First Mennonite Morton



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    A Season To Refocus

    November 27, 2018 Aaron Yoder
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    A few months ago, our daughter began to experience sporadic headaches which made it difficult for her to focus at school.  After a discussion with her teacher and an eye appointment, the ophthalmologist confirmed our suspicions.  Yes indeed, her eyes were changing…for the worse. 

    After a few weeks of anxious waiting, our daughter’s glasses finally came in.  “How do they help you?” my wife asked.  “I can see…more!” our daughter explained.  She then proceed to explain what ‘more’ meant.

    According to The Vision Council around 190 million people in the United States, or 3 out of every 4 adults, need some form of vision correction and have been able to afford it.  Globally, here are between 1 and 2 billion people who would benefit from such technology, but are currently unable to receive them. 

    Glasses are an incredible invention and such a blessing for those who have access.  Specialized lens clarify the world in which we live and help us see ‘more.’  But for those who suffer from bad eyesight and have no access to care, much of their world remains blurry or unrecognizable.  It’s very hard to live this way!  Clear vision is so important!

    During the holidays, there can be so much which distorts our spiritual and relational vision.  Consider how materialism can easily distract us from the simple joy spending time with loved ones.  Consider how the internal and external pressures special gatherings can strain even the most patient, loving family members.  Or consider how the temptation to please everyone (from gift giving, meals, and general hospitality) can distort our motivations to gather.  In this way, there are many who suffer from ‘bad eyesight’ during the month of December and live in a blur.

    Now, as Christians, we know ‘in theory’ that Christmas is about Jesus.  However, I believe that we must take intentional steps towards refocusing our ‘eye-sight’ during this busy time of year otherwise our eyesight can go bad too. 

    Consider these words from the Apostle Paul, “Those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5).  How easy to be it for us to only think of external, worldly things during the holidays (like presents, decorations, football, food, etc.)!  But Paul goes on to remind Christians that those whose focus on the Spirit receive “life and peace.” (8:6).

    In a manner of speaking, I see the upcoming season of Advent season as an opportunity for the Lord to re-correct our vision and offer us “life and peace.”  It is a season to refocus on eternal realities.

    For our family, one of the ways that we ‘refocus’ is by purchasing five small candles for our dining room table.  Each candle represents the five themes of advent: hope, peace, joy, love, and Christ’s birth.  Each evening, around supper, we light the candle for that week. 

    Another suggestion is to memorize our theme verse for advent which is Isaiah 9:6.  Work on memorizing it with a group of friends and celebrate the characteristics of our Lord as described in that famous passage. 

    I would also encourage you to plan to attend our annual Christmas Eve service at 7:00pm on the 24th.  That simple, liturgical, candle-lit service can be a wonderful moment to re-correct our vision and the vision of guests who attend with us. 

    Whatever your strategy is, I encourage you to experience this season through the lens of Jesus Christ – and see so much ‘more!’

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