Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

First of all, I wanted to take a moment to thank each one of you who take time to read my blog; it means a lot to me. 

Secondly, I wanted to share a song that I heard during my Christmas Eve service last night. It echoes the sentimentality of my last post:

Lyrics can be found here: Cry of a Tiny Babe

Enjoy & Merry Christmas,

The part of the story that never makes it into Christmas pagents

There is a part of the Christmas story that doesn't fit into our nicely packaged Nativity scenes.  A part of the story for which no songs are written.  A part of the story that we skip over on our Christmas morning readings.  A part we'd rather not think about...

Yet Scripture includes it, and prophets prophesied about it and it is, in fact, part of the story:

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”
We leave it out because it stands in stark contrast to the joy of the season. It makes us uncomfortable.  There are no warm fuzzies attached to it.  There are no theological statements that make the uncomfortable questions in our minds cease.

But maybe, just maybe, we do ourselves a disservice by leaving it out.  Maybe the sweet, perfect picture we paint ends up excluding the harsh reality of the world that Jesus willing chose to come into. And we could stop and say, "That's not fair.  Why didn't the angel warn all the mothers?  Did God only care for His own son?"  

But we know there is more to the story and that there is a point when God does not spare His own Son and does let Him fully live out the depths of the evilness of this world.  And we forget that Joseph and Mary did, in fact, need to flee.  Immediately before this passage in Matthew 2:13-15 Joseph has to flee in the middle of the night with Mary and Jesus to Egypt. Jesus did not live in a magical bubble where no sadness, fear or pain never crossed His path.  No, God came down in flesh, to live with us, Emmanuel, to share in our burdens, our trails and our pain so we could trust Him, so we could turn to Him in our deepest moments of need, so that we could know that He truly does care:

Hebrews 4:15-16
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

This part of the story shows that God is fully aware of the darkness this world contains.  This part of the story, reminds us that the intersection between humanity & God's full redemption is still being worked out.  This part of the story reminds us that Jesus walked in the real world, our world and that somehow in God's mystery that even in the darkest of nights, Emmanuel, is with us.  It reminds us that there is a reason why Jesus came.  Finally it reminds us that today, in our darkest night, God is with us, and that the last chapter is yet to be written.

In the midst of the Christmas story,
Innocence is lost.
Shining eyes - this world no longer sees.

A cry pierces the silent night,
"God don't you see?"
It echoes on and on...

A sweet baby rests on His mother's chest
as in the chill of the night he is whisked
 away to safety. 
Does He too know that there will be a day
when He says,
"God, why have you forsaken me?"

A cry pierces the silent night,
"God don't you see?"
It echoes on and on...

till it reaches

In Christ,

Giving shouldn't be messy, right?

I'd like to share that I am a charter member of the Bible Gateway Blogger grid.  My blog can be found listed among their recommend blogs and it will be tweeted under #bgbg2.  I've very excited about this opportunity.  Bible Gateway, is a terrific website that I've used since I began blogging.  It's an honor to be connected with them in such a way.  You can also now find me on twitter @lovehisglory.

It's that time of year, where you can hear the tinkling of the Salvation Army bells asking for money for the homeless.  I've walked by those bells, one too many times this year, but today I was determined to be ready.  I made sure I had lots of change in my purse - enough so both of my kids could enjoy putting some money in and hear the sweet thank you of the volunteer.

So off we drove to the grocery store.  As we approached, I saw a lady in a large red winter coat getting ready to cross the street.  She had a filled, black garbage bag in her cart and she pushed it very slowly.  Homeless (I assumed).  I imagined what it would be like to ask her to my home for dinner that night, taking her in under my wing.  Ah, but it was a busy road, no time for that.  So I kept driving.

I had to wait on traffic to get into the parking lot and as I pulled up to a prime parking spot, guess who came slowly walking by?  The lady in the red coat.  As I hopped out of my car, with my kids, I was able to see her a little closer.  If I wanted to, I could actually talk to her.  But what would I say, "Are you homeless?" "Do you want some of the change in my pocket?" Or maybe, I was being presumptuous before.  That's right, she's not homeless, she's just out on a leisurely walk, how silly and rude of me to assume otherwise.

We went through the store, gathering our food, that I knew we could easily afford.  The dessert aisle was filled with bumper to bumper traffic; everyone was getting ready to make sweet things for their loved ones.  We finally finished up our shopping and had to stand in the checkout line.  It was busy today.  And guess who I saw standing near by?  Looking at books.  And talking to herself.  The addition to her black garbage bag, Sunkist soda pop.  Putting all the elements together once again I concluded, yes, she was homeless.  She was inside, probably to stay warm.  But it was almost our turn to checkout and now someone was standing behind us.  And remember, she was talking to herself.  What was I to do?  Go up with my two kids and risk making a scene?  Perhaps the store has a policy preventing the homeless from loitering.  What could I do to help this lady?  Not wanting to risk any uncomfort for the lady (or for me), I decided to do nothing.

