2013 in Review

Every year, I usually write a short Christmas post and then a last one to spin off the year before heading into a new season. I can certainly say, I’m really grateful for everything this year. Both my ups and downs. God is really teaching me about joy and humility.

Life and a taste of freedom

Before I left for Israel, my mom was diagnosed with bladder cancer. She had already been in remission for 26 years. I have had to do everything I could to keep my-self from crying for the last two months. But I’ve been learning to find joy. Joy and thankfulness for a woman who gave birth to me and struggled when being pregnant with my brother years ago. But it’s what helped me understand the value of life. Currently, she’s almost finished with her treatments and then goes in for testing to see if she’s cleared. If not, then she will decide what to do from there. But I declare her clean and one of the toughest fighters I know.

ImageI know my mom is not the only one who taught me the value of life, but looking back at my own past and relieving but accepting certain circumstances in my life, I know my past doesn’t define me. I know having things taken only brings be back to God as He’s the only who doesn’t change and still lets me call Him Abba when nothing else might make sense. I will never understand why was Ezra taken. According to Proverbs 3:5, we are not expected to lean on our own understand but Proverbs 2:1-5 says to embrace all the treasures of knowledge as we pursue God. All I know is, Ezra is in heaven having tea and English cookies with Jesus. Her life matters more in the Kingdom of God than on Earth.

This is where freedom comes in, I no longer look back relieving it over and over but rejoice in what God does everyday.

My heritage/traditions

After spending a month in Israel and realizing the many layers and walls of wars, anger, hatred and hurt; I have to admit, it’s not the life I want for myself. I don’t want a wall to define what my beliefs are. It’s easy to call me a liberal but deep down, my beliefs are based on the Kingdom of God. God chose our heritage from the beginning and will use it to the end to bring us closer to Him. But some people only keep what they know is comfortable or what is rightfully theirs but not God’s. In the eight days where oil could of run out, God ends up being glorified for His provision of light and safety. Maybe it’s a man made tradition, but the tradition serves a greater purpose: to glorify God.

Image
Playing dreidel in downtown promenade of Tiberias with four generations and hosting a skit about the history of Hanukkah.

For the first time ever, I’m okay with the idea of saying Happy Holidays because I have a much deeper appreciation for other holidays and the purposes they serve. Christmas is served to celebrate Jesus’ birth but it should be celebrated everyday as a simple reminder. If you study many of the holidays, they were rooted a deeper celebration or understanding. Other holidays turned into paganism celebrations including Christmas. But if I remember the purpose, then perhaps celebrating won’t be as difficult from a worldview perspective. I’m thankful I have the freedom to celebrate who God is and all He does.

Until then my friends, happy holidays and a blessed new years!

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