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These are the Days for Living

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

I’m not gonna lie. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion.

Just ten days ago, I relished in the joy of ringing in a New Year alongside dear and precious friends. We gathered on a rare ‘cold’ night in Florida; one of those ones you actually need to put on a coat and start a fire. It was a beautiful time of conversation and laughter. We listened to our kids play board games. We worshiped together, with voices that spanned generations leading us to the throne room. To top it off, our little gathering boasted a nacho bar, y’all! (Any place with nachos and Jesus…count me in!)

As the ball dropped, a spontaneous dance party broke out in my friend’s living room. In one of those surreal moments you can neither predict or ever forget, it was as if I was standing on the outside of it all. As I watched those I love in slow motion, it hit me: “These are days we live for!” I took a mental snapshot and I thanked God.

Less than a week later, I was on a road trip with my bride and our kids to go and surprise her younger brother in Washington D.C for his birthday. Hidden away in a dark church classroom alongside friends and family, I delighted to see the joy and delayed sense shock on his face as we shouted, “SURPRISE!” Afterward, I cheered for my wife and kids as they joined her brothers to compete in a “Hot Ones” challenge, full of questions for the birthday boy (as I prayed for their digestive systems). Usually, I would have been right there with them in the center of it all, but this day found myself grateful that I opted out, so I could take it all in. Once again on this night, and several times over the days that followed, I experienced ‘mental snapshot moments’ that nearly shouted, “This is precious. Remember this and relish it.” These are the moments we live for.

Yesterday marked the final stop on our trip as I shared in the distinct honor of leading a memorial service and paying my respects to two of my heroes; my mom’s parents, who I affectionately called “Nana and Papa.” The night before the memorial, I found myself sitting in a charming little inn on Main Street in the same city where I’d spent so many summers. There, I reflected on a lifetime of memories, overcome with a mixture of grief and gratitude, sorrow and pure delight. I got up yesterday for a morning jog and ran past their old home. More memories. I joined the caravan of cars as the intimate gathering of just twelve of us drove in the rain to the cemetery. There, like a movie scene, rain drizzled down as we huddled together to say goodbye for a time. In a moment or two, I forgot about the rain as I witnessed the remembrance of tender and precious moments wash across the faces of my family. A smile here. A warm laugh there. And once again it hit me: even these are the moments we live for.

The Bible says that our lives a like a vapor; here for just a moment before we go to glory. And heaven won’t be ‘Precious Moments’ babies playing harps on clouds. The same Architect who built this world created that one. And He says that this is the Foyer; that is the Mansion. This is like a dream, and that will be like waking up. It will be beyond our imagination…forever.

But in the moments we get here, He gives us a charge I’d like to remind you today:

Make the most of it.

Slow down and pay attention.

Breathe in and cherish it all — the hills and the valleys; the joys and the sorrows.

TODAY is the only place where we are invited to live.

Don’t be so caught up in yesterday that you miss today. Don’t time travel to tomorrow’s problems or opportunities in your head so that you miss the people standing right in from of you.

Life is for the living and these are the days for living!

Friend, can I suggest to you that in some sense these are the ‘good days’ you’ll look back on with much gratitude and that those close to you will hold in their memories forever?

Yeah. Some things are broken and there are others that need our attention. No, you don’t have everything you wished and there are a million places you don’t know why certain circumstances have taken the path that they have. But right now, we’re ALIVE. And right now, our God is being good to us.

I urge you today — slow down, take a breath, take a moment to see everything He’s placed before you…and LIVE!

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

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