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How Does Putting Up Christmas Lights Honor Jesus?

On this first Sunday of Advent, we look forward with hope to the coming of Christ. We focus not only on His birth all those years ago, but now, perhaps more than at any other time, we look with hope toward Jesus coming back.

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Isaiah gave us this prophecy about Jesus:

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
—Isaiah 9:2

The world is darkened these days by the shadow of sin. The tragic remnants of evil are all around us. But we have hope! Jesus was born into the world, a “great light” to lead us out of sin’s darkness. He lit our way to heaven, and He is coming again. We trust that He is coming back soon to bring His light to the world.

ArticleSo, when you hang Christmas lights this holiday season, as you light up the darkness around you, do it to honor Jesus.

Do it in remembrance of Him because:

JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!
and He is coming back soon:
Come, Lord Jesus! Come.
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An Advent Processional:

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God’s Gift—Freedom of Choice

imagesGod gave Adam and Eve a wonderful gift. He told them how to use it. Still, they chose not to follow His directions. Do you know what the gift was? Here’s a hint:

In Genesis 2:16 (NLV), God tells Adam:

You are free to eat from any tree of the garden.”

A few sentences later, another hint:

“God made every animal of the field and every bird of the sky. He brought them to the man to find out what he would call them. And whatever the man called a living thing, that was its name.” (vs. 19–20)

1371397Freedom to Choose 
That was God’s gift to Adam and Eve in those first days of human history. It came with one rule: “Do not eat from the tree of learning of good and bad. For the day you eat from it you will die for sure.” (Genesis 2:17) Instead of obeying God, Adam and Eve decided to obey a conniving serpent. They chose bad over good.

God had given them a beautiful life on Earth, a life just shy of heaven. He wanted only good things for His humans. One of those was freedom of choice. God set Adam and Eve free to make every choice, including whether or not to obey Him. He also warned them that choosing wrong had consequences.

Today, Freedom of Choice remains one of our greatest gifts. It’s not provided by nations. It’s a gift given by God. Each of us has the right to choose between what pleases God and what displeases Him—And just like Adam and Eve, every one of us is guilty of making bad choices.

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This leads to the issue of judging others. We might disagree with the choices others make, but too often we forget that God has given them the freedom to choose. We should react to an unsafe choice or a choice to harm someone, but in most circumstances when passing judgment on others we need to remember that their choices are between them and God.

Here are two questions to think about:

  • When judging the choices others make, do you support their freedom to choose?
  • Do you believe that supporting someone’s freedom to choose is the same as supporting his or her choices?

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Slow down This Summer, Discover David Grayson

51tF1mgpTnLThis summer, I’m re-reading “Adventures in Contentment” by David Grayson. You probably haven’t heard of Grayson or his series of books—many haven’t. (I stumbled upon them a couple of decades ago, by accident. It was a “God thing.”)

David Grayson is a pseudonym used by Ray Stannard Baker, an aggressive, muckraking, Chicago journalist at the turn of the 20th century. Baker created Grayson, a fictional character, to tell what it could be like to leave the rat race of the city and experience life on a quiet New England farm. The books were written in a nonfiction essay style that left many readers at the time believing them as truth.

(Read more about it: “The Truth About David Grayson” by Nick Grabbe)

David Grayson portrays himself as a well-read man who has left the city to live on a farm. He likes to walk around visiting people and meeting strangers. He patiently observes the ways of his rural neighbors and shows respect for the humblest of citizens. In the words later attributed to Will Rogers, he never met a man he didn’t like.

The stories are a mixture of essay, philosophy, and quiet humor. They frequently cite the Bible, Shakespeare and Marcus Aurelius . . .

One reviewer wrote, “Those who read Grayson with sympathy and enlightenment are strangely conscious that here is a loyal, familiar and well-approved friend. Here is a man who has thought our thoughts for us, and who has given the soul of those thoughts their appropriate body in words.”

Although fiction, Grayson’s stories serve as a reminder to notice and appreciate the little things in life.

Are you caught up in life’s rat race and too busy to notice? Stop right now and read Luke 10:38–42.

06500_all_01-01-feetAs Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (NLT)

Make time this summer to notice and appreciate all the little miracles and blessings that God is has placed around you.

“Adventures in Contentment” by David Grayson begins:

I came here eight years ago as the renter of this farm, of which soon afterward I became the owner. The time before that I like to forget. The chief impression it left, upon my memory, now happily growing indistinct, is of being hurried faster than I could well travel. From the moment, as a boy of seventeen, I first began to pay my own way, my days were ordered by an inscrutable power which drove me hourly to my task. I was rarely allowed to look up or down, but always forward, toward that vague Success which we Americans love to glorify.

My senses, my nerves, even my muscles were continually strained to the utmost of attainment. If I loitered or paused by the wayside, as it seems natural for me to do, I soon heard the sharp crack of the lash. For many years, and I can say it truthfully, I never rested. I neither thought nor reflected. I had no pleasure, even though I pursued it fiercely during the brief respite of vacations. Through many feverish years I did not work: I merely produced.

The only real thing I did was to hurry as though every moment were my last, as though the world, which now seems so rich in everything, held only one prize which might be seized upon before I arrived. Since then I have tried to recall, like one who struggles to restore the visions of a fever, what it was that I ran to attain, or why I should have borne without rebellion such indignities to soul and body. That life seems now, of all illusions, the most distant and unreal. It is like the unguessed eternity before we are born: not of concern compared with that eternity upon which we are now embarked . . .

Slow down. Read Grayson’s books. You can find them for free on Project Gutenberg or buy the complete collection of e-books on Amazon for just $2.99.

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