I was blessed with a special Christmas gift this year–a gift worth “re-gifting” to all my friends. It fit me just fine on December 23. For the earlier part of that week leading up to Christmas had been particularly dark and painful. My perspective changed on the day that I discovered a special reminder in a lovely devotional book titled Jesus Always by Sarah Young (published by Thomas Nelson, 2016).
The truths I was reminded of that day are not new. However, the reminder came at a particularly crucial time for me. I was about to drown in grief and sad memories and worry when the reminder of several Biblical truths and imperatives became my life jacket, returning me to the shore of thanksgiving, peace, and joy that should always be our Christmas reality.
Reminder #1: Wait for the Lord.
Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
This is the hardest thing for me to do–to just wait on God’s timing. How I long to “fix” things when I see lives torn apart by addiction and the loss of conscience that it brings! How I tend to withdraw into a place of darkness when my grief is overwhelming! How I try to rush the Lord into answers, all the while knowing that His ways are better than my feeble solutions!
Reminder #2: Seek His face.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. Psalm 27:8
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
What a miraculous rest is found in Jesus! He can heal the grief of the loss of a child, a sibling, a parent, a friend. He can lift life’s burdens from our shoulders. Have you ever felt those burdens as a physical weight on your shoulders? I have, all too often. Leaving that grief, that worry, that brokenness at Jesus’ feet and resting in the knowledge that His ways are greater than any solutions I might attempt is a lesson that I have to “re-learn” almost daily. After all, He is able to do more that I can ask or imagine……
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20
Reminder #3: Hold on to hope.
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Self assessment: How long has it been since I have felt my spirit soar? Am I running the race of faith without weariness? Is my daily walk strengthened by a morning visit with the Lord, centering my mind on Him in prayer? Am I “rejoicing always, praying continually, and giving thanks in all circumstances“? (2 Thessalonians 5:16-18a) Give thanks in all circumstances? Even the absence of a loved one on a birthday or Christmas? In spite of the pain of seeing someone waste a life in the throes of addiction? Even while watching a loved one suffer a terminal illness? Even when a young adult is stretching wings and pushing boundaries and worry about imagined accidents or bad choices overwhelms?
Right now, this morning, this moment, all the Biblical truths mentioned above are fresh in my mind. I am waiting on the Lord. I have sought his face. I am filled with hope. I have a spirit of thanksgiving, the peace that passes human understanding, and a desire to share that joy. So, here I am, praying that these words will encourage or comfort or lift up someone who is where I was on December 23. I know I’ll most likely be back there one of these days, when these promises are not so fresh in my memory. I pray that on that day, you will remind me.
Wishing a blessed New Year to each of you………