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It seems to me that the music we listen to in our teenage and young adult years becomes part of us in a way that is different from music we love and listen to at other times. 

I spent lots of time in my bedroom as a middle and high schooler listening to all kinds of music, but there were a few groups and singers that were foundational. Jewel was one of them.

If you are not familiar, Jewel is an American singer-songwriter who was at the height of her popularity in the 1990's, though she continues to make music now. I loved the sound of her music and that her vocal range was similar to mine, making it easy and all the more enjoyable to sing along. Her lyrics were rich with meaning and spoke to my depths. Jewel even published a book of poetry that I devoured as well.

Many of Jewel's songs are personally meaningful, but "Hands" has stuck with me most through the years. And, I was reminded this holiday season that she rearranged a Christmas version of "Hands".

The bridge sings "In the end, only kindness matters. In the end, only kindness matters. I will get down on my knees, and I will pray. I will get down on my knees, and I will pray. I will get down on my knees, and I will pray." 

And the song concludes: "We are God's eyes, God's hands (God's hands). We are God's eyes. We are God's hands. We are reflections of God. We are reflections of God."

There are many things I could say about this song and arrangement, but I found myself thinking of LCR, heart full of gratitude, when I heard "Hands" this Christmas season.

These lyrics are foundational pieces of my personal theology, set within me years ago when Jewel game me words and a challenge for how I might live my faith. What a gift it is to be a part of a faith community that lives them!

Each and every one of you are beautiful reflections of God. I am continually blown away by how seriously this congregation takes the charge to be God's eyes and hands in the world. 

LCR is faithful to this call throughout the year and we shine just as brightly during the holiday season. 

Thank you for being God's hands to one another and to God's children throughout Anderson and the world. Many of you gave of your resources and time, staying late into the evening, coming in early, stopping by after work, to bring gifts and needed items to families in Anderson, in Kentucky, out West, and in Guatemala. 

Your generosity is astounding. I am deeply grateful and proud of the ministry we do, and of all the ways we reflect God to the world—at Christmas and throughout the year! Thank you.