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Posts Tagged ‘John 8:12’

 

 

Years ago Steve’s Aunt Louise gave us a little ceramic church music box.  With its drab gray walls, greenish-gray roof, and standard steeple, the church did not grab attention. But the arched windows on each side were filled with tiny chips of colored glass, and when lit from within the little church sparkled with glorious light.

Sometime when our three children were young, the church was broken by “Not Me.” Fortunately, the pieces were large and Steve was able to glue them back together.   When the light was turned on, the cracks didn’t even show.

But as the years passed, the glue began to discolor and turn dark. The poor little music box became a sad sight, and I was about to throw it away when our youngest son–probably in high school by this time–said, “Oh, Mom! You can’t get rid of the church! That’s been my favorite Christmas decoration since I was a little kid!”

So Jeremy saved the music box from destruction.

 

 

He finished college, married a sweet girl from our church, and moved twice more while attending seminary. Somewhere along the way the music box disappeared.

Each year as he and his wife Nancy decorated for Christmas, he’d remember fondly that little ceramic church and wonder what happened to it.

Seminary graduation came and went, four years at his first church appointment also passed. While settling into their second parsonage, Jeremy finally unpacked a carton labeled “Memorabilia” that had been sealed up since he left our home.

Buried at the bottom was a sealed shoebox. Jeremy sliced through the tape with his pocketknife, lifted the lid, and brought into the light a lumpy, tissue-wrapped object.

 

 

Within moments Jeremy held in his hands that precious, long-missing ceramic church. And joyful tears stung his eyes.

He quickly found a new bulb and plugged the cord into a nearby socket. The windows instantly filled with glorious rainbow light. Jeremy didn’t even notice the fissures or dark, crusty glue.

Isn’t it amazing to consider that, just as Jeremy loves that damaged music box, God loves us—scarred, and imperfect as we are? We too were just as lost as that little church—sealed up in a box of our own prideful independence.

 

 

But Jesus came looking for us. He brought us into his glorious Light, and filled us with the Light of his inviting, benevolent grace.*

Now, we have the privilege to shine with gleaming Light just like that little church—in spite of our scars.

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

God of all grace, I thank you for rescuing me from mere existence in my self-made box, and bringing me into a rich, full life with you. Even though cracks and blemishes remain in my being, what you see is not what I have been but what I am becoming—holy and blameless and filled with Light—for that day when I see you as you are!

 

(John 10:10; Ephesians 1:4; John 8:12; 1 John 3:2)

 

 

 

*Often defined by using an acronym: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

 

Scripture references: Luke 15:8-10; John 8:12; Colossians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 3:24; Matthew 5:14.

 

(Photo credits:  Jeremy Ruegg (2); http://www.flickr.com; http://www.heartlight.org (Ben Steed); http://www.verseaday.com.)

 

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Christmas is indeed a season of light.

Candles glow and twinkling lights glimmer from houses, buildings, and trees.

People love all the flickering and shimmering!  Some spend weeks decorating their yards and rooftops in spectacles of illumination.  If you asked them why, they might be hard-pressed to express more than, “They’re beautiful!”

 

 

But perhaps it’s more than just aesthetics.  Perhaps it’s a heart-response.

Light is symbolic for:

  • Beauty.  Light grabs our attention, whether it’s sparkling and dazzling or soft and luminous.

 

 

  • Safety.  Where there is light, we can navigate through our surroundings.
  • Comfort.  A nightlight offers just that for many a child who is afraid of the dark.
  • Hope.  Light gleams triumphantly in the darkness at the end of a tunnel.
  • Guidance.  Light illuminates the way.

 

 

Might it be that people respond to light, especially when associated with Christmas, because the human spirit is made to respond to the Light?

Jesus came from the Father who is Light (1 John 1:5), and proclaimed, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12).

But that statement is more than symbolic.

God the Son is our safety, because he offers eternal life.

 

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;

no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

John 10:28-29

 

 

God the Father is our comfort, because he is loving and compassionate.

  

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

who comforts us in all our troubles.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4a

 

God the Son is our hope, because of his resurrectionWe will be raised from the dead because he was. 

 

“In his great mercy [God] has given us new birth

into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade—

kept in heaven for you.”

1 Peter 1:3b-4

 

 

God the Father is beauty, because of all his exquisite attributes.  And we have the opportunity to bask in that beauty.

 

“I’m asking God for one thing…

To live with him in his house my whole life long.

