Christ is the altar of our faith. He is the feast that sustains us and infuses our life and being with delight and joy, nurture and nourishment and strength (Hebrews 13:10-11). He is the living bread, unlike any bread prepared here on earth. More heavenly than the most buttery croissant, more delectable than the sweetest challah, more rich in sustenance than the most rustic grain loaf, Jesus provides life everlasting, joys unimaginable, strength for the ages.
Share this feast. Read the evangel with someone this year. Bring the testimony of the kingdom to someone who is hungry.
Simeon believed. He didn’t merely exist, letting the days go by unmarked, unmindful of greater things being done in the heavens, oblivious to the work the Lord was doing to prepare the world for His coming—or even discounting the prophecies, and deciding God might not be as trustworthy as he supposed. He noted the times, and he believed the prophets who said no one is like God. No one could perceive how he works. He is beyond this time and space, and as such, he is the only One who can demand we trust him as he is.
The page’s very salvation that night depended upon the life-giving warmth from his master’s passage ahead of him. This is how it is with us, for “in Christ we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Our master, our elder brother, our captain does not merely mark the way for us; it is through following him that we are quickened and warmed and made more alive, eventually confirming our hope in resurrection and eternal glory (1 Corinthians 15:23). (a repost of an article that appeared at Servants of Grace)
This Christmas, embrace the oddity that causes angels to desire to look into the incarnation of redemption. Go outside the camp, yearn for the lasting city, echo the joyful songs of the angels, make your home welcome to strangers, and to the King, the one born on Christmas day.
Fleshly desires are a powerful lot, intrusive, manipulative, and deceitful. At this time of year, they are especially compelling when driven by the idolatry of “the perfect Christmas.” She who would be victorious over them cannot just “remember the reason for the season” or “keep Christ in Christmas” or “believe”, still craving something more, something better.
There is no room in the inn for both the cravings that fester in and erupt out of a heart of unbelief and ingratitude and a desire for Christ. If, like me, at some point in the craziness of this season, you look around you and realize your flesh has been ruling the conduct of your heart, come back to Jesus.
My words for you this day, while I think of so many of you putting your foot forward for your next step on that tightrope, are prayers for joy in the soaring moments and the gut-wrenching struggles; for confidence in what’s true about your sure foundation in Christ regardless of insecurities that swarm around decisions about math books or DVDs or ability to keep your children healthy and growing in wisdom; for strength for the long days and rest for the sleepless nights; for union with Christ, wherein we find our only rest and from whom flows our only strength.
In short, I pray for perseverance.
Fellowship and communion cannot happen where everyone arrives as rulers of their own little kingdoms. There is no glory in winning the argument over the best way to do a potluck.
I can only be sufficiently satisfied in my own heart when I stop looking outside my heart for contentment—and that is only through the grace of Christ.
It’s all a matter of perspective. Instead of feeling like we need to protect ourselves from the world we feel has been so cruel and harsh to us, what if we used a different approach to the troubles of life? What if we begin at the end, with what the Lord is trying to accomplish in us—for us to become more like him, tenderhearted, humble, and patient ? And what if we consider what we are experiencing as a preparation for that? As a peeling of the skin, the tough, knobby layers dropping away, and the person underneath being just what He has intended for us to be all along.
How things have changed—and yet, they’ve stayed the same! Time never seems to act the way we want it to. I find it incomprehensible that I am in my 50s, that more than half of an average woman’s lifetime has elapsed—until I look in the mirror and see that my mind’s eye has tricked me and aging’s truth serum reveals the brutal reality that so many years have sped by.
But, on the other hand, I seem to spend so much energy marking time wherein there seems to be no evidence that my prayers are heard or regarded in the heavens.