What were the bright spots in 2016? It’s good to look back and recall them. Set aside the hard parts for a few moments to concentrate on the blessings. I challenge you to review your activities and the insights you gained in the process.
Probably the highlight of the year for me was my trip to Whidbey Island in Washington State. I got to visit with relatives, spend time with my son and tour his navy base, ride a ferry, join up with dear friends, visit my sister’s gravesite in Stayton, Oregon, eat wonderful foods wherever I traveled, and experience the restoration of a broken friendship that I had prayed for a long eight years (the sorrow I reference in my book). This brought peace and relief to a dark spot in my heart and now I am free from its burden. Along the way, through northern Cal, Oregon, and Washington, I saw beautiful countryside and had glorious thoughts. A lot was packed into a short period of time.
The Holy Spirit and Real Life
“Oh no!” I exclaimed while reading the private message in regards to a friend’s passing. “I’m in shock!” I responded. I am still in shock. Strangely enough, a poignant warmth filled my being as I remembered back to when he and I last conversed. I had felt compelled to visit with this friend, the male half of a wonderful two-some, during a trip this past September. Now he has passed on into the next life, and his wife, my friend and old roomie from college days, is left to pick up the pieces. I feel for her.
I remember when they were dating.
He had this great big smile that accompanied his chuckle and he was like a giant teddy bear. He liked to tease my roommate (and me). She fell for him like a ton of bricks. Over the years she and I kept our friendship alive, attending the Shakespearean Festival in Ashland, Oregon and a visit here and there when I made my way to their hometown for an event at my Alma mater. She’s a hoot. We laugh a lot when we are together and we share a love of writing. She and I share the struggles of life and what we’re learning because of them. It’s an honest friendship. We don’t hide who we are from each other. The focus of the friendship was on her and less about him. He often was away at work so it was girl-time. But our last visit was different. . . .
THIS YEAR I pondered what to write for the Christmas reading at my church. I’ve written the story several times for previous plays; sometimes with lots of details, and other times with sketches of the story. I was stymied. How could I write it differently? I asked God in prayer to help direct my thoughts. Then came the idea of highlighting the type of inner character found within each person in the biblical narrative. The time allotment allowed for only a brief presentation which meant I couldn’t give too much consideration regarding each person in the story and some would be omitted. Here is what I came up with. I share with you A Christmas Reading. I hope you enjoy it.
A Christmas Reading
This book is a must read for all Christ followers, and I mean that. My Enemy … My Brother was loaned to me by my sister who heard the author speak at a church in North Dakota. Hanna Shahin’s story reads well. It is a poverty to triumph story, yet it is the message between its pages that speaks to the heart in ways one can’t ignore.
Near the end of the book we find the following statement. “One thing I have learned, and learned well, is never to argue with someone from another faith. Christ is not about religions; I am convinced He could not care less. Christ is not about safeguarding Christianity as a religious system. What Christ is all about is giving new life to people, regardless of their religion, faith or denomination. . . .Christianity cannot change people. Religion can only create religious people, and that is not Christ’s purpose. He is concerned about changing human nature to be as best an imitation of Him as possible.” Those words are bold but they are backed by story after story of true life examples where Christ was the answer to the person’s soul need.
This book is easy to read and the storyline is interesting. The reader is transported into different cultures and given a glimpse into life in the Middle East as it fares for Christians, Muslims, and Christ-followers (those who live for Christ without the label). Through the medium of radio airwaves, the author demonstrates to his listeners and to us a life that is lived for the love of Christ. I will buy this book to share with family and friends. It’s that good.