Monday, December 11, 2006
Another important awareness for me this season has come as a result of reading a compilation book of old, classic stories of Christmas. Authors such as O. Henry, Hans Christian Andersen, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Lousia May Alcott and Charles Dickens -- and, course, Luke of the Gospels-- share their sentiment and observations of the meaning of Christmas in the form of story.
The common theme that has jumped out at me this year is that of 'the unexpected visitor'. So much of Christmas story -- including THE STORY -- tells about the visitor that no one expects and most do not even see, but the few who do are rewarded with knowing that they have been visited by the Presence of an Eternal God -- the very God of Christmas. I don't want to miss the opportunities this year to recognize unexpected visitors.
For that reason, I'm going to put my blogging hobby on hiatus until after Christmas. This, by far, has been one of my favorite new experiences in 2006. Thanks to all my blogging buddies for joining in with me. Maybe this mini-sabbatical will provide the inspiration to post a 'best of' type blog before 2007...who knows?
(I know that burningalive still has a question posted for me. It's a pretty big question, buddy! I'll be thinking of an answer -- maybe you'll have one for me before I come back?)
Merry Christmas to all!!
"You must remember this, for it is as true, as true as that I see you and you see me. It is not revealed by the light of lamps or candles, and it does not depend upon sun and moon; but that which is needful is that we have such eyes as can see God's glory." (Selma Lagerlof, "The Holy Night")
- how much fun it was to take a room full of hundreds of people and feel like we were all sitting around the piano together?
- watching every age group of people in the room -- from elementary to college age to senior citizen -- laugh together and enjoy the same music (for once!)
- watching extremely gifted musicians be free to express their glory in a way that drew people in
- singing favorite carols traditionally
Yep, the day ranks right up there with my favorite corporate worship moments of all time -- from the singing to the laughing to the shouting out page numbers -- it was all worship.
P.S. -- just before the first service, as Brian and Tammy were getting ready to go on stage and we were listening to Neil, Janet and Scott play 'O Tannenbaum' and just basking in the gorgeousness of the music, I told them, "I feel like God just smiles on us all the time." I said this because even this seemingly 'unimportant' service -- one that was easy and fun and barely 'programmed', survived a pretty vicious battle against sin, flesh and the Enemy to take place. I was reminded that by revealing the joy and happiness of God yesterday, as well as the beautiful glory of His children, we were perhaps waging an even more serious war against the enemy than we realized. We have been blessed -- We are blessed -- We will be blessed.
I receive daily readings from John Eldredge. This is one of my favorites...an excerpt from Waking the Dead. (burningalive, this might be one part of the answer to your question of me, learning to be identified from our glory -- rather than our wounds and sin....it's what i think i started to hear you say in your most recent post)
Looking for a Glory We Know We Were Meant to Have
The poet Yeats wrote,
If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And the lips more scarlet,
Or ask if all be rightFrom mirror after mirror
No vanity’s displayed:
I’m looking for the face I hadBefore the world was made.
(“Before the World Was Made” from the poem “A Woman Young and Old”)
Yes, that’s it. When we take a second glance in the mirror, when you pause to look again at a photograph, we are looking for a glory you know you were meant to have, if only because you know you long to have it. You remember faintly that you were once more than what you have become. Your story didn’t start with sin, and thank God, it does not end with sin. It ends with glory restored: “Those he justified, he also glorified” (Rom. 8:30).
And “in the meantime,” you have been transformed, and you are being transformed. You’ve been given a new heart. Now God is restoring your glory. He is bringing you fully alive. Because the glory of God is you fully alive.
“Well, then, if this is all true, why don’t I see it?” Precisely. Exactly. Now we are reaching my point. The fact that you do not see your good heart and your glory is only proof of how effective the assault has been. We don’t see ourselves clearly.
(Waking the Dead , 78–79)
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Today is Brian's day off and he and my son (also home sick) and I watched Hotel Rwanda.
What do you do with that story?
Friday, December 01, 2006
I'm also awake because of recent conversations with a friend who told things to me that were very unpleasant to hear. In fact, it might be similar to what I imagine the sensation would be of having my heart carved out with a cold silver spoon. OR -- as David says in Psalm
41...'Even my best friend, the one I always told everything - he ate meals at my house all the time!— has bitten my hand.' (although, ironically, the eating meals at my house all the time part is untrue and was appearantly part of the problem)
THEN -- I sit down at the computer and re-read the lovely post I wrote yesterday all about The Poser and Abba's love for his children and his gentlness with us in our 'as-is' condition and I wish I could find a Psalm about being bitten on other parts of my anatomy.