Posted in Spirituality, The Grove Velvet Ashes

Let Us Go

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  (Luke 2:15 + 16)

Sometimes I wonder what became of the shepherds after this event. What were they thinking during those 30ish years that Jesus was not in the public eye? Did they talk to each other about the experience, wondering if it was even real?

And later, did they go to hear him teach? Did they come to him with their needs, with sick family members?

Were they there at his crucifixion? Did they see him after his resurrection?

Did any of them join his first band of followers?

We don’t know. Maybe some of them did. I hope so!

“Let us go!” would have looked so different in those seasons. No angels telling them where to go. Maybe no community to share the experience with, giving each other courage.

Instead the distractions of everyday life. The worries, the fears, the busyness. But also the memory of what happened. The longing to see him again. Wondering what it meant that he was the Saviour, the Messiah, as the angel had said.

What about you? What about me? What season are we in? What does “Let us go!” look like right now?

Sometimes it’s so full of excitement, of wonder. Other times it’s sheer discipline. Sometimes it feels like I’m clinging on for dear life (only to discover it’s Him holding me, not the other way around).

In some seasons, it takes a lot of courage. Going into a new place, a new culture, a new language. Being away from those I’m used to journeying with. Or realising He is calling me to new ways of coming to Him.

I wonder what happened to those shepherds. I wonder if any of them followed him. I hope so!

In the midst of challenges, of busyness, of questions, of great joy – let us go! Alone and in community – let us go! Today. This Christmas. Whatever that might look like for each of us right now.

 

This post has been linked to Velvet Ashes, an encouraging site for women serving cross-culturally.

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Books of 2018

In no particular order, here are some of the books I enjoyed in 2018. Have you read any of them? What did you think?

This year, I read along with quite a few of the Velvet Ashes Book Club picks, and those are marked VA.

 

THE PIANO TUNER by Daniel Mason

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If you enjoy being transported into a totally different world (in this case, Burma in 1886), I highly recommend this book! You’ll enjoy this tale of West meeting East, of discovery and misunderstanding, of pain and joy. (VA)

 

LITURGY OF THE ORDINARY by Tish Harrison Warren

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What a unique and intriguing way to look at life and its rhythms, and how they mirror (and remind us of) sacred rhythms! (VA)

 

WALK TWO MOONS by Sharon Creech

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I don’t often read Young Adult literature and was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! “Walk Two Moons” is a clever, beautiful, moving story of loss, of love, of starting again – and of the emotions that go with all of those. It is so well told and completely drew me in. (VA)

 

ARRIVING WELL by Cate Brubaker, Doreen Cumberford, Helen Watts

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Five personal stories of re-entry, of building a new life after living abroad. Each one unique, yet with each one, I found myself laughing out loud, and tearing up, at different points. If you’ve experienced re-entry, here are some good people for you to hang out with.

 

MY GRANDMOTHER SENDS HER REGARDS AND APOLOGISES by Fredrik Backman

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I was worried this might be too much like “A Man Called Ove” but ended up falling in love with it pretty quickly! I enjoyed the layers, the way different stories are woven together, and how with each character, we find out more of who they are, and what has shaped them, as the story progresses. Highly recommend it! (VA)

(NB: for some reason, in the US this booked is called “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry”)

 

THE CULTURE MAP by Erin Meyer

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One of the most help, practical, yet insightful books about cultures and how they operate, I’ve come across so far! I learned so much and enjoyed the positive approach towards differences!

 

I am also working my way through the “Anne” series by L.M. Montgomery, and the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. I’m enjoying them both immensely, different though they are!

 

Over to you – what should I be reading in 2019?

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Still

A quiet moment at the end of the day. Sitting in my almost dark living room, by the light of the tree. Disconnected from the world, it’s a moment of stillness, a moment to just be. Not even reflecting, just being still, giving myself a moment to arrive in the here and now.

Not reading the latest news, whether global or from friends and family. Not distracting myself. Just enjoying the beauty of the tree, of the lights. Getting caught up in the wonder of the season.

The stillness of this moment brings peace into all that’s happened today. Fun times with friends. Stressful times on public transport. Information coming at me from everywhere. Cares and concerns that weigh on my heart and soul.

Stillness. A gift I don’t give myself often enough.

 

Linking to Five Minute Friday – Still