I have always loved to read. I love reading history, especially Christian history, medieval history, French Revolution and Napoleonic history, the Crusades and the Knights Templar, piracy, the Civil War, the Old West… well, you get it, I like to read. A few of my favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Henry Nouwen, Joseph Girzone, Louis L’Amour, Victoria Houston, Bernard Cornwell, Tony Hillerman, John Case, William Kent Krueger and, most recently, C.J. Box (discovered his works while out in Wyoming this past summer).
I get a lot of insight and wisdom and guidance from these authors even though many I read just for pleasure. One of those insights came recently from Desolation Mountain by William Kent Krueger:
“This is not a time for heavy hearts,” the Mide said. “Death was our shadow, but that shadow is gone. Justice? We will pray this comes with the light of day. In this moment, here and now, we celebrate the spirit of what is good in each of us and in those friends who stood with us in the dark and chased away death’s shadow.” He lifted his eyes to the night sky. “We give thanks to the Creator and we pray that in the battle between love and fear, which is always raging in the human heart, love will triumph.” He lowered his eyes and, one by one, fixed each of them around the fire with his steady gaze. When he came to Bo, he smiled. “Love will win,” he said gently, as if the words were meant for Bo especially. “In the end, love always wins.”
In the end, love always wins. It reminds me of another saying, “Love came down at Christmas!”
The Bible calls us to follow God and Jesus’ example. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16). Fortunately, laying down our lives doesn’t usually mean being nailed to a cross or taking a bullet for someone. Most of the time, it means being moved by love to help someone or to give to a person in need: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?… Let us not love with words or speech but with actions in truth” (1 John 3:17-18).
“Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) I think many times what keeps us from loving and caring is fear. Remember, though, fear is not something God gives but God recognizes it in us. Just look at how many times in the Bible it says: “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid of the darkness, it will pass. Do not be afraid of the shadows because Jesus is the light that will make those shadows disappear. Jesus came down at Christmas and then died on the cross for us so that whoever believes will have eternal life. See, “in the end, love always wins!”
May your 2020 be filled with love, blessings and much light so that the darkness and shadows will
Happy New Year!
Pastor Bud and Lori