2019 Year In Review
Happy New Year! Let us give thanks for the year that has unfolded and take time to envision what 2020 can be for us. Last year we posted about Spiritual Goal Setting. I encourage you to take a look at the article to identify what goals may work for you in this coming year and how to set them.
I find it important to reflect on what has happened this year. Let's look closer at some of the awesome content from the blog.
This last year I took on the endeavor of providing an in depth look at various spiritual practices each month. I will continue to do this in 2020 to expand our ideas of what a spiritual practice is. Spiritual practices help connect us with God and shape our discipleship. Continuing to find what practices work for us in our busy lives is imperative so that we can continue our spiritual formation. So lets quickly list the ones I covered this last year with links to the posts. I encourage you to find the ones that work for you and practice them.
1. Exercise and Movement
2. Dwelling in the Word
5. Neighborhood Walking
6. Intentional Breathing
7. Being in Nature
I want to thank the wonderful guest bloggers we had this year who I have listed below. I have added links to their posts and encourage you to read them. 2020 will bring some new voices to the blog with lots of unique perspectives. The first post of the year will be a guest blogger sharing her awesome story of finding God in her life.
William Ottens "Diversity and Your Bookshelf"
Justin Delong "The Welcoming Mission of Jesus"
Emily Hartford "Finding God's Spirit in Parenting"
Steve Hensley "The Similarities Between Comedy and Church"
Dakota Matthes "Dakota's Faith Journey"
James O'Neil DeAtley "What Do You Wish To See? A Divine Invitation to Awakened Life"
Caleb Brian "A Glimmer in Time: A Snapshot of Science and Religion"
Anna Rider Gard "The Connection"
New Year Hopes
This coming year may each of us move forward along our faith journey. May we let our curiosity run wild as we ask the difficult questions. May we find joy in the simplistic things around us. May we value the people we are with and pay attention to the spirit speaking through them. May we search for a deeper connection with the divine.
May we experience joy, love, and happiness. May we suffer the best we can during difficult times. May we be comforted and loved unconditionally in our not so good moments. May we give our time and talent to others. May we find a faith community to journey with. May we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to those around us connecting us deeper to them. May we walk confidently knowing we are loved for who we are. May we believe we are valued and have worth despite any worldly events that unfold. May we live love each day!
Thank you to all those that have contributed to the blog this year and those who continue to follow us each week!
Go out and celebrate the New Year!
Jesus is the Light
A few weeks ago my middle son Lucas asked, "Is Jesus in the moon?" It seemed like a strange question at the time as we were just driving down the road. My wife asked more questions to understand what he was asking. He said, "We learned at Sunday school that Jesus is the light and the moon gives light." I sat in amazement as he also named various other things that emit light. You see in his eyes and from his perception, Jesus is everywhere. It’s always incredible when children provide godly insights into our lives.
Jesus is everywhere! He resides anywhere in this world where freedom is present and those trying to break free from oppression. He is the light that shines in darkness. He moves through the hearts and souls of anyone willing to listen to the gospel. In this world where we find ourselves alone and isolated from others Jesus is the voice calling us to community. Calling us to loving relationships where justice and peace are upheld.
This Christmas season we get to celebrate the coming of that light known as Jesus. We get to understand that this light changed and continues to change this world. Let's look closer and uphold the light of Jesus this Christmas.
O Holy Night
"O Holy Night" is one of those songs that speaks to the power of light which comes in Jesus. This version is by Gentri, The Gentlemen Trio. Check it out and enjoy the music!
Jesus is the Light
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12
Often there are times in our lives when we feel alone. We may feel lost and are traveling through darkness hoping to find the path that's right for us. But we just don't know what that is or even where to start. We begin to question whether God is still present with us and if the Holy Spirit is still active in our lives.
God doesn't leave his children. The divine continually works within your presence whether you are aware of it or not. Despite our actions and misgivings the Holy Spirit is there continually calling us to a deeper relationship and greater spirituality with the divine.
The Christmas season is about receiving Christ in our lives. There is no better time to reunite with the light that is ever present and always with us. So seek Jesus this season. Go to the places where you have found him in the past. Talk with those on your journey. See the light that is guiding you through the dark places you find yourself in. For God is with us!
Merry Christmas! May you find the light of Jesus this Christmas!
The Christmas Pageant
I remember very clearly the Christmas pageants when I was growing up in Stewartsville, Missouri at Community of Christ. Though I hated drawing any attention to myself it was kind of fun dressing up as someone else. We would run through the Christmas story, sing songs, and the most important part grab a bag of candy after the production for our hard work and devotion.
My mother told me after I was born, I played little baby Jesus as she and my dad played Mary and Joseph. Unfortunately for Christmas Pageant roles, there is nowhere to go but down after playing Jesus. That very next year I was a some type of livestock like a sheep or cow. Either way it was an animal roaming about while the rest of the parts were played.
I eventually became an angel and a shepherd where I remained to what seemed liked forever. The wise men seemed to have the premium role, which I aspired to be, but they were always reserved for the older kids. However, my day finally arrived many years down the road where I could show my wisdom to all those that arrived to church that Sunday. As I grew older I also played Joseph and was able to watch others interact in the story giving their own unique perspective to each part. I learned that each role had its important part in the birth of the King.
The last few years I have been able to watch my sons participate in the Christmas Pageant. It’s unlike my childhood as there were no prescribed parts but a variety of inclusive roles no matter what age. I do remember my oldest being a sheep a few years back and eating cheerios off the ground during the play. This year I played Joseph again as my 4 month old made his opening debut as baby Jesus.
The memories I have from the Christmas Pageant are precious because it made me part of the Christmas story. The story is what is truly amazing when we take the time to stop and read it. You see we each can be active participants if we just choose a role to play. This role may not be the traditional ones we all know but one that fits our own discipleship and journey. It is to this we are all called. May the Christmas story remind us all of the blessings that abound when we receive the Christ into our heart this season.
Reading The Story With New Eyes
Sometimes hearing something over and over again dulls our senses, reducing the meaning and impact it can have on us. The Christmas story along with other gospel stories can fall into this category. It's unfortunate because the magic of the story continues to reside in it if we but open our ears and hear it.
Blogger Shauna Letellier wrote a blog post titled, "How to Read the Christmas Story as if for the First Time." She gives 5 tips to assist us in reading the story so we can continue to be impacted by it. I find these tips very helpful so we can rediscover new meanings in the story.
I encourage you to read the story yourself this year. If you do not know where to find all the story, the blog by Oretha Winston titled, "Bible Verses That Tell The Story of Christmas" identifies all the scriptures of the Christmas story and provides the words for you to read. Check it out and read through it to rediscover additional meanings from it.
Wherever you find yourself this Christmas season, take the time to reunite yourself with the story. Ask the questions you haven't asked and see with new eyes the miracle that resides in it. Find what your role will be in this day and time that brings you to the light of the world.
I hope everyone is able to participate or watch a Christmas Pageant this year. Thank you to all those who have or are directing them.
This week I encourage you to read the Christmas story out of the Bible.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.
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