The news woke me this morning. It was over the radio. I heard the weather report, and I heard about a convicted child molester. But what I heard next, inspired me to write. Somewhere in downtown Philadelphia, they have taken down the first part of the neon sign that used to read, "Christmas Village". It has been refined to simply read, "Village".
And I thought.... "what will we do without Christmas?"
Now really, think about that for a moment.....
The world without Christmas.
I guess the reactions and responses will depend on what Christmas means to each of us. To some it's the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. To others it's the great opportunity to serve those who are less fortunate. To many it means "family time"! And still I've heard it said that Christmas is the only time when people are nice to each other.
Christmas... what would we do without it?
Okay, so for those who love the shopping; there's always Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, and .... well any day can be a good day for splurging, right?
For those who like to feel good about serving; well, there's always a cause in need. Look around. The postings are everywhere.
For those who cherish the family times; try picking up the phone a bit more and calling a loved one.
And to those who see it as the only time that people are nice; I'm so sorry.
Christmas... what will we do without you?
Wait just a minute... we are still talking about Christmas, right?
It says in the book of Luke 2:6-7, "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
Truly, this is what Christmas is ultimately about.
How sad, that we've drawn ourselves so far from it. And we continue to do so every year a bit more.
I find it ironic that the verse ends with "because there was no room for them..."
There is still no room for them today. There is no room for Him.
And yet my heart pleas: There's room here God! Look at me! There's room right here.... way deep inside my heart.
So what will I do about Christmas? I will make room for it in my heart. Enough room that the story will always play a part in me and in my life. So much so, that others will see Jesus in me. And they will know that we will never truly be without Christmas... not while He lives in our hearts.
Ironically as well, after listening to the news and making my way downstairs this morning, I looked to my daily devotional, which read, "My friend, we may not ever see our nation turn to God as an entire people. It may be too late. But let it be said of you and me that we know where the power of the universe resides... in the hands of our all-powerful God".
And to that I say,
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I've been thinking....
I can't remember the last time you and I had some time alone.
It seems there's always something or someone that gets in the way.
I want to be with you, but..... I don't know.... I just get busy
It's so easy to get busy. Always doing something. Not much time for much else. Slap a label on it, and there you have it. It's my ministry. It's my job. It's my family time. It's my "me" time. It's "quality" time. Down time. Free time?
All in the name of time. And in the midst, He remains the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end.
And still, foolishly, we wonder, "how much more time, Lord? Do I have more time?" Actually, even this most precious gift... of time... I have managed to distort. With my own agendas and ideas.
I think about those whose time was cut short.
I'm losing sight of your plan.
And yet, you call me to "Be still and know that I am God."
But won't I run out of time? "Time for what?", I can almost hear Him ask.
Okay, Lord. You're right. Time for what?
You're the creator of time. Time is not a number to you. And my soul is eternal in you. There's no time limit with you, although my time here on earth is limited. So how should I spend my time?
Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength...
Love your neighbor as you love yourself...
But mostly, Love God.
The preacher said you'd come down to me. You came down for me. You were born for me. You died for me. And you are with me.
I don't have to try so hard. I don't have to schedule a time for God. God has already made His way to me.
"Be still and know that I am God."
I've been thinking. That it is in those quiet times-- those still times-- you and me times---times like these, that I become more aware of who you are and who I am because of you. And everything falls into place. I find direction and peace of mind. In times like these Lord, even in my busy world, I am most content.
In times like these, Lord, I am most thankful.
Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 "What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Monday, November 1, 2010
I think every child at some point learns to play "hide and go seek". It's just a fun game to play!
You get to be out of sight for a little while and when it's safe, you come back out. My favorite part was always when I knew it was safe enough to come out of hiding and be revealed.
And yet, I know it's one thing to play the game for fun; but it's an entirely different and more real thing, when your life feels like the "hide and seek" game. So many people seem to live in hiding. Hiding the things that they don't want others to see. Hiding the ugly in them. The ugly past, the mistakes, bad judgement, fears, temptations, withdrawals, faults, failures. The list can go on and on.
If you are human, you know.
Even if you are just a bit of "alive" today, you know.
I know I've had my share of hiding. In fact, I've been very good at hiding.
Very good, until someone sought me out.
Until He found me.
And ironically enough, when He did find me, I wasn't disappointed or afraid. I was so glad he did!
You see, He called me by name. He assured me it was safe...to come out.
He held my hand, as I took the first step.
And He lead me out into the light just so...
My favorite part... when it's safe to come out of hiding... I found that only in Him.
There was once a woman-- You can find her story in the Bible. She was considered a woman of flaws and shame. She was a Samaritan, and the Jews looked down on her. Others looked down on her because she was promiscuous. And so when she came to draw water from the well, where Jesus spotted her, she was also inadvertently coming out of her "hiding". She didn't know it at first, but she had just been found. Jesus sought her out. (John 4:7-26)
And that's what I love about Jesus. He seeks you out. And He finds you exactly where you are at. In your shame. In your hiding place. And yet, He doesn't leave you there. He walks you out into His light.
And truly, there is no better place to be!
Mark 4:22, "For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open."