Tuesday, December 23, 2014
I'm not a big "Christmas" kind of girl, but one of my favorite Christmas themed traditions/movies is "The Muppets Christmas Carol". I have watched it nearly every year since I was a child, with this year being no exception. One of the things that I love about movies and literature that are beloved all through your life, is that you discover and learn different things as you become older. This year I heard the narrator of the Christmas Carol say something that lands in that exact category.
"Scrooge loved the darkness, because darkness was cheap."
This phrase has been rolling around in my brain all day, trying to put meaning to these words. I have never thought of darkness as being cheap, but in fact it actually is. I think about how my grandma would harp on me for keeping the lights on when they were not in use, because of how expensive the electric bill would be. I also think about how things that are of dark nature in this world are typically done in the actual darkness, and yet have an expensive price at the end.
I also have been thinking about what we are willing to give up to not have light. That the light that we shine as Christians can appear to have an expense to those who are living in darkness; it's something that they want, but darkness is so much cheaper. Now let me make this more personal. Let us think about the light that we are willing to forfeit in order to live in the comfort of our own darkness.
Our sins, bad habits, fears and anxieties.
Tomorrow night my husband and I are going to go to a traditional Christmas Eve candle light service. Now granted, there are many beautiful things to be experienced in this world, but on the top of my personal list would be the candle light service at Christmas Eve. What better way to celebrate the birth of the light of the world, than with candles that light up a dark room? What better way to remember the birthday of our Savior than with old hymns that warm the hearts with truth such as "Prince of Peace" and "the darkness had felt it's worth"?
We no longer have to live in darkness my friends! Take this truth to heart this Christmas in the midst of all of the unwrapping of gifts, annoying relatives, long car rides and hours of Christmas movies.
Jesus is the light of the world. His death came at such an expensive price for a person with such cheap worth as myself. The Light gives us our worth.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
This simple word emits many images. Some people think of an actual house, while others think of mom, dad and fresh baked bread, sitting on the front porch and raking leaves in the front yard.
This word also emits many emotions. For some the emotions are happy, fulfilling and encouraging, while for others they are sad, bittersweet, angry, confused, discouraged and apathetic.
It is no secret that the holidays stress and capitalize on home. Classic Christmas melodies are filled with what home should be, and that Christmas simply isn't Christmas without being home.
For many, "home" is emotionally distant and unkind. Home is out of reach, being thousands and thousands of miles away. The physical home could be in the process of being sold, leaving it's former tenants scrambling around boxes and eating on paper plates. For some home is their car, because they simply have no other place for its rightful name.
I find it ironic that baby Jesus wasn't born in a comfortable home, but in a manager shared with livestock. Shortly after the birth of the King, Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus and fled to Egypt for safety, not being sure what home is or what it would look like.
They had but one truth to cling to: home is where Jesus is.
And where is He?
For those who believe in Him as their Lord and Savior, we have a home in His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us; a promise that the very tiny Prince of Peace babe came into this dark world to shed light and hope for its inhabitants.
He is in the heart of servants who are spreading this message of hope from the pulpit and all the way across the world through a missionary who has learned to speak another language.
He is in the face of a brand new baby, and in the tears of those who know their loved one has gone home to be with Jesus.
You see, there may be "no place like home for the holidays" but the truth is that there is no place like home than in the arms of Jesus Christ. Our physical home will change and sometimes even disappoint, but our home in Christ never will. The door is never locked and the candles in the window are always lit, leading you to your home in Him.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Driving along highway 25 this afternoon, I found myself consciously making an effort to make sure my attitude was positive and in top notch condition for whatever awaited me at my shift in retail. It seemed like I was behind every slow poke in North Carolina, as well as every garbage truck or utility vehicle, which was just adding to the challenge of achieving a positive attitude upon entering the doors of the Christmas retail games at the mall.
About half way there, the classic Christmas song "Breath of Heaven" ( made popular by vocalist Amy Grant in the 1980's and 90's) came on the radio. I have always, always loved the message that that song brings; Mary's song. There is so much beautiful truth woven into the lyrics, but this time a specific phrase rose above the others.
"But I offer all I am, for the mercy of your plan."
The Christmas season as we know it makes me sad. It is so full of everything that you can obtain, should obtain or don't obtain. It is often more about the way your house is decorated, getting a sale on butter for Christmas desserts or finding that perfect gift than it is about offering all that you are to Jesus Christ. Although these elements of the season aren't wrong, it is clear that the world gives Christmas a focus that is so out of focus.
For the Christian, this season is a time to celebrate and rejoice in the coming of a tiny baby King; a baby who brought hope and still brings hope to a dark and scary world. At the very least we can make an effort to ponder what it means to offer all that we are.
This is not a plea to burn out, but to burn with Christ's love in such a way that offering that light to those around us will be unavoidable. In a world whose pain and lack of hope is drowning in consumerism, perfectionism and self, we can hold our little candles of Christ hope and trust that the illumination is brighter than we can see.
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."-Matthew 5:16