Each week in church, we have been reading a passage of scripture and lighting the candle on the Advent wreath to go along with the Advent theme for that particular week.
So far the candles of peace, hope, and joy have been lit and this coming Sunday it is the candle of love. I have always loved Advent and the traditions surrounding it because to me, it is a very meaningful way to celebrate the birth of Christ.
But, as I was reflecting on the themes, I pondered the thought, "Does my Christian walk truly reflect the themes of peace, hope, joy and love or are they just words on a page?" Do I have peace in my heart, knowing that God has my best in mind no matter what I face? Am I hopeful that He will work in the midst of my circumstances? Do I reflect joy in my attitudes, actions and words not just in public or on this blog, but behind closed doors where only my family can see? Do I show love to those God has placed in my life, even when they are being unlovable and unlovely?
The true measure of my walk with the Lord is whether I actually live out what I read. It's so easy to sit through a church service and hear the sermon and nod my head and say, "That was good." But then I go home and quickly forget what I heard. It's simple to pick up my Bible and read a few inspirational truths and then just as quickly put it out of my mind and do exactly what I want to do.
I don't want my life to just be about hearing and reading God's word.
James 1:22-25 says,
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at ...his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
I want to actually live out what I read. I want to go beyond the comfortable and safe. I want to follow Christ no matter what the cost and that can be scary. It's frightening even typing those words out because my mind immediately thinks, "Oh no!" "What if He holds me to that?"
If we are to be both salt and light in this world, then our walk has to go beyond the words on a page. As you reflect on Christ's coming this Christmas season, don't just think on it, live it. If we are never actually changed by Christ's birth, life, death and resurrection then it is meaningless.
My desire and prayer in the coming weeks is that I would walk my talk. How about you?
This week I'm thankful for blessings #2826-2840.
2826. Dinner out with friends the other night.
2827. Emily has been making dinner 2-3 nights a week and is becoming a wonderful cook.
2828. Nathan has been at his new job for a little over a month and they have already approached him about coming on full-time and in a management-type position. He won't know until February but I'm so thankful for this. He's getting more and more responsibility there.
2829. Steve is working hard to end his semester well.
2830. Being able to talk to my sister on the phone for a while the other day. I haven't spoken to her in quite a few months as we've both been busy.
2831. Custom orders which help me pay the bills.
2832. A joy-filled worship service yesterday.
2833. A day at home to make and bake Christmas cookies.
2834. Christmas tree lights in the morning.
2835. The beauty in new-fallen snow.
2836. Friends who love Dan and know his love for football so invite him over to watch the game.
2837. I've been feeling very joyful lately. That is always a good thing. :-)
2838. Facebook that allows me to keep in touch with friends and family.
2839. A wonderful quiet time this morning.
2840. The desire to have my walk be more than words on a page.