Reframing JOy


“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

When I was little, putting up the Christmas tree was my favorite part of decorating for Christmas. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving my family would put together our artificial Christmas tree, fluff the branches, and wrap the lights around it. Then, my eyes would light up as my mom brought out the boxes of ornaments to cover the tree with different memories from the years before. To me, this time represented the start of the holidays, the start of a season of joy. In stark contrast, taking down the Christmas tree a little over a month later was one of the most saddening experiences in my child mind. Christmas was over. It was the end of joy (or at least until next November).



by Louie Lodes

I spent some time looking through how the world defines (or tries to define) Love. It is both comical and sad. A simple internet search will bombard you with attempted definitions and explanations for most any situation.


 - E-Harmony boils it down to "chemistry, commitment, infatuation, and compatibility."

 - Wikipedia reads that love is "both a positive and a negative."  (SAY WHAT???)

 - The Beatles will tell you "love is all you need."  Tina Turner would ask:  "What's love got to do with it?"  And Haddaway when asking "what is love?" would respond with "baby don't hurt me."

 - The dictionary defines love as "an intense feeling of deep affection."  As simplistic as that is, I think this accurately describes how the vast majority of the world sees "love."

People use the word love to describe how they love their children, their spouse, their pets, and their favorite food. They use it to describe their most "loved" sports team or desired vehicle or home. (I would LOVE to have...)


Reframing Peace

By john and lyndelle luecking

Surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God, 

stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, 

he was crushed for our iniquities; 

the punishment that brought us peace was on him, 

and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, 

each of us has turned to our own way; 

and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:4-6

Isn’t it ironic how our Lord and Savior chose suffering and heartache to show us peace and forgiveness? Since the death of our oldest son Andrew in 2015, God has revealed to us that through the ultimate sacrifice of God’s only son, we are blessed with peace, salvation and healing. I (Lyndelle) remember that day very vividly, as I expect I will forever, when the doctor told me my 24-year-old son had passed away. I remember thinking and saying over and over “what are we going to do?”



by Crista Crawford

“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
a light has dawned
on those living in the land of darkness…

For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The dominion will be vast,
and its prosperity will never end.
He will reign on the throne of David
and over his kingdom,
to establish and sustain it
with justice and righteousness from now on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.”

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7

Isaiah’s prophecy offers so much hope. For the people in Isaiah’s time who humbled themselves before the Lord, it was a stark contrast from the warnings in Isaiah 1-8 of God’s wrath and coming judgment against Israel and Judah. Many people walked in arrogance and disobedience and turned their backs on God. Dark times were coming, yet for those who followed God, great hope was coming, too.