Go Light Your World

Candles and Christmas go hand in hand, don’t they? We burn those jar candles that smell like balsam and fir trees or peppermint and chocolate. We put those electric candles in all our windows through the holiday season. We give them as gifts. I recently saw a sale on Yankee Candles… Five of the large jar candles for $50!! (Lots of folks excited about that one.)

At church, we have an advent wreath with candles to light for each Sunday during the advent season and a big center candle to represent the light of Christ. We use candles in ceremonies like weddings. Our church has a special candle-lighting on Christmas Eve. Everyone has a candle lit and they turn off the electric lights… It’s stunning and beautiful and moving.

I woke up with Chris Rice’s song in my head this morning, Go Light Your World. Here are some of the lyrics, but please click here to listen.

There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
There is a Spirit who brings a fire
Ignites a candle and makes His home

Frustrated brother, see how he’s tried to
Light his own candle some other way
See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to
Still holds a candle without a flame

Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world

You know how when the power goes out in a storm, and you light one little candle just to be able to see… That one little candle can light the entire room!!! A little light goes a long way. And one little candle flame lights another and another… The way I see it, our “candle” is our smile. Our hug. That note of encouragement we write. That prayer we send up that he never even knew about. Our gift to the Salvation Army angel tree. The shoebox we packed for Operation Christmas Child. The meal we took to help out a little. The sandwiches we helped make at the soup kitchen. The hand we offer any time, any place. And so. Much. More.

It’s Christmas! Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Go light YOUR world.

Music in the Air!! The Great American Brass Band Festival

In our little corner of America this weekend, the 25th annual Great American Brass Band Festival (#GABBF25) is in full tilt. Main Street is festooned with banners and flowers. There is music in the air everywhere! Everything from The Circle City Sidewalk Stompers clown band playing frolicking fun music you just HAVE to move with… 20140607-163400-59640082.jpg

to the Salvation Army band playing staid hymns.

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It is my kind of festival!!! New Orleans jazz bands and military bands, brightly colored balloons in a perfect sky,

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a hometown parade with local celebrities…

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And, of course, what festival is complete without food and friends?

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I look forward to the GABBF every year. It’s one weekend a year to just be filled with joy. With music in the air everywhere you go, how could you be anything BUT joyful?? Children and adults alike waving flags and cheering on the parade. People bringing a picnic and just hanging out with the music. A little slice of Americana.

As I sat in the shade this morning watching the parade go by, hearing the different bands play at the same time, listening to my son and my husband talk, feeling the gentle breeze and the warmth of the sun, I was overcome with emotion at this wonderful, everyday life that God has given me!!! I stopped right there and said a prayer of thankfulness that The Lord would see fit to place me in this life at this time.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the song in my head this morning was Britt Nicole’s “All This Time”

All this time
From the first tear cry
To today’s sunrise
And every single moment between
You were there
You were always there
It was You and I
You’ve been walking with me all this time

That’s the beautiful thing about our God… Through every moment of every day of our lives, God has been right there with us ready to catch us when we fall or cheer us on and bless us when we need it most. Whether I’m doing the laundry, having dinner with my best friend, or cheering and waving a flag at a local parade, God is right beside me. He has been walking with me all this time. And He won’t stop now!!