Seeing Christmas Lights

Seeing Christmas Lights

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, December 1 2016

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the darkest nights of the year. The nights are dark, too dark for some. For many Christians, these weeks mark the season of Advent. Advent gives us time for our eyes to adjust to the dark, so that we may see the light of Christ and Christmas lights in a new way. This time of preparation for Christmas is meant to remind us of the world’s darkness so that we might rejoice at the world’s redemption in the light of the Christmas story.

So, rather than turning up the manufactured lights of the season a few weeks early, what would it be like to intentionally allow the shadows to fall upon our life, to allow our eyes to adjust to the dark? By taking note of the darkness of this world and the darkness within us, we may begin to see the power of Christmas lights in a new way. As we enter the Advent season, we work to create space for the image of God to be developed in our midst. We dim the lights, so that the light of Christ may shine. We will carefully guard our time and space as a worshiping community. We need to sit and soak in the darkness in order to appreciate the light. It is tempting to rush past Advent, but doing so would cause us to miss an image of God that we would not otherwise see. It takes time for us to get acquainted with our need for grace.

You can only see the beauty of Christmas lights in the dark. Allow this season of darkness and light to develop grace and may the image of Christ shine in your life in a new way.

 

 

The Genius of the Table

The Genius of the Table

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, November 17, 2016

The Psalmist writes, “I thank you, Lord, with all my heart; I sing praise to you before the gods. I face your holy Temple, bow down, and praise your name because of your constant love and faithfulness, because you have shown that your name and your commands are supreme. You answered me when I called to you; with your strength, you strengthened me."

An Evening in Uganda without the Jetlag

An Evening in Uganda without the Jetlag

By Carol Brown

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, November 10, 2016

Last Monday night, I spent an evening in suffering from jetlag. I spent an evening in Uganda without even leaving Macon. Our church joined with First Baptist Church of Christ to host a missions event led by CBF field personnel Missy Ward Angalla and her husband, Francis. We shared a wonderful Ugandan meal together, listened to stories of the work that Missy and Francis are doing, and heard about their plans for more ministries in the future.

All Saints, Sinners, and World Series Winners

All Saints, Sinners, and World Series Winners

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, November 3, 2016

You know I’m not the biggest sports fan, but the fanaticism of the Cubs win has stirred my attention. Especially the stories being told about die-hard fans and their ritual observance of the Cubbies. For many, rooting for the Cubs is a deeply personal, family tradition. Time magazine reported the story of Bill Shannon, who spent the last few innings on his knees praying. This kind of devotion carries forward generation by generation. Fans pass on their passion and sense of expectancy to another generation of fans. It’s beautiful, really. Shannon said, “When you get to be my age, you don’t know if you’ve ever going to see it. I kept thinking of my all my friends at Wrigley, and so many that are gone. I feel privileged to have witnessed this.” It was like he experienced this with his friends who had passed away and for his friends that had passed away. What an amazing sense of connection!

Unmasking Beauty

Unmasking Beauty

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, October 27, 2016

Leaves are falling and the temperature is finally dropping, at least to "tolerable." In this season for carnivals, costumes, and Casper, there are serious decisions to be made: what costume will I wear? Some of the most popular choices for this year will be Rey and BB8, Pokémon, or political figures. Maybe you will see someone dressed as a Snapchat filter or a Ghostbuster. All of these are in the top ten costumes this year.

My Singing Is a Prayer

My Singing Is a Prayer

By Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, October 21, 2016

When the Israelites were captives in Babylon far away from their home, they asked this question, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” Far from their home and their temple, they were exiles and slaves with no heart or spirit to sing the songs of Zion. It’s not that it would be irreverent to sing those songs outside of their homeland; it was more likely that the song felt misplaced because they were misplaced and their hearts were heavy with grief.

Supporting Our Missionaries

Supporting Our Missionaries

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, October 14, 2016

Last month, during the Jim Dandies luncheon, Erin asked the group some quiz questions about missions. One question had everyone stumped: How many missionaries has Highland Hills supported? Some began counting up a few men and women they could name from the list of people we have supported in foreign countries. Cass was wise to count our youth group in the number of “missionaries” as he named their trips each summer. The correct answer was: hundreds. We have as many missionaries as we have people in our congregation.

Meet Me at the Creek

Meet Me at the Creek

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, October 6, 2016

Last Sunday, we had a truly beautiful worship experience outside in the amphitheater. It was a holy moment that happened outside the walls of our church's building. I am deeply thankful for our worship leaders, the lovely weather and your voices raised among the trees.