Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What a Funny Boy You Are

Dear Emeth,

I just want to write this letter to you so we can all remember what a funny boy you are at 20-months.

When we are preparing to go out, you like to choose which pair of shoes I should wear. I am glad you always choose my favorite winter boots.

When we come home, you would insist upon taking my shoes off for me. You probably do this because you see Daddy doing this and we always help you with your shoes.

You have four favorite stuff animals right now. They have earned their way into your arms when you sleep: a BIG white teddy bear, two smaller ones, and a dalmatian. You like to hold all four of them--at the same time.

You love dogs. When we were visiting our aunt, you chased her little dog down, grabbed it by its face, and kissed it. You did this twice. The dog was a little surprised.

You were recently at a stage where you said no to everything, even when you meant yes.
Dad: Would you like some of my pizza?
Emeth: No *opens his mouth*

Me: Do you know that mommy loves you?
Emeth: No *snuggles*
You like to pretend that you are a conductor. Whenever we are listening music involving a full orchestra, you are sure to be waving your little fingers at the computer screen at the beginning and again at the grand finale.

You like to eat, a lot. There is rarely a meal or a snack when you have not asked for a second helping.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

On the Sweetness of Repentance

Hans and I listened to a sermon on Charles Simeon as we made our way to church this morning. It reminded us of the refuge that is God's gift of repentance.
Repentance is in every view so desirable, so necessary, so suited to honor God, that I seek that above all. The tender heart, the broken and contrite spirit, are to me far above all the joys that I could ever hope for in this vale of tears. I long to be in my proper place, my hand on my mouth, and my mouth in the dust... I feel this to be safe ground. Here I cannot err... I am sure that whatever God may despise... He will not despise the broken and contrite heart. -Charles Simeon

Friday, December 11, 2009

Seas of People: A Christmas Memory

In the spirit of my friend Serene's recent post, here is a reflection on a favorite childhood memory: Christmases without snow.

In a predominantly Muslim and Buddhist culture, Christmas was the "Christian holiday." Around the church compound, the trees twinkled with lights for all to admire. It was indeed a moment to be proud that I belong to this church. That it was Christmas. That Christians were celebrating.

For the church, it was the most festive day of the year. The buildings were swarmed with people dressed in their best attires on Christmas Eve. By swarmed, I mean there were three or four services right up to midnight and each service was packed and overflowed with seas of people.

Those who did not usually go to church came on Christmas Eve. Services were more evangelistic in nature, and the Gospel was presented. There were candles and dancing, plays and choirs. There seemed to be hundreds of children, each rejoicing over the bag of gift they received. Each contained an apple, some sweets, and other junk foods. I remember dancing with the tambourine alongside my friends, singing O Holy Night. I do still love that song.

On the first Christmas Eve my family spent together in the States, we arrived at church half an hour before the service, for fear that there would be no where to park. We were so puzzled when we found the parking lot empty. The sanctuary was empty. People slowly trickled in and when the service started, the building was barely half-filled.

I now understand that here in the States, people travel on Christmas and most of the celebration is done prior to Christmas day. But Oh, how I missed the festivities, the crowds, and the faces, not at the mall or the airport, but at church.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

For as long as we both shall live

I became a Christian in my teens. The burning questions at the time always had to do with what my friends and I called BGR (boy-girl-relationship). If you want to get us excited about a speaker or a sermon at youth group, this is the go-to topic.

How do we know when we have found "the one"? Is there such a person as "the one"? In carpools and sleepovers, I am sure my girlfriends and I have exhausted these questions. I was always the romantic. I wanted to believe there is one person out there just for me. I still do. Thankfully, he is no longer "out there," he is in fact in the next room.

Between giggles, we were asking a profound theological question, namely: how do we know the will of God?

If I was given an answer during those years, I wasn't listening, because I don't remember receiving a satisfactory answer. Adults often referred to the "do not be unequally yoked passage." Marry a Christian, that was all we were told. The rest of the story was often filled with stuff from church-culture and pop-culture. Biblical principles were rarely mentioned.

As I am taking a class on Proverbs this semester, it struck me as incredibly odd why I hadn't realize its relevance for godly relationships?True, it addresses not only relationships with the opposite gender, but still, it has much counsel to give about how to find your marriage partner, and how you would know when you have found him or her.

As a motivation for you singles out there to run to your Bible and flip to Proverbs this instance, here is a paraphrase (with my own elaboration) of what my professor said today:

God does not want you to marry a Christian, he wants you to marry a wise person. A wise person, of course, presupposes that he or she is a Christian. However, a Christian may turn out to be a fool.

Knowing this brings freedom, because the decision on whom we should marry is not arbitrary or merely based on subjective experience. God has set a standard for Wisdom. He has revealed it to us, and we are commanded to seek it.

Thinking about this brings great joy and an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I had little knowledge of this when I said yes to Hans' proposal of marriage. Looking back, the Lord was so gracious to us (he still is). We dare not think we are wise, but at least we know we are fools. We are blessed to have a lifetime to be fools together, seeking Wisdom.