Pause

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The moon came out again tonight to say “hello!” in a big way. Playing coy. She slipped in and out of the wispy clouds high in the December sky. She began the night full round, golden as she started her climb; fading to silvery white as the night grew cold.

December nights in the northern hemisphere are cool to downright cold to the bone. Tonight the temperature is energizing in Texas, hovering right around 60 after the sun went down. Folks out and about; scurrying to find the perfect present and grabbing a bite to eat while they map out their strategy to find said present.

We were no different- I’d been shopping for the grands and the husband met me after work to sit across from each other with a salad, a homemade pizza and a glass in our hands.

That moment, the pause, that does indeed refresh, was needed. I love how God orchestrates those pauses in our lives.

You may have noticed that since the new little man was born, I’ve been quiet.

This is my favorite time of year. I love the built in pauses at this time- the few days respite to pause and give thanks for all the good gifts He’s brought to us this year, to stop and consider how much we’ve been spared in His providence.

The pause of the ice storm that made us huddle in close to each other- some to keep warm because the power was out, some just because of the forced rest and the time to re-connect.

And, now comes the best “Pause”. That space of time when the kids are out of school, we take a deep breath in the middle of the hurry and time seems to stop. When we sit watching the school pageant or the Christmas musicals at church, and the couple of days before Christmas when we feel like we are in slow motion (at least I feel that way). After the pause of the Christmas Eve service we move into high gear until after the ribbons and paper have been picked up and the last dish is washed after the Christmas Feast.  

I take a deep breath as everyone returns to their homes and the pause I relish is upon me. I long for it. I race to it. The house is quiet, the music is on, the candles are lit. It’s Christmas. I sit, finally, and drink in and absorb the Gift of forever life He gave to all of us. No matter how much or how little we’ve had, the Gift still came and I pause for it.

Christmas.

The celebration of the birth of one little baby boy a long, long time ago.

The birth that changed forever the world we live in.

The moment when Love, Peace and Joy exploded into our atmosphere and gave skin to Our God and named Him Jesus.

Immanuel-God with us-Redeemer-Savior-the One who takes away the sins of the world-the whole world-not just a few people, not just certain people.

FOR EVERYONE who ever drew a breath or has yet to breathe.

Redemption has already arrived and will draw near to each of us. Even to those who don’t know they need Redemption let alone a Redeemer.

It’s time to pause, look around, see the gift and reach out and grasp it for ourselves and wonder when we open it and all of that Love and Peace and Joy spills out over every thing and every one.  

What are you waiting for?

 

For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects—bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27

 “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:25-28

Just a Word, His Word

It’s here in the silence, after the Christmas celebration; after the food is eaten; after they’ve all gone home; in the spaces, between the dotted “I”s and the crossed “T”s.

He meets me. The overflowing. The meaning of it all.

Love.

His love is real, as tangible as the sound of the snow falling. As warm as the blanket I’m wrapped in. I know He loves me.

The true meaning of the celebration of Christmas some years gets lost in the food, the fun, the surprise of the presents, the hugs, the egg nog. Yet the very reason that we celebrate is the ultimate gift of Love.

His Love come to us.

To the shepherds, the kings, the Simeons, the Annas, the wedding party, the woman who touched Him, to Jairus, to the centurion, to Peter, James and John, to all who followed Him, to Lazarus, to Martha and Mary, to Mary Magdalene, to Paul, to Timothy.

To us. The broken, the dysfunctional, the wounded beyond repair, the sick, the dying, the liars and the cheats, the get along pretty well on our own. We all of us are the object of His Love.

He came to us, for us, because of us, because of our friends, our families, our parents, our siblings, our children, our frenemies, our enemies.

Us.

Why? Because we can’t do this by ourselves. This living and dying. He designed us. We broke us, and only He can fix us. 

Not one of us can do that. Only Love. His Love. LOVE.

Do you hear it? The whisper in the silence, the still small voice passing by reminding us why we just celebrated? 

God so loved the world (you, me, everyone who has lived, is living or ever will live) that He gave His one and only Son (just One for all) that whoever (each one of us) believes in Him (has faith, looks to and hopes in the Son) will not perish (no everlasting death) but have eternal life (complete and whole as we were designed to be).

LOVE

A Christmas Moment

One moment in time…

Is there just one moment you can remember that defines Christmas for you?  I have a Christmas memory of my childhood, of waking one Christmas morning, getting up and it was just getting light- still mostly shadows. Our tree was in the hall, but the lights were off and I could only see a vague image there. The presents were just dark spots under the tree. I looked at the tree and, aware that there were no lights on in the house, thought I was the first one up; but there was a faint glow from the kitchen. I walked past the tree and toward that glow. I lived with my grandparents, and there was my grandfather sitting at the kitchen table, a candle lit, drinking coffee. I remember asking him why he was sitting in the dark with just the candle and him telling me that he was waiting for me to wake up. This little memory was just one moment in time; but as I remember it now, I realize he demonstrated his love for me in the best way he knew how.

Something else comes to me in remembering that moment. The light that announced Jesus’ arrival in Bethlehem was so much brighter than that little candle my grandfather lit in the kitchen.

He is waiting for us all to wake up. The world, like that tree, sits in darkness; can we not pass it up to go to the Light?

“…the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16