From the Children’s Ministry….

The Ladies Tuesday Morning Bible Study Group did a very meaningful study of the book of John with the help of a book written by Adam Hamilton a few months ago. During this study, it became so clear how far we have strayed from the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Over and over in the book of John, Jesus tells us how important it is for us to love.  Without love, we cannot truly know our Savior. Somehow, we have taken the words of the gospel and changed them to fit into what is comfortable for the lives we live.  

“Love your neighbor” has become “Love your neighbor as long as they look like you, vote like you, and agree with your interpretation of the scriptures.”  

“It is more difficult for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven” has become “There is no such thing as having too much money.”  

We have become like Herodias, the one who had John the Baptist killed because he criticized her lifestyle.  We nurse grudges against those who disagree with us and look for ways to destroy them. We label people according to where they are born, their political beliefs or their sexual orientation. We excuse or try to explain inexcusable behaviors. Instead of getting to know people, we judge them.  Instead of listening, we accuse. Instead of showing mercy, we condemn. We only see what we want to see. When we ask “how are you doing?” we only want to hear that all is fine.

Our most recent book study has been another book by Hamilton, “Not a Silent Night”.  This book looks at the life of Jesus through the eyes of Mary, beginning at her death and ending at the manger.  In discussing this book and looking at how the world was at that time, I have to wonder if we have learned anything at all.  There was a darkness then as there is darkness now.

Jesus came to be a light in that darkness. During this Season of Advent, I wish we could “turn off the problems of this world” and just “turn on the light of Jesus”.  I wish we could lock all of our politicians with all their efforts to divide us in a large storage facility until the new year begins and ban the media from reporting any news that comes out of that facility. If only we could “turn off the world” maybe as a neighborhood, community and country we could get to know one another again.  Maybe if there wasn’t so much talk about “issues,” we could discover the many things we have in common as well as the good things about one another. Maybe we could begin to see the light of our Lord in the faces of people we have avoided looking at. Maybe we could reflect His light so that others could see a glimpse of His love in us.

It is also important to remember at this time of year that the “darkness” doesn’t just hover over the world as a whole.  So many individuals feel overwhelming darkness during the season of Christmas. Some are experiencing the pain of loss. Some are facing the stress of making ends meet while finding meaningful gifts for the ones they love. Some are battling deep depression while trying to put on a cheerful face to fit in with the merriment all around them.

I wish for you, for all of us, a season of peace, joy and hope. I hope that no matter what darkness surrounds you, the light of Jesus will somehow shine through. I wish for all of you a season of love and light.