Christmas Wonder and Der Friedensf├╝rst

When Lauralea and I were living in Aylmer Ontario and we were serving in the lay pastoral ministry there at the Aylmer EMM Church, Christmas season was full of wonder.

At that time the worship there was a mix of High and Low German and English and Lauralea and I loved being in the church choir because these people knew how to sing. Each year in December the choir director would have us turn to the Advent and Christmas songs in the Gesangbuch and we would practice and prepare for the season.

However, there was one song that was reserved for Christmas morning, Der Friedensf├╝rst (Prince of Peace). At the end of the Christmas morning worship service the hundreds who had gathered knew what was coming. Anyone who knew the song was invited up to the choir loft to sing along that great seasonal mennonite anthem. Some years it seemed as though most of the congregation came up and joined us to worship in song. The first notes would be played by the pianist and off we would go.

Singing that song was an experience of the Spirit and of worship, and I knew that because I didn't even mentally understand all of the german words I was singing. There was deep wonder there that this Prince of Peace came for us all, even for me and we were freed to worship with all of our hearts and voices. And worship we did.

Yes, wonder was there.


This was a bit of what it was like.






When the snow costs something


Winter has come to the field and this time I fear, it may be for the winter.
There are still friends here who have hundreds of thousands of dollars of crops still out there beneath the snow and ice. That's hard to watch.
And the value of many crops have been driven lower and lower so that even with the crops that were harvested, they are getting less and less return on their product.
It's a year I am glad I'm not a farmer.

But tonight it looks quite beautiful out there.

Welcome winter. I hope you are nasty enough to kill off many many mice, but gentle enough for those of us who need to be out in you not to suffer much.





Vacation. Last Day.

The first two weeks of vacation were really quiet enjoyable.
Hillary is in a new place in downtown Winnipeg which meant lots of good walking and city life.
Visiting with friends and old mentors was really great.

Thomas and Terri Lynn are just starting to create a life together in Saskatoon that will, I suspect, be a blessing to many many people in the years to come.
It was really good to spend time with mom and the siblings in Saskatoon. And fun to be in that place as they voted in a new mayor and city hall. (Yes, I said politics can be fun.)

It was turning into quite a good vacation.
And then I got the flu.

After eight humbling days with the flu, I was pretty much willing to go to the Doctor. That was yesterday. That turned into a day of many blood tests and x-rays, urine donations and electrocardiograms. Today the Doctor wanted to see me. There are some things we need to look at and work on, but I should live a while longer.

And... tomorrow we are back to work.


I say that in spite of the flu that came to stay for the long visit, it was a good break. I'm ready to get back at it. I've learned some lessons and thought some things through. I've seen some new ways to work and gained some new perspectives.

So here we go tomorrow.
And here's to another good year in this field.

Vacation. Last Day.