Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holding out hope!

So I have taken a little break from blogging...

A necessary break, I think.

A break to collect my life, my thoughts, and more stories.

Now the Christmas season is in full swing.

Lights, ornaments, Christmas carols on every radio station...

Gift worries, money worries, schedule worries...

The angels, the stable, the baby...

How is that Christmas started out so simply and ended up so complicated? What is the secret to making Christmas what it was to begin with? My heart desperately wants that.

I want to see no gifts under my tree and be okay with it. I want to lift a praise with the heavenly hosts of Luke 2 and feel the kind of joy that will make my heart burst. I want to live the verse from Psalm 119 that must haunt every Christian at what should be a sacred time of worship instead of a festive frenzy: "Turn my eyes from worthless things..."

During this season of joy, what is WORTH my attention? How can a reassessment of my priorities lead me to discover the delightful simplicity of Christmas? I can't deny that the whole doctrine of Christmas--the incarnation of Christ, the God-man--is intensely complex. But Christ's incarnation was also simple...

His backwoods parents got the message...

The uneducated  shepherds responded to it with enthusiasm...

In fact, people who shouldn't have understood travelled for thousands of miles because the message was for everyone...

Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men--they were all hungry for something, and that something was hope.

Hope for a Savior to bring deliverance from oppression.

Hope for a King to rule all mankind.

Hope for a Priest, to restore a right relationship with God.

Hope for Immanuel to come healing, releasing, resurrecting, touching, holding...relating.

What is your hope this Christmas? What gift do you want to give?

The first Christmas was about God meeting the need of all mankind...a need for hope. It was for the highest king to the most humble.

At Christmas, we seek to honor God's gift by giving gifts of our own. But I fear that the gifts we give far from honor the original gift.

God's gift was not about excess...it wasn't God giving man his 35th pair of socks.

God's gift was about poverty...man's complete and utter desperation.

Out of the marvelous excesses of his incredible love, grace, mercy, and kindness, he gave a gift to us in our poverty. Scripture tells us that we have all received from His fullness.

How can you honor His gift?

Give some hope this Christmas. Out of your excess, bless someone in poverty.

Poverty takes many forms. Spiritual poverty, emotional poverty, physical poverty. There is always a chance to meet a need.

It is hard to break the cycle of excess. I know. I am fighting it even now. But Christmas is calling, and I am just not willing to dishonor my Lord's gift any more by celebrating His birth by adding to excess.

Here is one way of many to give a little hope this Christmas...  http://www.compassion.com/catalog.htm?referer=12806

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