The attack was unexpected. Suddenly I was filled with a myriad of anxieties and fears that robbed me of my peace. The end of the year was upon me, and the uncertainties of the new year loomed ahead.
As I was becoming immobilized with these negative emotions, I remembered to cry out for help. “Lord Jesus, please deliver me from all my fears. I cast all my anxiety on you. Give me grace to trust You with the future.” The calm that followed was sweet, another gift from the Savior whose birth we celebrate today.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Long ago a wise boy named Tim told me, “I like Jesus and Snuffleupagus.”
In a neighborhood named Sesame Street lived Big Bird. His best friend was a four legged, gentle, soft spoken creature called Mr.Snuffleupagus. They hung out and confided in one another. Amazingly, no one else on Sesame Street had seen Big Bird’s best friend. They erroneously believed that Bird’s BFF was imaginary. That didn’t really matter to Big Bird because he and Snuffy kept enjoying one another’s company and being there for each other.
Long ago in Bethlehem on the first Christmas, a BFF quietly moved into our neighborhoods. Not everyone encountered him. But to those who had eyes to see and ears to hear, who welcomed and received him, he became the most incredible best friend forever.
That Best Friend is Jesus. He is fully man and fully God. He is all knowing and all powerful. He delivers and saves from sin and death. He is loving, kind, merciful and fun. He tells us to cast our cares on him because he cares for us.
Like Big Bird, it doesn’t really matter to me if you know my Jesus is real or if you think he is imaginary. My BFF, Jesus, is real to me. I know him, and he knows me. We hang out and enjoy each other every day.
Jesus isn’t exclusive. He has room in his heart for an endless circle of friends. He wants you in that circle. May you uncover and unwrap the gift of his friendship underneath your Christmas tree.
A new king, The King, born to rule the kingdom of our hearts. Wise men, very wise men, bringing gifts to The King.
The King left the glories of heaven and took on flesh to come to earth to be my Savior. He died, shedding His blood, to blot out all my sins. The wages of my sin was death. He died in my place so that I could have everlasting life today, this Christmas morning.
Lord Jesus you are worthy to rule and reign in my life. You deserve my adoration. What birthday gift can I give you today?
The King whispers into my spirit, “All of you.”
Time is suspended as I ponder His request. “Lord, I want you to have all of me. What part of me am I withholding?”
Blinding insight is given. I live to please other people. It is bondage. It is a stronghold. To love someone best and most is to live to please that One. That place in my heart is imprisoned by my compulsion to make everyone else happy.
“Free me to live to please You alone, my One and Only. Oh, mighty Savior rescue me, and I will give you All my heart, including the place reserved for who and what I live for. Since You gave All of Yourself for all of me, let it be all of me for all of You. Amen.”
My mother-in-law had an attic of surprises. As the young wife of a poor pastor, I wanted a creche, although I knew I could not afford one. When I shared my longing with my mother-in-law, she replied, “I’m sure I have one in the attic. I’ll find it for you.” This was even better than a new one. I cherished the fact this one (the one featured in this post) was a piece of family history. My husband and his brothers never recognized or remembered the one she gave me. We decided it was the creche of Mom’s childhood. That made it older and more precious. I am sure Grandmother was easy going for there are many signs of wear and tear (Mary is missing a nose) by children who must have played with the Nativity figures, imagining what it would have been like to have been there that night when Jesus was born – children who must have been pulled with awe and wonder into the story. I still set the creche up every Christmas, even when I know my grandchildren won’t be here. Perhaps like the children who first gazed with wonder on this creche, I have the need to touch the story, up close and personal, to be in it and worship the new born King.
May each of us visit Bethlehem this Christmas in our hearts and wonder anew at the miracle of The Son of God come to earth to be The Lamb of God.
God the Father gave the gift of his Son, Jesus. Jesus gave his followers the gift 0f his Spirit. ( See I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4.) The Spirit gives gifts to the followers of Jesus, gifts to be used in ministry to others. When we abide in Jesus, his Spirit produces fruit in us – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These fruits make us a blessing and a gift to others. These fruits bear seeds that reproduce more of the same fruit in our circles of influence, bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. These are gifts that last, gifts that keep on giving.
May you discover these gifts this Christmas and joyfully unwrap and share them. As you do, may the Holy Spirit descend on you, like a dove, and bring you sweet peace.
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
I hated getting the bad news that there was more reclamation to be done in my life. I liked the status quo. I hated having more sin in my life brought into the light of day. It was so painful. The good news was that my Savior volunteered to be the general contractor and guaranteed that the work would be completed according to his specifications and by his power.
In this advent season, as I am going through another of his painful makeovers, I rejoice that the completed work will be worth my cooperation and surrender. I rejoice in The Savior who is Christ the Lord. He has saved me, he is saving me, and he will save me. He saved my marriage, he is saving my marriage, and he will save my marriage. He is the Lord of new beginnings, the One who makes all things new.