Books! Books! Books! (of 2015)

When I turned 26 I started working on a 30 Before 30 List. And of course being a former lit major reading books was a high priority. So my goal was to read 30,000 pages before I turned 30. I read a total of 7,982 pages in 2014 which ended up being a total of 32 books. This year I've added reading the whole bible to my list. Should I get it done, it will add 66 books to my list (instead of just one).

So here is the list of books I've read in 2015. Here's to a great year of new reading, new stories, and characters. It's quite an adventure.

Total page count: 6,816 pages
  1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (374 pages) 
  2. You Have to F***ing Eat by Mansbach (32 pages) 
  3. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (526 pages) 
  4. Genesis of the Bible (54 pages)
  5. Tell Me by Joan Bauer (272 pages)
  6. Exodus of the Bible (43 pages)
  7. Leviticus of the Bible (30 pages)
  8. Numbers of the Bible (43 page) 
  9. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (176 pages) 
  10. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (192 pages) 
  11. Deuteronomy of the Bible (37 pages) 
  12. When God Lets You Down: Trusting Again After Pain and Loss by Alex Gee (128 pages)
  13. Joshua of the Bible (25 pages) 
  14. Judges of the Bible (25 pages) 
  15. Ruth of the Bible (4 pages) 
  16. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (451 pages) 
  17. I Samuel of the Bible (33 pages) 
  18. II Samuel of the Bible (30 pages)
  19. I Kings of the Bible (33 pages)
  20. II Kings of the Bible (32 pages)
  21. Deepening the Soul for Justice by Bethany H. Hoang (48 pages) 
  22. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (110 pages) 
  23. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell (296 pages)
  24. I Chronicles of the bible (36 pages) 
  25. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (387 pages) 
  26. Like My Father Always Said by Erin McHugh (144 pages) 
  27. Unicorn Being a Jerk by C.W. Moss (120 pages) 
  28. II Chronicles of the Bible (37 pages) 
  29. Ezra of the Bible (13 pages) 
  30. Nehemiah of the Bible (15 pages) 
  31. Esther of the Bible (8 pages) 
  32. The Flute Player by Michael Lacapa (48 pages) 
  33. The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett (357 pages) 
  34. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (361 pages)
  35. Job of the Bible (36 pages)
  36. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (278 pages) 
  37. Darth Vader #1 (Comic Series) by Kieron Gillen (48 pages) 
  38. Darth Vader #2 (Comic Series) by Kieron Gillen (23 pages) 
  39. The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly (368 pages) 
  40. Darth Vader #3 (Comic Series) by Kieron Gillen (21 pages)
  41. Darth Vader #4 (Comic Series) by Kieron Gillen (21 pages) 
  42. War Dances by Sherman Alexie (209 pages) 
  43. The Martian by Andy Weir (369 pages)
  44. Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott (286 pages)
  45. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (64 pages)
  46. The Death Cure by James Dasher (325 pages)
  47. Quidditch Through the Ages by Kenilworthy Whisp (64 pages)
  48. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (26 pages) 
  49. Psalms of the Bible (95 pages) 
  50. Darth Vader #5 by Kieron Gillen (21 pages) 
  51. Darth Vader #6 by Kieron Gillen (21 pages) 
  52. Darth Vader #7 by Kieron Gillen (21 pages) 


Advent Week 4

Advent Week 4

Love (Day 20) 
For Christ loved us too much to leave us in darkness. 

Wonder (Day 21)
I often wonder what the Lord is doing in my life. But how often do I look at him with wonder and awe?

Community (Day 22) 
There have been many influential communities in my life and these represent a few of the many.

Gift (Day 23) 
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! - Matthew‬ ‭7:11

Birth (Day 24)
We wait. We wait for the birth of a savior. Of Immanuel. Of light. We wait for the birth of something new.

Light (Day 25) 
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. -John‬ ‭1:4-5‬ ‭


Advent Week 3

Advent Week 3

Joy (Day 13) 
I have loved this season ever since I was a child. Christmas is magic to me. It fills me with a deep sense of joy. The lights. The decorations. The cookies.

Ponder (Day 14) 
Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. - Psalm‬ ‭111:2

Sign (Day 15) 
This sign took us to some amazing adventures in Yosemite.

Praise (Day 16) 
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Release (Day 17) 
Yes I did an advent day about Star Wars because it is the release of the Force Awakens and Jesus does care about our loves and passions.

