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Archive for December, 2013

I’m awakened by the sound of my daughter’s voice, “I want French Toast, mama.”

Through sleep-dimmed eyes, I notice she stands next to the bed–a peace-offering in her hands and a wide grin on her freckled face.  “I’ve brought your coffee.” Reluctantly, I leave the warmth of the bed.

Less than gracious, I stumble down the stairs and assemble the ingredients.  Milk…eggs…bread…cinnamon.  I wish I were still sleeping. “Is someone grumpy?” she asks. “Yes,” I respond honestly.  But, I smile as she wraps tiny arms around my waist and I’m reminded of how different life would be without her.

This one small act may be more important than so many others.

Work?  Someone else could fill my shoes.

Sleep?  It’s guaranteed twelve hours from now.

This moment?  Fleeting.

My family?  An eternal investment.

I feel my attitude change and I ask, “Three or four pieces?”

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The imperfect Christmas unfolded like a crumpled piece of gift wrap–its bright colors diminished by the absence of a firstborn son and a father more dedicated to the child than the comforts of home.  And I think of the journey he made yesterday in a quest to lavish love on one who may not understand–a love with its source from above…and within.  A love patterned after the One who is Christmas incarnate.

That first Christmas?  The One who is Christmas left His glorious home and chose mortal flesh; His immortal glory shrouded by helpless  mortality.  The God whose breath filled the lungs of the first Adam now inhaled–the unpracticed movement of the babe foreshadowing the shallow breathing of a soon-to-be Savior gasping on a crude, wooden cross.

That Christmas?  God’s firstborn son had forsaken the comforts of His heavenly home. Stripped of His heavenly robes, the Christ lay helpless and shivering…cloaked in nothing more than rags.  And I think of the journey he made in a quest to lavish love on those who may not understand–that the imperfect might one day be made perfect.  

 

Verse for Reflection

For unto us a son is born; unto us a son is given…     Isaiah 9:6

 

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Candle between the hands Stock Photo

I’ve been away for a few weeks–crying out to God.  Praying…weeping…grieving…and daring to hope despite my fear and unbelief. This heavy burden–unfairly thrust upon precious innocents–seems out-of-place with what I would consider a plan to “work all things together for the good of those who love Him”.  Yet, I know trials are a natural part of life this side of heaven and–sometimes–they drive all hope from the  soul.

Then–a miracle…a prayer answered in unexpected ways…a promise fulfilled.

If your journey seems to have ended in a dark, cavernous hole take Hope.  If you’ve uttered the same desperate words again–pleading with God for evidence of an answer–take Hope.  If you can’t imagine something good coming from something meant for evil, then take Hope.

Have we forgotten?  It was in a dark, cavernous hole Hope was born. Hope was the answer given for the redemption of people calling out for an answer…for deliverance…for more than all of this.  And Hope was–and is–the promise that reassures God’s glory and our holy cleansing will come despite the here and now of our struggles.

Because of Hope…because of “confident expectation”…we celebrate Advent.  We wait…knowing that He–the very Christ who was and is Hope embodied–will one day return and will bring to completion that which he began in the bowels of a cave while shivering in the cold.

Take Hope, dear friend.  He is the miracle…He is the answered prayer…He is the promise fulfilled.

Thoughts for Advent

As we light the first candle on the wreath, may we remember that Advent is a posture of expectation, waiting, and sureness.  We, dear ones, are eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of what began long ago.  Whatever our struggles or burdens today, remember that Hope promises much more and we push on “toward the goal of the upward call of Christ”. (paraphrase Phil. 3:14)  Hope came down that we might have life–and have it abundantly.  We can trust in Hope–He is not a mere wish, but the fullness of reality and power wrapped in tender skin.

So dip the match closer to the wick…watch as the flame leaps to life…and hope with expectation.  Hope is alive.

Words of Power

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  (Hebrews 11:1)

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