This year we celebrated Christmas with my dad's side of the family a little bit differently.
My uncle and aunt invited all the family into their home.
It was a night of carols sung together, music filled with the hope of Incarnation of Christ.
Instead of a juicy turkey or ham roasting in the oven, there was a bubbling pot brimming with with penne pasta and another with oregano, garlic, and tomato sauce—such are the delicious smells of our family's own traditional Italian dinner. But, that wasn't it. Something else made it unique.
There was something special about this night. Sacred.
This year, Grandpa gave a sermon, and we partook of communion together.
My Grandpa Ernie is not a pastor. He is an elder, but in the real sense of the word. Grandpa is a centenarian, one of the few remarkable people to live to be over 100.
At 102, he still has a smile and a kind word to say to all his dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I don't know how he keeps track of us all, but he does.
According to wikipedia.org, there are many factors that influence the longevity of a person's life, but like Grandpa Ernie, I am a believer that the Bible is true. Every. Single. Word. (Psalm 119:160).
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Psalms. Chapter 139 in particular says a lot about life. And that God knows all the details about each one of us.
Like how long we will live (Psalm 139:16).
Or when we get up and lay our heads down on our pillow at the end of the day (Psalm 139:3).
Even all the stuff going on in our hearts (Psalm 139:23,24).
Grandpa Ernie once said that one of the reasons he has remained so healthy all these years is that he hasn't had a whole lot of stress in his life.
But, it's not as if he's lived a life of ease.
Far from it.
In his autobiography, Flowers for Cina, written in memory of his wife of over 50 years, Grandpa shares that he has gone through many hard things.
So, how did Grandpa Ernie avoid stress?
Moreover, with so much hardship in this broken world, how can anyone avoid it?
True, there are outside stressors, but it's what's going on inside...what is inside of our heart that is the worst of our problems. Our pride. Our envy. Our judgement. Our sin.
So thinking on the heart and how out of it overflows the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23), I wanted to make a heartfelt resolution for 2014. More like a prayer. For I can't do anything without Christ (John 15:5).
Lord, please give me a heart like yours.
This will be a constant prayer. Especially during stressful times. It is in those times that I will see God work "all things" out for good (Romans 8:28,29). That is when the most change can happen.
A heart like Christ. Full of grace. Full of truth. Full of Him.
Only one resolution.
And, this is one is going to take more than a year. More like a lifetime.
But, if I'm patient, I will see His way in me.
In His time,