Sunday, November 29, 2015

Advent Candle

Photo: "AdventnĂ˝ veniec I." by Bubamara. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Light and warmth radiate from the advent candle, illuminating the evergreen ring of the advent wreath. So commences another Advent—a New Beginning!
                These four weeks of preparation are important in our spiritual life. Autumn is always a time of loss—trees lose their beautiful leaves to stand as bare skeletons against the bleak winter sky. Daylight loses hours to darkness, both morning and evening. The warmth of summer and early fall fades to the chill of November and even colder months ahead. The northland loses sight of green grass and sound of bird as it braces for the hard onset of winter. Our hearts remember loved ones we have lost and years that are no more.
                Yet, just as the small flame of a candle cuts through the darkness, Advent breaks into all the losses of our lives. Not simply doomed to an endless cycle of time and seasons, we see the flicker of hope. God is about to break into an ordinary night of shepherds watching their sheep and animals eating hay from a manger.
                As the first Advent candle is lit, so begins the fresh hope of a new church year. So begins our vigil and preparation for the celebration of Christ’s the birth, Immanuel—God with us. He is the “rising sun [who] will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness” (Luke 1:78-79).
                Advent—New Beginning! Light to warm our hearts and illumine our way! Let us enter this season with open hands and a receptive spirit, ready to rest in the glow of the Advent candle, radiating the hope and promise of God come to earth to be with us!

© 2015 Glenn E. Myers

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thanksgiving Abundance

The Lord is good to all;
          he has compassion on all he has made. . . .
The eyes of all look to you,
          and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
          and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
-Psalm 145: 9,15,16
Surrounded by abundance, I so often only see the one little thing that I lack. Craving for that one-more-thing is part of our fallen human nature. Instead of trusting God, we assume that we need to fend for ourselves. In that self-protective mode, we seek to accumulate and possess. In our grasping to possess, we fail to see how richly the Almighty has provided for us and see only the one thing we want—which we often do not even need.
It is said that someone asked John D. Rockefeller—the wealthiest man alive at the turn of the 20th century—how much money it takes to make one happy. His answer was profound: “Just a little bit more.”
If I am looking to be happy in the natural, it will always take “just a little bit more.” Oblivious to my overflowing storehouse of goods and blessings, I will repeatedly turn to the one thing that I believe I lack. Of course, once I gain it, I simply obsess over the next little bauble as it catches my attention, naively assuming that possessing it will somehow bring me final satisfaction and lasting contentment.
No, the only way to get off this hamster wheel on which I am trapped is to shift my focus from what I lack to what has already been given to me—something the advertisers never want me to do! When I consciously, intentionally redirect my mind and heart toward giving thanks for the innumerable blessings in my life, I begin to see the world with new eyes. Our God has cared for the land and enriched it with plenty. He has crowned the year with bounty and drenched our lives with blessing and abundance.
O, let us give thanks!                                                                                  
2014 © Glenn E. Myers

Friday, November 6, 2015

Wandering with God through the Woods

“Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths” –Psalm 25.4
A leaf-strewn path leads into the woods. My eyes follow its gentle wandering through the trees until at last it twists out of sight. Where will it lead? What turns will it take or evergreen cove will it uncover? If I follow this path, where will it take me?

Since childhood, I have always loved the woods. I have heard the call of the pathway, inviting me into an adventure. Enchanted by their mystery, I never tire of the beauty of the fields and forests and mountains. Leaf-covered paths still beckon me to come on a journey.

Our spiritual life is indeed a venture into God’s great woods. Filled with new sights, restful streams and challenging climbs, it is a never-ending exploration.Yet, so many Christians today become bored with their faith. They take the path a few hundred feet into the edge of the woods, pitch their tents and never journey any further with the Lord. They say they love Jesus but fail to follow him. Then they silently complain that the Christian life is so dull.

Such a shallow understanding of conversion and the Christian life is tragic. The short section of the path entering the wood is only beginning; it was never meant to be a finishing line. Rather, these first footsteps are but the prelude to the life-long adventure of wandering with God through all he has in store for each of us.

Will you take this path?

© 2015 Glenn E. Myers