The Season Of Light


john-8-12

At this time of year I look fondly at Christmas memories, my heritage, and holiday expectations. There are so many traditions to enjoy, including food, enjoying certain activities, and decorating our homes with lights. Both a tradition and expectation are the lights we see at this time of year. Our homes, businesses, and even the streets shine brightly with millions of white and colored lights. We enjoy decorating our homes and driving around to look at all the light displays. Why do we have such a fascination with light?

I won’t attempt to answer this question from a scientific perspective, although I think we are probably wired to be interested in light. I believe our love of light is explained within the pages of our Holy Scriptures.

Light is a common metaphor for God throughout the Bible. The first thing God created was light (Genesis 1:3) and He separated light from the darkness (Genesis 1:4). Interestingly, He created light before He made the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-16). Isaiah 9:1-7 predicts the birth of our Savior, calling Him a great light.  As Jesus was born He was called light (Matthew 4:16 and John 1:5). Jesus told us He is the light of the world (John 8:12 and John 12:46) and we’re also told that God is light (1 John 1:5). More exciting is that we are children of God; therefore we are children of light (Ephesians 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:5). At the end of the Bible God tells us Jesus will be the light for the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:23).

There are more references in Scripture to light than are practical to post, but I think you get the idea. Jesus is light. Therefore decorating with light is fitting, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

James 1:17

…Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights…

May your Christmas be richly blessed by the Light of the World.

 

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

Advertisements

A BREAK FROM TECHNOLOGY


technology

 

I’ve been absent from blogging for over a week due to traveling for the holidays. I will probably spend the next week getting caught up on everyone’s posts. I have missed my normal routines, and missed blogging, but it was so good to see family and enjoy the real meaning of Christmas.

Now that I have access to a computer and the internet again, it occurs to me how nearly every facet of our lives is touched by technology in some way. We had to work hard to avoid technology during Christmas.

That doesn’t mean I think technology is bad. I love technology. I don’t think I would have the patience to write if it weren’t for word processing. Phones, computers and other advances in technology have improved our lives in remarkable ways. I would not want to lose those advances.

But a break from technology can be such a blessing. There was a certain peacefulness to not checking email, and it was fun to spend time reminiscing and playing old-fashioned games (the kind without batteries). Simply enjoying the sunset and beauty of God’s creation with my parents was a wonderful experience.

Every now and then turning technology off can bring you peace and stillness. We all need that in this busy world.

Psalm 46:10a “Be Still and know that I am God.”

 

May you enjoy a peaceful day.

Christmas Light


bethlehemstarmotion01

Why are Christmas lights so magical? We have beautiful lights on display at other times of the year. Perhaps it’s because there are more lights at Christmas time, or maybe it’s because Christmas lights represent a promise fulfilled one quiet night some 2,000 years ago.

Christmas light is revealed twice in the story of the birth of Christ. The narrative is found Luke 2:1-40. We’ve read the story many times, but take another look. Christmas light is promised to everyone, it says so in the announcement. Beginning in verse 8, we learn the shepherds are visited by an angel of the Lord. The news is very special.

8 ‘And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”’

The glory of the Lord was shining! That light brought the first revelation of Christmas light, found in verse 10. The angel brought news of great joy for ALL the people. But there is more light in the story, continuing with verse 22:

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 ‘When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord  …

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.  He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismissyour servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There it is in verse 31 and 32. We see that Christ is a light for revelation to the Gentiles. Again, ALL the people were included in the promise.

But there is more light in the story of Christmas. We find it in Matthew 2.1-12. Matthew’s gospel tells us the story of the Magi following the Christmas star to find the baby Jesus, and worship Him. Verses 9-11 tell us about the star: 

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

Imagine the light of this beautiful star! The Christmas star directed the Magi, just as the light of Christ will direct us, if we are open to Him.

Christmas light is our precious Lord and Savior.

John 8:12

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

May you and yours receive the full blessings of this Christmas Season.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

A Gift for Jesus


 Christmas-present

Several years ago my family started a new Christmas tradition. Each of us writes a letter to Jesus, telling Him what we will do for Him in the coming year. It is our gift to Christ. We put those letters in a beautiful box and place the box under the tree after Christmas Eve Services.

After the presents are opened on Christmas morning, that box remains under the tree.  Sometimes we have guests over, and they remark on the unopened box. This is an opportunity to share our faith.

Those letters stay in that box until we begin decorating for Christmas the next year. We can then look at our letters and see if we met our goals in how we were going to serve Christ during the year.

This exercise has been a great way to help my children understand the great gift of Jesus, and the real meaning of Christmas. It also helps me to focus my service for Christ.

Matthew 2:11

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Have a blessed Christmas Season.

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

Take Five


take 5

Christmas is just three weeks away. The thought scares me really. There is still so much to do. But in the midst of all the busyness, I feel the need – this year more than ever before – to feel the Christmas story. I’m getting too caught up in the activities of the season.

The first Christmas brought God to earth, in the form of a perfect baby. He came in the most humble way possible. Yet we celebrate with extravagance.

That first Christmas brought us incredibly good news, but we try to share it in just a few lines on a Christmas card.

The first Christmas didn’t describe a fancy dinner. Mary and Joseph probably shared cold bread, and whatever else they were able to pack for their long journey. We celebrate Christmas with a fancy meal complete with candles, fancy china and incredible desserts.

That first Christmas showed us joy in the birth of a savior, but we get our joy in the opening of gifts we are paying for with a credit card.

God’s gift of Jesus was the greatest gift ever, yet we try to out-do the gifts we gave the year before.

This year, I want to relive the Christmas Story in my heart, every day of the season. God’s gift of our precious savior is all the Christmas we really need. The rest is fluff. I’m not saying that fluff is wrong. I just don’t want so much fluff that the real message of Christmas is blocked out.

I know it’s busy. I know we have more things to do than usual. But take just five minutes. Recall the Christmas story, and worship the one who made it all possible. There’s no reason to wait for Christmas Eve to worship.

Luke 2:8-20

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images