This isn’t how I intended to close my Advent series.
I planned to talk about how not to get frazzled and distracted this last week, and how beneficial it is to spend time alone with God each day. I wanted to emphasize that spending time in His presence helps us order our priorities and lessen our stress. And how that inner peace would affect our countenance.
Like Moses’ glow after 40 days with God on Mt Sinai.
This is how I wanted to end this series:
Shine so the world can see Jesus in you!
That didn’t feel quite right this week. See, I don’t feel very shiny.
I’ve done all the things I wrote about:
- prepared and planned for holiday events,
- stayed focused on the Reason for the season, and
- simplified my life (shopping, decorating, expectations).
I’m all set to shine, especially since my kids are home from college and we’re enjoying some seriously fun family time. We have so much to be thankful for, and WE ARE. Especially in light of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.
So much has been said and written since last Friday. People are weighing in from every side and every angle, some of it factual, some of it not.
Those of us in ministry feel compelled to write something – offer some kind of hope, share an uplifting verse, to do whatever we can to shine some of our Savior on this mess.
But in the throes of something this heinous, sometimes the less said, the better. This is my “less” –
“In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I (Jesus) have overcome the world.”
Trouble? We don’t have to look far, do we? Suffering, confusion, tragedy, death, loss, frailty, weakness, fear, poverty, greed, arrogance…
It’s just the way this world is. Consider the headlines of the past several months: murders, injustice, genocide, human trafficking, etc. Then add natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, etc.
It’s just the way this world is. All of creation groans and awaits something better, Someone who will somehow fix everything (Romans 8). Deep down in each of us, we know a very real truth:
This world isn’t all there is.
Some days, that truth is the only reason to get out of bed.
As we fix our gaze on God and renew our minds with His Word, He covers us with His peace and strengthens us with His presence. And He fills us with HOPE.
And we shine, even when we don’t feel like it.
As we shine for Him this Christmas, I pray God will give us opportunities to share the message of the Gospel. The world is desperate for the hope that is found only in the Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.
What are some ways YOU stay shiny this Christmas?
FYI – I’m taking off the next two weeks to spend time with the family. I want to let you to know how thankful I am for those of you who read my ponderings each week. Your presence here encourages me more than you will ever know. May God fill you with hope and joy this Christmas!