Tag Archives: light

The Lights of Peace

The Messiah is called “Prince of Peace!” The angels cried out, “Peace on Earth!” Really? Look around. It doesn’t really look like peace. Forget the lack of harmony between people, which keeps escalating, look at nature … hurricanes, natural disasters, fires, pandemics, and so on.

So “Peace on Earth” seems to be a stretch. Or does it?

There is a word – Shalom. Shalom is a peace that is not an absence of chaos, not a silence with no distractions nor a lack of confusion. It is an entrenched sense of harmony, health, and wholeness in the midst of chaos. It’s even said that true Shalom is best detected with a backdrop of commotion and confusion.

Shalom remains steadfast when instability abounds. Shalom keeps its confidence when disappointment and confusion are near.

Shalom is not scheduled with an event. It is not found in circumstances. It can’t be bought with the largest of resources. And it can’t be earned. It’s not deliverable by Amazon, brought down a chimney on the 25th, or placed under a tree.

Peace is found in a person. It is written, “… for He himself is our peace.”

As we celebrate this season, we look back and rejoice the very presence of the Son of God coming and dwelling among us. The personification of peace coming to bring peace with God and the peace of God.

I also realize there is a longing for the completion, the fullness of the Shalom that happens when all things are made new. In Revelations 21, we see a glimpse of eternity … a Shalom, a peace, brought about by the Prince of Peace. The full completion of His work.

Here are five ways we see that Shalom in its fruition …

Presence – Jesus dwells amongst his people. Compassionate – He comforts and wipes away every tear. Comprehensive – ALL things new. Gracious – He doesn’t charge or make us earn His peace. Overcomer – all our conflict, all our battles are now over. He has provided victory.

And that’s real Peace, real Shalom … and it comes form one place. The person Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, the Son of God, the reason for the season.

I hope you know that peace, that you know Him this Christmas.

Spy Wednesday – Holy Week Hump Day

Three days before the cross. A day that many traditions recognize the “spy” amongst the disciples – Judas. Just the name brings sadness, scorn, shivers and shaking of heads. We ask how anyone could have been so close to Jesus and do such abominable acts.

Did he do it out of jealousy? Out of a desire to force Jesus into using His power to set up the kingdom Judas himself thought should be in place? Out of desire for power himself? Or just greed?

Picture origin unknown

One of the traditions of this day is Tenebrae. The word is from these Latin for shadows or darkness, and candles are extinguished one by one, emphasizing the light is being extinguished and darkness is growing. No matter the reason for the betrayal, I do believe we can say the Light in Judas’ life was slowly ebbing away as he focused on his way, his desire, his reasoning.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

But Tenebrae also has the Christ candle grow in light. That’s the hope, that’s the joy, that’s the truth – Jesus is the Light and that light can never be extinguished.

So don’t let darkness slip in, do stay in the Light, walk in His grace and love, and surrender your desires, your ways, your life to the True Light. As Jesus put it, we are to die to ourselves daily – and walk in His ways as children of the light, children of the day.

What will you do today today to stay in the light? Read your Bible – talk with God – memorize a verse – share His love.

Stay in the light.

As a Seeker, May We Not Settle for Lies

I was a seeker, for light in a dark world. I looked for truth, but settled for lies … such are the opening words from a Gold City’s dramatic tune.

I can remember as a child my mother hiding our Christmas gifts. Tops of closets, in the blanket chests, trunks of cars. For if she put them under the tree early, we would have surely shook, toggled, weighed, and tried to guess what wonder was within.

One year she put a lot of them under the tree early. But instead of putting our names on each box, she put codes on the gifts. So as we explored the gift options before the official day, we had to try to guess which was ours. The only problem was that on Christmas Day, she lost her sheet that told which gift belong to whom. So we randomly opened gifts one at a time. I still remember the trauma of opening my sister’s gifts … I looked for truth, but settled for lies.

In so many ways, this search could describe so many of us. We seek something. We are trying find meaning, purpose, anything that makes sense of all of … life. And on our journey, we get distracted and we settle for less then the fullness of truth. We find something that makes us feel good, so we stop looking.

And way too often, we leave God out of the equation and try to stay in control of it all.

The next line of the song says … I had been blinded, I couldn’t see. ‘Till the star in Bethlehem’s sky, opened my eyes.

The Magi were seekers of truth. Looking to the stars, wise men of old, and wisdom of many. But it was the star in the sky that led them to the real truth. And they didn’t let up until they found him. Yes, I said him … for the truth they sought has a name.

We can be like the Magi, or we can be like Herod. They recognized the greatness of the event, but Herod thought he could control the outcome, control destiny, and squash the truth. His lie caused the slaughter of so many young baby boys. He had been blinded, and the there was eternal repercussions.

I love Christmas. The lights, the music, the food, the decorations … the gifts. But if that is all I get out of Christmas, I am settling for lies. There is nothing wrong with these things, they just aren’t the real reason of a Christmas. And I don’t want to settle. I want the truth, the whole truth, the fullness of all He has for each one of us. And He brings purpose, a reason to live.

When the star in Bethlehem’s sky, opened my eyes. I have seen the Light, shining in the darkness. Bursting through the shadows, delivering the dawn. I have seen Light, His holy name is Jesus. His kingdom is forever. He reigns on heaven’s throne.

That my friend is the Christmas I seek to experience. The truth’s name is Jesus. May you find Him too.

Merry Christmas.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, the National Christmas Tree, and the Grinch

Christmas Eve. Shortly after awakening, I read the Charlie Brown Christmas Story in my iPad. Interactive, games (collect ornaments), dancing moves to mimic, and a great telling of The Real meaning. Now I no longer have a tree. It left ten thousand too many needles on the floor, so I relocated it back to the woods. But I did enjoy it. Charlie Brown had his tree … probably one of the more famous trees of all times and celebrated every year. It is not alone. Annually, people flock to see the tree at Rockefeller Plaza and the National Tree in Washington DC.

But this year, the Washington Tree is in a state of drama. A few days ago, a disturbed soul climbed the tree. Now to be fair, that sounds kind of cool. I wouldn’t mind a little tree climbing in my life. Always the kid I am. Back to the story – it took an hour or so to talk the man down. And on his descent, he damaged some of the strings of lights. So in my best Scooby Doo impression, uhhohh.

Normally not a problem. We have people and resources to handle such a dilemma. Or do we? With the government in shut down, all resources and personnel are frozen. So the lights remain dark, and the tree and welcome center are closed.

Has the Grinch finally had his way in Washington? Has he taken the ribbons, the toys, the roast-beast, the joy? Has Schumer and Trump caused the season to be bleak? My oh my, what a dismal week?

I say no. I say we need to remember the words of the Grinch when he realized he hadn’t stopped Christmas.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

So, has your tree gone away or just gone dark? Does the madness of the world seem overwhelming? I say remember the little child born 2000 years ago – a light in the darkness. A light that still shines. A light the world can not put out. And that light has a name. And that name is Jesus.

I hope you know that light and that He shines in and through you. Shine so the world may see.

Merry Christmas.