So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the gate.
Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
I must admit, if I don’t leave my house when we have a vacation break, I don’t feel like I have been on vacation. Lately we have been retreating to the mountains. The beach is a favorite, too. I think of these landscapes as God’s playground. Somehow we are able to leave the cares of the world behind us as we wind our way up a mountain trail or let the chilled waves splash over us. It is quite liberating to return home renewed, refreshed, feeling touched by God.
Reading John’s message today, I am faced with the question, “How can I share this gift God has given me?” If I keep it to myself, I am a bandit, a thief, stealing the message of Christ’s transforming love.
So my thought today is one of encouragement. I encourage you to get out of your house/room and experience God’s wondrous creation. (It’s going to be 80 degrees in Dallas today…on January 3!!!) If you are stuck inside due to inclement weather or other reasons, perhaps you can imagine yourself walking up the mountain trail at Mayflower Gulch pictured above. (I’ve given you a picture of my dog, Reesie, to accompany you. ) Jesus, the gatekeeper, is there to meet you. No one can steal the gift that is waiting for you.
May the new year be filled with chances for you to experience God’s wondrous love.