How wonderful to be “overwhelmed with joy,” as the prophet Isaiah writes. This is the season to be overwhelmed with joy as we wait to celebrate the birth of Christ who came to live with us and for us, “God and sinners reconciled.” Yet we do need to be reminded continually, as the angels have told us, “do not be afraid…nothing is impossible with God.” We are surrounded, always, by this most incredible and joyful assurance!
“Joy and sadness are as close to each other as the splendid colored leaves of a New England fall to the soberness of barren trees. When you touch the hand of a returning friend, you already know that he or she will have to leave again. When you are moved by the quiet vastness of a sun colored ocean, you miss the friend who cannot see the same. Joy and sadness are born at the same time, both arising from such deep places in your heart that you can’t find words to capture your complex emotions.
“But this intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one can take away from us.” Henri Nouwen
“I trust in you, Lord, but keep helping me in my many moments of distrust and doubt. They are there and will be every time I turn my eyes, ears or hands away from you. Please, Lord, keep calling me back to you, by day and by night, in joy and in sadness, during moments of success and moments of failure. Never let me leave you. I know you walk with me. Help me walk with you today, tomorrow and always.” Henri Nouwen
In today’s “My Utmost for His Highest,” Oswald Chambers writes, “We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute.”
Rueben Job writes, “We move away from doubt at our own pace and with our own set of doubts and beliefs to master….One step along this journey that causes many people to stop and struggle is the step of actually believing God loves them and that they can be lovable in God’s sight. This more than any other step along the journey makes men and women, young and old, stumble and fall from faith to doubt. Why is it so hard for us to believe that God’s love really is unconditional and that we should imitate God’s love, not only for others but also for ourselves?
Although La Grande does not present the quantity and intensity of fall colors that you find in New England, nonetheless, this valley vibrants with the reminder that the season is changing, that this is the color finale before the white of winter.