Monthly Archives: December 2018

Are You Ready?

Standard

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” John 1:14;16-18

As I write this, we are just one week away from Christmas Day -Are you ready?? I’ve heard and used (and asked myself) those three words in many conversations over the past week. Of course the question refers to the hustle and bustle of the season – getting the Christmas tree up and the house decorated, buying gifts for friends and family, sending out holiday cards (one I didn’t get around to this year – ughh), and planning parties and gatherings with loved ones. Let’s face it, in America, the Christmas season is more about being “a super busy month” than “a silent night.” It’s kind of sad that Emmanuel, God with us, has to compete with the commercialization of His coming to earth. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all the traditions of the holidays, but if I’m honest with myself, those traditions become my focus rather than the miracle of God coming to earth as a baby in a manger. It’s something I’ve been thinking about. A LOT.

I believe the real question I should be asking myself (and others) is am I ready for the real “reason for the season”? Am I ready to celebrate, not just Christmas, but the birth of Christ? Am I ready to quiet my flesh so my soul can rejoice about and reflect on the amazing love of God, who left His heavenly home to come to this fallen earth – if I take the time to meditate on that thought alone it’s really mind blowing. It should bring me to my knees in awe and my lips to praise!

This baby in a manger, “the One and only Son who is Himself God,” came so you and I could be saved from ourselves and our sinful nature. Jesus came so we could have a perfect, holy, loving example to strive to follow as we live our lives. He came so the veil in the temple could be torn and we could approach His holy throne in confidence. He came so the Holy Spirit could come and reside within each of us. And Jesus ultimately came so you and I could spend eternity with Him in a place He has prepared for those who love Him (“where no eye has seen and no ear has heard and no mind has conceived of” 1 Cor. 2:9). Amazing, isn’t it??

The first 18 verses in the book of John (I’ve listed a few above) are some of my favorite that describe the birth of Jesus – “the Word became flesh…full of grace and truth…to lavish grace in place of grace already given.” I read these verses in John and I feel unworthy, yet completely forgiven, humbled, yet fully accepted, overwhelmed, yet immensely loved. How do you feel when you read them?? I’d love for you to comment and let me know. Your words can help each of us prepare our hearts so we CAN BE READY for the celebration of His coming. Whether you feel led to share or not, I pray the next seven days bring you (and me) a little closer to God and more in love with Him than ever before. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)

I send each of you hugs this holiday and a big Merry “Christ”mas!! Katie

Advertisements

Fireworks and Thunder

Standard

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

My 9-year-old black Labrador retriever, Molly, is terrified of two things – fireworks and thunder. If she is outside and hears either, she freaks out, busts through the invisible fence, and takes off running. This past Saturday night was one of those occasions. As the SEC championship game ended and fireworks went off at a neighbor’s house, I immediately went outside to call Molly in. But, she was already no where to be found.

My husband and I jumped into the car and started driving around the neighborhood in search of her. As we rode around calling her name, I kept thinking to myself why in the world would she leave the security and safety of our house and run out into the unknown when she was fearful and afraid.

This thought kept running through my mind that night and the next day as we searched for her. It just didn’t make sense – she had an owner who was right there, ready to comfort her and take care of her, and instead, she chose to run off into the darkness in search of safety with no guarantee of finding it. And then it hit me… this is exactly what I have a tendency to do to God when life feels out of my control.

I started thinking of the times the “fireworks” of life have happened to me – a sudden, unexpected loss or change in life that rocks my world. Or when there has been a “rumbling” in the distance that threatens the “sunny” picture I have created in my mind of what my life should look like. And, I thought how I have allowed those moments to stress me out, and I’ve taken off. I may not have physically taken off, but I have definitely gone on a mental run. I’ve allowed my thoughts to take me places I know God would not want me to go – thoughts that bring me more anxiety, worry, and stress. I’ve had to discipline myself to “take every thought captive to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) and not fear the unknown future.

I have to admit, sometimes it’s a struggle to not trust my fleshly instincts and let my mind race. Like Molly, I think running away is what’s best for me, when in reality my irrational thoughts are just placing me in further danger and harm. I have found the more I spend time in His Word, the easier it is to stay close to Jesus when those unexpected fireworks occur and when those thunderstorms strike. I’ve learned that a deep trust in Jesus is the antidote to my fear…a deep, unshaken, immovable trust. So… I try to abide in that trust – knowing Jesus has my best interest and has done indescribably more than earn “my” title of trustworthy.

Well, we finally found Molly that next day. After all of our searching, she was only a block away… inevitably trying to find her way back home. She was dirty and shaking and whimpering for my attention when she saw me. Of course, I lavished her with my love and told her how much I missed her (yes, I’m “that” pet owner :-)). And as I reflected about her returning home I thought, what a beautiful picture of when we turn our thoughts back to Jesus… He sees us, wraps His love around us, comforts us with His Holy Word, and welcomes us back into His glorious presence.

As this Christmas season begins, I pray you see Jesus with a newfound excitement, admiration, and love, and that you take all your fears and anxieties to the cross. He’s just waiting to help!