Promise (Day 18) 
He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations - Psalm‬ ‭105:8‬

Faith (Day 19)
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" - Mark‬ ‭4:40‬ 



Today is my birthday. I typically love birthdays. I'm the one who usually thinks about my birthday a full month in advance. I love having parties but as a December birthday, parties are quite difficult to come by. Well it's that there are just too many parties happening that trying to fit a birthday celebration in the midst of them is never easy. I have had some great celebrations, I loved having friends over last year to eat pizza and watch Fast and the Furious, or when my students took ice skating, or when my college roommate planned me a surprise 21st birthday party.

But this year I wasn't ready to celebrate. I wasn't afraid of turning 28. I've actually been kind of excited to be in my late 20's. I just wasn't in the celebratory mood. A small part of me wanted to skip over my birthday because the last several months have been hard. There were things from this year that I just didn't want to celebrate. But in the midst of the hard things, there were many things worth celebrating - things that have brought me great joy. So on my birthday, as I turn 28 years old, here are 28 different things in which I am grateful for:
  1. New friendships. 
  2. Friends who sacrificed their time, their energy, and their sleep to be with me.
  3. Travel and adventures. 
  4. Encouraging text messages and phones calls 
  5. Beds that are comfortable and safe 
  6. Family and friends that might as well be family
  7. Therapy 
  8. Students who take risks and are open to Jesus transforming them 
  9. Being outside! Hiking and long walks, going to the mountains and the beach 
  10. Books and books and more books 
  11. Beer 
  12. Star Wars
  13. Sharpie pens and journals 
  14. Words that greet you like a friend
  15. Donuts 
  16. Mentors and supervisors who lead and develop me 
  17. Easting, laughing, talking, and staying way too long at restaurants 
  18. Running 
  19. Thoughtful gifts and gestures 
  20. Music 
  21. Boba
  22. Friends who let you rant, yell, cry, laugh, and sit in silence 
  23. Travel and adventures 
  24. Cameras for capturing beautiful scenes 
  25. Scripture 
  26. Watching movies with friends 
  27. Hope for the future 
  28. Another year of life


Advent Week 2

Advent Week 2

Peace (Day 6)
“Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah‬ ‭9:7‬

Listen (Day 7)
Stop to rest and listen to the Holy Spirt. Be still and hear the voice of the Lord.

Free (Day 8) 
The place in the world I feel the most free is here in Yosemite. To be at full peace and full freedom sitting in this meadow watching the sun set.

Justice (Day 9) 
But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! - Amos‬ ‭5:24

Awake (Day 10) 
Awake my soul. Rise up and see the son being born

Mystery (Day 11) 
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. - Colossians‬ ‭2:2-3‬ ‭

Grace (Day 12) 
I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kind of things. Also, that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace's arrival. But no, it's clog and slog and scootch, on the floor, in the silence, in the dark. - Anne Lamott


Advent: Week 1

Wait (Day 1)
Lord we wait for you. We wait for you to come and bring light to a dark world. We wait with expectation. Hopeful expectation.

Journey (Day 2)
"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.” Ruth‬ ‭1:16‬. We journey together to seek the Lord in advent. He journeyed from heaven to us and we goes with us.

Open (Day 3) 
"Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.” Psalm‬ ‭51:15

Comfort (Day 4)
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew‬ ‭5:4‬

Wisdom (Day 5)
We hiked to a wisdom tree once. I wonder if it made us wiser.



Advent started in darkness. The world was in darkness. Joseph finds out his wife his pregnant though he never had sex with her. King Herod murders thousands of baby boys searching for the messiah. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus flee to Egypt as refugees. They hide for two years trying to escape slaughter.

Advent season promises light. A savior is born in an unlikely way in a unlikely place. Hope is born into a dark world. Advent shows us that light can shine through the darkness. Advent directs us back to the light. Advent breaks through the darkness.

So we prepare. We hope. Our world today is a lot of darkness. Terror and fear running rampant. People being persecuted, tortured, and murdered for their faith or their ethnicity or culture. People living in terror and believing the worst about their neighbors. Mass shooting after mass shooting. Injustice and darkness feels like it reigns in our country and in our world.

But we hope. We hope and look to the light to be stronger than the darkness. We prepare our eyes and our hearts to see the light. We cry out to Jesus to see the light breaking through.

From the prophet Isaiah:

"Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."


Home (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 30 

I'm grateful for the homes I have.


San Luis Obispo.




I'm grateful for the places and spaces that feel like home to me. The people who I can be myself with. The towns, streets, houses, rivers, and mountains that feel like my own. That feel like they have always been mine. I'm grateful for the people I've been able to share them with, for a moment for a long time.

