No Resolutions--Just Asking for a Dance

by Sally Matheny

Like most people, I’m planning to lose weight this year. Again. You can forget it being a resolution. It’s more like asking for a dance.

This extra fifteen-ish pounds and I have been swing dancing back and forth for years.  For the past two months, food has led the dance. When my desire to be healthier overrides my desire for chocolate, then I’ll take the lead again. 

Usually, I tire of toting the holiday heaviness around mid-January. 

However, a big snow can stretch that out.


The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

by Sally Matheny

It was the best Christmas pageant ever. Not because of the angels in their white poster-board wings and crooked tinsel halos. 

Nor was it the tiny, shepherds carrying ninja sticks. Or the wise men wearing refurbished Burger King crowns. 

Even though Mary held the baby doll as if it was Jesus himself; that year, it was all about Joseph.

Three siblings began attending our church. They came to VBS in the summer and continued to come almost every Sunday, as long as they had a ride.

They didn’t maintain a rowdiness like the Herdman family in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. However, like the Herdmans, they did come from a less fortunate home.
Cigarette and kerosene fumes infused their faded clothes. Caring Sunday school teachers often washed dirt from their little hands and faces. Others brought the children coats for the winter.
The three-year-old boy was, of course, the most energetic. The raspy-speaking four-year-old girl always wore a sheepish grin . Nick, the oldest, seemed quiet and reflective for a six-year-old boy. All three appeared to enjoy coming to church.
Since a parishioner usually brought them, we never met the children’s parents. That is, until the night of the Christmas pageant.
Someone offered to pick up the children but Nick declined stating his parents would be coming to watch them in the program. We were excited about finally meeting the parents of these precious children.
A sea of red and green Christmas-attire in the congregation made the children’s parents obvious. Their pierced, tattooed body parts donned black leather for the occasion. Welcomed warmly—by most—they settled in to watch their children transform into an angel, a shepherd, and Joseph.
The play went well. The children were adorable; the story and songs were sweet.


A Twist of Faith on Random Acts of Kindness

by Sally Matheny
A Twist of Faith on Random Acts of Kindness
 Kindness. It breaks through barriers. One act of kindness can turn a person's day around. Just one thoughtful deed has the potential to open up a whole, new life for someone.  

There are many stories about random acts of kindness. I recently read about a family waiting until a neighbor went to work. Then, they secretly placed a festive welcome mat at her front door. The children especially liked giving in secret; much like that St. Nicholas fellow did long ago. 


Not expecting anything in return, not even recognition, helps keep the giver humble and focused on the giving.

Doing kind deeds is a great way to help us concentrate on other people rather than ourselves. Children, who are constantly adding to their wish lists, are prime candidates for this type of project.

There are tags available on-line to leave for the recipients of random acts of kindness. But I don't care for the slogan ,"You've been R.A.C.K.'ed!" (Random ACt of Kindness) 
I wanted to create a different kind of tag. I desired to add a twist of faith—something that told about the ultimate act of kindness—that of Jesus Christ. The result is a card that begins: “You’re B.A.C.K.! (Blessed by an Act of Christian Kindness). The card ends by sharing about God's greatest act of kindness and how it isn't random at all, but intentional.