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Showing posts from December, 2014

In Between

I love learning about the Church Calendar and how it points us to Christ.  I discovered that the Twelve Days of Christmas are part of the Church Calendar.  It is the twelve day festival, starting on December 25 and ending on January 5.  This is known as the season of Christmas that follows Advent and precedes Epiphany which starts on January 6.  Both Christmas Day (December 25) and Epiphany (January 6) are permanent Feast Days—meaning they are always celebrated on the same dates no matter whether it is a certain day of the week—and they do not change depending on cycle of the moon as some Feast days, including Easter.              I love taking these twelve days to focus my heart on taking a spiritual inventory.  Its perfect timing for me since my birthday occurs on the third day of Christmas.  It also gives me permission to leave up my Christmas decorations and Christmas lights until January 6.  It’s a great time for reflection since New Year’s Day occurs on the Eighth …

Waiting with Peace

Deep breath—Christmas is here.  Peace is in the air.  The angels sang: Peace on Earth Good Will to Men.  They should know.  Angels are messengers of God’s peace.  They bring the message without delay.  The question is: Do we receive the peace the angels describe?                 Peace in your soul evolves from a heart that has received the message of Christmas—that God gave His only Son to live, die, and rise again.  This reality is what leads to peace.  Peace is the destination we all desire in our souls.  Advent paves a way to peace.                  Peace begins when we hope in the promised Savior Whom the prophets foretold.  A Savior taking on flesh to save the world can have no other motivation than pure love.  The love of heaven to earth is unlike any other love.  It is the love our hearts were created to enjoy.  God proved His love for us through sending Jesus to us.  He sent Him to become one of us.  There is no greater love than taking on the sin of the enti…

Waiting with Joy

Every heart requires joy!  Joy is what makes us feel alive.  It is eases the pain of living in a fallen world.  Joy is a side effect of a personal relationship with Christ.  No one talked about joy more than the Apostle Paul.  Obviously his joy didn’t come from his circumstances.  In fact in the book of Philippians he writes (from his prison in Rome) the reason for his joy and encourages others to be joyful.             When was the last time you belly-laughed?  Now that doesn’t happen every day for me.  I have a smile on my face from the memory of my last belly-laugh.  It was after a long week of ministry to women in India.  A wise video-photographer asked our women’s team to talk about what we had experienced.  By that time we were all a little giddy from the way God had used us, and we decided to practice a Bollywood dance that we hadn’t had time to use to open up our talk.  He was very smart and followed us while we practiced before we could figure out that we didn’t …

Waiting with Love

In the best of times Christmas warms our hearts with love.  In the midst of the hustle and haggling of the season, even the news is peppered with nostalgic tales of loving-kindness expressed to strangers at Christmas.  Hearts seem to grow warmer, not wanting anyone to miss out on the joy of feeling important during the Christmas season.                  Mother Teresa said the greatest poverty in the world is the lack of love.  Our world certainly can use all the love we have to give.  As we move into the second week of Advent, the focus is on love.  It is the Bethlehem candle.  Bethlehem cradled the Love sent to the entire world.  Mary is a perfect example of human love.  Her example calls us to the greatest love human hearts can hold.  It is love of God.  Mary demonstrated her love for God so fully in her response to the angel’s bizarre assignment that she had been chosen to become the mother of Jesus.  Unlike her Uncle Zechariah, she simply said, I am the Lord’s servant.  Her chi…

Waiting with Hope

Advent is a season of waiting.  For the first two weeks, the focus is on waiting for Christ to be born.  The last two Sundays in Advent focus on the whole world, including creation, waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ when everything will be made right ( Romans 8: 18-22).  Advent is the beginning of the church calendar, so it launches a new year.             What is the best way to begin a new year?  What about taking inventory of your soul?  The color of advent is purple signifying penitence and fasting.    The celebration of Christ’s birth is made more joyful with a clean heart.             It’s hard to take a good, long look in the mirror.  No one wants to do that.  Perhaps that is one reason the Christmas season has drifted so far from a focus on waiting, anticipation, and penitence and certainly not fasting.  Rather the first glimpses of Christmas appear just after Halloween; commercials broadcast great ideas for gifts and engage in rationale about why you …