For the roads I've traveled to be in the places that I love and cherish. The cars that have gotten me there and the music I've listened to along the way. I'm never very far from home then.


Unexpected (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 29 

Today is the first day of Advent. Advent is a season of hope, of waiting, of leaning into Jesus as he draws us to the unexpected places. At church today the pastor asked us: "How open are we to the unexpected messages God sends to us?"

Unexpected. The Kingdom of God is unexpected.

I was reminded of some powerful words from my college Bridget. "You may be like me, and nothing in life is what you expect it to be right now. What I've found though, is that the Kingdom of God is exactly like that! Unexpected. Hidden. Unseen. And all the while, God is in control and he is still good. I lose sight of that when I feel like life isn't what I want it to be. I get all bratty and entitled."

The advent seasons invites us to go to those unexpected places, to receive unexpected messages, and to dwell in the hidden and unseen mystery of God. It was not expected that Zachariah would have a child so late in life, it was not expected that the savior of the world would be born in a manger, it was not expected that Jesus' ministry would be about bringing peace and hope to the chaos and the hopeless.

But it's really hard to feel grateful when life isn't what we expect it to be. More often I  feel resentful. Resentful that I had a plan, and what felt like a perfectly good one, that no longer has any use. I feel bitter because I had hoped for something and now it's not happening. I feel frustrated because I had worked hard for something and it seems to have failed. I'm disappointed because what should have come to be, is fading away. But if we turn to our bitterness and resentment then we miss what Jesus is doing. If we turn toward the light - even in places we would not expect - then we can see the Kingdom of God at hand. 


Small Business Saturday (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 28

One of my favorite traditions of the crazy holiday season is Small Business Saturday. It's a great time to invest in local business and communities and to hear first hand the dreams of business owners. For many of them this is their dream becoming a reality and it's great to partake in their dreams alongside them, even when I'm not local to a place.

And we even made it into the Fresno Bee! You can check out the article here.

So thank you to all the the local business who dream big and invite us to share in that with you. For your commitment to your community and to your customers, and for hope you inspire in us to also dream big.

Here are the places Sol and I visited during the day:

1) Raizana Tea

2) Misc.

3) Dear Danger

4) HIVE Clovis

5) On the Edge

6) Pho 75 # 2

7) Goldsteins Mortuary & Delicatessen 


#OptOutside (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 27

Instead of going shopping for Black Friday, we got to spend the day outside for REI's new thing called #OptOutside. Even though we were a little too tired to go hiking, Sol and I spent the day being outside - both reading in the Park, walking through Downtown Kingsburg (for their Julgransfest and Christmas Tree lighting). It was a great joy to spend the day not engaging in consumerism and being outside in the fresh (albeit exceptionally cold) air.

(November in Fresno)

(resting while at Oso de Oro Park)

(enjoying the Christmas tree lighting in Kingsburg. Included a Swedish Queen, Christmas carols, and dancing around the tree).


Happy Thanksgiving! (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 26

Happy Thanksgiving! Here are some things I am thankful for on this day:
  • Being able to wake up early (even though it's not my favorite)
  • Awesome mugs 
  • Running on a beautiful day
  • Being outside 
  • New socks! 
  • Warm jackets 
  • Delicious and plentiful food 
  • Time with the best friend 
  • Pie
  • Dr. Pepper 
  • Hilarious conversations and inside jokes 
  • Watching movies 
  • Star Wars! 
  • Hot water 
  • Being able to sit down 
  • Texts from friends 
  • Sleeping


Harry Potter (30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 25

I grew up in the Harry Potter generation. I have loved those books since the sixth grade when I picked up Book 1 and read it in about a day. I haved watched all the movies, re-read all the books probably 4-5 times (each), thought about what house I’d be sorted into (Gryffindor or Ravenclaw), what my patronus would be (a bear or a dog) and what my favorite class would be (charms).

On my way to Fresno I spent a good amount of time listening to audiobook of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I came across this quote while reading:

I’m grateful for how this series has brought people together and has proved to be relevant into today’s society. Good literature can do that – whether written for children or adults. I’m grateful for all the lessons Harry Potter has taught us – to treat others with respect, that friendship is so valuable and important, that we can both brave, loyal, intelligent, and cunning, that our choices say much about who we are at what we value, and we have the choice to do for what is right, not what is easy.


