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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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. . . And a Happy New Year!!

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

Every January we get to grapple with the implications of the second half of that familiar Christmas Greeting: “…and a Happy New Year!”  Alexander Pope said in 1733: “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” Pope suffered from childhood tuberculosis that left him hunched over, reaching a height of only 4 feet 6 inches. But he never let this steal his hopefulness and his joyfulness.

“Happy” comes from the old Norse word “Happ”, which means chance, luck, or lot.  Happiness is just that which happens to you by chance occurrence.  Many people are desperately trying to be happy.  But happiness, by definition, is haphazard, arbitrary, and temporary.  As a teenager, I tried to be happy, and to make my personal happiness the purpose of my life.  What I discovered is that chasing after the elusive goal of happiness is guaranteed to make one unhappier than ever.

Rather than aiming for temporary happiness, I have learned to value the more lasting quality of joy.  Joy has such depth that I have found that I can be joyful when unpleasant unhappy things happen haphazardly to me. Simon Peter taught that it is possible to be joyful with an unspeakable joy.  Joy is described in the Concise Oxford Dictionary as a “vivid emotion of pleasure, gladness, thing that causes delight”.  What causes gladness and delight in your life? The birth of a baby? Graduating from High School or University?  Attending your son or daughter’s wedding?

I have found that joy is a choice.  I can choose to rejoice always, even in the midst of great suffering and setbacks. James, Jesus’ brother, said that we should count it all joy when we face challenges. It is not easy to be joyful in all circumstances.  The good book teaches that joy is a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit.  When the Christmas angels turned up at the Bethlehem manger, they proclaimed glad tidings of great joy for all people.  Jesus, right before his crucifixion, said that he wanted His joy to be inside of us, and our joy to be full.   In other words, he wants us to be inwardly joyful: full of joy, overflowing with joy.  Without the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, this is impossible.  Joy needs to be like an artesian well springing up from within.  It can’t be artificially produced or induced.

All of us need more joy in our lives. Joy is the secret of a genuinely happy New Year.  Joy keeps the stresses and pressures of life from burying us before we are dead.  Thirty-nine years ago in January 1972, at age 17, I encountered a joy that changed me from the inside out.  This joy was so joyful that it made me full of joy! Without trying, I developed a smile that wouldn’t go away.  I really became a different person, so much so that my friends at High School noticed the difference.  Some even wanted in on the action.

My parents initially were a bit worried.  Having a joyful, peaceful teenager in their family took a little getting used to.  But eventually they too saw a permanent change in their son that made them joyful too.  There is something about an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ that connects us deeply to the gift of joy.  No wonder that C.S. Lewis, the atheist turned believer, entitled his autobiography “Surprised by Joy”. My New Year’s prayer for those reading this article is that joy may spill into all of our lives in surprising and life-changing ways.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.


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Doing Christmas on Purpose

By The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

I love Christmas Carols. Even when I feel dead to everything else about Christmas, Christmas Carols seem to wake me up from within.  Music has an amazing way to slip past even the most hardened heart.

Christmas is one of those traditions that won’t go away, and yet so often seems off kilter.  It so often seems to lack purpose and focus.  The John Grisham movie “Christmas with the Kranks” symbolizes the angst of people swallowed by Christmas-related paraphernalia.  Christmas Carols are ideal for helping us regain focus at Christmas.

Randy Stonehill poignantly sang: “I wonder if this Christmas they’ll begin to understand that the Jesus that they celebrate is much more than a man…”  The first purpose of Christmas is to bring pleasure to God, otherwise called Worship.  That is why at Christmas so many of us love to sing: “O Come let us adore him, Christ the Lord”.  For many years, Christmas to me was just about eating turkey and getting presents.  Being dragged to church on Christmas Eve or even worse Christmas morning seemed like a serious intrusion into an otherwise good festival.  As I have refocused on the real meaning of Christmas,  I hear afresh the Christmas Carol singing: “O Come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, o come ye to Bethehem”.

