthians give us a clue.  The comfort that God extends to us is multiplied as we share that comfort with others going through their own difficult times.  We see how this multiplying works with the sunflower.  One sunflower, grown from one seed, visited and pollinated by troublesome (to me) bees can produce hundreds of seeds, and those hundreds of plants could produce thousands of seeds.

So the next time

sunflower and bee clos up Barbs

 Ya got trouble, terrible trouble

Right here in River City.

(right where you live)

Trouble with a capital “T”

And that rhymes with “P”

And that rhymes with “C”

And that stands for “pool”  “peace”

And that stands for “comfort”

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“Ya Got Trouble” from “The Music Man”

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photos by Barb Briggs

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