Love and Light #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

At Christmas we remember that Jesus, the son of God, became a human, being born in Bethlehem. A theme throughout the Bible is that God is Love. 1 John 4:7-12

At Jesus’ birth the sky was bright with the light of the angels and that of the star, which guided the Magi. Jesus claimed to be the Light of the world. John 8:12 He gives his followers the ability to be lights as well. Matthew 5:16

Christmas in the Northern hemisphere coincides with the darkest season of the year. Christmas lights have traditionally been used to decorate the streets of towns and cities. People also decorate their houses with lights. Christmas tree decorations have traditionally included lights.

Love came down at Christmas is a less well-known carol than some I have shared during this challenge.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4


Octave 5

Linda Kruschke’s Paint chip prompt today brings the October octaves to an end. Do visit her blog for news about the challenge.

The paint chip words and phrases you have to work with today are iris, Grand Canyon, mist, midnight, and half-and-half. I would like you to use at least two of these in today’s octave. Ideally, you’ll be building on the four octave stanzas you’ve already written. But if you haven’t started yet, feel free to write a stand-alone octave today.

Linda Kruschke

Octave 5

Even if the rift was as wide as the Grand
Canyon, love and forgiveness should
Remedy what has caused the strife, and
Without reconciliation no good would
Be done by offering a gift of flowers,
Though irises of white, yellow and midnight blue
Might remind us of the Creator’s powers;
His great love includes both me and you.

To save you, my valued readers from searching for the previous verses, which were posted earlier this month (Octave 1, Octave 2, Octave 3 and Octave 4) my poem is in this post in its entirety. I noticed that I had become lazy about the rhymes as the month went on, so I have tweaked the fourth octave!

Ups and downs of life

Sometimes life feels like Sisyphus’ boulder.
No-one rolls out the red carpet for us;
Sometimes they give us the cold shoulder
And don’t even drink coffee with us.
We needn’t keep feeling hard done by.
Although some tasks are repetitive,
Thinking of others and how we can try
To help is better than being competitive.

Like damaged nature we can recover
From setbacks and disappointments
Like being separated from a lover.
Some hurts aren’t soothed by ointments.
After the fire cliff-top gorse was black.
I noticed that bracken, bramble and grass
Were the first plants to grow back.
I look for changes each time I pass.

When there are disagreements in life
Between friends or family members
An olive branch should end the strife
And revive the warmth of love’s embers.
If the rift seems impossible to mend
Don’t give up hope! A ghost of a chance
Is better than nothing. Prayers we send
Heavenward won’t be looked upon askance.

Reconciliation may need a radical change
Of attitude from all those involved.
There may be faults on both sides. Strange
Misunderstandings need to be resolved.
We are building on a sure foundation
Even when it seems all we have left
Is like smoke and ash’s desolation.
Surely we won’t be completely bereft.

Even if the rift was as wide as the Grand
Canyon, love and forgiveness should
Remedy what has caused the strife, and
Without reconciliation no good would
Be done by offering a gift of flowers,
Though irises of white, yellow and midnight blue
Might remind us of the Creator’s powers;
His great love includes both me and you.

Greyish sea with white-topped waves at top, straw-coloured grass with blackened branches of gorse and new green shots of gorse, some green grass and brambles.
Clifftop recovering from fire

Love #AtoZChallenge

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter L

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

A search of the Bible for the word love also counts loved, lovely and loves. From the NKJV there are 267 references in the Old Testament and 237 in the New Testament, which is much shorter. Love features strongly in the New Testament.

To jump to the story The disciple John tells of a memorable day click here.

Last year in the A to Z Challenge I suggested that the Easter story is the greatest story about love ever told. This year Easter day (Resurrection Day) was celebrated on Sunday 4 April in the west. It will be celebrated on Sunday 2 May by the Eastern Orthodox Christians.

The Bible includes stories about love within families, romantic love, God’s love and (in the New Testament) how love is acted out between believers.

Here are some links to passages about love in the New Testament:

Matthew 5:44-46

John 3:16, John 13:34-35, John 15:12-13

Romans 8:38-39, 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 1 John 4:7-21

The disciple John tells of a memorable day

It was quite unusual for the Master to take a few of us apart from the rest of the twelve disciples. On what started out as an ordinary day, with people coming to us to be healed, he called three of us to one side and led us up a mountain. There was Simon Peter and my brother James. We weren’t known as the quietest disciples, but that day we didn’t know what to say.

At the top of the mountain the Master began to look quite different from usual. His face shone and his clothes looked whiter than anything I have ever seen. It was as if light was coming from them. Then we saw Moses and Elijah talking with him.

Peter always had to say something.

‘Lord, it is good that we are here. Would you like me to build three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah?’

While he was speaking a bright cloud came and hid the Master, Moses and Elijah from our view. Then we heard a voice from the cloud.

‘This is my Son, whom I love and with whom I am pleased. Listen to him!’

We were terrified and fell to the ground. Then we felt his gentle hand as he told us to get up. ‘Don’t be afraid.’

The three of us were alone with Jesus on the mountain top.

As we came down from the mountain, he told us not to tell anyone what we had seen until after the Son of Man had been raised from the dead.

We were puzzled about many things. We asked him why the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first. He replied that Elijah had already come, but not been recognised. He had been treated just as people wished and the same would happen to the son of Man.

We realised he was speaking about John the Baptiser, who had been killed. Later we linked what we had heard on the mountain to Jesus’ baptism by John, when there was also a voice from heaven.

We didn’t have more chance to talk as Jesus had to help the other disciples straight away; there was a difficult healing they had not managed on their own. We kept his secret until after he had died and been raised form the dead.

Moses received the Law whereas Elijah and John the Baptiser were prophets, so this was an endorsement of Jesus’ statement that he was fulfilling the Law and the prophets.

My retelling of this story of the transfiguration is based on Matthew 17: 1-23

Matthew 3:17 and Matthew 17:5 God speaks of Jesus as his son whom he loves.