Carol M. (2011)
The Bible that I typically read is called “The Message”. The Matthew 5 passage reads: “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. . . . Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."
This is my hope for us this advent season. Let us open up to others: shoveling a neighbor’s sidewalk, sharing an alternative gift, baking cookies for our church, buying clothes and toys for a stranger, reading a story to a child, seeking to understand someone who believes very differently than you, listening to and sharing memories, surprising a colleague with a compliment, being in touch with someone lonely. We open ourselves to others and prompt them to open up with God. A pretty good arrangement all around!
Alia L. (2012)
I HAVE BEEN BLESSED
I’m thankful for having two loving parents who taught me right from wrong.
I’m grateful for my husband, Jim, and for all the 60 years we have been together.
I’m thankful for daffodils, daffodils, and daffodils.
Vicky E. (2011)
Leading up to the events of Matthew 5:14, Jesus has experienced the temptations of Satan out in the wilderness, learned of the arrest of John the Baptist, gathered up His disciples and traveled all over Galilee preaching and teaching the Good News about the Kingdom of Heaven. In His travels, he also healed every kind of sickness and disease, both physical and mental. He attracted huge crowds of followers who were eager to hear more from Him. One day Jesus went up the hillside and gathered all around him as he taught them the rules to live by-The Beatitudes. To be happy and blessed, we must abide by those rules to serve our fellow man and to serve the Lord. The reward for our actions will be entrance into the Kingdom in heaven.
I especially like the words in Matthew 5:13 (The Living Bible). Jesus says that we are the world’s seasonings, to make it tolerable. If we lose our flavor, the world will indeed suffer and we would be considered worthless. But, He tells us that we are also the light of the world. We must not hide our light – we must let all the world see the light, our good deeds will glow for all and, those that see will follow our example and praise our heavenly Father.
Jesus had such a beautiful way with words. He didn’t just bark out orders to everyone; He used examples and comparable circumstances to teach His people the right way to live. The “light” he wants us to be is to be like Him and to draw others in to know Him. The “seasonings” are our actions and good deeds that others see. Those who teach God’s laws and obey them will be happy and have heightened importance in Heaven.
The word “light” is interesting. It can be a noun, verb, and adjective, depending on its use. As a noun, light can mean to shine, to be a source of brightness in the dark, to be a means for letting in light (such as a window), mental illumination or knowledge, a person whose brilliant record makes him an example for others. It can also mean to catch fire or ignite, to give light to, to illuminate and to be a means of showing the way in the darkness. “Light” was a perfect word for Jesus to use in this passage!
Our directions are very clear. Being a Christian is not always easy but if we truly believe, being the “light of the world” will ultimately change the world, one Christian at a time. I believe the power of Jesus is strong enough to make this a reality if we just let Him lead us. Slow us down, Lord, and let us listen
to your words so that our light will shine for you.
Hide it under a bushel? NO! Let your light shine.
Greetings! This year's Advent devotions combine contributions from past years, interlaced with current contributions.
Introduction by the late Irma Ward, Pastor Emeritus:
"It is the prayer of those who have shared their Advent thoughts with you that this Holy Season will bring you a deepening sense of His presence. The One whose name is Emmanuel, God with Us!
Every page is personal witness of this fact, that in Christ we are encouraged, supported, comforted, challenged, forgiven, redeemed, blessed. Here are Scriptures of special meaning to persons in our fellowship; an intimate opening of hearts, a sharing of joy and pain, of promise and fulfillment. Some meditations are written by young children, others by youth and young adults, still others by mature and senior members of our fellowship. Each one reminds us we are one body, bound together in His love.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, we have beheld His Glory. (John 1:14)"