Our culture is sorely lacking in civility and common decency these days. But I heard a story that lifted my spirits and I’d like to share it with you.
Billy was attending his first day at junior high school. It began with an assembly where all the home room teachers were introduced. First to be introduced was Miss Smith. The ninth graders knew she was an easy grader and not much of a disciplinarian. They began to cheer for her. The next to be introduced was Mr. Brown, who was a young and popular teacher — a special favorite. This time the eighth graders joined in the thundering approval.
I’m author Holley Gerth, and if we could have coffee today I’d say, “Let’s look for the best in each other.”
It seems we are becoming a world that sees the worst in each other. Just take a look on social media. This concerns me because as I like to say, “People tend to become who you believe them to be. So believe the best." No one ever became a better person because someone believed the worst about them.
During the two and a half years my husband and I dated, we definitely had a breakup. Once we got back together and it was getting serious, I started to panic. As a teenager I had developed this list of all the qualities my perfect man would have. And what do you know? Cary, the guy I was dating, didn't fit the list.
Did someone you didn’t know give you a gift today? We took over the drive-thru with hopes of spreading some Christmas JOY.
You had a debt. It was paid for you. You can’t pay it back. Your job is to receive it with joy.
It’s what is at the heart of Christmas!
One of my favorite films and books is A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. It was the thrill and art of fly fishing that first pulled me into this story. However, as I got older, I began to appreciate how the author would describe his family. Maclean would include both joyful and difficult stories about his family. It was a reminder that our family has a huge impact on our lives; and let's face it, there is nothing like the holiday season to remind us of the value and imperfections of our families.
So, here we are in this season of thankfulness, yet how do we have gratitude for our imperfect families?
If we could have coffee today I’d say, “God isn’t afraid of the dark.”
He isn’t scared of the secret places in our hearts. The ones that haven’t seen daylight for years. The kind with the locks on the doors. The sort that we don’t talk about.
In Luke 5, we find Peter after a long night of unsuccessful fishing. The nets had come back empty time after time.
In Luke 5:4, it says, "...[Jesus] said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.'"
One more time, Peter. That was Jesus’ request.
Recently I spoke in my home church. We don’t meet in a traditional building, so when I arrived early I was greeted by a team hauling out chairs. After the second service another team started to stack those same chairs onto a trailer.
I was privileged to serve that day — as I spoke to a crowd sitting in chairs placed by unseen hands.
Ken Miller says that when he was a boy, he was intrigued by a cucumber that his uncle kept preserved in a bottle on a shelf.
The intriguing thing about this cucumber was that it was way too large to go through the very narrow neck of the bottle. It was a mystery. But his mother finally explained that when the cucumber was very tiny, it had been passed through the narrow neck and allowed to grow while still attached to the vine.
I realized something the other day. My wife likes to follow certain photographers on Instagram, and occasionally, after the kids go to bed, she will show a photo to me and say, "Look at this one... I really like this one." The photo could be an image of a waterfall, an incredible sunset, or billowing clouds. She loves clouds.
I finally began to realize that it was after the most difficult days that she looked the longest at those beautiful images. Her soul was searching for beauty. We all search for beauty and have been since Eden. If we are honest, we might say our souls crave it.