Joy to the world! The Lord has come!
Your Friend in Ministry,
It is dark and quiet in my house as I sit and write this. I am relishing these moments when my house is still, my husband and children not yet stirring. It gives me time to prepare my Spirit for the hustle and bustle of the next 48 hours as I prepare special food, greet the many people who will attend our Christmas Eve services, and participate in memory-making traditions in my home.
But for now, I get to sit and ponder upon the “wonders of His love”. . .
One of the definitions of “wonder” is “something that is surprising or very hard to believe”. Yes, I think that describes the love of God. The fact that the Creator and Sustainer of the universe desired me so much that He sent His Only Son to this world in order to lay the whole of my sin upon Him as He died a brutal death is indeed something very surprising and hard to believe indeed.
In fact, as long as I live, I don’t think I will ever get over the love that God showed to me personally. You see, there is nothing especially loveable about me. Yet, God loves me just because He loves me.
And, God loves you just because He loves you. Is that surprising or hard to believe for you too?
It may be, but believing is what Christmas is all about. And it’s what separates you and me from those who do not believe.
A popular department store has used the word “Believe” as their Christmas slogan for the past couple years. I assume they are encouraging everyone to “believe” in the magic of Christmas. Yet, there would be no “magic of Christmas” without the love of God, because there would be no Christmas to “believe” in.
Let’s put a different spin on it. I have a challenge for you. For the next 48 hours, I challenge you to believe in God’s love for you personally, individually and specifically. Yes, we know that God “so loved the world” that He gave us His Son. However, I “believe” that today you need to hear that God so loved you, and you alone, that He gave His Son.
You were worth Heaven’s loss. You were valuable enough to be inconvenienced for. You were valuable enough for the Sinless and Blameless One to lay down His life for. You were the one God had in mind when He “gave His Son”.
Will you let that truth sink in and will you ponder upon that these next 48 hours?
As you sing Christmas carols, will you wonder at His love?
As you open gifts, will you wonder at His love?
As you spend time with loved ones, will you wonder at His love?
As you say or do the wrong things, will you wonder at His love?
As those around you (intentionally or unintentionally) hurt your feelings, will you wonder at His love?
Yes, it’s very surprising and hard to believe, but true. The wonder of His love is that He chose to love you.
Wondering at His love with you. Your Friend in Ministry,
Three days until Christmas! Today is the first day of Christmas vacation and my kiddos are home and we are decorating cut-out cookies.
The kids being home always reminds me of the song, “It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas” . . . you know the line – “and Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again!” Christmas vacation is fun, but by day five or so the lack of routine can start to get to both the kids and this Mama and sooner or later the bickering starts and makes for a less than happy Christmas. Can anyone relate (please tell me this happens in other homes besides just ours!!)?
Thankfully, the words from “Joy to the World” that we are focusing on today are true: “He rules the world with truth and grace”.
This phrase is straight from the Bible in John 1:14. The Word became a human being. He made his home with us. We have seen his glory. It is the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father. And the Word was full of grace and truth.
God sent Jesus to rule this world with grace and truth. I have always loved that the word “grace” comes before the word “truth” because I believe it reflects the very heart of God. Yes, He is Truth. There’s no denying that. However, He is also Grace, and aren’t you thankful for His grace? I don’t know where I would be without it!
It is easy to believe that Jesus rules the entire world with grace and truth. But, let’s make it personal and understand that not only does He rule the world that way, but He wants to rule our homes that way too. The challenge, however, is that we as family members of a home, often lean more towards truth rather than grace. We say things that are true, but they’re not very gracious. We treat those closest to us worse than we would treat a stranger at the store. We don’t consider the feeling of those in our own homes.
If Jesus is to rule our homes with truth and grace, let’s cooperate with Him and be gracious to those He has given as a gift to us. One practical way to do that is something that the kids and I are working on this Christmas break. We are trying to “THINK” before we speak. Is what we are about to say:
T – true
H – helpful
I – important
N – necessary
K – kind
If it passes the “THINK” test, then we will say it. If not, then it can be left unsaid. Imagine the peace and harmony that would be in our homes if we all “THINK” before we speak! Well, as you have figured out by now, you can’t control what everyone in your home does. But, you can control yourself. Why not set a good example in how you speak to your family and see if it might encourage them to do the same? Even the gracious speech of one person can turn things around!
He rules the world with truth and grace and I want to cooperate with that rule. How about you?
Your Friend in Ministry,