ADVENT #3— JOY!  ~the shepherd’s candle.

16 December 2018

      Merry Christmas!

            If you’ve watched the opening video…, you have watched it, right?!? Anyway, after you HAVE watched it, you’ve already grasped the point of Advent candle #3— our joy is to be expressed, not only on a hill outside of Bethlehem on a star lit night, but in the midst of the marketplace, the town square, among people who need to see, and hear, our joy this Christmastime.

            How many Christians have you met that portray the Christian life as a life of sacrifice, drudgery, or somber obedience. In too many ways have we hid our light under a bushel, encased in our silent personalities, afraid to let it shine? Or maybe your Christian faith is a personal matter, between you and the Lord: if so, then you would be disobeying His commandment to go out into our world and make disciples.” [Matthew 28:18-20.]  Though we may carry a quiet faith, a personal faith, it is by no means to be a surreptitious one; “they will know you by your love…. “  It is at least that. Yes?

            Our Western, especially American, culture can rob us of our joy in so many ways. For one, we can make Christmas about everything except Christ. Oh, we may replace Him with the baby Jesus, and the sweet manger scene. Jolly ol’ Santa Claus with his bag of toys & delights. Or we may supplant Him completely with buying & giving, shopping, rushing around to get one-last-thing. We’re like that.

            Let me ask you something— Where does your joy come from? Is it like the shepherds’ surprise and wonder at the splendor of myriad of angels singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among men, with whom He is well pleased!”  Or does it come from buying your kids (or grandkids) one super-duper awesome Christmas gift? Maybe it comes from receiving something this Christmas that you truly didn’t expect to get. Don’t get me wrong; all this is great, and fun, and joy producing in oodles of delight, with candy kisses thrown in. I like that too.  J

            Still, I want most of my joy this Christmas season to come from Jesus. The birth of the Omnipotent God into our meager realm, to live, to thrive, and, eventually, to die: that I might live!  HALLELUJAH!

Behold our King,
Gary
Dr. Gary Davis, President
www.CluelessChristianity.com  

NEXT TIME~ An ADVENT of PEACE!

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exuberance

Sini Merikallio

William Blake (1757-1827), painter, printmaker & exceptional poet during Britain’s Romantic Era, once proclaimed that—

“Exuberance is beauty!”

And how right he was! In a baby’s eyes, a child’s excitement, a boy’s exhilaration at catching his first fish, in an ingénue’s coquettish joy at her first date, or in a bride’s elation on her wedding day, their outward demeanor accurately reveals their inner, entire body, mind, & soul captivation.

Exuberance leaves nothing to the imagination. Watch any football game; it is easy to tell which side just scored just by the roar of the crowd. Exuberance is an obvious expression of our overjoyed sense of excitement within. Unfortunately, exuberance subsides to a more socially acceptable expression as we age. Even though exuberance is expressed quite differently by different kinds of people, it is, in fact, a sad reality that our exuberance follows our body’s descent into decay and becomes boringly sedated. It becomes a civilized passion, which is hardly a passion at all.

How sad.

Not that we should become like little children, with joyous expressions of abandon, nor like exuberant fans at a ball game going wild. But, rather…, something more; something that lifts us, and those around us, to a brighter, lighter plane of perspective; to a new life, as it were, for a moment, or even a lifetime. Too many of us have died, emotionally, passionately, way before our time. We’ve lost that zest for life that is quintessential for anyone claiming to be human…, and still breathing. Could it be that though we are not dead yet…, it is hard for others to notice any life in us. To some degree our increasing concern with caution and personal preservation has supplanted our passion for living, our joie de vivre. Could it be that we have actually lost our life’s core, our undergirding principles? It is difficult to feign life when there is little, if any, clarity about who we are within.

Therefore, for any exuberance to gain expression, we must first regain a sense of who we truly are, of our core values and of a sense of what we are all about. Only then can we let out a good R-O-A-R every now & then.

So let us get to work; so that we once more may express our joy with great exuberance of heart— shouting wildly, singing loudly, flapping our appendages in the air so all the world. Let us dance, twirling in circles with glee; let us do back flips, collapsing on the ground in a puddle of laughter. Let us let our enthusiasm for life be known for all to see. Exuberance is beauty!

You are not dead yet; neither am I. So let’s get at it! Reestablishing our core within so we can claim life to the fullest inside and out! Exuberance is so much more catching. It brings life to all who come near it.

Have a nice week,

Gary

Aftermath


Tragedy
 strikes all of us at one time or another. Whether it be death of a loved one or the devastation of home & livelihood its effects upon us are shattering. The experience, the loss, is overwhelming; it crushes our spirit and sucks out our very life’s-breath. Most of us have experienced such tragedies in our lives, leaving us empty and numb. Words of comfort and solace barely get through my blank detachment.

Then comes the aftermath— sorting through the remnants of a life, trying to rebuild, trying to make sense of the physical and personal destruction that has just consumed every fiber of your being. There are the BIG things— replacing a home, a business, a livelihood; taking care of children, parents, employees, those who are crushed and exhausted. For some, it means even rebuilding a country after a catastrophic national disaster or defeat. Yes, these things must be addressed, even though your energies are already spent.

In some way, though, it is the small things that are more difficult to deal with— the loss of photos, of a history that was filled with joy and frivolity; a loss of trinkets, personal gifts, torn shreds of clothing that once draped a loved one in grace & beauty. Memories all, now gone.

It is in the aftermath of destruction & loss that our metal is proven. It is the manner in which we face the aftermath that we reveal our courage or collapse into a mire of grief & despondency. There is not always hope after some of the volleys life sends our way. But there is always strength to be found in arms of the God who created us, sustains us, and now carries us…, if we will but let Him do so.

Never discount the succor and rejuvenation that flow from the Life-Source of all Being. The God of the Universe— Jesus Christ.

Have a nice week,

Gary