I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet.”

Psalm 27:4  MSG

 

God the Father is guidance, characterized by wisdom, compassion, and readiness.

 

 

The Light of the world offers us all this and more.

I can’t imagine life without him, can you?

Let’s make time to linger in his Light during this Advent season.

 

 

Let’s be watchful for “Glory-moments, awash in his dazzling Light” (Sarah Young).

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *

 

How else might we expand our heart-response to Jesus?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

Photo credits: http://www.pxhere.com; http://www.wikimedia.com; http://www.tOrangebiz; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.dailyverses.net; http://www.canva.com (3).

 

(Revised and reblogged from December 2, 2013.)

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God-is-light-in-him-there-is-no-darkness-at-all-christian-wallpaper_1366x768

 

You, oh God, are resplendent with light

As if full of fire—

Blazing with power, dazzling in majesty,

Shimmering in an aura of glory (1).

 

You are the Father of lights

the Creator of sun, moon, and stars.

From the moment You spoke them into being,

the heavenly lights have never ceased to shine (2).

 

Starsinthesky

 

Neither has your Light of Goodness

Ceased to shine upon your people.

You are loving and patient, generous and gracious,

Always seeking the brightest, highest good (3).

 

You are the Light of my Salvation,

Showing me the way to heaven through your Son, Jesus,

Guiding me home through the twists and turns of life,

The dark shadows of uncertainty and fear (4).

 

psalm-27-1

 

You are the Light of Life,

Providing Son-lit days of peace, joy, and contentment

As I avail myself of your calming presence,

And celebrate your gifts (5).

 

You are the Light of Truth,

Who graciously shares his omniscient wisdom with his people.

Through your Word you expose falsehoods and evil.

You show me the best way to live—side by side with You (6).

 

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You are the Light of Holiness

Pure and perfect, completely separate from all else in the universe.

Through Jesus you already see me as perfect,

Yet day by day you are molding me to be holy, like you (7).

 

You are the Light of Blessing,

Making your face shine upon me

With grace, mercy, and compassion,

Lovingly exercising your power for my benefit (8).

 

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You provide the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God.

I find it when I seek your Son, Jesus.

His earthly life gives me a glimpse of your glory in human form–

A form I can more easily understand (9).

 

And now, you have made me a Child of the Light,

Called to reflect your glory to others,

Shining brighter, I pray, as the years pass,

Till the full light of day–inside heaven’s gates (10).

 

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I praise you, oh God, that your Light shattered the darkness

Of evil that first Easter morning—and for all time.

I praise you for the privilege of living in that Light,

Now and into eternity!

 

  1.  Psalm 76:4; Ezekiel 1:28
  2. James 1:17
  3. Psalm 89:15, 34:8-9
  4. Psalm 27:1; 23:4
  5. John 8:12, 14:27; Psalm 16:11; Hebrews 13:5
  6. Psalm 43:3; 119:105; Proverbs 6:23; Ecclesiastes 2:13
  7. Isaiah 5:20; Romans 13:12
  8. Numbers 6:24-26
  9. 2 Corinthians 4:6
  10. Philippians 2:15-16; Ephesians 5:13; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Proverbs 4:18

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Martin wrapped his muffler tightly against his neck, then pulled his hat firmly down over his ears. The night was bitter cold. As his feet trudged through the snow, his thoughts warmed him. Soon he’d be sitting by the fire surrounded by his loving family, and together they would celebrate Christmas Eve.

Thank You, dear Lord, for this blessed night, he prayed. Thank you for the precious gift of your Son, the King of Glory become Savior of those who believe.

Martin’s eyes lifted heavenward in worship. It was then he noticed the ethereal display above him: evergreen branches lit by hundreds of tiny lights. Of course, it was the stars. But on that night, for Martin, they appeared to be sprinkled among the treetops.

Oh, I wish the family were with me to witness this, he thought. And then he had an idea.

When Martin finally crossed the threshold of his home, his wife and children were surprised to see him carrying a small evergreen tree.

“Children!” he cried. “I just enjoyed a most amazing sight as I walked home this evening. And we’re going to recreate it, at least partially so, right here in the living room!”

Whatever could this be, they thought, as Papa sent them to gather a small pot and candles.

Together, Martin and his six children set up the tree and fastened candles to the branches. Then the room was darkened as the tree-candles were lit. And while the little tree glowed brightly in the corner, Martin told his family about the exquisite beauty he had witnessed—sparkling stars shining through the evergreens on a crisp and clear Christmas Eve.

