Tag Archives: Winter

Unfrozen

Read Matthew 18:1-5

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6 NRSV)

FrozenCastleMy family and I just came back from what was a really enjoyable vacation at Walt Disney World. Anyone who knows us, knows that we LOVE Walt Disney World. Our family has made many memories there that we will no doubt cherish forever. We had decided to go around this time of year because Disney at Halloween time is simply a great place to be. With that said, we were also going to be there for the first week of November, where the parks switch over from the Halloween them to a Christmas theme. Knowing I would never get down during Christmas time, I always wanted to at least see Disney decked out for Christmas, an.d so we planned this vacation!

We weren’t let down. On our last night at The Magic Kingdom, we got to see this year’s lighting of Cinderella’s Castle. It is actually hard to put it into words how awesome. It was themed after Frozen, where Elsa (the Snow Queen) comes out and freezes over the entire castle with ice. To pull this off, they projected images of snow and ices swirling and crystallizing upon the castle, followed by sparkling lights, projected images of shattered snow while simultaneously lighting what seemed to be billions of white, icicle style Christmas lights all over the castle…giving it the appearance of being frozen. What’s more, actual snow was being blown quietly from somewhere thus adding to the magic!

Watching this, I felt like a little child. I was bright-eyed, filled with wonder and amazement, and captivated by the experience. Everyone there was! I captured it on video, and even on video it looked amazing. Being the reflective person I am, this also caused me to reflect on the story of Frozen, which is about two sisters who learn that their innocence isn’t completely lost, and that true love (not romantic love…but true, unconditional love) can rediscover that innocence. The story of Frozen was, as you may or may not know, loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic Fairy Tale, “The Snow Queen.” What is captivating is that Andersen ends his fairy tale with the following verse: “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

In this context, converted does not mean from one religion to another; rather, it means being changed or transformed from one state of being to the other. As adults, we are so hardened by the world. We have become cynical, cautious, defensive, faithless and, consequently, often left feeling hopeless in a world that seems to be without hope. Like Elsa in Frozen, and like The Snow Queen in Andersen’s story, we have become frozen solid. We’re frozen by a frosty world and, in turn, we participate in spreading the snow like winds traveling over the Great Lakes.

The truth is, as Elsa found out, that we are not hopeless. Somewhere deep within us there is the child that God created us to be. Deep within us is an innocent child filled with wonder, faith and amazement. The truth is that innocence is not lost and Christ is calling us to be converted to the state of being child-like. The key is that we need to learn to live like Christ and to love like God. We need to open ourselves to the LOVE and WARMTH of the presence of God and allow our frozen exteriors to be melted away.

I truly believe that if we start attempting to shift ourselves in the direction of Christ’s footsteps, if we start living and loving like he did, if we start caring for others as much as we care for ourselves, if we start taking care of the least of these and begin living into Christ’s mission of bringing hope, healing and wholeness to those around us, then we will begin to “convert” to the child that God has created us to be. So, to quote a famous song from FROZEN, “let it go!” Let go of the frosty ice that is entombing the innocent child within you. Allow God to ignite the fire of LOVE within you so that you may emanate that warmth to the world around you.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

PRAYER
Lord, warm me up with your love and spark a fire with in me so that I may bear the warm presence of your love within me and share that love with others. Amen.

ALWAYS

Read Mark 4:35-41

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“Cast all your anxiety on [God], because [God] cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Jesus-calms-the-seaFor anyone who has been living in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, you know what kind of a winter this has been. From Arctic Vortex temperatures to tons of snow, ice and sleet, this winter has not let up and it doesn’t look like it is going to anytime soon. Depending on who you are and weather or not you like winter will tell how exactly you are handling this; however, for those of us who have to brave the elements in order to go to work, or to go to conferences, or to go anywhere, all of this weather can be quite a bit stressful and intimidating.

And the stress isn’t just related to our own travels. My wife works an hour away from where I live. She is a registered nurse and has to go to work regardless of the weather. People’s lives depend on nurses showing up and performing their duties. I know that in winter storms, I get particularly stressed out when she is driving to or from work. There are a lot of unknowns and uncertainties. Will she make it to work okay? Will she make it home okay? What happens if she gets stranded somewhere on the road? What happens if she crashes and dies? How will I ever even begin to explain that to my children? What will my life be like if that were to happen?

The worries and the fears can certainly add up in such situations. Now, some might call me a worry wort, some might say that I’m making a big deal out of nothing; however, there are also a good many people who went out in storms, died and never came home. That reality exists, and the possibility of it happening to anyone of us is also a reality. So, for those of us who do get stressed out, know that you are not crazy for being worried. It is a natural reaction to stressful and unsettling stimuli, to get clinical about it.

With that said, what good does all of that fear do? Is it saving your’s or your spouse’s or your children’s or your parent’s lives? Is it ridding you of the situation? Is it helping you to remain focused and calm? Is it lifting you up and providing you with clear and rational thought? Of course, the answer to all of those questions would be no. When fear spirals out of control, it can paralyze us and leave us in an even worse state than the actual circumstances we find ourselves facing.

Jesus understood the meaning of fear and, without a shadow of a doubt, he certainly was stressed and fearful of the many circumstances befalling him. Yet, he also was a person of profound trust. He was a person that was able to give everything, including his fears, to God. Did that take away his fears? Did that take away his stress? Did that relieve him of his circumstances? Nope! But what it did do was give him the peace and the courage he needed to face his fears, to face his stress, and to face his circumstances.

God is asking you to place your faith in the power that God has to get you through your circumstances. Notice I did not say around or beneath them. But God can and WILL get you through them. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4, KJV). Remember, that God is ALWAYS with you. And since God is with you, what do you have to fear? So, fear not for God will see you through any and every storm that comes your way.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“Leave it there, leave it there, take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. If you trust and never doubt, he will surely bring you out; take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” – the refrain from Charles Albert Tindley’s hymn, “Leave It There”.

PRAYER

Lord, I put my trust and my faith in you. I take my fears and anxieties and give them all to you. Give me strength. Amen.