Sharing our Gifts
The Advent season reminds us to live by the virtue of patience. In 21st century Indiana, we are eagerly awaiting the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, as well as sharing fellowship with family and friends. Some of you may be finished with your Christmas shopping, but I’m guessing a large number of you – like me – are still trying to satisfy the wish lists of various family members, still need to design and send out Christmas cards (or a Facebook card), and still have plenty of wrapping to do.
As Christians, we anticipate the birth of our Savior, but also await His return. We don’t know what God’s timeline is, but our faith is placed in the outstretched hands of our Lord. Amidst the excitement of the holiday season, our ability to be patient is challenged in many ways. Nevertheless, the manner in which we demonstrate patience and celebrate Christ’s birth and return can be expressed in the way we rejoice and show gratitude for our abundant blessings.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” --I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Each of us is blessed by God with different gifts to share with others as a “thank you to God.” It is a blessing for our family to donate to various ministries each Christmas. In the recent past, we decided to give to a cause that will promote righteousness or justice and perhaps provide peace in a person’s life. Kathy watches a nightly news program hosted by longtime broadcaster Lawrence O’Donnell who has accepted a calling to assist young girls in Africa with the opportunity to get an education through a special fund called K.I.N.D. which stands for Kids In Need of Desks. While the purpose of the fund focuses on buying desks for African girls so that they don’t have to sit on dirt floors in a classroom, there is something even bigger at stake. For a modest monetary donation, a girl’s education in Africa is covered for one full year, including room and board, thus allowing a girl the opportunity to escape poverty by possibly going to college, earning a viable living, and making a positive impact on improving the quality of life in her country.
As we approach the third Sunday of Advent and the lighting of the candles of hope, peace and joy, let us be reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.” –Isaiah 12:3-4
Over the last decade, through this blog, I have been blessed to share a reflection with you that illuminates the light of Jesus Christ in our lives. The words written in this weekly blog by a team of faithful disciples, I believe, express the eternal presence of Christ for all of us. It is my hope that the stories I have told and thoughts I have shared have impacted each of you and helped enhance your spiritual growth. The opportunity to articulate my thoughts have been spiritually therapeutic for me personally and aided in my pastoral evolution.
As many of you know, I am blessed to serve as pastor of two wonderful churches, Bethel Presbyterian in Union Mills and First Presbyterian of Portage. Pastoral ministry carries many time demands and each day presents different needs, mysteries and opportunities. Therefore, I have decided to allow others the blessing of sharing their words as part of this wonderful blogging team. Yes, of course, you will still see me around the larger faith community and, as most of you know, I am always available to talk and listen.
May the peace of Jesus Christ be with you all!
Merry Christmas to you and your families!
Pastor Bill Rogers