Music (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 24

As an early birthday present I got the new iPhone 6s. I do enjoy using technology quite a lot – especially when it comes to my music. While there are many amazing things about the new iPhone, this one enables me to hold ALL of my music. In the ages of Spotify and Apple Music, there are a lot of people who don’t own much music. But after years of purchasing albums and songs before those things existed I have somewhere around 10,000 songs.

Why is it a big deal to be able to hold all my music? Well I used to have this iPod that allowed me to hold all my music and not keep much on my phone – saving space. But during my summer trip to Montana, the iPod mysteriously disappeared. But now I have a phone that allows me to hold all the music. This is especially good while making long treks to see my best friend and I’m not sure what music mood I’ll be in. But it's been a wonderful thing to have all my music in one place and I'm grateful.


InterVarsity CSUN (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 23

This is my fourth year on staff with InterVarsity CSUN. After four years of working with college students I can say I really do love my job. There are many days when things are really hard but there are many more days when things are great. And this year there is something uniquely great about the students and student leaders. We've always described InterVarsity CSUN as a family and I think this group of students really embodies this.

We gathered together to give thanks, to eat together, and to be in community with each other. Normally with any potluck or gathering event we prefer to have some planned activities but this year it just slipped us by. But as I looked around throughout the night ever person was engaged in conversation - meeting new people, laughing, telling stories, sharing their lives, and even having arm wrestling contests (yes that did happen).

I'm impressed and amazed by these students - their desire to see more of Jesus in their lives, their hope to see real change on campus, their longing for justice in the world, their hopefulness, their growing desire to commit, and their hospitality to welcome anyone into our family. They make every part of my job totally worth it and I love being a part of the family with you all.


Musicals (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 22

I love musicals. I think my first musical as a kid was The Lion King. I was a little terrified hen the giant elephants came walking down the aisle for the opening number but as a kid I had an immediate connection with the way musicals told stories through songs and dance. I loved Disney movies as the more accessible musicals I could see. I loved going to the theater and seeing a live show - seeing the music, the costumes, the lightening, the sets, and the actors portraying these amazing characters.

I love the way they bond people together. Seeing a show together is an amazing experience that is hard to rival. It's greater than seeing a movie because there's something about what you see at this particular show you can only see once. No show is ever really the same because small things are different each night.

Musicals have a way of taking me out of the world today and into a new imaginative world. I can fly on a magic carpet in Agrabah, I can fight in the French Revolution, I can sing of love won and love lost, I can dance at the Ozfest or alongside forks, plates, and napkins. I can be transported into new worlds and new lives. Whether in the theater or in my car, they take me to new places.


Friendships Renewed (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 21

Lauren and I knew each other in college but briefly. The only time we really met in significance was my junior of college when we were in the same manuscript study of I Corinthians. We went to "sister" InterVarsity chapters (myself, Cal Poly SLO, her UCSB). We had many mutual friends and could recognize each other in a crowd.

But we didn't become friends until I started staff with CSUN. The first year I knew she was around the general area and it wasn't until my best friend went a wedding she was at and said - "you two NEED to hang out" and we got boba did we really become friends. I knew we'd be friends when our "boba" meet up turned into a 3 hour hang out or so.

I'm grateful for her understanding of InterVarsity staff life. We took "opposite" paths. She did staff first and then teaching. I did teaching first and then staff. She understands my world, my acronyms, my love of Myers-Briggs, my love of boba, my love of beer, and my love of working with college students. I'm so grateful for your friendship.


Game Nights (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 20

Tonight a friend from my small group at church hosted a game night at her house with a join group of church friends and class friends. I'm glad to have the space in church to be with each other outside of small group. As an InterVarsity student, I mark this is a trait of healthy small group - how much you spend time with each other outside of small group time. Many church groups I've been a part of are not quite like that, but it's great to see there are others who value spending time together outside of the group enough to be intentional. This week alone I was able to meet with multiple church friends outside of official church time. It's growing my sense that these are "my people." So I'm grateful for the times to play Zombie Dice and Dominion (which I love by the way) and even eat cookie dough.


Intentionality (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 19

At Urbana 15 I get to help plan for and host the MENA (Middle Eastern North African Lounge). It's brand new and while I'm learning about my own identity as a Lebanese German Italian (sort of) Irish woman it feels a little intimidating to be on the planning team for an Urbana Lounge. But I'm immensely grateful for Layla, who reached out to me personally in addition to a group mass email (shows the power of individual emails). I'm excited to be hosting MENA students but also to be diving deeper into my identity as a multiracial person and a Lebanese person. I'm grateful for the intentional spaces InterVarsity provides for students to connect to their ethnic background and heritage. I'm grateful they are giving more spaces to more types of students to feel at home and welcome in a conference that may feel overwhelmingly white culture. But to have people in all aspects of the conference be thinking about how to celebrate and welcome all nations and all people feels so great to me. And what a picture of the gospel.


