So, this is me this week. Christmas is speeding toward me, its shimmering lights reflecting off of my stunned expression! What to do first? Wrap? Bake? Shop? Clean? Read a Christmas story? Hide under the covers? It can be pretty overwhelming.
Now is the time to step back and take a moment to re-focus on the reality of the coming Emmanuel, God-with-us. It is beyond our ability to conceive, to imagine, or to comprehend that the Infinite, the Almighty, the Great Creator, the Everlasting God became a baby. And not only this, which in itself was a total abandonment of His privileges of Divinity, but He united Himself to a human body in order to suffer a horrific death--the death of the cross.
For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11
How can it be that He so desires to be with me, with you, intimately united to our daily lives that He would endure such suffering and abandonment? Scripture tells us that "Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2" And what was the "joy set before him"? It was US! It was His union with you and with me, the reality of His Presence in our lives. As Christ is our joy at this Christmas season, so we are His joy. We are His delight, His desire, His love. I pray for you, my friend, that you may truly experience in a powerful and profound way His joy, His love, and His peace during the last few days of this holy Advent season.
I salute you. I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got; but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No Heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see; and to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look.
Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the Angel’s hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty: believe me, that angel’s hand is there; the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing Presence. Our joys, too: be not content with them as joys, they too conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and of purpose, so full of beauty—beneath its covering—that you will find that earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage, then to claim it: that is all! But courage you have; and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you; not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem, and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away."
– Fra Giovanni Giocondo
|Nativity, Lorenzo Costa (1460-1535)|
The wonder of this Love is the true wonder of Christmas. May His Presence fill your heart and give you Peace in the midst of the activities and joys of this week as you meditate on the joy of His coming.