The bins in the basement labeled "Christmas Decorations" are empty. One of my favorite bins that I opened this year was one that we received as a wedding gift over eight years ago. It is a large nativity set that was hand painted by one of my husband's family members. This is the first year we have taken it out because we have moved so often that we never wanted to risk breaking the nativity set. It is beautiful, detailed, and delicate.
We cut our real Christmas tree down and learned that this tree in particular looked much smaller outside than it does in our home. :)
The Christmas lights were checked to be working and are put up.
The Jesse tree ornaments that I made were hung on the tree. I sewed them three years ago while waiting for our second child to be born. He was due Christmas Eve. Whenever I put them on the tree I remember the feelings I had of longing. Waiting for Christmas and waiting for him to come and to be held. Now each day after our Jesse tree bible readings I watch him and his sister search the tree for the ornaments that match the story.
One of the final decorations to be put up was our real Christmas wreath. We also bought one for each of our parents and helped support our local 4H.
One of my Adventageous "to-do" list items this last weekend, besides several music performances, was to finish delivering the wreaths to our family.
As I travelled there was one thing in particular that made driving very unsafe.
I drove for hours through country roads with about 50 - 75 feet of visibility in front of my van. When I came near the top of a steep hill it felt as if I would continue ascending up into the sky. What a roller coaster it was coming back down! I slowed my speed, prayed that the Lord would continue to keep the kids and I safe, and squinted my eyes to look for painted white lines and car lights to keep my direction.
We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. - Isaiah 59:9b-10a The darkness of winter night crept near. I was glad to see the speed limit sign change from 55 mph to 30 mph and see the glow of an upcoming town.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. - John 1:5
The quaint town that we drove through was all lit up. I exhaled a deep sigh of relief. There were all kinds of lights there: street lights, stop lights, cars lights, and Christmas light decorations. I heard my children say "ooo" and "ahh" at the beautiful lights that came through the blur of the fog.
My mind drifted to how God uses light to draw us near and glorify Himself.
Did you know that God shines?
In fact, God shines so brightly that we cannot see him in his entire glory.
When the angels appeared to the shepherds in the field at the first Christmas - the glory of the Lord shined!
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. - Luke 2:8-10
What is the source of our joy this Christmas season? Please read this passage over and over!
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 God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. - 2 Corinthians 4:6
God made his light shine in our hearts... to give us the light... the light of the knowledge of God's glory... displayed in the face of Christ. Wow. So wow.
What is the brightest star of Christmas? The star that led the wise men?
After they [the wise men] had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. - Matthew 2:9-11
As wonderful as the star is that led the wise men it is not the brightest one of Christmas. Jesus is the brightest star. JESUS IS THE LIGHT. He is the Star that we follow! The bright Morning Star (Revelation 22).
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “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
Jesus' birth was most humble. He was born in a stable and chose to live as we do in a dark and sinful world. But God used his light to shine for the shepherds, the wise men, and he uses light now to lead us all to Jesus! As you see Christmas lights today, may they be a reminder that Jesus is the Light of the world that calls us to Himself out of the darkness. He is our safe place through the fog. May Jesus' light be the greatest decoration in your house!
(Prayer based off of Matt Redman's "Light of the World")
Dear Jesus, You became flesh, living as one of us, under the shadow of the cross. Where through the blood you shed You have made peace again Peace for the world that God so loves. Light of the world you shine upon us. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Click here to print off the bible study that goes along with this blog post!
1. Discuss! What are some things that hide the light of Jesus during the Christmas season like the fog?
2. Read Psalm 119:105 & Isaiah 42:16-17! When we are having a difficult time making choices or decisions where should we turn?
3. Discuss! How does the light of Jesus still shine today?
4. Read 1 John 1:5-9! How do we have fellowship with God and one another?
5. Read John 8:12 & Matthew 5:13-16! What is the purpose of the light that we have from Jesus?
6. Read James 1:17! Why is it comforting to know that our God does not change like shifting shadows?
What gifts has God - the Father of the heavenly lights! - given you?
7. Read Ephesians 5:8-14! How can we reflect the light of the gospel?
*If you use the bible study in a group or share it with another please give source credit to me and the blog. Thank you!
During the rest of the week you can find me at our private online bible study Facebook group where we dive deeper into God’s word and talk about it. If you want to be a part of the bible study I highly recommend being a part of the Facebook group where we get to know you more and be mutually encouraged! The Facebook group is private so any information that you share will be seen only by those allowed in the group.
You can join the Facebook online bible study group by clicking here.