I’ve just finished baking my last batch of Nutty Toffee and have had my morning caffeinated beverage… and after a while the house will awake and the day will become busy with the usual Christmas Day activities.
But in the quiet of the misty morning, I contemplate the eternal gifts from my Heavenly Father. It is because of the very generous gift of Jesus Christ’s birth that I feel a deep responsibility to share this good news… to somehow share through words on a screen – and hopefully through the way I live my life and love others – what this personal relationship with a divine being is about.
And in all reality, the words are hard to find.
But the deep guttural longing in my soul (which, for years, I tried to fill with other purposes and longings and activities) simply CANNOT be filled with anything but this relationship with God.
“It’s true what they say”… as the saying goes. What some people call the “God-shaped hole” in my soul was only capable of being filled by Him and His love.
And I recognize that until that realization is comprehended by an individual it simply sounds ludicrous.
So, maybe you’ll have to take my word for it… and you’ll think to yourself “Oh great. Another ‘religious fanatic’ just posted the obligatory Christmas blog.” And that’s ok, I’m not posting this to change your mind about Christianity, religion, church, etc. I’m posting this because I simply can’t NOT share it.
Maybe you’ll have to take my words for a test drive and sleep on them. Maybe you’ll ignore my words … and write me off as a lunatic. But maybe you’ll come back to my words in a number of years. Maybe you’ll think them over, contemplate the ramifications of giving in to this invite to have a deeply personal relationship with God … (and I’ll jump for joy and probably cry with you) and your life will change. The reason you wake in the morning will be different. How you look at joyous times (and conflicts alike) will change. How you view life’s problems will shift. How you read and comprehend this blog post will change.
Maybe you’ll want to talk it over, over coffee or some nachos. I’m game. In the meantime, I’ll just keep sharing what I have to share…
To start with, I cannot fathom the sacrifices made FOR me … sacrifices made by a young woman who was given a purpose before she was born… sacrifices made by a man born to her (thousands of years ago). Sacrifices made by his Father Joseph, who had no idea what was getting ready to happen to his little world. Sacrifices made by those who have shared this good news over these thousands of years… some of them being thrown in prison or tortured or worse… for simply sharing this message. And it’s SOME story!
I like how Luke 1 tells the story of Christ’s birth being foretold…
Starting at verse 26 of Luke 1
“Six months later in Nazareth, a city in the rural province of Galilee, the heavenly messenger Gabriel made another appearance. This time the messenger was sent by God to meet with a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David himself. The messenger entered her home.
Messenger: Greetings! You are favored, and the Lord is with you! Among all women on the earth, you have been blessed.
The heavenly messenger’s words baffled Mary, and she wondered what type of greeting this was.
Messenger: Mary, don’t be afraid. You have found favor with God. Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name Him “Savior,” or Jesus. Jesus will become the greatest among men. He will be known as the Son of the Highest God. God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, and He will reign over the covenant family of Jacob forever.
Mary: But I have never been with a man. How can this be possible?
Messenger: The Holy Spirit will come upon you. The Most High will overshadow you. That’s why this holy child will be known, as not just your son, but also as the Son of God. It sounds impossible, but listen — you know your relative Elizabeth has been unable to bear children and is now far too old to be a mother. Yet she has become pregnant, as God willed it. Yes, in three months, she will have a son. So the impossible is possible with God.
Mary (deciding in her heart): Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant. As you have said, let it be done to me.”
You see, a “messenger” was most likely an angel-like figure standing before Mary in the kitchen. On it’s own, that sounds kinda weird. And then he opens his mouth and starts talking to her. He tells her she’s going to give birth to a son, and he’s going to be a King. (But wait a minute, did she say she was a virgin? Yeah, that’s right. That’s just how God does things. He makes miracles happen.)
And she SOMEHOW believed what she was being told … by an angel… standing in her kitchen.
And did you see her response? “Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant. As you have said, let it be done to me.”
The story goes on to explain that the son of Mary and Joseph was named Jesus. He walked this earth for about 30 years and as it was foretold, he was crucified on a cross and returned to life 3 days later. The purpose? God’s divine purpose (while most of the time unfathomable) through the birth and life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was to show us His love. He wanted us to see and understand (and tell others) about the deep abiding love He has for His creation… loving us SO much that He asked a man and woman to sacrifice what they THOUGHT their lives were meant to be in order to be used by Him, and for Him…. He loved us SO much that He gave us the eternal gift of Christ’s life, and his sacrifice of life on the cross as a way of showing us he can work miracles. 3 days later Jesus was raised from the dead… and appeared to His humble servants, like Mary herself, in order to show them God’s divine work.
While we may never understand the divinity at work in God’s kingdom, we can count on this… God’s plan is always the right plan.
And when we, like Mary, humble ourselves and listen to the word of the Lord (whether by messenger, or pastor, or the Bible) He will prepare our hearts and give us what we need to do His will. He began working in our hearts BEFORE we were born. He knew where you would be today as you read this… He knew the struggles and hurts and joys you would be facing when this message crossed paths with your world. In fact, I believe He knows us better than we know ourselves… after all, He created us.
So today I offer, as a gift, to my King, my protector, my salvation, my Heavenly Father, my creator and healer… I say “Let it be done to me.” And as I post this blog, as I share this good news, as I pray for those reading my beliefs… please know that there’s nothing more I want in this world than for you to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
He loves us, as imperfect as we are… as torn and hurting as we are… as sinful as we are… as two-faced as we are… as lonely and as empty as we are… as imperfect as we are… He created us, He knows us full well… and HE STILL LOVES US! He knows the ugly parts of our personality. He knows our selfish thoughts. He knows our sins… and STILL LOVES US. We can’t say that about most of the people in our lives…
To wrap up this blog post, and especially on this Christmas day, I urge you to think about more than just the presents under the tree… those things that will fall apart or break or become un-trendy in no time at all… the best gift we can give ourselves (and those we love) is a personal relationship with the One who created us, sacrificed for us and never tires of loving us.
Signing off, and as Mary offered… “Let it be done to me…” From our family to yours… may your gifts be eternal this Christmas!