I would be remiss if I didn’t voice my thankfulness for the unfolding of the Damar Hamlin story. A week ago very few people knew his name or were aware of his charitable foundation. But in less than one week over $8 million has been donated to help children in Damar’s hometown of McKees Rocks, Pa, and most people now know know who he is. All the notoriety and donations have occurred since the Buffalo Bills player suffered a devastating injury last Monday night that was witnessed by millions of football fans. Untold number of prayers have been lifted for Damar and his family, starting immediately after he collapsed on the field, needing immediate CPR and other life-saving methods to get his heart beating again.
I know I was not the only one struck by the response of the players and fans in the stadium to this situation. Tears, prayers, reverent silence, and support from everyone there was evident. Grown men knelt in a supportive circle after Damar was taken by ambulance to the hospital in critical condition. ESPN reporter Dan Orlovsky prayed on live TV, stating, “Maybe this is not the right thing to do. It’s just on my heart that I want to pray for Damar Hamlin right now.” Then he continued, “I’m going to do it out loud, I’m going to close my eyes, I’m going to bow my head, and I’m just going to pray for him.” And he did!
May I offer the opinion that Dan Orlovsky did the absolute right thing in lifting this critically ill player to his Heavenly Father. In times like these, it’s the only place to go and the only thing to do – it is never wrong to pray.
Damar is improving and has asked everyone to “keep praying.” Please join me in doing so because I truly believe we are witnessing a miracle from God. Thank you, Lord!
I woke up this morning and it was 2023! Gathering a few items to add to my kitchen table, I snapped a picture. It represents what I wish for you this coming year.
First in the picture is my Bible and a desire for all of us to read it more for knowledge, assurance, and peace. It is God’s very message to us for daily encouragement.
Next is my perpetual calendar which required two changes this morning – month and day. There’s something kind of refreshing about the realization that this is the very first day of the first month of a new year. All things might just be possible, especially when we decide that the past is just that – gone.
Then I added a heart made of leftover candy canes from last month. I wish you love in your life, but more importantly, someone to whom you can show love.
Finally, I added a gift given to me by my family. I am privileged to be a Grandma. Family gives you grounding and a reason to wake up each day. Sometimes our closest relationships, those people we consider “family,” aren’t necessarily by blood, but by choice.
May God bless you with all you need in this new year. Look to Him first and everything else will fall into place. Matthew 6:33 says it well: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else will be added to you as well.”
However, for many people it is anything but that type of experience. Illness, separation of families, upcoming surgery, estranged children – the list can go on and on. Somehow all the mall decorations, happy songs, and office parties can’t put a pretty bow on individual realities.
For me, the saddest situations are the families that have drifted apart for a variety of reasons. These include grown children who stay away from parents, siblings who have little to no interaction, grandchildren kept away from grandparents because of past disagreements or long-held bitterness.
It reminds me of the story of the prodigal son in the Bible. That account has a happy ending though, because the son who left his family and wasted his inheritance finally realized the error of his ways. He returned home to a father who was still waiting and hoping for his return. A family was reunited.
The reason for this post and its title is to encourage those who are living similar situations to consider mending them during this holiday season. Someone has to be the first to initiate a conversation or a get-together that might cause the healing and restoration of a relationship. We are not promised tomorrow for ourselves or others. Regret is a heavy burden to bear. Please consider being the bigger person, the peace-maker during the days ahead. It just might be your best gift of all this year.
Have you ever stopped to look back at the past seven days and realized that those days seemed more like a month? I just experienced that kind of week.
It began with a challenging family project, an enjoyable football game, and a 20-hr round trip drive to attend an unexpected family funeral. That was just the first four days! The week continued with a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, enjoyable family time, and is concluding with us watching over our grand-dog for a few days. Then this morning my sleepy self awoke to the sight of four Christmas storage tubs, realizing that the two “D’s” await me – dusting and decorating! Where is my vitamin bottle?
However, my morning devotion reminded me that today is the first Sunday of Advent – a time of awaiting my Savior’s birth. Wikipedia defines this season as “a Christian season of preparation for the nativity of Christ at Christmas . . . with the name meaning coming or arrival.”
In all the busyness of the coming days, I want to stop and remember why this is such an important season. Emmanuel – God With Us – is coming! No shopping, decorating, baking or gathering is as important as that fact.
So as that first candle is lit today in many homes and services, I will choose to reflect on the true meaning of this time. God loved us so much that He sent His own Son to bridge the gap between a holy God and sinful man. I am thankful for this wonderful gift and will make room in my heart to include Jesus in the days ahead.
Last week my husband and I worked the mid-term election at one of the polls in our large Virginia city. It seemed like a good idea back in March when we signed up and trained, and as a former social studies teacher, I looked forward to doing my part to help the election process. From setting up the election site at 5:00 am to the two hour process it took to close it down, the 16-hr day was exhausting, but it was also exhilarating. The fact that I’m writing this blog over a week later proves that a recovery time was necessary, and that the busyness of life continued.
One of the most enjoyable parts of that long day was the people I was able to greet and thank for their vote. They came in all sizes, ages, races, dress, and personalities. I’m a “people” person and really enjoyed this constant, ever-changing interaction. An incredible thought occurred to me that every one of them was known by my Heavenly Father. The next thought asked the question, “Do they know Him?”
This encouraged me to understand the importance of sharing of Jesus in these chaotic times. Yes, it’s important to be civic-minded and to volunteer for helpful activities, but the far more crucial task is sharing the eternal life and peace that comes from accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. I will keep looking for ways to do this – please join me.