Good News and Better News… December 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3167)

good-news-christmas-morning

 

My Christmas morning:

  • Four tiny little ones
  • One twelve-year-old
  • A teenager
  • Eighteen adults
  • And six dogs marauding about, sniffing at presents.

It was all held in a lovely, but somewhat square-footage-impaired house in East Nashville.

Although most people consider Christmas to be a holiday season which they either enjoy or complain about trying to get through, I contend that Christmas is a microcosm of life as it should be. It’s a collision of giving and receiving, organizing and finding yourself surprised by a slip-up, and having a crunch of humanity around you which requires you to be open-minded and willing to adapt.

For instance, in the course of our morning, well over a hundred presents were opened.

Also, one of the young men decided to use it as an occasion to propose marriage to his girlfriend–an amazing precedent.

And there were moments of silliness followed by junctures of tenderness, concluding with decisions to stay energetic enough to survive the gauntlet.

The adults made themselves flexible to appreciate toys opened by Santa believers and the subtleties of certain gifts which needed to be explained because they only had significance to the recipient.

Then, in the midst of the festivities and the brunch following, we discovered that one of the guests just lost his grandma. She had passed away in her sleep.

Quiet–and amazing it was how quickly it settled on the room, even among the children. A time to feel and consider the magnitude of such a departure.

Tears.

Gentleness.

Allowing ourselves to transition from one emotion to another without trauma or drama, to return to eating and enjoying one another as life insisted on pushing forward. I heard one person declare the day a “miracle,” but actually, it’s the way our lives are meant to be lived: in abundance.

Abundant opportunities

Abundant problems

Abundant relationships

Abundant attempts

Abundant failures

Abundant successes

And abundant gratitude

The good news is that Christmas is a time for abundance.

The better news is that the baby in the manger came to give us life, and it more abundantly.

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Confessing … August 22nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2670)

XVI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Pastor Perry was kind to me.

Having my music group, where I had placed nine years of effort, fold up and die after trial, error and a certain bit of notoriety, I found myself emotionally devastated. I didn’t want to do anything.

But my wife and I had three children who were unaware and uncaring of my trauma.

So I decided to call Pastor Perry and ask him if he needed an assistant minister at his church and if he would consider hiring me for the position for simple wages, room and board.

He said yes.

I don’t know why he said yes. I was not exactly qualified–being a journeyman musician does not prepare you for assisting in shepherding a flock.

But I went.

I quickly discovered that Pastor Perry was a flawed man. I was too young to overlook his obvious inconsistencies, and I was certainly too immature to set them aside and give him respect.

So when people in the church started preferring me and my teaching style to his, I ate it up with a spoon, while simultaneously mentally turning a knife on the man who was so generous in giving me an opportunity.

It was childish. And because Pastor Perry had his own issues, he decided to undermine my efforts–as I turned to degrade his.

It was all glossed over with a veneer of friendship and phoniness that still sickens me.

So great was our ego struggle that one night I forgot I was a dad, abandoned my responsibilities, and in an attempt to usurp my authority over Perry, let one of my little sons slip into the darkness, where he was struck by a car.

I did a lot of growing up over the next two or three months. My son survived but never regained cognitive abilities. I was such a fool.

I learned a valuable lesson. Even though God forgave me for my ridiculous choices, Pastor Perry was kicked out of the church and I was granted grace, I realized once and for all that the tally and sum of our sins is not lessened … by subtracting the iniquity of others.

 

Confessing Joshua

 

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