Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Yes, it’s that time of the week – time for my weekly running post. This has been a good week on the running front, especially considering it is the end of December. We had a cold December, which means that I have already done my share of cold-weather running. I was hoping that I didn’t have to go out early this morning, but things needed to be done this afternoon, so out into the briskness I went. I really think I am getting used to it, because 24 degrees doesn’t feel as cold as it used to. Today was my scheduled long run and my goal was 9 miles. In the weeks since Richmond, I have slowly been rebuilding my long run. One of the reasons I say rebuilding is because I am working on running faster. Last year’s Park to Park 1/2 marathon was run at about an 8:15 pace. If I want to beat that, I need to get my long runs to that pace – not the 9:00/miles that I was running for Richmond. My runs have been fast this week – even in the cold. Today’s was the slowest of the week, clocking in at an 8:30/mile pace, but that was for 9 miles. Yesterday I ran a short 3 miles. The first mile I went out way too fast and sabotaged the rest of the run. I’ve also been trying to take off the extra pounds from the Christmas feasting, so I think that slowed me down. All in all, I am very happy with my progress so far. The Park to Park 1/2 Marathon is sitting about 16 to 17 weeks out and my long run is already 9.5 miles. Next week, I would like to run for 90 minutes and then for the next several weeks, just try to make that faster. I am also concentrating on faster, shorter runs. This week my plan is a 6 miler on Monday, 5 miles on Tuesday, 5 miles Thursday, and then a 90 minute long run on Saturday. The weekday runs are all scheduled to be fast runs – pushing the 8:00/mile pace. I need to start getting those under 8 minutes.
Like I said, overall I am very happy with this week’s progress. I think the interesting thing that happened today was the middle miles. It was miles 4, 5, and 6 that were just tough – they were the middle miles and sometimes during those miles – it can just get funky – the mind gets muddled – you want to just quit. But today I persevered through those tough middle miles – even though the last two miles were slower than I wanted – they felt better – yet my legs were starting to feel the longer distances and the fact that I ran 24 miles this week – my longest weekly effort since Richmond.
It’s been good! Pressing On!
I guess that is why I really like the liturgical church year. For the four weeks leading up to Christmas, we have been preparing the way for the coming of Jesus – after all, that is what Advent is all about. From Christmas Day to January 5 (otherwise known as the 12 Days of Christmas,) we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
I think it’s interesting – we take the season of preparation and make it all about Christmas and then when Christmas really arrives – we immediately put it away. I had a great conversation with those who decorate our sanctuary. During the discussion, we were talking about when to take down the Christmas decorations. I told them I would love the decorations to be up through January 5 – immediately one of them agreed – being that the days between Christmas and January 5 constitute the 12 days of Christmas. This coming Sunday, most of our songs will focus on the birth of Jesus, while next Sunday we will do that plus at the wisemen element – especially since we will be so close to Epiphany.
Here’s my encouragement – I think we have been so busy in preparing the way for Christmas that we often forget to celebrate Christmas – take these next few days and celebrate the birth of our Saviour – Emmanuel – God with us!
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens!
Praise him from the skies!
2 Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
3 Praise him, sun and moon!
Praise him, all you twinkling stars!
4 Praise him, skies above!
Praise him, vapors high above the clouds!
5 Let every created thing give praise to the Lord,
for he issued his command, and they came into being.
6 He set them in place forever and ever.
His decree will never be revoked.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you creatures of the ocean depths,
8 fire and hail, snow and clouds,
wind and weather that obey him,
9 mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all livestock,
small scurrying animals and birds,
11 kings of the earth and all people,
rulers and judges of the earth,
12 young men and young women,
old men and children.
13 Let them all praise the name of the Lord.
For his name is very great;
his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
14 He has made his people strong,
honoring his faithful ones—
the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!
For a little fun on this Thursday, here is Francesca Battestelli’s “Marshmallow World,” even though it looks nothing like that here in the Shenandoah Valley.
Sing a new song to the Lord,
for he has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory;
his holy arm has shown his saving power!
The Lord has announced his victory
and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!
He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel.
The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
break out in praise and sing for joy!
Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song,
with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.
Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the earth and all living things join in.
Let the rivers clap their hands in glee!
Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
before the Lord.
For the Lord is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with fairness.
What a lovely song – and the mom singing with her baby is precious