Counting Down

Calendar with strikethrough crosses fields. Vector ImageAn annual rite of the holiday season is the Christmas countdown. Each year, children count the days to Christmas with an eager expectation, that is only matched by their mothers’ stressful preparation.

Now that Christmas has passed, other countdowns have begun. Some people are counting down the days until the start of the new year, and others have already circled the number 14 on February’s calendar in anticipation of Valentine’s Day.

The number 14 is significant to another group of people.  They are counting down the 91 sunrises that stand between them and the start of the baseball season.

When they hear the number 14, they think in terms of a Rose and and a Banks. Pete Rose was a gritty presence on the diamond during his professional career; however, he was given a lifetime ban for committing baseball’s unpardonable sin.

Like Rose, Ernie Banks also wore the number 14, but his legacy remains untarnished. Even though he had not played for over 40 years when he died in 2015, Banks remains a cherished favorite of the Cub’s fans to this day.

Professional athletes know their fans can be rather fickle and their celebrity status is the result of their performance.  If they do not measure up to the expectations of their fan-base, they are quickly booed.

Fortunate for us, this is not the case with God—His love is not performance-based. He will not bench you because you strike-out, but He will toss you another bat, and say, “Ok slugger, give it another try. Focus and remember, you’re the eye of My, and I’ll be in the batter’s box with you; so, swing away (Psalm 17:8).

The Top 4 of 2015

2015 Puzzle Piece Shows New Year's Festivities And Celebrations

When WordPress sent me an email yesterday, I was surprised by the content of the message:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people.  This blog was viewed about 58,000 times in 2015.  If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 21 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

There were 272 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 51 MB. That’s about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 24th with 400 views. The most popular post that day was The Book of Ralph.

According to WordPress, of the 266 articles that were posted, the top 4 were:

This will be my last post for 2015, and I want to thank each of you who have read this blog.  If you have the time, read the Top 4 again and share your thoughts with me.

I hope you experience the blessing of God’s presence in 2016, and I wish you a Happy New Year!

 

happy-new-year-2016-animated-gif

 

Goodbye Christmas and Hello 2016

hope-at-christmasWhat remains of Christmas?  Is the shredded paper in the curbside container all that’s left?  Is it the December delights that have been boxed-up with your dazzling array of decorations and stored neatly away until the arrival of Holiday Season 2016?

Since people quickly become bored with nativities and Christmas trees, how is the story to be told these next 12 months?  After hearing Silent Night sung for the thousandth time, how do we keep its message fresh and lively?

Christmas is more than the ashen remains of empty platitudes, it’s the colors and hues that imbues the message of Emmanuel:  God is with us!  Not just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but every day:  His daily presence is His eternal present.

As you count down the final days of 2015, I hope your thoughts will be more than the fantasy of Star Wars, the NFL, and college football.  I encourage you think about the message of Christmas.  May it live in you and remain as the joyful refrain of hope, and a message that refines you and defines you throughout the coming year.