Peace in the bleak midwinter

We finally made it out to our favoured retreat spot this weekend. But it was cold, and windy, and we never managed to stay outside for more than 20 minutes. Once we had warmed the place we enjoyed our natural setting through the windows as we curled up in the glow of the wood stove. From our sheltered, protected view it was easy to rejuvenate and feel at peace with nature and the world. Here’s a peak into the inspiring views we enjoyed, and proof that we did go out walking.

Winter sunrise

Sunrise, at 8:09 AM

Winter shadows

Long afternoon shadows at 3:00 PM

Winter wandering

Preparing a toboggan run and leaving our trail on the river.

winter barbeque

The barbecue; transformed into a mini prairie mountain.

Winter warmth

Savouring tea and time away in the warmth of the wood stove.

This was my context for reflecting on the rightness of hearing tributes for Nelson Mandela during Advent, at a time when we wait and hope for peace more intentionally. I hope and pray that this honouring of his legacy may turn many hearts toward peace this Advent. Responding to his passing provided a kind of retreat into the things that make for peace for so many of the world’s decision makes. Would that it could provide the needed reorientation for them, as our retreat days were providing for us.

Part of the Monday evening prayers in Advent readings from Take our Moments and Our Days  reinforced the idea that gentleness and forgiveness are powerful agents of God’s peace, as was Mandela’s gracious connecting with agents of Apartheid.

The following words were particularly moving:

Incarnate God, holding tenderly all things human,                      you became one of us.                                                                Lighten our hearts with Mary’s vision of your just mercy,                that we may be gentled into joining you                                               in the hard and holy work of releasing peace on earth. (p.60)

Blessed second Advent.


About Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel

As a young senior whose life could easily have ended in a nasty car crash in 2012 I live with an extra dose of gratitude to God, humanity, and the wonders of our human bodies. I am a passionate advocate for ministry WITH children and seniors in the life and ministry of the church. I started working in Faith Formation with Mennonite Church Canada in 2002. Thinking and writing about faith helps me see God at work in all kinds of surprising places. I'd like to be remembered as one who encourages others to live into God's good dream for our world. My book, Please Pass the Faith: The Spiritual Art of Grandparenting, is one big way I'm trying to share that encouragement with my peers. This blog is another way I'd like to engage people who care about growing in faith across the generations.
This entry was posted in Church season, Creation Care, Family life, Peace and justice, Senior Spirituality and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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