The Morgan Church Devotional

a pastor's thoughts about...uhm...stuff

Location: Morgan, VT., United States

follower of Jesus. husband & father. friend. pastor.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Center Candle

there is an object lesson in the Advent wreath that shouldn't escape us.

there are 4 candles around the wreath (usually) representing hope, peace, joy and love. they are (again, usually) 3 purple and one pink.

at the center of the wreath sits a white candle which represents Christ.

we all want to have hope.
we all want to have peace.
we all want to have joy.
we all want to have love.

but when we spend our time seeking those things (as opposed to having Christ "at the center" of our lives) we often don't find them...or we settle for things like them.

the distortion of hope is "wishful thinking" or "dreams"...nothing wrong with them, per say. but they accomplish nothing. there is a great proverb that says "he who works his land will have abundant food; but he who chases fantasies will be poor". hope comes from actively putting your trust in God's promises. it comes from seeking Christ first above and before all things. it is the certainty that, regardless of what comes your way, my hope is secure in Jesus.

the distortion of peace is financial security, personal blessing, and ease of life. again, fine in and of themselves, but they are not God's peace. you might add a lack of conflict being a distortion of biblical peace. .. the bible tells us we can have peace all the spite of what goes on around us. peace is a promised "wholeness" comes from trusting God is in control.

the distortion of joy is happiness. nothing wrong wth being happy. we could use a little more happiness in our world. it is an unhappy place. but happiness gets very self focused. i'm happy when things go my way. i'm happy when i get what i want. i'm happy if...blah blah blah. when things don't go my way and when i don't get what i want--i am distinctly unhappy. joy is different. it comes from a deep and personal relationship with Jesus and a conviction that He is in control of your life...that He is "at the center"...just like that candle in the Advent wreath.

the distortion of love is sex. nothing wrong with sex...ahem. let's not get into but our world is preoccupied by sex. it no longer is just an expression of passion and love between two committed (married) people...maybe it never really was. but at least we had the idea it was supposed to be, even if our own lives didn't match up with it. sex has become the focal point of just about everything. even when it isn't very sexy. we need to love like God loves...without personal gain, without personal advantage, without manipulation, without wavering...with sacrifice, with grace, with blessing, with commitment. when we love like that...everything is better...including sex.


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