It has been a year. For all of us.
We’ve had a lot of experiences over the last twelve months.
We baked bread. Binged watched tv shows. Learned a tik tok dance. Took a mask selfie. Rearranged furniture and made home improvements. Parents became homeschool teachers. We all got a crash course on this thing called Zoom. We worked from home. Neighbors bought blow up pools for the backyard. We hosted socially distanced hangouts in the garage. I ordered online groceries for the first time. We witnessed historic events and scientific achievements. We deeply felt the many waves of suffering and chaos that swept over the world. And we survived a global pandemic and national election with most of our sanity intact.
As we approach the new year, reflecting on all we endured can feel sobering and perhaps a little overwhelming. To many of us this year has felt like a desert season – one full of difficulty, isolation and strife. We are ready for it to end as soon as possible and for good reason. Continue reading
I still remember all the firsts. The first vacation. First birthday. Our first Christmas without Dad. That feeling of trying to celebrate the holidays while a piece of our heart and home was missing.
Holidays are naturally a big deal and loss can feel even deeper during those times that magnify our togetherness.
This year, over 300,000 families will wake up Christmas morning without their loved one. Our family will once again experience another first Christmas without someone one we love. This year, the celebration may feel a little less merry and bright.
Grief can be challenging and confusing. Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning, other times like you’re being hollowed out from the inside. Overstimulated, yet numb at the same time. The stages of grief can feel cyclical and repetitive, causing you to wonder if life will ever feel normal again.
After surviving a year like this one, I thought the Christmas season would redeem all the mess. I looked forward to gazing at lights, drinking hot cocoa, cheerfully decking the halls, and lining my countertops with cookies shaped like snowmen and snowflakes. I envisioned feeling refreshed.
Instead, I spent the month stress-shopping online, complaining about the mail and snapping at my husband as he walked by.
This year there would be no travel plans, no family to see, no church service to attend. And because our normal had been uprooted, I felt pressured to do more this Christmas, not less. Continue reading
The last few weeks I’ve been preparing for the holidays. Mentally, that is.
Just this week my state registered a 39% positivity rate for COVID-19. Illness in my community is so widespread that the Department of Health developed an entirely new category of measurement.
As our cases surged, my heart sank. A “critically high” spread meant I would be home for the holidays. It meant more confinement. Less gathering.
Maybe you can relate. Across the country, cities are mandating that families forgo the festivities and guests this season. For most of us, this holiday promises to be different. Complex. Confusing and discouraging. Continue reading
Every year we celebrate Easter with symbols of spring while modern reenactments of holy week portray the proverbial characters.
But if you think you know the Easter story, you may want to think again.
The last week of Jesus’ life was filled with conspiracy, corruption, power-plays and a host of Jewish symbolism. We can easily miss the rich cultural details surrounding his death and resurrection.
If you want a deeper understanding of the Bible this Easter, check out these profound yet often missed details. Continue reading
Let’s be honest. There’s pressure to put the happy in our holiday.
And if gift-giving, family gatherings, and expectations weren’t enough, we’re told to do it all with a bit of cheer.
But what if you don’t feel merry or thankful? And your season isn’t bright?
My hope and strength for this life are rooted in the next. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, I can be fearless in both life and death.
The resurrection is our foundation for life and death.
The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation and pinnacle of the Christian faith. Remove it, and our entire faith collapses like a house of cards, for “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor 15:14).
There are many theories that try to debunk the truth of the resurrection but none of them are sufficient given the entirety of historical evidence (you can read more about those here). Even Lee Strobel, an atheist, skeptic and seasoned journalist for the Chicago Tribune, set out to disprove the resurrection only to discover an overwhelming amount of historical evidence that confirmed it as fact, not fiction (you can read his book, the Case for Christ or watch the movie on Netflix).
Contrary to popular belief, we are not just pining away on earth until we finally get to heaven. We can experience the abundant life Jesus promised here, now, in this present life.
Because of the resurrection, eternal life starts now.
The fact that Jesus is alive is what makes the Good News so great. This means we can have fellowship with him today and experience the abundant life he promises for those who believe.