December 2016
Reflections of God's Goodness

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the darkness in our world. As our country settles down after a tension-filled election season, there is hope. Advent begins, and so we wait…

The culture tells us to get busy making lists and checking them twice as December ushers in a whole new level of stress and busyness. There is shopping to do, parties to plan, invitations to accept. Yet, even as we shop, cook, write cards, and wrap presents, our hearts are yearning for something more.

Advent is very much about the "something more" we long for. As we prepare to celebrate His birth, we acknowledge that we are still waiting to be saved. Saved from all the things that are wrong in the world. Saved from broken families, violent responses, and selfish ways. It is so hard to wait!

Yet, our God draws near to us…

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him ‘Emmanuel’…

Matthew 1:23

Emmanuel is "God with us." Advent holds out a vision of hope—God’s vision for our future. This grace-filled season is an opportunity to look intently for God’s presence on our journey. We can live today in the light of this God-shaped future, so that we become an instrument in God’s hands to accomplish His vision for our lives and our world. Advent begs us to look around. Where can we bring this blessed presence?

There are many opportunities in our broken world to bring life and healing to those who need it. Every one of us knows someone who needs a human touch. An elderly neighbor who goes days without talking to anyone…a single mom, struggling to make ends meet…

Loneliness comes in many shapes and sizes. Look around. Who is left out? Who is it that remains on the outside of the Christmas circle of family gatherings, friend gatherings—even church gatherings?

This Advent, make yourself available to God and others. Open your eyes, your ears and your heart to include someone who is never included. Send a card. Make a phone call. Invite or visit. Your effort could infuse life and joy into an otherwise not very Merry Christmas.

Amazingly, when we reach out to God’s children, He uses our efforts to bless us and transform us. The "something more" we long for, the very life of God, is poured into our hearts. That’s the nature of love.

Wishing all of you the joys of Christmas love.

Blessings,

Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn's signature

Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn
Director of Development

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 12:9-13

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