"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
—Ephesians 4:16 NIV
Quilting season is in full swing all across the many Plain communities in our country and in Canada. Deep winter, while the soil rests, is the ideal time for Amish and Mennonite women alike to create these beautiful works of art. There is ample time to set aside other chores and make piece work, lay out quilts, and fashion knotted comforters. Work is made fun by joining with others to produce the desired project. In this way, a dozen women sitting around a frame can finish off intricate quilting in a single day.
The body of Christ functions similarly when we come together in His name, working together and praying for one another. How much more effective can we be if we join hands and hearts for the work of our God?
"If any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all."
Looking back on the old year gives us a wealth of insight; we see where a completely different decision might have made all the difference. Reflecting on the past gives us understanding that can only come from hindsight. But who wants to become stymied in the mire of what could have been, or what should have been—trapped by our mistakes?
Foresight is equally as important. It anticipates what is coming; it is vision. Foresight is active and points us forward.
As we move into 2012, which direction are we looking? Are we looking ahead with excitement to what this New Year holds, eager to embrace its possibilities? And, just as important, have we learned the lessons of 2011—are we kinder and more loving because of past struggles, pain, disappointment and/or hardship? Are we more patient, when patience counts? More generous... more understanding?
What if we made it our heart's work to bless others by praying deeply for everyone we encounter on a daily basis? What would our world look like this year if we did?
"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
—2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)
Our Savior Jesus is the very essence of the Light talked about in 2 Corinthians. Indeed, He is the Light of the world.
How wonderful that, each year, many people are reminded of the true meaning of this blessed Christmas season—perhaps even those who do not consider themselves religious. We hear the familiar carols in malls and doctor’s offices. Magazine articles and blogs share Christmas anecdotes, and Christmas cards and books herald the joyous news of the Babe in the manger. In the midst of bleak winter, the celebration of Jesus' birthday brings light into the darkest places of our world.
Places of worship will be filled to overflowing on Christmas Sunday. I don't know about you, but I think it would be wonderful if Christmas fell on the Lord's Day every year. What better way to embrace THE reason for the season than while worshipping together, exalting the Christ child who was sent to earth to offer us eternal life. Such a precious gift!
May Christ's Light shine in your home this year, and among all those whose lives you touch. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas and always!
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
—John 13:34 (NRSV)
Just this afternoon, our son, Jon, called to talk to us about the upcoming holiday. As we reflected together on this Thanksgiving, he placed love right alongside gratitude.
When we love unconditionally, a sense of great thankfulness is naturally part of the mix. What a security and comfort is found in that beautiful kind of love!
After talking with Jon, I began thinking about how love intertwines with the Thanksgiving season—this special month of gratitude. Only God's Son offers the kind of love that is all encompassing. We love Him because He first loved us. And for that, we are deeply grateful. Gratitude is such an energizing emotion! It emanates from our very being as the Light of God's compassion and great care flows through our lives to those we touch.
A blessed Thanksgiving Season!