Reflections on Lamps

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• Small lamps are of great importance
• Light is produced when the connection is made
• We are connected through prayer and faith
• Lamps provide guidance and comfort in darkness
• Without light we often stumble or fall
• Casting light on a subject encourages clarity
• A light in the window welcomes
• A quiet lighted corner is a good place of rest
• Lamps draw others to them
• Care for your lamp so you will be healthy and prepared

It’s Broken!

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“It’s broken!” the young child exclaimed when he saw the picture of the crescent moon in the boardbook we were looking at. “Yes, it does look broken doesn’t it?” I replied.

When I have looked at my own life and at the world around me, I too have exclaimed, “It’s broken!” Seeing only a part, I have focused on the sharpness and darkness of the crescent moon and not on its light. In the midst of struggles, it can be easy to forget that there is One greater than ourselves and our situations… that there’s more to the moon than we can see!

What can we do when overwhelmed with our own brokenness and the brokenness of others?

Jesus used several illustrations about brokenness… When the crowd of people who had come out to hear his teachings grew hungry, a few loaves of barley bread and some fish were offered. Jesus took those loaves and fish and broke them, not only providing for the needs of the people but also having basketfuls left over.

When eating with his disciples in an upper room, Jesus broke the bread and told them it was like his broken body, soon to be sacrificed for them. The two men from Emmaus were able to recognize Jesus only after the bread was broken. They understood that Jesus had been broken too and they were given the good news of life. Jesus sacrificed himself for all who come to him, seeking healing… seeking forgiveness.

By giving God our brokenness, we are strengthened and able to go on. Out of pain comes light. Like the people who followed Jesus, we too come together to support, share, and encourage.

Out of brokenness, hope and life is born! How amazing is that?!

*Matthew 15:34-37, Matthew 26:26, Luke 24:35

Lightning Bugs!

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There’s another one! Tiny lights flashed in the summer night and children’s laughter rang out as we raced about the yard, catching the elusive lightning bugs and carefully placing them in a jar… Those lights drew us to their source, as we viewed them with the eyes of a child.

It seems that humankind shares that fascination with lights. The light of the sun brings warmth and growth, the shine of moon lights the way at night, and stars draw us to imagined patterns in the night sky. Candles are lit as symbols of celebration, mourning, or worship. Bonfires welcome gatherings. A light in a window, porch, or yard welcomes a traveler home.

How often do I take time to view life’s simple spots of light? The smile of a friend, the quiet contentment of home after a day’s work, the presence of family around me, the fresh smell of rain or supper cooking… These are all lights to be treasured and recalled, especially on days in need of encouragement.

I like the way light is often used as a symbol or illustration of God, of His goodness and truth. Like those tiny flashes in the dark of night, we are drawn in wonder to His presence. God surrounds us. He is like the sun’s warmth when we feel the cold of despair and the moon that shines the way as we stumble in darkness. He welcomes us and helps us to find our way.

And wonder of wonders, as His presence fills and surrounds us, our own tiny flashes attract the attention of others. They too are drawn to that source of light. As children, we open the jar and exclaim with delight as those lightening bugs once again rise together into the night sky. Flash! Blink! Light of promise… and joy… and God’s presence.

John 1:5a “The light shines in the darkness…”

 

Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There It Is!

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I see it! There it is! As we approach the broad river and long bridge, our excitement mounts. Hours of watching for landmarks and anticipating our visit with relatives were soon to be rewarded. There’s the road, we proclaim as we turn up the hill on a winding country lane.

Whether traveling to visit family or friends, a special concert or conference, sports event, or other occasion… it is satisfying to finally arrive and to be a part of the activity. Focusing on landmarks, road signs, and other directions (maybe that voice from our smartphone), we are guided to our destination.

In my work, I do a lot of traveling over back roads to provide services in homes and day cares. I like to know how to get from destination to destination before I head out, although I am up to an occasional “adventure” as I connect less familiar roads when needed. Landmarks are welcome aides.

The prophet Jeremiah encouraged the Hebrew people to return not only to the land of their people, but also to God. Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take. Return, Virgin Israel, return to your towns, he said.*

But how do we get there? How do we travel through this life and how do we recognize the “road signs” to God? It can be a difficult and long journey. The landmarks may be new or forgotten along the way. The psalmist said, But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.*

I love that God gifted us all with an awesome road sign, his Word to us… a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.* Announcements! Encouragement! Cautions! Wake-up calls as well! As we look forward, God shows us. This way! There it is! I welcome suggestions, wise counsel, and support from others, especially those who have traveled similar paths. Think of all the people in life who have in some way impacted your movement from one destination to another. Decisions, small and large, are guided by our relationships with others and by our life experiences. Our faith is central to that.

The angels announced, “This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” The road signs were true and “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

With all the “stuff” crowding my vision and thoughts, I don’t always see the road signs. May God grant us quiet moments to refocus, to see and praise Him, our hope and our guiding light for each day. There it is!

     *Jeremiah 31:21, Psalm 39:7, Psalm 119:105

Light Dancing

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Light dancing on splashes
Of gold, red, and orange
Beckons to passers-by.

Greens and browns
Wave their fronds,
Seasons past and to come.

Evening’s chill
Brings thoughts of tomorrow,
As time tolls; prepare!

Day’s warmth
Welcomes memories
Of life, laughter, and tears.

And so we dance,
Welcoming light’s hope,
In quiet contemplation.

And so we dance,
Resting sorrow
In those swaying boughs.

And so we dance,
For life’s joys
In our Creator’s being.

Light dancing on splashes
Of gold, red, and orange
Beckons to passers-by.