Reflections of 2021

Time to sleep.

Each Christmas season I try to sleep on the couch one night in the bask of Christmas tree lights. Why? I find the gentle lighting soothing to fall asleep to, but more importantly, this is what I see when I open my eyes in the early morning. So peaceful.

Time to thank.

Before the family wakes, I thank the Lord for the year, often prompted by the ornaments. Our family still gives each other ornaments that signify the year. As my eyes lingered on each new one in 2021, I thanked God for my trip to visit my parents in Amish country after not seeing them for so long, while our son attended a once-in-a-lifetime skateboard camp. I am thankful for the trip my son also took with his dad where they stayed a few nights in the famous Stanley Hotel. I thanked God for his financial provision through my husband working for a start-up company. I thanked God for His Word that I love to study and read, and the friendships I have with women who pray for me and with whom I can talk deeply about all matters. I thanked Him for huge progress made on a bible study that will publish soon with Oaks Ministries and a new teaching opportunity to a brand new group of students I enjoy teaching immensely. All of my children know I love acorns and oaks leaves, and this year a grandchild purchased a beautiful acorn ornament for me.

The generations are being influenced.

Another way the generations are shifting is the increase of charitable giving around the Christmas tree. As has been customary for years, my husband purchased chickens for me this year through Compassion so a family in another country can be fed and benefit from a source of income. This year more joined in! My daughter and son-in-law made a contribution to A21 to stop modern slavery. Items from Hope Heals and the fledgling Love Well also got wrapped up in pretty paper with a bow. I am tickled that Kingdom work in gift exchanges is gaining traction in my family line.

The creation of a thousand acorns is in one acorn. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Each acorn reflects a spiritual reality.

The potential for Kingdom-shaking, Kingdom-building, world-changing influence exists in each of us.  Our lives matter in the world, and the influence of our lives lasts long after we are gone. In Christ, the influence of our lives is eternal. Each child of God is transformed through faith in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. I thank God that we can all reflect the character of God more at the end of each year than we were capable of in any year prior.

Time to reflect on the difficulties.

This year, my Christmas tree vigil also had me thanking God for waking up in a furnished room! When our house was flooded September 9 and furniture was removed and floors torn up September 10, we knew our home might not be put back together again by Christmas morning. In the middle of all that, I also broke my hand. After a long wait, furniture was delivered back to us on 12/21.

In the middle of all the good stuff is always the hard stuff. 2021 contained difficulties for each of us. How do we face the new year and each new day with courage and anticipation instead of fear of the unknown and inevitable  trials coming our way?

Tune in again on New Year’s day for some of the answer.

Picture Explanation: Ornaments and gift tags I treasure.

© 2021 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.


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Planting and Watering

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6

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