Thursday, December 20, 2012

On Tragedy and Christmas

It seems the world is filled with tragedy recently. From Newtown, CT, to tragedies much closer to home, to events in our own lives that maybe don't seem tragic to most but are tragic to us, the world is a crazy, sad and confusing place sometimes.

As I was reading an article about Newtown, a man there said that he had bought a Christmas tree before the shooting, but hasn't put it up because it doesn't feel like Christmas. As I read that, I felt so sad, because events like Newtown, and the tragedies that we all experience in life, are exactly why we need Christmas. The sin that caused this is the reason God sent us a Savior. It is the tragedies such as Newtown and others that we are experiencing right now that make us realize how much this world needs Jesus and should cause us to celebrate Christmas all the more.

Jesus came in a time of hopelessness in Jewish history. The people had not heard from God in 400 years and were under Roman rule. They likely thought that God had either forgotten about them or didn't have the power to do anything about their situation. And it was in that moment of hopelessness, that the chasm between Heaven and Earth was bridged, and a Savior was born to make a way for God's people to return to Him.

And so, in this time of tragedy, this is exactly why we can celebrate Christmas. Because God did not leave us or forsake us, but came into this world to save us. So that these tragedies are not the end. So that we can still have hope even in the midst of the worst that life has to offer. God made a way. We are not forsaken.

One of my favorite lines from I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day:

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.

In the wake of the recent tragic events, let us celebrate the birth of our Savior with more joy and love than ever before, as it has been made explicitly clear the evil that He came to save us from.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Fun Little Trip to DC

The week after Thanksgiving I got to go to Washington DC for work. I've had the privelage of serving on the core committee of our company's Proffesional Growth Network (PGN). The general idea behind the group is to engage people who are in the first 10 years of their career in the company, and help them to grow in their careers. There are several committees that make up the PGN and I amthe co-chair for corporate citizenship. We encourage people to get involved in the community through competitions and other fun events. I won't go into the details, I just say all this to say that the reason I was in DC was for the PGN's yearly strategic planning meeting.

I don't talk very much about work on my blog, mostly because it probably wouldn't make for very interesting reading material, and also because I don't want this blog to be mistaken as any sort of represantation of my company or any of the projects I work on. But I did want to put up a quick post about the PGN and my trip to DC because getting to be a part of this group has been such a great experience for me. I'm a big proponent of community service and volunteering and I love that our compnay supports that, and that I get to be in a position where I encourage people throughout the country to go out and get involved in their communities and do things that will make the world a better place. I love getting to work with people in our company across the country and to have the opportunity to meet and work with senior management to figure out how to make our company a better place for young professionals and how we can encourage our young professionals to make our company better. It as really been a unique experience that I am so grateful for, and I am really looking forward to getting to serve on this committee another year.

Our trip to DC was jam packed and I unfortunately scheduled my flights so that I arrived right when the meeting started and left as soon as it was over. I basically just saw our hotel, the office and the restaurants we went to, and the White House, thanks to my good friend Keith's brother who works there. After dinner one evening I hightailed it over to the White House (after initially heading the wrong direction and getting lost) to meet Scott for a tour of the West Wing. It was so cool to get to see where all the business of the White House takes place, the Oval office and the room where the cabinet meets. Unfortuantely pictures are only allowed outside and in the press room, so here is all I have.

This is Scott, who gave me the tour.

Here I am, holding my own press conference.
I also had so much fun getting to know the other people on the committee. We had people from various cities in California, Seattle, Chicago, Indianopolis, Baltimore, New York and New Jersey. It's so interesting and fun to talk with people who are in a similar career and time in their career as I am, who live in other parts of the country. Also, I don't really have any friends who work in a corporate setting like I do, most people either stay at home with their kids or are teachers or nurses or counselors, so it's really cool meeting people who I have that in common with and talking about life with them. Especially because we have work in common, but so many other parts of our lives are different. I wish we had more time together and am already looking forward to the next time we're all in the same place.

So...I'm not really sure what the point of this post was, other than I just felt like I needed to write about my trip. And share my awesome White House pics. And I guess give a little glimpse into my work life that so rarely gets discussed here on the blog!