Cast your burden

Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you,
he will never let the righteous stumble.

Psalm 55:22

DSCN2204
(an abandoned hornets nest, Cades Cove, The Great Smokey Mountains National Park, TN / Julie Cook / 2015)

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble,
the Name of the God of Jacob defend you;
Send you help from his holy place and strengthen you out of Zion;
Remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice;
Grant you your heart’s desire and proper all your plans.
We will shout for joy at your victory
and triumph in theName of our God,
May the Lord grant all your requests

Psalm 20:1-5

Last Chance

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
Thomas Jefferson

RSCN8803
(Downy woodpecker / Julie Cook / 2014)

“The last minute is finally here”
“Hurry, hurry, hurry”
“Last chance”
“Hurry it’s not too late”
“Save, Save, Save”
“Order by midnight and it’ll be there by Christmas”
“On time delivery, Guaranteed”

The promises
The promotions
The gimmicks
The pitches
On and on and on they go
The Television ads
The inundated email inbox
The glaring newspaper ads
The annoying radio spots
On and on and on
Ode to the frantic consumerism of Christmas
Prices slashed
Promises made
Guarantees guaranteed

Everyone seems to be vying for your business.
Stores are offering deals, savings, price cuts and rapid deliveries at almost super human speed.
There’s a franticness in the air.
A do or die sort of mentality.
All as the “last minute” fast approaches.

And what is this last minute business of which we are hearing so much about?
Is it the single final millisecond remaining to buy a loved one something that will “make their life??”
Because who wants to wake up Christmas morning disappointed because someone waited too late?
Is that what this is all about?
Disappointment?
Not having the latest and greatest?
No latest this or that waiting under the tree, hiding beneath the pretty paper and bows,
nestled gently in a stocking?
Does it mean we are loved any less?
Or is it that those we love, must not love us as much if they didn’t brave the madness or act quickly enough to get us our heart’s desire?
Making us not worth it?
Not worthy of time, effort or money?
Hummmm. . .

All sounds a bit trite really.
A bit empty.

There is, however, one gift waiting.
Not so much under a tree or nestled in a stocking or wrapped up in a pretty box.
Nor is it still sitting on the shelf at the store.
Or riding around on some UPS truck.
Or costing an arm and a leg to buy.
It neither sparkles, shines, whirs or buzzes.
Its price has not been slashed in half.
No loud voices are screaming for one and all to come in NOW, as time is quickly running out.

No this is not that kind of gift.

This gift breathes life.
It’s a gift offering fulfillment, love, hope.
It is a gift that will not break, tarnish or become quickly obsolete.

The gift whispers to us from just beyond the sparkles and the lights.
Just beyond the carols and the cookies. . .
Well beyond Santa’s sack and sleigh. . .

“Beloved, I am here” it can be heard to coo.
Quietly behind the noise.
Waiting away from the glaring lights.
Sitting without pretty papers and bows.

We are told it comes with no price tag or drastic sales cut.
It has no pitchman hawking in a buyer’s market.
It does not insist that you must come NOW although it would prefer that you do.
It can wait, it’s already been waiting on you most of your life.
And it will continue to wait for you.
As it does not need to be shipped overnight as a guarantee.
For there is no magic cut off day or time. . .

For simply it states “I am here, waiting, when you are ready.”

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18