Sunday, December 25, 2011

Prince of Peace

The conversation centered on our common struggle with anxiety. 

"It seems as though I'm coming to the end of my tolerance level, and I find myself trying to pray the prayer of surrender these days", my friend said.

"That could be the point of this whole frustrating, painful season, where just normal living becomes so labored and calculated trying to overcome anxiety's gripping tenacles."

"Probably", she responded.

"The bottom line is, do we trust the Prince of Peace, or not?"

"Yes, but it is so hard sometimes."

"I know. I know."

This Prince of Peace who gave up all to come to save us from sin and it's effects, anxiety for example,  is always working to show us His trustworthiness and to coax our hearts to surrender all to him who only has good for us.  Even the difficult distresses of life are ripe opportunities for him to tenderize our affections towards this Lover of our souls.

So this Christmas season may you be encouraged to seek his face, his wisdom, his grace and his gifts of life and love.  Let's make it our goal this new year to know him better. For to know him is to trust and love him more.  You are worth his coming, his death and his ressurection! What a reason to celebrate!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What's In a Name?

I have sisters –in-law who are elementary school teachers. With the start of each new school year, our family is entertained by the unusual or ridiculous names of children in their classrooms. A familiar name gets an update with a unique spelling, or a child is saddled with a long title, or, as the present trend seems to be, children are named for an object. Listed under celebrity baby names I found Apple, Banjo, Ocean and Moon Unit.

I was named after a woman in the Bible, and my name means ‘companion; friend’. I like to think that I’ve become someone who resembles the person I was named for. An endearing nickname secured my sense of belonging among family and close friends. Names do matter.

In today’s Scripture, Isaiah predicts the birth of a child who will come with great mission and purpose. He will be as a light in the darkness, and a deliverer who causes rejoicing. He will govern, and his kingdom will have no end. A single name for this baby is too confining. He will be called…

Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God
Everlasting Father
The Prince of Peace

Jesus’ birth fulfilled this prophecy and for those of us who have received adoption into his family, we know how well these names fit him. The times I’m confused or in need of guidance, Jesus counsels me through Scripture or through other believers inspired by his words. God is mighty in creation, and in working things out for good in the messiness of my life. To call Jesus, Father, means we are family, and I belong to him. I even have the privilege of using his nickname, Abba. This Father’s care for me is lasting and forever.

When life is uncertain, when insecurity makes me anxious, when conflict brings turmoil, and when worry has seized control of my mind, I run to the Prince of Peace to find refuge and help. In this place of rest, those who struggle to make peace with their given name, will find Jesus calling them Loved and Chosen.

There is a glorious King above heaven and earth who came down into our world so we could be familiar with the one whose name is above all names. I am awed and filled with wonder.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Christmas Greetings!

Did you ever see the Christmas ditto picture?  Check it out here:
As the busyness of the season closes in, maybe I can 'ditto' some of the lovely newsletters we've been receiving from many of you.  But it doesn't work that way.  Our life, like yours is unique and the year of memories behind us has been woven into each of our life's stories.

Here are a few of our memories I'll hold onto:

Magazine Days with the local Grandkids-a.k.a-  day when the grand kids come over and we read the latest issue and do a related craft and snack

Aubrey (7) daughter of Dan & Kristina

Auron (4) son of AJ and Amanda; Shawn (4) son of Dan & Kris

Times of skyping with Jodi and family in FL.
The boys are growing so fast! Check out these photos Eman created:
Ian (3)
Dominic (1)

Easter weekend brought the extended Showalter family our way and we enjoyed lots of visiting, games and catching up.  What a great time together!

Our trip to PA. in August, with good friends, Steve and Verna, to attend other good friends' son's wedding. The wedding site was close to my sister Lois and husband, and we enjoyed a few days with them as well.

I'll remember this year in my job as the year of changes.  Positions at the library are shifting, and I will be increasing hours and responsibilities.  I enjoy the college setting.
Kevin's job remains the same at Tri-State Air Compressor Co.

The 3 one-year birthdays we celebrated in April, August and November:

Dominic and his 2 Indiana cousins:

Rebecca (1) daughter of Dan and Kris
                                                 Elika (1) daughter of AJ and Amanda

Josh and family came to visit at Thanksgiving.  Jill and Elle are delightful young ladies and we had a bunch of baking, crafting fun together!

Jill (10)
                                                                         Elle (8)

The jaunts to Valparaiso to see Austin, or the places we've met for dinner between our cities, has kept us connected.  His visits home are always welcomed, laundry and all. :)

We'll treasure gatherings with friends from church, and worshipping Sundays with our church family at Harvest Community Church (formerly Zion Chapel).

Most Sunday nights find us snuggled up for a movie and big bowls of popcorn.  I may not remember every movie we watched, but the time we carved out for this relaxation is a highlight of the week.

Keeping up this blog has been a great outlet for spurring on my writing.  I'm thankful for this and Facebook to keep in touch with so many of you and for the new friends I've made.

Whatever your memories are of 2011, the Master Storyteller is editing them with beauty and grace. May He bless you with Peace, Joy, and the Glad Tidings of a Savior born to give us life and to be our constant Companion.   Cheers to the new year ahead!

Love from our home to yours,
Ruth and Kevin Hochstetler

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I love this picture! Because it's funny, but it also says to me that I don't have to compete with the Jones. We have simple candle lights in the windows at our house, but I greatly enjoy the elaborate display across the street from us. I struggle each year at this holiday time to keep it simple. I want to ponder on the wonder of the glorious gift God sent in Jesus Christ and out of that focus, give to others. To find the perfect gift to impress is not worth feeling frazzled after the hectic trek to the overcrowded mall; a trip squeezed in between baking ahead for visiting relatives and decorating the house. So I pray daily for guidance to keep in step with my Guide and to make wise decisions with my time and to stay in His Peace as days fill with plans and pressure tries to mount. The only overwhelming I want to experience is my cup overflowing with Joy that comes from the quietness of His presence and being free to enjoy the beauty of the season. May you also be quieted in Him today.

Monday, December 5, 2011

You Had to Have Been There

As we waited for the Christmas presentation to begin, we tried to converse over the cacophony of dissonance the orchestra instruments were pitching around the auditorium.  As the lights lowered, the conductor took his stand, and all became still.  With a slight motion of the conductor's hand, beautiful music of seasonal melodies began.  My senses were saturated; the effect was breath-taking.

I mused on the contrast of the two musical moments.  One left me disconcerted and the other evoked awe and goose-bumps.  I noticed the eyes of the musicians shifting from page to conductor, following the cues and written notes meticulously.  The violin bows moved in sync and the woodwind keys pumped in perfect timing.

How I want to be the eager follower of my Conductor of Life.  With my eyes on Him and my practice and precision of conduct focused on His Word, I want my life to be in harmony with Him and others. As we all keep our eyes on the Conductor, we will move in corresponding rhythm with each other and our beauty will be seen, felt and heard by all.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season and may your days be filled with harmony as you stay focused on the Conductor.