Friday, December 18, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Light

Confession:  I do not enjoy winter.  It's gray, it's dull and, worst of all, it's COLD!  There is almost nothing at all to like about this season. 

Except Christmas!

Christmas is that time of year that reminds me to be thankful.  Everyone seems to have an extra bounce in their step and a happy word on their lips.  It warms my heart.

Perhaps, though, my favorite thing about Christmas is the Christmas lights.  I remember driving around with my aunt and my mom looking at the lights on the houses.  All the different colors and different scenes filled me with wonder and joy just looking at them.  And they still do.

Remembering this makes me to consider the very first Christmas lights. 

I wonder how bright the Bethlehem star was that night.  I wonder if it gave as much light as a full moon or if it was just the brightest star in the sky.  I wonder if the shepherds noticed it.  Somehow I doubt it.  After all, they had their own Christmas lights to look at.

"And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.'" 
~Luke 2:13-14
How bright do you suppose a "multitude of heavenly hosts" are?  I'm guessing brighter than the noon day sun.  They were bright enough the shepherds couldn't look at them but could see the glory of heaven penetrating their closed eye lids.  It must have been wondrous to suddenly have the utter darkness split in two by the angels of God bringing the most joyous news mankind has ever heard.  Christmas lights remind me, on a much smaller scale, of that. 

The glow of brilliant colors dispelling the darkness also reminds me of the ultimate Light that came to us in the form of an infant.  Emmanuel, God with Us.  All those little lights coming together to make a bigger picture makes my heart sing of grace and hope.  And what a joyous song it is!

"In [Jesus] was life and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." 
~John 1:4-5
That small child wrapped in pieces of cloth, lying in an animal's food trough reminds me of a single Christmas light.  So tiny, seemingly so insignificant.  But put this Child together with the fact that He is God and He becomes the bigger picture.  He becomes millions upon millions of hearts that His life has changed.  He becomes the very picture of salvation.  And all of our little lights combine to illuminate a very dark world. 
This Christmas let's remember that, for those who belong to Christ, this season is about Hope and Grace.  The ultimate gift of Love given to us by a loving Father who wants nothing more than a relationship with us.  Let the Christmas lights we see remind us of the Light that shines in the darkness.  Let it also remind us to shine that Light everywhere we go!
~ Merry Christmas! ~

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Seeking Refreshment

Some days just kick your butt.  Some days you don't feel empowered, efficient or, heck, even adequate.  Yesterday was absolutely discouraging and disheartening.  Truth be told, I just wanted to give up.  I couldn't wait for bed time to be able to curl into a ball and forget it.

Can I get a witness?  Have you been there?

I was just over it.  Done.

When I got home the last thing I wanted to do was open God's Word.  I was even mad at Him.  But I was dry.  My Spirit was anemic and in need of Him.  So I turned to the book of Isaiah with a huge, heaving sigh (and probably an eye roll).

Isaiah says, "Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  He gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who fear the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."  Isaiah 40:28-31
And my soul just exhaled!  My God does NOT GROW WEARY!!  When I am tired and battle worn; when I don't understand what I have seen in the world and my heart is breaking; when I feel I cannot go another step my God is not too tired to give me His strength. 
I picture myself when I am exhausted and my children want me to play.  Or when my oldest, who talks incessantly, begins a 30 minute story and all I want is to be left alone.  Sometimes I tell them I am too tired, that I need a few minutes to take a breath and then they can have my attention.
God doesn't do that!
God is the perfect Parent.  He is always ready for His children.  He is always ready to give comfort, to give encouragement or strength and He is always listening. 
And He is always ready to refresh.  Do you know what He gave me yesterday after I sat at His feet?  My loving Lord gave me a nap.
Oh how He loves us!  I spent that afternoon talking to God...okay...complaining to God and I truly believe He had to have been tired of the sound of my voice.  But He listened and He called me to Him. 
Hear this:  Sometimes I think we have a pity party in front of God and consider it praying.  But God had something else in mind.  He was calling me to His Presence.  And I had to get in the Word to get there.  Had to.  God was waiting for me and I needed to get to where He was! 
If we are going to receive what the Lord has for us we have to get to where He is!  Yes, He is always with us but we have to give Him our undivided attention.  I was so focused on myself and my heartache that I wasn't really listening to God. 
Don't let the enemy steal your time of refreshing!  Run to Him and let Him wrap you up in His love and His goodness.  Dive into His Word and let Him remind you of who He is and what He can do.  Wait on His goodness.  It will come like the rain. 
"So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.  His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth."  Hosea 6:3