Monday, January 7, 2013

Finding the Light

A banner at Stafford United Methodist Church depicts the magi.
Light was the common thread during our Epiphany worship service yesterday morning. From the opening prayer to the children's sermon to the hymns, the message of light shone through as clearly as the light of the star that led the magi to the Christ Child so long ago.
So many people are looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. Their concerns and fears wear a dozen faces: loneliness, depression, economics, bullying, terrorism, disease, marital discord -- the list goes on. Epiphany's reminder of the unchanging love of God for us is as refreshing as a glimpse of light at the end of a dark tunnel.
From General Board of Discipleship, United Methodist Church,, which I used in my adult Sunday School class yesterday 
I'm the worship chairman at our church. We left the Christmas decorations in place through our Epiphany service yesterday, but I will have to figure out a time to pack them away this week until next year.

By now, you've probably taken down your Christmas tree at home. I know there are organized people who promptly pull out their Christmas decor the day after Thanksgiving and then pack it away on the day after Christmas.

I'm not one of those people. Because of a persistent cold, I didn't get our Christmas decorations at home taken down until Friday, which was later than normal.

But, after several weeks of twinkling lights decorating the living room, I'm never quite ready to give up the multicolored dreamland.
I'm never quite ready to pack away the angel tree topper ...

... or turn off the light on the Noel that decorates my piano during the holidays.
Even as a child, I remember the letdown after Christmas. It didn't have anything to do with whether I'd gotten everything on my wish list. It was just that slight feeling of melancholy, a sadness at saying goodbye to that "hap-happiest season of all," as the song goes.

But, even as I hauled the boxes of decorations to the basement, I needed to remember not to let go of the spirit of Christmas. Even if I must take down the twinkle of lights in my living room, I can let the Light of the World continue to shine in my heart, mind and soul as I enter a new year.

Arise, shine, for your light has come.
And the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
Isaiah 60:1 
So how do we keep that Light when the world seems like a very dark place some days? A couple of my Facebook friends have recently posted a link showing a Gratitude Jar.

From a friend's Facebook page
This January, as we look back and keep Christmas in our hearts, maybe these gratitude notes would help us to look all around us to recognize the good that happens and the blessings that God provides each and every day. Or it doesn't have to be a jar. I could keep a notebook-paper list of One Thousand Gifts made popular by Ann Voskamp's bestselling book of the same name. Even a computer list would accomplish a litany of "gifts" if I would just take the time and make the commitment to do it each day.

So the message of Epiphany wouldn't just happen on one Sunday in January. It would happen each and every day. 

I shared a variation of this message at Lovely Branches Ministries this month. Check out other bloggers who "Look Ahead, Look Back" through their blog entries this month at the new website. 

I'm also linked to Hear It on Sunday, Use It On Monday today. 


  1. I have read this on cards with pictures of the three travelers: "Wise Men Still Seek Him" and also "Wise Women still seek him." The last is my addition. Your Neighbor

    1. I've seen that, too. It's good advice, isn't it?!

  2. I love the pictures of Stafford UMC. They bring back fond childhood memories of Christmas programs, friends, & family.

    1. Thanks, Debora! It's a beautiful church. I have similar memories from my days at Byers and Pratt UMCs.