Year after year, Christmas miraculously brings friends and families back together.  When I was younger, I enjoyed spending Christmas with my grandparents and family, but didn’t fully realize what a wonderful gift this was.  The second purpose of Christmas, I have discovered, is fellowship.  At the heart of lasting fellowship is great food, lots of fun, and deep listening.  God put us here on earth to learn how to love each other.  Christmas is a great time to do that.  Christmas is a time when like shepherds summoned to his cradle, we leave our flocks and then flock together.

I never realized when I was young that Christmas was meant to transform me.  Years later I discovered that all that joy at Christmas had a third purpose: to make me more like Christ, which is Discipleship.  As that great Christmas Carol puts it, “Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice! Now you need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save!”  There is a joy released at Christmas that can radically transform anyone’s life if we will let it.  That is why the Good Book says that the Joy of the Lord is our strength.

Christmas for me as a young person was about getting bigger and better presents.  Years later I have discovered that Christmas is really about giving.  Giving is not just about presents, but mostly about our hearts.  The fourth purpose of Christmas is about serving others, especially the poor.  Good old Scrooge learnt this lesson the hard way at Christmas.  As Good King Wenceslas put it, “Therefore Christian men be sure, wealth and rank possessing, ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.”  We may not like the three wise men have gold, frankincense, and myrrh to give, but when we give from our heart, Christmas becomes real to another hurting person.

When I was younger, I thought that Christmas was about me.  In fact, I have discovered that Christmas is about others.  That is why the fifth purpose of Christmas is “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born”.  Christmas is too good to keep it to ourselves.  Christmas is the kind of fun and laughter and joy that everyone needs more of.  Do you know anyone who needs cheering up?  Do you know anyone who has lost direction?  If you do, I encourage you to reach out and bring others this Christmas to a joyful Christmas Eve service near you.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Golfing with my Undertaker

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Golf is now over 510 years old, having been played officially throughout Scotland since 1502. Most of the earliest references to golf were about attempts to ban it or to condemn the golfers.  On 6th March 1457 in Edinburgh, King James II banned ‘ye golf’ because it was more popular than archery.

As a teenager, I golfed religiously three times a week at Langara Golf Course in Vancouver.  To prove my dedication, I even sometimes golfed in the snow.  I also used to caddy for my father, which was a great way to spend quality time with him.

Years later, my golf game has its moments of glory, as well as many reminders of how far I have fallen.  I took part in a golfing tournament a while ago with forty undertakers and one hundred and ten clergy.  On the second hole of the tournament, I sunk a forty-five-foot putt.  Delusions of being the next PGA superstar filled my mind until I missed a four-foot  putt on the very next hole.  Golf can be very humbling, and is therefore good for the soul, or so they tell me.

 

In the twenty-eight years since I was ordained, I have taken many funerals.  Virtually every funeral involves a funeral director, sometimes called a family services counselor.  I have found them to be very personal, decent individuals.  It was not until I started golfing with funeral directors that I really came to know them personally.  Over the eighteen holes, the pastors and undertakers shared the inevitable victories and defeats.  It really helped us realize how much we had in common, though the funeral directors are usually better golfers.

Both funeral directors and clergy are usually called upon in times of sorrow and death.  While some people try to do their own services, most Canadians still look to professionals to help them through this most difficult of times.  Both pastors and undertakers are often misunderstood.  People sometimes don’t realize that undertakers and clergy are ordinary human beings much like themselves.  I remember once when a Deep Cove resident was shocked to see me shopping at Safeway, because they didn’t think that clergy actually shopped.

One of the privileges of having served for the past 31 years has been to walk with North Shore families and individuals through the key transitions of life: birth, marriage, and death.  With one local family, I had the privilege of burying four members.  Families during funerals will open up and share their hearts in ways that you rarely otherwise see.

Death is the great leveler.  No matter how we try to avoid it and deny it, death catches up with every family.  We can put it off for a while through healthy eating and exercising, but sooner or later we all face the grim reaper.

Both funeral directors and clergy can make a big difference in helping families navigate these painful waters.  I am grateful that I can remind grieving people that there is a bridge over troubled waters, that Jesus made a way and prepared a resting place for them.  I am  grateful that death does not have the final say.

 

My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us will find that bridge over troubled waters.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

– previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca