Published December 7, 2018 by SMBC

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22, 25 NIV

The Advent season is a joyous occasion for Christians because all activities lead toward the birth of Christ. As we journey with Joseph and Mary, we see them deal with many difficult and trying circumstances. I am always amazed at God's hand in their journey and at their persistence in pursuing the desired result: the birth of the Christ Child and His dramatic impact on our world.

At Christmastime, I always fondly remember when everyone was excited about all the department store displays, the arrival of the Christmas catalogs, and the writing of letters to Santa to be read on the radio. I also remember the many pageants I participated in, the choral programs and hymns at church, and the messages taught in Sunday School and from the pulpit. All helped create the foundation for the season that still serves me today.

On the other side of the coin, I can remember friends? families who did not celebrate Christmas. I remember hearing parents speak harshly to children who got overly excited about a Christmas gift, then, overhearing a frustrated parent-to-parent conversation explaining they had little to spend on gifts.

Both of these remembrances illustrate that our world consists of many circumstances and situations. Some are uplifting; some are disappointing. Some bring hope and pleasure, while others bring disappointment and despair. For this reason I reflect on South Main's mantra during the Advent season. We say ?South Main is a family of grace, discovering Jesus Christ together, and sharing His love with the world.? Advent is a great time to make ?sharing His love with the world? a reality for each of us, not only by sharing our resources but also by sharing Christ's love with others through kindness, acceptance, respect, and treating everyone we meet as brothers and sisters.

Father, thank you for teaching us how lives should be lived. Help us during this season, and throughout the year, to share Your love with all we meet. Amen.

Bill Carpenter is a member of the Power and Light Community and is married to Bettye.