• Cindy Palin

Dreams Have Died, Plans Have Changed but...


This Christmas season is worlds apart from last year. Last year there was unexpected sickness and surgeries. I had peace and support to get through it all, but is seems like a very distant blur. It seems like I was very much carried by those 'footprints' spoken of in the famous poem by the same name. Curiously, there is more joy and fullness this year, even in the midst of a pandemic.


My head is spinning, but in a good way. By deciding to explore my Christmas Album all over again, and the stories behind the songs I am rediscovering the majesty of God and the meaning of Christmas. It is good to look back and see what God has done historically and what He has whispered to me at the piano). This exercise gives me further insight on where to put my focus right now.


When I first started Bible School as an 'empty nester' I marvelled at my new revelations. Digging in God's Word intentionally helped me differentiate between what people had told me through the years, and what God speaks.


That pattern of digging is what has brought me here today. Rediscovering the Creation story, the Christmas story, and the Church's story. I am taking my last class with Briercrest and studying 'Worship'. It couldn't be more timely. As I read about our need for more symbols and participation in our worship offering, I embrace this Advent Season like never before.


My Spirit is stirred. As I analyze today's understanding of worship I am excited about worship renewal, and what that might look like, and how that parallels with our need to rediscover the true story of Christmas. There's no better place to start than right now, especially with all the unexpected time we have on our hands. I don't believe God brought this disease to us necessarily, but He is allowing it, and in the process giving us a different kind of time for soul searching and clarity.


Over the last three days I have interjected a Christmas song into my weekly planning that is not on my Christmas Album. As I visited with Jamie Soles and reviewed many of his inspirational song stories, I was drawn back to "Help Yourself to My Life." It is a song I penned in 2003 that wraps up God's handiwork, my life, my worship studies, history, our current challenges and the Advent Season into one big revelation. As I read it and played it, I was reminded of the reality that struggle and pain is not new. We are not the first to face unexpected, gruelling challenges. Although many of us may be in isolation, we are not alone! Dreams have died, plans have changed - but there is a God who never changes. He is our constant. Hang on to Him. Light that second Advent Candle and get ready...


"Help yourself to my life", Mary seemed to say,

Never knowing full well how her life would change.

But if seedling faith moves mountains, Mary moved them well,

Believing in her God that day by saying "help yourself."

Giving up dreams she'd made, letting God change her plans,

Taking a road unmarked, walking to Bethlehem.


"Help yourself to my life", Joseph bowed his head,

Knowing what God asked of him, he could not understand.

But if ever hope was living, in his heart it swelled,

Trusting in his God that day by saying "help yourself."

Giving up all he knew, trusting in righteous plans,

Taking a wife with child, going to Bethlehem.


"Help yourself to my life", God announced with stars.

Even from a manger bed He could see the scars.

But if ever love was given, only God knew how,

Loving us with all his might and saying "help yourself."

Giving His only Son, planning His birth and death,

Watching Him take His cross, out of Jerusalem.


"Help yourself to my life", I can hear Him say...


So will I be a Mary?

Will I be a Joseph strong and brave?

Will I stand to follow when He calls my name?

Will I give up all my dreams just to have him use me?

Jesus you know me so well, will I say 'help yourself?'

Jesus you know me so well, will I say 'help yourself?


©Cindy Palin 2003


Photo #unsplash

Anastasiia Chepinska




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