As I recall Christmas past, the memories evoke the wonder I felt as a child early on Christmas morning, racing from my bedroom, down the stairs and into our living room to find the Christmas tree surrounded by wrapped gifts that had not been there the night before.
I circled the gifts with awe, searching for those with my name on them. Then I hurried to wake my mother to come and open gifts with me and my little sister. It never entered my mind to leave my gifts unopened for even a short time. In a a sense, the gifts, although pretty to look at, were of no value until I opened and used them. That’s when joy flowed out of the awe and wonder of the morning, as I held my new dolly and lovingly touched the clothes Mom had sewn for her.
Christmas is the celebration each year of God’s Best Gift to us, His Son, the Lamb of God who came to take away our sins and give us salvation. The gift cannot bless us, until we receive, open and use it.
In my last post, I spoke of the exchanged life. That exchanged life is the Gift of Christmas. I ponder how to open that gift and unfurl the new Life, the life of Jesus Christ within me?
Paul said, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13
Salvation is God’s life within me, giving me the will and the power to act according to His good purpose. I open that gift, unfurl that power by working out my salvation with fear and trembling.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, fear is to be in awe. Awe is an emotion of mixed reverence, dread, and wonder. To revere is to regard with awe, great respect or devotion. Wonder is awe, astonishment, surprise, or admiration. To tremble is to shake involuntarily or to vibrate or oscillate, like a leaf trembling in the wind.
To revere this life of Christ in me, to be in awe of His presence, to respect and to be devoted to him, I think, must mean to yield to him, to let him have his way each day, moment by moment. I think it means to wake up each morning and say, “I’m getting out of the way, moving over, and trusting you to go to work today, Lord Jesus”, and then with wonder to watch his power unleashed in me and through me.
How good is God; he gives us the work of letting him do the work. What a wonderful Father he is.
Father God as I open your gift of salvation and put it to work each morning in the year ahead, let me be a leaf, clinging to Jesus, trembling in the wind of his power blowing within me to will and to do his good purposes.