Sunday, December 27, 2009

Aahhh, Christmas!

Christmas can be so hard. We have a love/hate relationship with it. We have all had these high expectations of what it should be. Everyone says Christmas is about family and being together. We look forward to our time together, and go through all the preparations, expecting miraculous healing in our relationships like we see on the Hallmark channel. then suddenly it's over and we don't see any miracles! Most of our families are so broken, and we just don’t get those warm fuzzies that we think everyone else is getting.

I’ve decided that Christmas is not about friends and family. I know that sounds like heresy, but Christmas is about Jesus, and only about Jesus! Families let us down. Friends can only go so far with us. The miracle of Christmas is in what Jesus did and nothing else. He left heaven—can you imagine willingly leaving heaven for this messed up world?! That alone is huge. But he didn’t leave royalty in heaven to become royalty on earth. He came as a poverty-stricken, homeless, helpless infant! After creating the universe, He became a poor baby, wrapped in rags, completely dependent on others. He was born, not in a clean hospital or even a warm comfy house, but a dirty old barn! Have you ever spent time in a barn? I have and I love it, but it's not a place for the birth of a King! It's dirty, dusty, and smelly. There are mice and rats and other critters lurking in the shadows. This is the birthplace of the originator of the universe?! The more I think about that, the more it blows me away!
Jesus loved us so much that he chose to be one of us. To live among us with no special privileges or royal treatment. He came so that he could experience life as we do. He came to save us, not just for eternity, but for now too. He came to fulfill us.
We have got to quit putting our spouses, our children or our friends in God's rightful place. They can't do for us what God is yearning to do and it's unfair to them for us to expect them to! So give your family and friends a break. Quit expecting them to make your life worth living. They can't do it--they're too busy trying to get you to make their life worth living! Love them, give to them, and let God fulfill you. He's the only one who can!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hope Renewed

I am loving The Hope Experience. I am on Day 40, which talks about Naomi and Ruth. What a story of redemption! The book of Ruth was my daughter's favorite book of the Bible, so it will always be special to me. But after this past year, the story of redemption is so near and dear to my heart. I went through several months of bitterness like Naomi. I can't compare my life to Naomi's. Her loss was not just emotional, but her very survival was on the line because she had no husband or sons to provide for her. But I can relate to her grief, her loss of hope and the feeling that God had completely left her.

Her hope was finally renewed as she looked into the face of her grandson, Obed. My hope is also renewed every time I look into the face of my granddaughter. I am so moved by this picture of redemption. I'm honored to have my granddaughter in my home and humbled that God would allow me this privilege. There are still plenty of struggles ahead (and daily!) but my hope has been renewed, and that's a much better place to be than the valley of bitterness I was in a year ago! Oh how I love my Unswerving Hope!