Archives

Darkness Dispelled

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes from a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “darkness.” 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5 ESV).

It’s Christmas time, obviously. I love it, and I don’t love it so much in some aspects. I hate the commercialism. I love the lights and the pretty decorations. I hate that sacred songs are used to try to sell stuff. Although I do know that many “sacred” songs were taken from old bar songs and other not-so-sacred arenas.

I also know that we have taken other celebrations from the secular, and even pagan, into our stable of Christian holidays. And I’m really OK with that, for the most part, because I know that when God came into my life, He changed me. He brought His light and it dispelled the darkness.

So taking something that was once used for pagan rituals and making it new follows the gospel narrative, does it not? So when what once was a bar song becomes remade into a hymn of praise to God, I think God smiles.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Transformation, that’s what it’s all about.

star lights

So Jesus, coming into the world and bringing the light of life to a dark and musty home for animals, transforms everything He touches. The dirty become clean, the broken become beautiful, the dark become infused with light.

That’s the gospel. That’s the message of Christmas. That’s what the beautiful lights represents.

Darkness is dispelled.

FMF button

We Are Family

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a 1-word prompt without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “hospitality.”

Once upon a time I took a spiritual gifts test which determined that I had the gifts of administration and hospitality. Being fairly young in my journey with Jesus, I didn’t completely know what that meant, but I did know that I was pretty organized and good at keeping things going, and that I liked to be with people.

Is that all there was to it?

IMG_8960

As the years have gone by, my home has become one in which people like to gather. It’s not huge, it’s not fancy, it’s not even all that clean (I had a friend describe it as clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy), but people are welcome and they know it.

Every Christmas we have a huge gathering of friends for Christmas dinner. At last count we were at 50-something, I think. I have people call and say, “We don’t have plans, can we come to your place?” Even when the number seems overwhelming, nobody is turned away. Most of us have moved far from our family of origin, so our friends have become that family to us.

Every time that I think about maybe scaling back and tightening our circle, I look around at the faces and there’s not a one I would consider losing. How do you purposefully cut off a hand or a foot?

IMG_7448

And so we continue setting tables on the back porch, thankful for the mild December weather in Florida, and rejoice in the bounty of our friendships.

FMF button

 

In The Fullness of Time

IMG_4325

I’m not very good at waiting. I admit that. Especially when I’m waiting for someone to respond to an email, or a text. Especially a text.

I can’t imagine what the Jews went through for hundreds of years waiting for the Messiah. “How long, O Lord?”

My waiting for a response from a friend, or test results, or a long-awaited desire to be fulfilled, seems pretty petty in relation to a Messiah. A Savior. The Jews were under  terrible rulers for so long. Roman reign was hard and cruel. The Jews must have thought God was never going to show up.

And so many missed it when He did. Expecting a political savior, they missed the One who would save their souls. Wanting an easier life here on earth, they turned away from the One who would give them eternal life in heaven.

IMG_3981

Their wait was worth it, if only they had been ready to see God’s answer to their years and years and years of prayers. In the fullness of time.

I don’t always hear back when I want to when it comes to text messages from friends, but may I never miss God showing up.

 

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Five minutes of writing on a one-word prompt. No editing. Go check it out!

 

The Gift or the Giver?

What if on Christmas morning that gift that you’ve been longing for is under the tree? What would it be for you? The latest technology? The keys to a new car? That outfit you’ve been admiring in the store window?

What if, when you opened that gift, you said thank you to the giver, but then didn’t acknowledge him the rest of the day? What if, in the days and weeks to follow, whenever you talked to him, you just asked him for more stuff? You wouldn’t have much of a relationship with him, would you?

What if, instead of a gift under the tree, you found that person simply wanting to spend time with you? Would you be satisfied? Would it be enough simply to be with him? After all, you have let him into your life. You’ve told him you love him. If he never gives you the things that you want, but is always there by your side to listen, love and care for you, would that be enough?

I think that’s how I’ve been treating God lately. There are so many needs; not just my own. I have friends who have great concerns that I have promised to pray for. I have one nagging health issue that I really want to go away. So that’s what I’m asking for. But I’m not asking God to simply be with me, to enfold me in His arms and to keep me safe from the attacks of the enemy that would tell me God must not really love me if He keeps letting me experience this trial.

What do I really want, the Giver or the gifts He might give? Do I want heaven because of what it means to be there? No more tears, no more pain, streets of gold. Or do I long for heaven because it means perfect communion with God?

Today I am singing along: “All I want for Christmas is You.” Won’t you join me?

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/29d/9853831/files/2014/12/img_0435.jpg

photo credit: thedigestonline.com

The Advent

104_0443 - Version 2I have been absent for awhile. I have no excuse. Sometimes I think I just get in a writer’s funk. I don’t feel like I have anything to say that anyone wants to hear. So I stop talking. Discouragement comes easily as I look at stats and wonder if my words mean anything to anybody. The thought runs through my head, “Is anybody out there?”

For 400 years, the people of Israel thought God was silent. There had been no prophets speaking His words. Thing was, though they couldn’t—or wouldn’t—hear Him, He was still at work. The stage was being set for the ultimate Word that would be shared with the world.

If you’re like me, when you’re reading your Bible, you skip over all those names in the geneologies, but they represent the behind-the-scenes work that was being done in preparation for the Word becoming flesh. Adam to David to Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Word of God who came and dwelt among us.

When I’m silent, it doesn’t mean I have nothing to say, it means that I’m not taking the time to think and listen and write. Most of the time when I’m silent, it means I’m too busy.

When God is silent, it’s like the darkness before the dawn. There is movement, we just can’t see it. Or maybe we could if we studied the sky in the east. Maybe the problem is we’re just not looking in the right place. We’re not quiet enough to hear.

Stop. Listen. Do you hear the sounds of His coming?

He’s coming.