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Friday, January 1, 2021

Mountains and Beaches

By Joe Chesser
 
    I was reminded recently of Alabama’s Christmas song, Christmas in Your Arms, as Areva and I drove through the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina to Myrtle Beach, and then back north to Vienna, WV on the Ohio River. In response to where to spend the holidays, Alabama sang, “We could drive up to the mountains, build a fire and watch it snow. We could sail down to the islands where the gentle breezes blow … I don’t care where I spend Christmas as long as I spend Christmas in your arms.” Areva and I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery of the mountains and beaches, but what we enjoyed the most was seeing them with each other. Mountains are beautiful and beaches are awesome, even in December. But let’s keep one thing crystal clear: mountains and beaches are nothing compared to being with the one I love.
    Even more importantly, seeing the steep mountains, deep valleys and the expansive Atlantic stretching out from the sandy shore of Myrtle Beach reminded us of our Creator. Every mountain we crossed and every crashsing wave we saw gave witness to the handiwork of our loving God. Unfortunately, not everyone who experiences the mountains and beaches believes this. What a shame! Knowing that God created these marvelous sights only makes them that much more awesome. Knowing that God maintains the seasons and the tides by His power and design only makes them more special. However, mountains and beaches are nothing apart from their testimony of their Creator. It’s so easy to take God’s creation for granted, especially where we live. Probably those who live in the mountains and near the beaches grow accustomed to their unique beauty. The same could be said about where any of  us live, for everything God created has its own particular beauty that can become common to us and easily forgotten.
    By the same token it’s also easy for any of us to become callous to the spiritual beauty God creates within us by His love and grace. Just as surely as God created the beauty of mountains and beaches, He creates a greater beauty within us – the beauty of  His likeness. There is nothing more beautiful than what Jesus does when he transforms a sinner into holiness, than when darkness and death are born again into light and life (John 3.5; Colossians 1.13-14; Titus 2.11-14, 3.3-8). Yet even that can become common and forgotten.
    That’s why we need to be reminded day after day of God’s love and grace in our daily devotionals and prayers. That’s why we need to regularly meet with the church for worship and Bible study. That’s why we need the weekly reminder of the cross and resurrection as we commune with each other and with the Lord.
    Mountains, beaches, or wherever; it doesn’t matter where I may be. Expanding on Alabama’s song, all I really want is to be in the arms of the God I love wherever I am.
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com


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