(Disclaimer - God is still in the business of doing new things. And at this point in my life He's wanting some radical change. This isn't a "Christmas Sugar-Cookie light" post - rather a "Heavy Fruitcake" one...well, I am on cold medicine, so I can get a little fruity! I hope you are prepared for Christmas in the ways that matter, and that you are filled with the joy that this season brings - the Joy of Christ. Many Blessings, Favored One)
"I will praise you. O LORD.
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD is my strength
and my song;
he has become my salvation."
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
In that day you will say:
"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his
make known among the nations
what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is
Sing to the LORD, for he has done
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people
for great is the Holy One of
Israel among you." Isaiah 12
Somehow, in the trials of life these last months I forgot Christmas was coming. I really can't comprehend how I could forget. Christmas is like a pregnancy~
~ weeks and days counting down to the birth of LIFE into our hearts
~ our hopes and dreams for His future
~ our cherished moments watching His growth in our lives
No, from outward appearances I have been preparing for Christmas. I have mailed Christmas newsletters and pictures, prepared gifts thoughtfully, shopped for the children and decorated the tree. We have made plans to spend Christmas morning at a VA hospital, sharing music and joy with each other. I have family in town to create memories with.
But this year I feel less like His child, and more like a child of the world. This is the first year in many that we have not increased our outward giving and decreased our inward spending. Again, I forgot Christmas was coming, and have not prepared in such a way to have Christmas for my family and give more to others too. This is the place I continue to return...If Christmas is the time each year that we shout off the roof - "Christ is come!!" then isn't that enough gift to give my children in a year I have no extra money to care for the poor? All rationalizing aside, almost 16,000 children die daily from hunger-related causes - one child every five seconds. (Black, Robert, Morris, Saul, & Jennifer Bryce. "Where and Why Are 10 Million Children Dying Every Year?" The Lancet 361:2226-2234. 2003.) From Bread for the World.
Oh, I've tried to quit typing this several times. I feel like such a downer! I guess the truth is that I really have to change my ways. This year I look at the gifts under the tree and think of the many ways I could have shared LIFE with the needy. It really is time for me to live into my calling and live a life that reflects His mercy and justice. The best gift I could have given my children this year is the one that teaches them to care for others, even and especially at the cost of their personal desires. This year was an opportunity missed, where we could have celebrated the love our home is filled with and the joy that only giving to those who can't give back brings. There is a new gift being born in me this Christmas. The desire to live for Christ with no apologies. To do what is right, regardless of what others think. I plan to use this gift, and then regift it...and regift it...and regift it. At least as many times as it takes to make it's way through my children. It will require decisions and disciplines and a determination to take hold of Him..."let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me." Isaiah 27:5 It will require humility-to place myself at the end of the line. It will require security-to look different than others. It will require sacrifice-to deny my greed and desire to have more. But most of all it will require that I in all things praise God and offer thanksgiving for the gift of His Son.
In two days we will celebrate Jesus' birth again. We will celebrate with joy our salvation and the hope He has brought to the world, to the poor, the marginalized and the needy. And once more I will unwrap and reveal my most precious gift, the peace of Christ, drawn from the wells of salvation. And this year I will "let this be known to all the world" through my actions, that "great is the Holy One of Israel among you."
May we look different this year. May we always look different each year. More like the One who holds our hopes and dreams. Merry Christmas - with praise, and shouts aloud, and singing for joy - Merry Christmas, Beloved One.