Wednesday, November 26, 2008

O Holy Light

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
November 26, 2008

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. -Luke 2:14 NIV

My father’s favorite Christmas carol is, ‘O Holy Night’. Over the years, I have pulled out the sheet music from the piano seat and tried in earnest to play this carol without error. My father has appreciated my annual effort and doesn’t seem to notice that the left hand and right hand aren’t always in sync. Let’s just say that ‘O Holy Night’ and I are still a work in progress.

Interestingly, this carol has quite a history. It was the first carol ever played live on a Christmas radio broadcast, dating back to 1906. The broadcast on December 24, originating from Massachusetts, was intended for ships at sea and the signal was picked up as far south as Norfolk and even as far as the West Indies, when it was rebroadcast on New Year’s Eve that year. Of all the words in this carol, it is the third verse that has the meaning for me and maybe you will agree,” Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace.” That says it all, doesn’t it? Can we claim this as our Christmas message this year?

To add to the sights of this season, the recent early snow flurries on the Outer Banks brought in the first frosty breath of winter. Each snowflake that fell added up and before long there was a glistening of white glaze. It makes everyday things different. Was nature showing us that with one snowflake at a time we can change the landscape. Imagine what His love and peace could do if it was passed around the world! We could be a lighthouse in the darkness. He offers His Love as His pure gift to us. It is not wrapped. You won’t find it under the tree. It is there in our hearts where He placed it. He wants us to find the light He placed within us and pass it on. Now let us see if we can blanket the earth with His love and peace and change the look of things, just like a snowflake does…one at a time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
November 19, 2008

O Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. -Psalm 107:1

Thanksgiving is the time of year that makes me think of simpler times. I think of the first Thanksgiving where the history books say the menu included wild turkey, pumpkin and grains from Indian corn. The first Thanksgiving was intended not only as a celebration of the harvest, but as a day of prayer as well to thank God for the crops. It is written that we should "hem our blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel". When the women of that time made their long hand-sown dresses, I wonder if they thought of their blessings with every stitch they sewed.

Their world was probably as complex to them as ours seems to us today. While the times have changed from a primitive world to a more modern one, the meaning of Thanksgiving has never changed. Thanksgiving is nationally honored in our country and is an official holiday. The origin of the word “holiday” comes from the phrase “holy day”. That is a good reminder to celebrate our holidays with reverence. But how do you do that, starting with Thanksgiving? Maybe you have never said a blessing over a meal before, or maybe you will be in a large crowd and are uncomfortable praying out loud. That is okay. Perhaps you can read scripture from the Bible or find a God-inspired Thanksgiving poem from the bookshelf to read. Try sharing a collaborative prayer where everyone takes a turn at the table saying one thing they are thankful to God for. Perhaps you could enjoy taking a walk on the beach to see God's beauty while giving thanks to Him in private. Whatever the action, I believe God would want to be a part of our Thanksgiving holiday to make it more of a holy day. We should show our thankfulness through our example. President John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Changing Landscape

Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
November 13, 2008

I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. -Psalm 118:13- 14 NIV

Every time I take a look at the beach, the shoreline is different. The currents, weather conditions, strong winds and waves all combine to cause the landscape to change its appearance often. Mighty storms come ashore and take large portions of sand out to sea. The protective dunes often get swallowed up, leaving big cliffs in the wake of the storms. Other times, the beach will seem to be replenished. Sand is constantly being pushed around by nature. For me though, that is the magic of being near the see the daily changes. It amazes me that a perfectly sunny day can disguise the havoc going on in the ocean. Offshore storms that we cannot see have the ability to push water into strong waves onto the shore from many miles away. Have you ever been to the beach when the wind was so strong, you were literally sand blasted? Winds blowing with such velocity do have the ability to move sand in such a way that walkways and vegetation get covered over. Yesterday's footprints are covered over leaving today with a clean, blank canvas to leave our mark.

While I wish I could take credit for this statement, instead, I heard it said at church last week from our Pastor. “Don't let your thoughts push you around. Instead, push them around.” When I heard those words, I knew exactly how important it was to follow that instruction. There is a reason that when we put on God's armor, we include the helmet of salvation. It is to protect our minds. We are told that we become what we think. So it all unfolds. If we let sickness, fear and worry fill our minds, we soon will be caught up in it and have plenty of sickness, and plenty to fear and much to worry over. It is like we become a magnet for what we think. That is reason enough to control our thoughts

Taking a road trip this week, I went in and out of little towns and my radio station had to be changed frequently as I searched for a new signal. That is how it is with us. When we get flooded with thoughts that we know are not good like all those “what if” thoughts, we just simply have to change the channel. We should search for a new signal. By pushing negative thoughts out of our minds, we can consciously allow only the good ones in. Romans 4:17 says we can call those things that don't exist into being. The times in my life when I was sick, I would see myself well. When I was tired, I would think myself being refreshed. When there was lack, I would think prosperity and abundance. By starting off our day on the “right channel” we are embarking on a new beginning to live positively in hope. Our new thoughts will be an encouragement to us and to those around us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
November 06, 2008

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. -Psalm 63:4 NIV

When I was a kid, I enjoyed going into the ocean and jumping up over the waves with my sisters. It sounds easier than it was though! We would turn sideways and throw our arms up over our heads for the least resistance and jump as high up as we could without the waves knocking us down. Sometimes we were successful and other times not. When we did get knocked under, we all agreed it felt as though we were in the spin cycle of a washing machine, not knowing the top from the bottom! When my own children came along, they liked riding the waves. They called it bodysurfing. They were good at it too and managed not to skin themselves up too much. My son liked riding his boogie board and mastered that quite well. Lots of tumbles but in the end it was fun. We always knew we were no match for the mighty power of the ocean waves, but when we did ride the waves in harmony, it was an exhilarating and powerful experience.

Life simply happens and we are not in control of it. When things occur that knock us off balance, we can tumble beneath the surface and get tossed around until we find the strength to stand up. Life can appear to be unfair at times, especially when bad things are hurled at us like rhymythic waves…one after the other. We have a choice when this happens. No matter what we see and hear, our faith should be in God to take us up and over the situation. He is there for everyone. He knows our needs and desires. He knows what we lack and what we hope for. We can’t experience and see God’s light if we are buried under our problems. Rather, we should seek God in all things and lift up our hands in faith, so that He can reach down for us and take us up and over troubled water.