I walked out of the store, my ears straining to hear those bells.  I so wanted to drop my coins in - to say that I see the suffering and I want to help with my extra dimes and pennies.  But today, there were no bells.

I headed out to my car and a young man with a gas container was asking the people parked next to me for assistance.  "I ran out of gas, please help me."  I've fallen for this one in the past. Why, in fact, last week, a friend on Facebook stated how she filled a tank with gas and then watched them go in and spend $40 on cigarettes.  This time the fool wouldn't be me.  I walked in a wide circle past, making sure he moved on before he tried to pull a fast one on me...

And I hopped into my warm car, groceries full in the trunk, wondering if I had made a mistake for not turning back.  This lady and man were someone's daughter and son.  Maybe no longer loved or cared for and here I went driving on...  

I wished there had been those bells, tinkling softly, so I could show my children what it means to be generous and to give (without it being messy).

In Christ,

Combating Amnesia of the Soul

The most important question of the universe
is whether the universe is hostile or friendly.

There have been situations in my life that I have spent years praying about.  After years and years of prayer, the answer comes in a moment.  A split second and then it is done.  Sometimes the answer has been exactly what I've wanted, other times it has been far removed from what I wanted.

At the times, however, when the answer has been exceedingly above what I could ever ask or dream, yet too often the moment quickly fades away.  There definitely is no correlation between the amount of time that I prayed about a situation and the amount of time I spend rejoicing over a situation's resolution.  Why is that?  Because often when something "gets resolved" the rest of life has seeped in bringing new crises and new areas where I have doubt and fear of whether the Lord is willing, able and capable of stepping up to help.

The past four years I have been on a reversal of how I pray, what I pray and why I pray.  I'm no where near to understanding it all - that's for sure.  But what I do know is that the starting point has changed.  Instead of starting my prayers from a place of doubting the character of God and His ability to intervene on my behalf, I have switched to starting at a place where I already trust the heart of God now and every moment along the way.  This trust is no longer dependant upon the results of the situation.  Why?

Because my answer to Einstein's most important question of the universe is: that we live in a friendly universe. Because of that, I can trust my heart and my situations to the One who created the universe.  According to His word, He says "A day with the Lord is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day."  These words aren't just words to me anymore, but they are life for the journey.   I've learned that some of the biggest things I've seen the Lord do, things that have lasting sustenance, have not happened in a single moment but rather have been a combination of intricate details He has weaved together over years and years.

The Lord began unraveling things for me several years back when I started The Rock Bowl based on Joshua 4:1-6.  These Scriptures inspired me to make memorial stones for things that I have prayed about.  It was meant to be an opportunity for me to share with my children how God has moved in our lives in real, practical ways.  Now 5 years later as I look back I can see that it has been evidence of His faithfulness to me because I realize that often times I have amnesia; I forget about His goodness and His faithfulness when I am caught in the middle of intense events.

This Rock Bowl has been one of my "prescribed pills" that has helped lessen my amnesia and has helped me to remember His faithfulness when I enter into new situations.  Here are a few rocks that are in my bowl:

 This is one that I absolutely love.  My problem with anger was scary to me.  I didn't know where it came from or why I could get no control of it.  The process of working through this truly was the starting point of my current spiritual journey.

The next rock is for my friend's precious daughter.  My friend was struggling with secondary infertility and we prayed for her and over her body.  Several months after we prayed, my friend was at my house when we became aware of the fact that she was indeed pregnant.  It was one of those goosebump moments, when you know God has arranged it just to let us all know that He was involved.

However, not every rock has a happy earthly ending attached to it.  The largest rock in my bowl bears a precious name to it - Nevaeh.  As you know, this is the name of my niece who passed away.

And this is where I need to stop and breathe.  It would be easy to take this stone out of the bowl because it doesn't have a "happy ending" but remember the purpose, to be a chance to share with my children how God has operated in our lives?  Sometimes we walk around with holes in our hearts, an ache, a place that holds unanswered questions.  Places where we truly saw the hand of God, but yet with our eyes of the moment, we are left empty-handed, not able to understand.  Those are just some of the thoughts that run through my mind as I see this rock.  And then I once again return to the question at the beginning: "Is this a friendly universe or hostile?"

Even in the midst of the confusion, the loss, and the pain, the place where I settle is friendly.  

We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles.18 We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

In Christ,

Daily Prayer

Disqus for For His Glory Alone


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...