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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Advent Journey Day 14

Back in September and now this past week, Doug and I were privileged to welcome 2 young women from our past lives and ministries!  Doug nurtured both of these terrific people through their Jr. High and High School years as their youth pastor and then I was privileged to be a part of their lives when they went to college because I happened to be the University Chaplain at the school where they attended. One of the girls played trumpet in our wedding when she was a mere 15 years old!  The other one is now a colleague in ministry, a pastor serving a Covenant Church in the US.  Both of the women brought their moms along on their travels, also important people in our ministry life at Doug's former church.  Both visits were incredibly meaningful and fun.  We talked present day life but also spent a lot of time remembering significant and hilarious moments together.  Doug was truly a fantastic influence in these students' lives and the affection that they all share for that time in life is really special to witness.  I feel very blessed to have come into their lives through Doug but then also to have developed my own relationship with them over time. 
Additionally, a son of one of Doug's cousins was with us over the past weekend.  He is studying in Ireland this semester and wanted to check out Sweden.  We had not met him very often in his life as 15 of his 21 years of life we have lived in Sweden!  But it was an easy connection and we enjoyed getting to know him.  We talked about life, family, and living abroad.  We taught him how to play Cribbage and I showed him how to make tea lights from citrus fruit!  This one is made from a clementine!  
Then tonight we were invited to a holiday party with a young woman from our church who we have gotten to know well.  She put on a beautiful spread of delicious food with cute red and green themes throughout.  Especially impressive were these Santa/Grinch fruit kabobs.  The others present were all church folks and it was great to gather around good food and holiday cheer.  
We drove home with our Indian friends who have become even more dear to us since our trip to India.  
Friendships and relationships, whether new or old, hold a special place in our lives.  At Christmas the warmth and peace that these good relationships provide comes through for us in special ways.  It is equally as true however that our troubled relationships can be bothersome during the holidays because these painful conflicts are ever more magnified when the theme of the day is Peace on Earth, Good Will to All.  Even so, it's a good theme to have ringing in our ears.  Jesus came to this earth as one desirous of cultivating forgiveness and reconciliation among humanity.  It's good to strive for that in whatever ways we can.  The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:18, that in so far it depends on you, to keep the peace, in whatever ways we can.  Let's remember to celebrate with joy the friendships and relationships that bring us peace and contentment and strive to be a peacemaker even among those with whom our relationship is not always marked by peace.