Beholding and being held

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)

IMG_20171221_124155195My history with these verses goes WAY back. In fact, I don’t remember there ever being a time when I didn’t know about them. My parents and extended family saw to that. My teachers did, as well. In fact, years ago–in 5th grade, to be precise–one of our teachers, Mrs. Hayes, gave us the prize of a giant peppermint stick if we could recite Luke 2: 1-14…or maybe, through verse 20…I’m not exactly sure now because that was a VERY long time ago and other teachers encouraged me to learn the longer passages. To this day, I still recite it (in the King James Version, of course, because that’s how I learned it! LOL) whenever it is read or shared during the Christmas season.

I love that the angel starts off with “Fear not…” because I’d imagine suddenly seeing heavenly hosts in the middle of nowhere would have been a little scary. I also love its relevance today because “scary” things still seem to come out of nowhere even now sometimes and we still need that reminder that not all of them are bad–just different than we would have expected…or planned, if WE were in charge.

I also love that next word…”behold.” It’s the King James version of “Stop what you’re doing and look over here at what God is doing for you today!” I still need that reminder, too. Regularly, I need it. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can get sidetracked and miss out of what God is up to, so this reminder is just as freshly needed today as it was all that time ago. I don’t want to miss a thing that God has planned for me, but I’ve got a history of getting caught up in the details of my own life and, perhaps, missing out on the big picture of what God has planned.

I also love that the word “behold” reminds me that as I am looking for Him, I am actually being held by God. He’s at work doing things for me every day because He loves me and holds me in His more-than-capable hands. This year as I’ve been consumed with business details, He’s been bringing me people to share Him with at our shows. He’s brought us people to pray with and people to bless, people to encourage and people who just need a friendly smile…because He’s holding them, as well.

He’s held us as we’ve faced new challenges and continued to deal with older ones. He’s held us in our joy and held us as we faced the desperate need of it. Through it all, God has given us the constant reminder that He is HERE with us no matter what we face. Being held–a source of comfort and great joy–is available to ALL people because of news that came to shepherds long ago. We have a Savior and He is Christ the Lord!

As we celebrate the Season of His coming, let us also remember to share the good news that He is here to behold and we are able to be held. People need to know that. I know I do.

Grace and Peace…and a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

 

Lessons in love

IMG_20181205_071214882Even after years of practice and a whole month of November in intensive training, I still felt like I was failing yesterday. I am out of my element this week and I was out of sorts about it! Once again, while nothing escaped my lips, my mind was absolutely rife with complaint, all while battling situation and provocation…and Scripture. That last one is always a heavy hitter! (grin)

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV)

I read that verse pretty early in the day as I moved ahead with preparations for an upcoming Bible study. I sailed right past it at first. God knew that.

He brought it back around.

He had me focus on it, and then He proceeded to bring that theme up over and over and over throughout the day from the words I typed, the people I saw in the grocery store, and even in the book of fiction I picked up at the local library.

It shook me. It schooled me. It made me do some self-evaluation…and I wasn’t always pleased with what I found. Scripture does that. It is both a mirror and a standard of perfection side by side. Given my state of mind, I really wasn’t in the mood for either, yet God continued to push me. I know He does so out of love, and I truly felt that, but I was also frustrated by so many things I couldn’t change externally. That helplessness to “make things better” rages against my internal “fixer” motif and frustrates me no end.

By the end of the day, I felt beaten. That’s rare for me. I’m usually the most positive person in the room–and I still was!–but God knew I needed to feel, not just love, but empathy…and that is always harder after a day of battle of multiple fronts.

Today, I woke up to a new verse. Matthew 25:40 says,

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

and THEN, there was THIS one…

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17 (NLT)

When you can’t change the situation or fix the people in it, you still need to move forward in love. That instruction never changes. That standard never changes–and neither does the fact that we are still representing Jesus wherever we go. AND (I usually hate when people start  sentences off with AND, but here is one to remember), if the battle makes us weary and our feelings are less than loving or empathetic, we can STILL love on Jesus by doing what we can right where we are. I am responsible for my actions and, yes, even my attitude. He is responsible for the outcome. Today, I needed to be reminded of that. Maybe you did, too.

Let’s go represent Him well today. Happy Wednesday!

Grace and Peace!