Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

December 22, 2017

Congratulations!  We did it!  We just made it through the shortest day and the longest night of the year!

          Yesterday, the amount of daylight that we were allowed was 09:46:39.  Today, we will receive two seconds longer!

          Do you know what this means?  Today, we are headed towards spring!

          If I oversaw things, I would make December 22ndChristmas Day!  Jesus brought us light! 

          And, today a line is drawn in the sand because darkness let go of us yesterday!  We are now moving onward to ever-increasing light! 

By New Year’s Day we will have a whopping thirty-one seconds of daylight longer than we did yesterday!  By January 10th, we’ll have a whole minute!

Yes, I know…Old Man Winter still has a strong hold on us!  Even so, there is hope because we are moving away from the darkness.

I went to Walmart yesterday.  I had to pick up Communion elements for our candlelight service on Christmas Eve.

As I am walking into the store, I hear the sound of hope.  I hear a bell ringing and see the ubiquitous, ever-present red kettle and bell ringer!

I say the sound of hope because the bell ringer was heralding the movement begun long ago by a Methodist preacher named William Booth.  Booth saw a dire need to help the poor and those addicted to alcohol, so he founded the Salvation Army.

What’s not to love…right?  Wrong!  Big money from the alcohol manufacturing industry hated William Booth for raining on their parade.

And, Booth organized many parades of his own to protest the damages that he saw alcohol inflicting on society.  But, back in the day, The Church of England, the crown and the alcohol industry were imbedded; and, all three entities sought to destroy Booth and his movement.

You know what they say!  Always follow the money.

Advertisements were taken out in local papers accusing Booth of being a charlatan.  English Lord Shaftesbury labeled him the Anti-Christ.

I know!  Is this backwards world or what? 

The high and mighty folks of Booth’s day allowed money to overrule the work that he was doing for sobriety.  I am sure glad we do not see these kinds of efforts today!

So, what is my point?  Whenever Booth’s son Bramwell would bring him the latest newspaper, printed with yet another attack on him, Booth would respond, “Bramwell, fifty years hence it will matter very little indeed how these people treated us; it will matter a great deal how we dealt with the work of God.”

And, there it is!  You and I may often feel that we are powerless over the forces of darkness and principalities but Christ has given us extraordinary power over what follows us…our legacy.

King David may have said it best, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6).”

Why is this statement true?  It is because of who we choose to follow!

And, by choosing to follow Christ, he will order the what of life!  What follows us is who we choose to follow!

Today, what matters most is how we deal with the work of the Lord.  In our hemisphere, the earth has just taken the first step away from darkness.  Shouldn’t we?

No matter what is going on in the world or in our private lives, the first order of the day is who we choose to follow.  And…there’s that baby in the manger.

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