December 25, 2015

All is Well

Here I am, sitting in the darkened room by the lights of the tree on this Christmas Eve.  It causes me to think and now leads me to admit to you that my heart has spent the last bit of time not in the reflective light of the tree and the Christmas spirit, but rather in the darkness of my own spirit.  Responsibilities, deadlines, events needing planning, guests coming from out of town, a big push to finish strongly for the term, concerns already for next term, the cost of three of us pursuing higher education in one family, relational issues with one - often a struggle with peace, rebellion, serious health issues for loved ones, learning to live with my own health developments, meeting familial needs, holding on to friendships with perhaps less attention than they deserve, guilt, sadness, loss, frustration, fatigue, work, the feeling of being overwhelmed...  I often feel that I am keeping the nights watch - waiting to inform all that the doom I have been feeling approach is now here... "2a.m. and all is on the verge of losing it", "3a.m and all is dark and doomed", "4 a.m. and no longer on the verge of losing it... Honey... I've done lost it all!!!".   Wandering in the dark... no clue how to even begin to make things work.

Looking at the tree lights I hear the words:  The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).  I am reminded of those small candle lights at tonight's Christmas Eve service.                                                               
In a darkened room, the small flame of light will not be overpowered by the darkness which surrounds it.  We were promised by our Savior " I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8 :12)
The Savior comes willingly to a dark place in order to bring light. 
Isaiah 9:20 states that "on those living in the land of the  shadow of death, a light has dawned."

Christmas Eve... we are beautifully reminded that tonight, darkness falls into the dawn of love's light.  I Stand Still with that... the dawn of love's light.  God's love and sacrifice that first Christmas Eve caused the darkness of a world filled with war, strife, taxes, political and religious unrest, social inequality, persecution and.... hmmm... sounds like a time we may be familiar with - to fall and give way to the dawn of love's light.  In a manger, in the darkness we find love's light that will never be overcome by the darkness we each hide inside - anxiety, frustration, anger, fear, uncertainty, doubt, overwhelmingness, fatigue, lostness, emptiness, unhappiness, discontent. 

Not only do we have the promise of the light shining through those darknesses, we are promised the light will bring life - "In Him was life, and that life became the light of men" (John 1:4).  Light brings hope, joy, love and peace to the darkness.  We are promised these things.
As I walk through the valleys with shadows and darkness - I am reminded tonight that this darkness will bring a dawn filled with love's light.

 My prayer for  you is that your dawn this morning was filled with light.   Some of us find that in family, some in friends, some in those things received....  But to fell darkness permanently and completely love's light must rise.  Love's light comes from the Father for GOD is LOVE (1 John 4).  True love come through the sacrifice given on Calvary's Hill to free us from what we truly deserve.  Love's light frees us from earthly darkness and blesses us with abundance - Life to the Full - despite circumstance which is often beyond understanding.
May you live in the dawn of love's light each day you are given - stepping out of the darkness of our world and our making, and embrace a peace that surpasses understanding.
I pray that darkness fell into the dawn of love's light for you this Christmas morn and you can proclaim with me... All is well,  All is well.

December 16, 2015

Journeys of Christmas and more

As I've been Standing Still with Christmas this year, I've read and considered the story and all the traditional meditations  - A Coming: the fulfillment of the covenant found in a baby; Joy: the world receives a Savior; Peace: the arrival of the Prince of Peace; Sharing: of gifts, but even more important Good News - so Go Tell It ... over the hills and everywhere!
I was struck by a different theme in the Christmas Story to meditate on this year... JOURNEY.
Journey.  A distance or course traveled.
Mary and Joseph had gone on a journey back to Bethlehem - a long arduous journey that was at the very least uncomfortable for Mary and must have involved PATIENCE on the part of Joseph.  But most of all this was a journey of TRUST -  A young girl finding herself in the family way with no human explanation; a gentleman who upon hearing the message of an angel took his bride despite human misgivings.
The Wisemen had gone on a journey to find a newborn king.  Setting out in great ANTICIPATION, traveling a very far distance over a long period of time yet never wavering in their BELIEF of the PROMISE in what lay at the end of the journey even though the journey's end was found in the most humble of homes.
The Shepherds had gone on a journey to a stable after receiving what had to have been an announcement that inspired great WONDER and AWE as well as HOPE.
Each journey led them to one end  - a babe.  The Prince of Peace.  The Lamb.  The Counselor.  The Messiah.  The Savior. 
Each journey ended quite simply put.... in JOY.

Journey. A distance or course traveled; passage or progress from one stage to another. 
Each of us is taking a journey.  One that involves much that is similar to those who journeyed for that Christmas.  Our journeys involve patience, trust, anticipation, wonder, and awe.  No matter what our journeys bring, we don't have to travel alone.  We have the FATHER who has promised us just that.  Every year we are reminded of HIS PROMISE and our HOPE in Christmas as we celebrate the SAVIOR. 
Our journey has been extra blessed by the people we've traveled with - relationships that are blessings to our family; reconnecting with dear friends; continuing to deepen other friendships; and finding new companions with whom to travel.  We've made great memories along the way.  But the best of all is that we have common JOY in knowing and visibly seeing the ONE who guides our journey and we travel with both knowing and assured of our destination.
It is our prayer for each of you to travel your JOURNEY in this HOPE knowing your are loved unconditionally and that knowing the SAVIOR, your journey will end in JOY!

Isaiah 9:6  For unto us a child is born.
John 3:16   For God so Loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and whosoever believes in Him shall have Everlasting Life.
John 15:11   I have told you this so your Joy may be made complete.
Romans 8:38-39   For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.