Christmas has come and gone, and retailers are now offering discounts to make up for lower than expected holiday shopping quotas. I don't know if you got what you wanted, deserved or desired. Here is what I do know: The "Gift" we celebrate during the season is not one that can be "earned" or exchanged, we never deserved it, and the Word tells us it was given when we didn't even desire it ("but God shows His love for us in that while we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8) That fact makes me want to sing more carols, and sit in awe knowing Christ came and submitted Himself to being an infant!
Several of my friends recently had babies and they were all dressed up in festive wear for their "Baby's First Christmas" photos. All those sweet pudgy-cheek faces have me contemplating the Christ child even more; His total submission and vulnerability. There is nothing more innocent and exposed than a baby. The portrayal of the horrors of crucifixion were brought to life in the film "The Passion of the Christ." The blood and the pain made me turn away; but the image of the Christ-child draws my heart back to the incomprehensible magnitude of the love of God.
"For this reason I kneel before the Father." Ephesians 3:14
Those little precious bubbling, gurgling faces help me to grasp the patience of Christ to the will of His Father. I have not mastered patience. The Christmas season seems to bring out even more of my flesh (not talking additional calories brought about by feasting) and my frustration. There are lines of shoppers, politically correct sayings (I HATE those), and consumerism rearing its ugly predictable head; "I want MORE, I want it NOW, I deserve it because I've been "good for goodness sake!""
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him." Matthew 7:11
Christmas Eve, I walked outside and happened upon my neighbor opening her trunk and bringing in an armful of packages. She laughed when I caught her in the Santa act, and said, "I'm bringing in the REST of the gifts," as she made haste to get back inside undetected by her little boy. For all Christmas is now in 21st Century America (UPS and FedEx beware), somehow seeing the joy on this mother's face reminded me of The Father and truly the "reason for the season."
Are you praying for something that seems to have alluded you? As the year comes to a close have your expectations of the past 12 months clouded your vision for the coming year? Are you in a season of hope or one of despair? Is this a time of drought or one of bounty?
"Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison; for we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
One of my friends had an opportunity to take their children to Disneyworld as an early Christmas gift. She had known for months in advance of their departure and had concocted an elaborate scheme to surprise them with the news. Whenever we would talk, she shared some new feature to her plan. Some difficult circumstances also came during the interim. I reminded her of how she felt KNOWING what she was about to share with her kids. The joy, the delight, the thrill she experienced plotting and planning for the Big Day when ALL would be revealed. I said, "That's how Big Daddy is feeling! What you see, isn't the whole story. You're present circumstances (and truly suffering) is not the End. There is something far greater than Disney world in your future!"
I think she felt better. I hope she grasped my small attempt at a big concept, and I hope you do as well. You might not have received all you asked for or deserved this past Christmas, you might even have received the ugly-scratchy-wool-sweater-that-you-can't-take-back called "diagnosis cancer" that one of my friends unwrapped for the holidays. You might have shaken the box and heard the shattered glass of broken promises and unamswered prayers, again - still...
Take heart! For the spirit of the Christ-child, come to earth in a lowly manger and in a stinky stable proves our God is good! If it wasn't under the tree
It's in the trunk
Watching and waiting for the packages to be unwrapped on The Day,
It's time for Year End giving. To make a one time financial gift or to set up recurring monthly donations, visit the website:
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Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230