Mom (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 18

Here are some reasons I love my mother:

- She always finds me the best dresses. I don't know how she does it because it looks awful on the hanger but then put it on me and it looks great.
- She doesn't mind my ramble talking. I can talk fast - especially when excited - and she can totally keep up.
- She instilled both a love of camping and a love of reading in me at a young age.
- She will invite me to random adventures like planning out a photo scavenger hunt for students at a museum.
- She makes me dinner. Even as an adult.
- She treats me like an adult. She talks to me in a different way now that I'm almost 28. She treats me with respect but also is fully willing and able to tell me if I'm talking too loud in a public place.
- She cares about what I do, asks about me and about particular students. She has gotten to know them a little and cares about them in a unique way.
- She supports me, lets me call her and cry on the phone, and lets me talk when I'm trying to fill time while driving, or to ask where in Target I could find that thing I need.


Supervision (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 17

Here is why I'm grateful for my supervisor Sam:
  • He is intentional. 
  • He asks really good questions. 
  • He wants to know about my personal life as well as my ministry life. He sees that they are deeply connected and he helps guide me in both aspects. 
  • He speaks words of wisdom. 
  • He lets me dream and vision for the future. 
  • He is detailed oriented (of which I am not) and helps me see details I may have overlooked or missed. 
  • He values structures and relationships and how they can fit together. 
  • He is willing to travel to Northridge to meet with me. 
  • He his hospitable and welcoming all the time. 
  • He pays attention to the small things that really matter. Like when my birthday is. 
  • He is an exceptional listener. 
  • He teaches me how to be better a coach, a better supervisor, and a better staff worker. I'm immensely grateful. 


Conversations About Race (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 16

Racial Reconciliation is a difficult topic to talk about. Having been introduced to the hard realities of race and racial inequality in our country as a freshmen in college, I realized how late into the game I was as a white person. I've written a few posts about my own journey through ethnic identity which are worth checking out.

But today I'm grateful for the good and hard and messy and kingdom centered conversations about race and ethnicity. It started with watching a sermon on Ephesians 2 and then we just dived into hard conversations. Sitting a room of black students I heard stories of pain. How they fear they can't share their grief about the things happening in the country because they'll be seen as just another angry black person. How so many people rush to show their support of Paris and grieve the terror but where was that concern when Ebola was raging through Africa? To be in a room where these black students let me into their struggle was a beautiful thing - to be let into their messiness and their frustrations and their fears and their hopes for more - that is the beginnings of racial reconciliation. To get to know each other stories.

So thank you to the many men and women of color who have let me into your world - into your hurt and pain - into your stories and see into your culture because I am forever grateful.


Hope (30 Days of Gratitude)

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 15

I admit, today is hard to feel grateful. It's hard to feel any sense of hope when it feels like every week there is a new tragedy unfolding in our world. When shootings and bombings and killings tear at our world, it feels like there is no hope. The hopelessness rages on, the hurt digs deep, and sometimes I feel paralyzed with fear or depression because our world is tearing each other apart.

Suicide bombings in Beirut. Earthquakes in Japan. Terrorist bombings in Pairs. Hurricanes in Mexico. Suicide bombings in Baghdad. Racial threats in Mizzou.

Since the Fall of Man, our world is falling apart. We kill our brothers and sisters, we attack our neighbors, our tongues and hearts are fill with hatred, our world is hurting and people are dying. Death hurts so much for those still living and to see people being killed for senseless reasons - it's hard to watch and it's hard to have hope. It's hard to see the hope.

When Jesus came to dwell among us over 2,000 years ago, the world was also walking in great darkness. Isaiah the prophet recognized that this was coming and spoke these words to the people of Israel:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."

Jesus we need you now just as much then. We need your light to shine in the darkness, a light so powerful that it cannot be overcome. We need you to bring comfort to those who are mourning. We need you to bring peace into a world of chaos. We need you to bring justice into a world where injustice ravages. We need you to bring mercy when we seek revenge. We need your hope when we feel hopeless and overwhelmed. We need your power and your compassion to flow through us, your people, and flow through this world. Jesus we need your light in this pervading darkness.