Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

November 23, 2022

November 23, 2022

Dear Friends,

When you receive this, Thanksgiving will likely be in the rear-view mirror, and the cultural tsunami of Christmas will be towering over us.  Before you take a deep breath and dive in, please make time to do two things.

First, please spend some time (alone, and also with others in your household) to talk about the things for which you are grateful.  They can be little things, or big things. But if you are breathing, and you have enough to eat, then you can make a gratitude list.  Consider writing a thank you letter to someone (anyone), or to God that expresses your gratitude.

Then, please take about 5 minutes each week and think about someone you know who might need a bit of light in their world. And if you can do something to let that person know you are thinking about them, then do it! This Advent season we are going to change things up a bit to reflect the theme of Longing and Hoping.  Truthfully, the cultural Christmas emphasis on “Ho, Ho, Ho!” and “Have a Holly, Jolly, Christmas” is not what the Christian season is about.  Advent and Christmas are all about longing, grieving, suffering, and weeping. Jesus the Light of the World is only good news when we know the darkness.  So, this Advent, we are going to attempt to name the “darkness” that we have known in the last few years (both collectively and as individuals).  Once we have named the darkness, then we know how very much we need light. When we are longing for comfort, relief, or peace, we know that we need a Savior.  If everything is fine, then we humans tend to forget God, or to think that we can do it all by ourselves.

Maybe no one wants to focus on the darkness.  But the truth of what we need must be named before we can ask God for help.  Ever tried to give a gift to someone who doesn’t need anything?  Well, I imagine that God stands often at the doors of our hearts with grace, joy, and love to give us, but we are full.  We don’t need anything, and there is no room in our hearts or lives for God.  So, this Advent, we are going to name our need, name our darkness, name our longings.  Psalm 65:2 calls God “O you who answer prayer!”  Let us gather this season to worship the God who answers our prayers, the God who sends us a savior . . . . .  because we need that God!

See you in church,

Ellen Skidmore

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