Monday, December 24, 2012

The Night the Sky Sang

I am not so sure how I got chosen, how I got so lucky – but to be selected for this assignment. I never thought He would pick me! Sure, there have been other ‘big’ ones…bringing Daniel the answer to his prayers, visiting Zacharias in the temple…even bringing Mary the news of her son. But this one. Tonight – the fanfare that will light up the sky – announcing the birth of our beloved Jesus! Finally, getting to shout to the earth what heaven knew all along – the greatness and glory of Jesus! I could burst!

I don’t get Almighty’s plan fully, though. His plans are beyond my understanding. But this plan? I have my doubts…Sending His Son – there??? To earth??? With so much darkness and evil and pain and filth? That is where Jesus is going??

Not only that - He is becoming one of them??? Them – the humans??? And sending Jesus to her? A simple girl? Can He really trust her???

And besides that, Almighty is sending Him to be born in Bethlehem? Really??? No palace? No kingdom? No royalty? Surely there is a more luxurious scenario fitting the High King of Heaven. But Bethlehem? And I am told He will actually be born in a manger… a barn…with farm animals near by. The Almighty’s plans are great and unsearchable, certainly …but…well, some things are just beyond my understanding.

But here’s what I wonder about the most..will they even get it? Will they even realize how huge this is???? That our beautiful, wonderful, Creator Jesus is shrinking Himself down to the size fo a man – no, a baby!- to live with them? To live among them???

Surely, they will realize who He is and treat Him with honor and praise and dignity. Truly, they will give Him the worship and love and devotion He is worthy of? Won’t they??

I mean, this is Creator Jesus, God’s beloved and dear Son, the darling of Heaven we angels all adore. The people on earth – they will get that…right???
But sometimes those humans don’t always do the smartest things….

What will heaven be like without Him? We adore Him. It almost seems unbearable to think of the heavenly kingdom without Him…for a while…

The only sense I can make of this is that these humans must be something special for the Almighty to be without His Son for a season. He must place an enormous amount of trust in them, right??? Otherwise, why would Jesus go? Why would the Almighty let Him…no, why would He send Him???

The Almighty is showing them such favor! Will they even realize Who it is that is dwelling among them…talking to them, caring for them, listening to them??? Surely, they will be humbled by this and give Jesus the worship He deserves!

Well, some things are too big for my small angel mind. All I know is that I got picked to announce His coming – all lights and fanfare and music! We will blow their minds! We will give these shepherds a night they will never forget!

Rejoice, earth! Rejoice, shepherds! Tonight – the Savior has come! Emmanuel – God with us…God with you…is here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I Had It All Wrong

My project for December was to focus on the Advent Season...not the Holiday Season (gross), not even the Christmas Season (too watered down).

So, my thought was to have some kind of daily exercise or activity where I'd contemplate... ponder... consider.... the coming of Jesus 2,000 years ago.  Or something spiritual like that.

But I had it all wrong.

The truth is this: it's not just that Jesus came, although that is incredibly significant.

It's that Jesus comes. Present tense. Right here. Today. Into my world. Into my living room, even.

And this is how it happened for me today:

James and I are going through the Moody monthly devotional we got from our church. No surprise, the month of December focuses on the coming of Christ.

I'm actually two days ahead of where we are together (well, I'm on schedule; we are a little behind), and this morning, I settled in with my cup of coffee and my fake fireplace to do my spiritual 'due diligence' to 'contemplate' these very deep and mysterious events of the Advent. Today's reading was about Elizabeth and the miraculous birth of her son, even though she was barren.

The last paragraph went like this:

Many women throughout the Bible struggled with infertility: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and now Elizabeth. Each prayer was answered, but not always in an expected way.  Their stories also reveal something about the tender heart of God toward these women who longed to be mothers...Pray to the God who blessed Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth that He will continue to answer prayers in unexpected ways."

"The tender heart of God toward these women who longed to be mothers..."

And that is where Jesus came this morning.  Right in that devotion - with me, my coffee, and my fake fireplace - He came.

That might seem like just a nice encouragement on the power of prayer, the wonder of God's ways - and it is all that.

But I had a miscarriage last week.  My first pregnancy.  Seven days ago, I found out my baby had no heartbeat. I don't have the words (yet) to describe what I've experienced the past five weeks, but suddenly, these words took on a life of their own. I'm not kidding...I literally heard that phrase whispered in my heart: "The tender heart of God toward these women who longed to be mothers..." 

To hear that from God, while my heart is still healing...that His heart is tender toward women who long to be mothers....

Oh, man.

Jesus came. Right there with me in my living room. He was there.

And then it hit me: I had it all wrong.  It's great to contemplate the wonders of His coming so many years ago; in and of itself, the magnitude of that event is incomprehensible and nothing short of genuinely miraculous. But His coming is not past- tense. The wonder we miss is that He still is coming.

I thought my decision to focus on the Advent and His coming was my little gift or act of service to Him. But it's turning out that this actually is His gift to remind me at a time when I really needed to know it - no, when I really need (present- tense) to experience it - the Advent isn't only about His Coming centuries ago. The Advent is about His Present- tense. At this very moment. Not just to a manger, but right here. In this very room, in fact.

It's not (just) that Jesus came.

He comes.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

And So It Begins...

ad·vent [n.]

1. a coming into place, view, or being; arrival: the advent of the holiday season.
2.( usually initial capital letter  ) the coming of Christ into the world.
3.( initial capital letter  ) the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world.

Macy's says the official start of the season is when Santa arrives at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. But for me, it's December 1st.

The "Christmas Season" or the "Holiday Season" is the official title. But honestly? Those terms are void of any significant meaning.  'Christmas' is so commercialized and marketed that it's more of a secular title than a sacred one; 'holiday' season is a completely neutered, almost insulting.  

But Advent: A coming into view. An arrival. It automatically begs the questions: "The coming into view of who? Of what? Whose arrival?"

I admit, I love all the fun, secularized aspects of this season too - the shopping, the parties, the goodies, the Christmas music, the movies, the decorating, the traditions, the Secret Santas...I love, love, love it all.  But "Advent" is not typically in the front of my mind as I tear through this month in a frenzy to Dec. 25. And that's sad.

Today's December 1st.  That gives me a full month to prepare my heart for Christ's Advent. My goal for this month is to do something every day that reminds me of the Advent Season.  It doesn't have to be huge, but just in some way, acknowledge that this season is about an arrival...the Son of God. A coming into view...of God Himself. In the flesh.

Really.  What is a bigger reason to celebrate than that? Black Friday? Seriously?

I came across a few good website with some ideas.  I'll pass them on to you, if you are looking for ways to celebrate the Advent Season. The arrival. The coming into view...of something...Someone...who changed everything.   

That is something worth contemplating for the next 25 days.