Advent Devotional

I wrote this for my new church for an advent devotional. It comes out today. I thought you might like to read it, too.

December 17, 2013 Third Tuesday of Advent 

Ephesians 5:8-14 
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness,but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

Reflection: During these days leading up to winter and Christmas, it’s no accident our thoughts turn inward. Our ancestors faced long cold months of winter and wondered how they would survive.

 As Christians, we look ahead while thinking of the past. It helps to know that even during the darkest of times—before we had God in our lives—He made a way for us. Whatever may come during this winter and others, we know God has a good plan for us. We can survive anything, thanks to the One who rescued us by sending his son, Jesus. “Praise be to God!” we may say, but is that enough? What about the lost? During these long hours before the official beginning of winter, many people battle family issues, financial hardships and depression. They are hopeless and without faith. While we can give them neither, we can pay God’s love forward by living out the fruits of the Spirit. If we work in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), we can be a light for all to see. We can demonstrate the good, God-life through our actions, not our affiliations. How much more then will our words become once we’ve demonstrated the good news?
 The process may not be quick or easy. We may be forced to cast light on wicked ways. We may even be called to speak hard truths. As long as we act and speak with love, compassion and biblical truths, we can show the transformation, peace and pardon that only God can provide—the real gift this holiday season.   Question: This Christmas season, will you be a beacon of hope? Will you shine the way to God’s forgiveness and salvation through your actions? Prayer:
 Dear Father, thank you for reaching out to remove us from our dark, dysfunctional places. Thank you for offering us forgiveness and grace sufficient to cover all of our sins. Please help us to walk daily the lighted path so that we can remain your light in a dark world. Amen.    

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