Sometime before the holiday season really started ramping up, I remember asking God to let me feel His presence in a meaningful way this year. I didn't want to get so caught up (as I am apt to do) in the doing, the buying and the overall busyness that seems to accompany this season. There have been moments of craziness, and maybe I am speaking too soon, but it feels like we are settling in for a nice peaceful Christmas time. I have to say I've felt God's hand in many ways this holiday season; in a book, (Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - whole 'nother blog post entirely and a must read) in a sermon (go figure) and strangely, even in the trials of various friends and family (their incredible faith comes shining through).
As things come back around, in a way that I feel only God can orchestrate, we had the privilege of hearing a former pastor from the small country church I grew up in, speak at the church we are attending now. I was curious to hear him speak simply because of that connection to Newkirk church. Even though I was rather young and not too interested in the whole sermon thing back then, I do remember him being an excellent speaker. He is a former football coach, so his delivery is a bit different than most preachers. He - no let me rephrase that - God, did not disappoint. He read from John 1 and spoke about darkness and how it is more something that is felt rather than actually seen. Our eyes may perceive darkness, but our souls feel it. He talked about conflict and power and reconciliation. He and his wife give tours of the Holy Land. They have had a first hand look at a seemingly endless conflict and what it can do - or undo. He made the point that in order for reconciliation to take place, two parties have to be on equal terms, or the one with the "power" needs to empty themselves in order to bring about peace.