A Time for Celebration

By Marcy Barthelette

Journal Entry: Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Southwest Power Pool returned to normal operation last night. Finally, the bitter cold has broken, the snow is melting, and I can catch up on my laundry, not to mention how good it feels to be warm again. I awoke to the cloudy skies that forecasters had predicted but there was a song in my heart and a smile on my face. The temperature stayed above freezing overnight and I had plenty to celebrate!

It would be an understatement to say that it’s been a rough couple of weeks for most of our nation. We were all so anxious for 2020 to end and to make a fresh start, but we might want to be careful what we wish for. Ken and I were blessed during the brutal cold with only a rolling blackout lasting an hour and a half. Our son’s family lives in Austin, TX and, while they were blessed to keep power at both their home and the hotel our son manages, all was certainly not well. Joe’s staff couldn’t get to work because of the ice and snow so he lived at the hotel for a number of days, filling any position that needed attention. He’s a hands-on manager, so that’s not unusual for him, but there was a lot of ground to cover during this emergency. He had a full house for the duration, mostly displaced families and emergency workers. While there is food service in the hotel, he couldn’t get delivery of supplies to feed all those hungry people. At one point, while going through the lobby, he glanced up to find icicles hanging from the sprinkler heads. A quick call, accompanied by a fair amount of begging, and a service person arrived within a short time and drained the lines to avoid a major break that would have resulted in very damaging flooding. During the night of his third day of nearly nonstop work, a call came from his sons that their mom had been taken to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. The diagnosis was pancreatitis caused by gallstones, but they couldn’t remove the gall bladder until her labs improved. A couple of days later, she was gall bladder-free and back at home recuperating.

That’s the latest of the issues our family is dealing with and I know you have your own share. Just like the disciples out to sea when the storm came barreling through, Jesus is in our boat too, carrying us safely through the storms.

When troubles overwhelm, He stills our thoughts and calms our fears. We need simply remember

we aren’t sailing solo. Heidi Gaul, Mornings with Jesus 2021

I feel there is a parallel between Lent and my current time of contentment. While I understand that the Lenten season is to be a time of introspection, I believe there is also much to celebrate. As we study and learn more about this man, Jesus, we find Him interacting with all kinds of people. Matter of fact, He spent a lot of His time with the overlooked and the unloved, the people others wouldn’t touch. I’m so glad He lived that way because it tells me that no matter how badly I fail, His mercy always awaits.

As we read or reread the stories of Zacchaeus, the tax collector who shared a meal with Jesus, of Mary and Martha whose brother had recently died but was restored to life, of Bartimaeus as he asks for and is given sight; aren’t these moments filled with joy and celebration. In fact, isn’t everything surrounding Jesus worthy of celebration, even His death on the cross. In the days when He walked the earth, people didn’t know what was about to happen, but we do. We know about Easter morning. We know what He offers us. So, do whatever you have chosen to do for Lent in love and dedication, learn all you can about this man, develop your relationship with Him and remember to celebrate along the way, especially at the empty tomb.

Create in me a pure heart oh God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:10, 12 NIV

Many people continue to hurt as a result of the trials our nation has been through and we need to help wherever we can. That, too, is what Lent is about, living our lives as Jesus did, serving those in need.

P.S. This past Sunday morning the praise band performed What a Beautiful Name and one line really resonated with me. It says, You didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus, You brought heaven down.” That really sums it up. He wants us with Him, to share His home forever. And He proved it to us in a way none of us could imagine. That’s a reason for a celebration of epic proportion!

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