End With The Beginning – Good News for December 31

31 12 2009

John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.

Prophets – Good News for December 30

30 12 2009

Luke 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

The Daily Path: With the eve of the New Year upon us, I’m borrowing a page from the prophetess Anna’s playbook by thinking about what is ahead for me in 2010. I know the next 365 days will be very different from the year that rapidly draws to an end. 2009 has been a tumultuous year for me to say the least, presenting a mixed bag of blessings and unimaginable challenges. I look back to see a period of tremendous spiritual growth and outward change. This year could be viewed as a boot camp preparing me for what is next in my life.

While the turning of a calendar page will not signal a new beginning in the eyes of God, it does provide a boundary for new hope. Like the dawn of each new day, the new year allows us to move ahead. More than ever, I see how my path is guided by God. Hopefully, I’ve learned enough in 2009 to have greater faith in His plan allowing me to remove myself from outcomes and go with His flow. I hope Luke’s gospel will in some small way reflect what transpires for me in 2010.

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Darkness Is Passing – Good News for December 29

29 12 2009

John 2:7-11

I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

The Daily Path: The letters of John consistently act as beacons to guide us back to the greatest of all commandments: loving others as we would ourselves. There is no greater light than the love offered by God. There is no greater act for us than to initiate love and in doing so illuminate the dark.

On this fifth day of Christmas I find myself excited about the future. One might say that God’s light is further penetrating the darkness to illuminate the path before me.

Room to Chat: Father, Your love is the light that guides me along, eliminating fear, showing the true way. Continue to refresh my sight and bolster my courage. Allow me to be an instrument of light, helping those who stumble in darkness to see.

Taking Flight – Good News for December 28

28 12 2009

Matthew 2:13-18

When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”

Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.

Box It Up – Good News for December 27

27 12 2009

Letter to the Colossians 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters,

Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.

And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,  as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The Daily Path: For some this weekend is about tearing down the Christmas tree and climbing back up the ladder to hastily remove all the lights that had illuminated the night over the past few weeks. Our old friend Stan Doubtsall can’t wait to get his life back “in order”. He wants to quickly put the reminders away and resume his normal existence in the new socks he received on Christmas morning.

Kin’s Letter to the Doubtsalls 1:1-13

Oh, Stan!

Why are you ins such a rush to put Christmas away? Christmas is anything but over. December 25 is only the beginning!

Imagine living Christmas in your life 365 days a year. Instead of packing away the little star that sat on top of your aluminum Christmas tree, why not keep it inside your pocket? Every day you could reach into that pocket periodically, touch the star, and hear the angel of the Lord call you to celebrate the birth of the Christ. Or perhaps that ubiquitous bell ringer you hate so much could be tucked away in a corner of your heart, reminding you that someone is out there shivering in the night and that you have the power to bring them light.

You put a lot of energy into rushing the closure of Christmas in your life. What if you put that same energy into extending Christmas and delivering some joy for as long as you can? Why limit your generosity and compassion to only a few days each year?

Stan, don’t box it up. Let the celebration of Christ dwell in your heart every day. Let the light radiate from you like that old color wheel you trot out once a year! The joy you’ll experience is guaranteed to last far longer than the new socks Aunt Phyllis gave you.

Glory to God – Good News for December 25

25 12 2009

Luke 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”