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Monday, December 18, 2006

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"Light and Life To All He Brings"
"In Him was life, and that life was the light of men" (John 1:4).
Around the Christmas season it seems we always get around to a variety of functions in church and elsewhere that include the singing of Christmas carols. On Thursday we'll be caroling in our neighborhood and we have led services in nursing homes. Last night in church Brooksyne invited the congregation to sit up close to the piano and select their favorites so we could rejoice in singing these timeless carols.

I notice just how well-loved and familiar these Christmas hymns are even though they are generally only sung during a short season. A single line from one of these carols will illustrate for many how well you know these songs, even though you very likely never conscientiously set out to memorize them. That line is "light and life to all He brings". Many of you will identify the carol from that single line. (The answer is at the bottom of this devotional.)

Indeed the glorious message of the Incarnation is His incomparable blessing of "light and life to all He brings." Today let's just ponder the aspect of "life." Consider that at the heart we really have only two great quests in life.

One is for eternal life and Jesus provides this.  The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). 

The other great quest is for abundant life (full and meaningful) and again Jesus has provided this.  He said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10).
Today this life is freely available to all of us in Jesus Christ.  So many willfully reject Him, others shrug off this greatest of gifts and pay no attention, basing their focus instead upon the paltry substitutes the world offers. But the Bible declares: "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12, 13).  Will you receive the greatest gift today?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber

Daily Prayer: Jesus, because You came as light into the world we, the redeemed, are "children of the light."  May we walk faithfully and earnestly in the light of Christ so that darkness dissipates wherever we go.  May those still walking in darkness be drawn to Your light through the things we say and do as we represent You in the home, the workplace and wherever we are.  In Your name we pray, Amen.  

Tomorrow's devotional will focus on the aspect that "light has come into the world."

Note from Brooksyne:  What a marvelous, uplifting weekend I enjoyed with the choir here in Mount Joy.  The church was packed to capacity and the parking lot over capacity.  Choir members ran out to re-park their vehicles in the grass so more visitors could find parking spaces on Saturday evening! Those are "problems" pastors and congregations love to have!  We also had a full house on Sunday morning.  Since we shared with our readers about the musical "Jesus Our Treasure," last week I have a feeling some of you were praying for us.  There was a lovely presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst as the choir sang worshipfully and joyfully.  The drama was excellent as the Gospel was beautifully presented through the "well-seasoned" shepherd. Several in both services acknowledged their desire to become a Christian or have a closer walk with the Lord.  We give praise to our Lord Jesus for His blessing to any endeavor we attempt in His name!

A long-term choir memberI was especially touched by a dear choir member who came to me on Saturday evening and gave me her non-seasonal choir book she brought from home.  She said, "I'm turning this in since this will be the last time I'll be singing in the choir."  Helen has been so faithful in the five years that I've led the choir here in Mount Joy missing only once when she was out of town (giving me plenty of notice, as well).  The reason this was so touching is that Helen is 85 years old.  Our choir is made up of young people from 17 years all the way to Helen's age.  Though 85, she sat down low on the hay bale just like all the choir members during our musical, kept up with us on very fast songs, and had no issue with singing songs that have been written in only the last few years.  "Who Am I" by Casting Crowns was one of the numbers in our Christmas musical, but Helen doesn't have to consider whether it's "her" style of music; she just always just sings to the glory of God. It is rare that I see her hold a hymn book in church since she knows most every hymn by memory (all verses).   Her hearing has worsened considerably and quick page turning with codas can be confusing.  But she gave her best and she told me when she couldn't read the words she followed my lips.  She inspired each choir member and those who looked on as the choir ministered in song.  We had special prayer for her in our choir circle and gave thanks for her many years of dedication recalling when she led children, youth and adults in music in the churches she and her husband, Earl, pastored over many years.

The Christmas carol that has the line referred to in today's message "light and life to all He brings" is "Hark the Herald Angels Sing."
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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