A Thank You from the Schlueters

compassionThere are a precious few in this world who are capable of understanding how to respond in times of loss. This thank you is to those who get it.

Thank you to those who are able to look beyond public image and big works and see hurting people in crisis and reach out.

Thank you to those who refuse to pile on with  judgments based on ignorance and hate at a time already fraught with complexity and anxiety.

Thank you to those who came to this small blog this last week, because you see our family and the Russ Turner family as people worthy of kindness and respect, and with an intent to pray for us or offer to help, rather than satisfy your idle curiosity for purposes of gossip. Your decency is worth more than gold. And just as rare.

My father, Vic Eliason, died last Saturday in the hospital. We were there, as we had been earlier in the week. Life is not a Hallmark movie. It would be nice if we could write the endings, wouldn’t it? But on this broken planet, life doesn’t always work out the way we hope and pray. All of us can only do what we can do. We are not in control. We are not in charge.

One thing my sister’s family and mine have seen often in the past years, is that every piece of the shattered glass of our lives can be part of a new mosaic. But it only happens if we give the pieces to God for arranging. What seems like unbelievable destruction really can be beautiful. Those in the middle of their own struggle can look up at God’s lovely design, see the light of His presence through the glass and say, “You can do that for me, too, God. Give me faith and courage.”

A blessed and Christ-filled Christmas to all who have stopped by.

 

Light in the Windows

Emily and I like looking at Christmas and snowy winter photos, and together we picked out the ones we liked the best. Our little girl (she is six-years-old now) is excited that we’re only 12 days away from Christmas Eve. Today she has practice at church for the Lessons and Carol service coming up next Friday.  She will be wearing her white choir robe and singing with the other children in the Cherub Choir the old, old story of our Savior’s birth. “I love to sing, Mama,” she told me last night.

Here are some of the images that we like best.  The contrast between the cold and dark and light and warmth through the windows in these images never fails to draw a viewer in.  It’s a cold and dark world and that’s why the love light in our homes and communities is what matters most.

cardinal
lodgechristmas
lodgechristmas2
whitechristmas
whitechristmas2
whitechristmas4

whiteChristmas5
whitechristmas6whiteChristmas 7

A Blessing at our Door

Our doorbell rang this morning and a nice delivery man brought in beautiful trays of food to our house. Some friends of ours who do not share our Christian faith, but love us anyway, ordered the food for our family to enjoy at Christmas.

It reminded me of the little excerpt I shared, the story about the dejected man and his wife at Christmas, when the doorbell rang, and God brought a blessing. This time, it was our house, sent by people who care about us.

We are deeply touched and grateful for the kindness shown to our family. They have no idea how much it means to us, but we hope they know it’s a whole lot!

 

Christmastrays

O Great Mystery

O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum.
Alleluia.

English translation

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.
Alleluia!

 

No Fake Jesus Wanted

The only Jesus this child will see and know is the One who shines through the lives of those around her

We can sing about the baby Jesus and get all misty eyed at carols, but it doesn’t mean squat if all we have is sentiment and rhetoric.

This child knows about Jesus based on what she experiences through the lives of those who love her. She doesn’t need fake Jesus, the one that has no more depth than the ones on the cards that we send out.

She needs the real Jesus who overcomes darkness, loves unconditionally and who forgives and heals.

Any other Jesus is a fake. Anybody professing this fake Jesus is a fraud.

Emmy knows that those who love her are there for her, no matter what. Some of her own relatives have already rejected her in her short life. But there is someone who will always be there for her.

The real Jesus.

That’s who Christmas is all about.

 

EmChristmas

Home Again

Will is home from college tonight. He arrived at the bus station too early for his dad to pick him up after work, so he walked down Wisconsin Avenue carrying all his stuff from college and arrived at Gesu Church where his beloved Schantz organ was waiting for him in the dark organ loft.

Our son recorded a Christmas carol just for me. I thought I’d share  Silent Night with the Hope Blog readers.

He also recorded this joyful fanfare just for fun. This is a fanfare he learned from Organist Emeritus at Gesu, John Weissrock, Will’s mentor in organ from the time he was a very small boy. The fanfare is usually the introduction to Christ the Lord is Risen Today at Easter, but Will whips it out when he is in a particularly joyful mood. He’s glad to be home, and Tom, Mary , Emmy and I are all so happy to have our tornado back for a few weeks from college.

 

WillMaryChristmas

 

A Dutch Carol for Christmas Morning

Here are the English lyrics of this lovely Dutch Christmas Carol.

bellsJesus, You are welcome here with us today.
You came to earth from heaven on Christmas day.
Jesus, You are welcome now to stay with us again.
In our sinful hearts, give us mercy, come and reign. Kyrieleis. (Have mercy, Lord)

“Christ have mercy on us”, we together sing.
For what You’ve done to save us our praise we bring.
You were born on Christmas, God among us here to be.
Bringing us salvation, from sin to set us free. Kyrieleis. (Have mercy, Lord)

Shepherds in the fields heard angels’ words of cheer.
They could not understand it: they shook with fear.
“Go and find your Savior,” said the angel in the skies.
“Leave your sheep to seek him: in Bethlehem he lies.” Kyrieleis. (Have mercy, Lord)

Wise men came to seek him from a distant land.
To give their richest treasure was what they planned.
Placing gold and frankincense and myrrh before their King,
Love and adoration, the best of gifts to bring. Kyrieleis. (Have mercy, Lord.)