Sunday, December 04, 2016

Something Special about December: Learning to shine through advent devotionals

I attend an amazing church. 

Even though it’s pretty large, it finds ways to include everybody and provides opportunities to get to know congregation members who you might not get to encounter too often.

So today’s Special Thing About December comes from my church – and I got to help! Each year Trinity publishes an advent devotional booklet. Every day there is a Bible verse, and a different member of our congregation writes a few paragraphs about what the verse means to them.

People share things about their lives – their challenges, their reasons to cheer and how they look to their faith to give thanks for their blessings or look to it for strength in the tough times.

It’s inspiring and a nice way to share with our church family.

We’re supposed to read one a day until Christmas. I’m not that patient. My entry isn’t until Dec. 22, but if you want a sneak peek, read on:

Psalm 96: 1-3: Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless the name of the Lord, and proclaim God’s salvation from day to day. Declare God’s glory among the nations and God’s wonders among all men.

I enjoy Christian rock music and love hearing it played live, be it in a big arena or during our Rejoice services – especially when Faceless performs! I’m inspired by the energy and fellowship.

Matthew West is one of my favorite artists, and I have the lyrics to his song “More” taped to my monitor at work. I think about these words often, and I like to think they change the way I approach people and life.

“I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me, too”

I’m a flawed person, and despite these flaws, the Lord loves me and I can shine for him. I’m not great at evangelizing, but people seem to think I’m an upbeat person – which is easy when you know that God loves you despite your flaws. My hope is that folks who might not have embraced a faith see that positivity and realize the source, and be inspired to learn more. We all can be an example.

I also remember that if God loves me despite my flaws, then he loves other people despite their flaws. And if he loves them, well, I can be a little more accepting and try to be more understanding.

Heavenly Father, may we always bask in your warm embrace and shine like beacons in the night on your behalf. May our eyes be opened to the challenges faced by others and give us the strength to reach out and assist in this time of celebration – and throughout the year.

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