Monday, January 10, 2011

Unexpected Joy

Val welcomed us with open arms to their pot luck dinner on the twelfth day of Christmas. Guests comfortably milled around and I got acquainted with my sister’s friends. I discovered two women who were writers also, which started an interesting conversation.

Later over soup and salmon I reconnected with them, heard more of their stories, and we exchanged suggestions and emails. We even snapped pictures of our newly formed threesome. I hated to disband when we were invited to the fire pit in the back, not realizing something precious was in store.

Our host suggested that, as we threw each Christmas tree twig into the fire, we could prayerfully name a wish for the New Year. The format was “Let there be….”

One by one we shared our desires. “Let there be more trust and compassion in this world.” -- “Let my work flow out of a greater intimacy with Christ.” -- “Let there be more passion in marriages built around Christ.” -- “Let there be more fathering.” -- “Let there be more clarity, courage, and discipline in my life.” – “Let me be willing to give up whatever God shows me.” – “Surrender.”

We watched the fire swirl uniquely around each twig, soaring, curling the stems, making the leaves glow. This visual of the Holy Spirit consuming what had died, bringing light and power, burned brightly.

I thanked my friends as I left, aware that new friendships and flaming prayers had brought me joy – a marker of Christ's presence. What a way to walk into this New Year!


You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence (Psalm 16:11, NIV).

What social experiences help you encounter God’s joy? Why?
What prayerful wish would you have added to the fire?

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