“It looked something like this!” he proclaimed and gestured toward the tree.  The children stared in wonder at the glorious sight.

 

stock-footage-three-lit-candles-on-a-christmas-tree-and-at-the-end-being-blown-out-closeup-hd

 

This, according to legend, is how Martin Luther introduced the tradition of the Christmas tree, nearly five hundred years ago. (I did add a bit of imaginative embellishment!)

Of course, no one can verify the truth of the legend. But I like to think that one of our most devout fathers of the faith brought to us this most delightful custom.

Not only is the custom embraced by nearly everyone who celebrates Christmas, it embodies much symbolism.

The tree of choice in most homes is the evergreen. Green represents life—the eternal life Jesus offers.

The lights also remind us of Jesus, the Light of the world (John 8:12).

  1. He brings the light of sweet peace and effervescent joy that contrasts sharply to the darkness of fear. His Light transforms our quality of life.
  2. Jesus’ light reveals our sin, and then he offers to extinguish that darkness in our souls with his life-giving salvation.
  3. His Light also guides us along the path of life.

Finally, the decorations offer reminders of God’s blessing:

  • Ornaments gifted to us over the years bring to mind precious family and friends.
  • Miniature crèches, angels, shepherds, and wise men invoke fresh wonder in the glorious story of Christmas and God’s indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).
  • Toys and teddy bears bring to mind the children for whom Christmas is the source of delirious joy. Almost as great is the vicarious pleasure we adults enjoy, while watching the young ones revel in all that is Christmas.

 

page christmas antique ornaments

 

And when the tree is fully decorated, we can exult:

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!

Thou hast a wondrous message.

Thou dost proclaim the Savior’s birth,

Good will to men and peace on earth.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

I praise you, O God, for your goodness. Your blessing does indeed bring me much wealth (Proverbs 10:22), including: life eternal in your presence, Light to guide my way, precious family and friends with whom to enjoy the journey and with whom to celebrate this rapturous season of Advent.

And then, would it be too trivial to thank you for Christmas trees? Their splendor graces our homes like no other adornment. May I enjoy the decorated tree, not as something bright and pretty in itself, but as a reminder of the Branch of the Lord. HE is the beautiful and glorious One (Isaiah 4:2).

(Photo credits:   http://www.i.istocking.com;  www.jpeg.pinterest.com; http://www.madiganmade.com

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Christmas is a season of lights.

Candles glow and twinkling lights glimmer from houses, buildings, and trees.

People love all the flickering and shimmering!  Some spend weeks decorating their yards and rooftops in spectacles of light.  If you asked them why, they might be hard-pressed to express more than, “They’re beautiful, that’s all.”

 

 

But perhaps it’s more than just aesthetics.  Perhaps it’s a heart-response.

Light is symbolic for:

  • Beauty.  Light grabs our attention, whether it’s  soft and luminous, or sparkling and dazzling. It can also be refracted into a glorious spectrum of colors.
  • Safety.  Where there is light, we can see our surroundings.
  • Comfort.  A nightlight offers just that for many a child who is afraid of the dark.
  • Hope.  Light gleams triumphantly over the darkness, at the end of a tunnel.
  • Guidance.  Light illuminates the way.

Might it be that people are drawn to the lights of Christmas because the human spirit is drawn to the Light?

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world (John 8:12).  He is Light because God the Father is Light (1 John 1:5).

And the Light of God the Father and God the Son is not merely symbolic.

God the Son is safety, because he offers eternal life.  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28-29).

God the Father is comfort, because he is loving and compassionate.  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4a).

God the Son is hope, because of his resurrectionHe was raised from the dead, and we will be also.  “In his great mercy [God] has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3b-4).

God the Father is beauty, because of all his glorious attributes.  “I’m asking God for one thing…To live with him in his house my whole life long.  I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet” (Psalm 27:4, The Message).

God the Father is guidance.  “He will guide you always” (Isaiah 58:11a).

Christmas lights cast a soft glow; spotlights illuminate large areas.  But Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World.”   To every person in every corner, he offers his Light.

Let’s make time to linger in his dazzling Light this season!

“Blessed are those…who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord” (Psalm 89:15)!

(photo and art credits:  www.onebestwall.com, http://www.moyerlawncare.com, http://www.8thfire.net, http://www.naturewatcher.wordpress.com)

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