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I have been hesitant to make this post, but for some reason, the main thought I had about the the solar eclipse which happened over two weeks ago has persisted in my mind. So here goes...


On Monday, April 8, the long-awaited (or long-hyped-up) solar eclipse occurred. There seemed to be many people who were so fascinated by this event, that their enthusiasm filled social media with numerous posts about the it - eclipse-watching parties, plans for travel, etc. However, my husband and I did not include ourselves in this frivolity. To say that we were pretty much indifferent would have been an understatement.


My main concern was about the disruption that was predicted to happen with the hordes of people who were predicted to show up in our area as we were in the path of totality. As Gary works second shift in a nearby city, I was concerned about the traffic congestion that was predicted and the fact that the eclipse would be happening during his drive time. He had a doctor's appointment that morning, so we both decided to take the day off and stay home. After the appointment and going out for breakfast, we went home, determined to stay there, out of the fray. We weren't even planning to watch it. I did learn enough about it to find out the time it would be happening and took note of the warnings to close the drapes and blinds so that our pets wouldn't be traumatized, as some "experts" said could happen. As it turned out, Noodle the cat and Jezebel the dog slept through it - they had no clue!


I will admit - I did look out the windows when it started to get dark and again when it was pitch black. It was sort of eerie. Gary was napping and heard me walking around in my upstairs office. He yelled, "It's getting dark - the world's going to end!" I know he was joking, but there were actually some predictions that this could happen.


As it started to get light again, I started thinking about light and dark in spiritual terms. It occured to me that there would have been many people watching the eclipse who would have no clue about the God of the universe who created the sun, moon, stars, and planets. I heard stories of people cheering during the event, but did they know who or what they were cheering for?


There are many Scripture references about people walking in darkness and Jesus being the light of the world. In John 8:32, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”


As followers of Jesus, we are told that we should have the light of Christ living in and shining through us. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16.


Jeremy Camp's latest song speaks of how we have been placed here in time, in this place, to be the light of God in this world.


I believe that you and I

Are in the right place at the right time

God called us by name

And He doesn’t make mistakes

I know we were born to shine bright

In a dark world that needed some light

Don’t have to be afraid

Maybe we were made

For these days





My question to you is "How brightly is your light shining?"


"How bright is your God-light?"


P.S. To be fair, I will say that I saw some pretty cool pictures that people had taken!

 

Above Photo by Jongsun Lee on Unsplash







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As I contemplated what to write for the first blog post of 2024, this verse from Psalm 143 came up as the verse of the day in YouVersion today. It has been my habit of late to choose a word for the year and this verse prompted me to ask myself, Am I teachable? And maybe, more importantly, Do I want to be?


When I googled the definition of teachable, this definition from Oxford Languages was at the top of the search page.


adjective: teachable

  1. (of a person) able to learn by being taught.

  2. (of a subject) able to be taught


I had to chuckle at the example of the word teachable listed under #1! "When we think we have things already figured out, we're not teachable." How many of us fit this description?


Then I had to ask myself, How often do I think I have God figured out? Am I teachable? Does this mean that God can't teach me anything new about Himself? Nothing new about me and my relationship with Him?


This reminded me of a hymn introduced to me last year, Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord, lyrics and music written by B. Mansell Ramsey in 1919. I have been finding myself singing it in my head of late. An arranger that I follow wrote in his notes,


"As I read the words to this hymn, I could see it was a humble prayer from someone who was seeking the will of the Lord and pleading for Him to

teach and help him understand His ways."


Much like the prayer of the psalmist, David, in Psalm 143, the hymn writer lists the many things that are going wrong in his life, yet he continues to ask for God's guidance and whether "in failure or distress, teach me thy way."


I have decided that "teachable" will be my word for 2024, Psalm 143:10 will be my verse, and this hymn will be my prayer for the year. Perhaps you will join me in this endeavor for the New Year? Or maybe you have chosen another word or verse for the year? Please share in the comments section below.



 

Photo by Nicolas Cool on Unsplash





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And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7 (NKJV)

As we have entered the season of Advent, a song that I heard about a month or so ago, came to my mind. We are so familiar with the Christmas story about Mary and Joseph being turned away from the inn, as there was no room for them. More on that in a moment...


So they needed to find a place where there was room for Jesus to be born. This song, Make Room, by the group I AM THEY talks about making room for Jesus in our lives and what that means for us as Christ-followers. It is a song of surrender, not something we normally think about at Christmas.


But what if God is asking us to think about making room for Jesus and what that looks like? It's easy to have warm feelings about making room - for the Baby Jesus. But when we contemplate what the coming of Jesus meant for us - the Savior of the world and of our lives - born to signify God with us, ultimately his birth led to his death and then his resurrection. Have we made room for him to work in and through our lives?


I distinctly remember the John W. Peterson musical (published in 1963), Night of Miracles, and the song that stuck in my mind was No Room. Perhaps some of you have heard this before?



I wonder what would have happened if Mary and Joseph had reservations and actually had a room at the inn. Would we have viewed his birth differently? As Advent is upon us - are we making room for new insights and new experiences of what Christmas means to us?


Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts about "making room" for Jesus.

 

Opening Photo by Walter Chávez on Unsplash









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