Only Jesus Remains– 1.Christmas Invitation

Our customs have over-romanticized Jesus’ birth. When you really look at Jesus, His family and the circumstances and conditions surrounding the Nativity…you realize and recognize with relief that the hard, sad aspects of your life are normal….You are not alone. In your troubles, you also are going the way of the Holy Family.

Devotion 1 from the upcoming book ONLY JESUS REMAINS-Tending Wounded Hearts at Christmas

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2020

Long have I known that the large family celebrations which bring me such heart-joy are not the main meaning of Christmas. Thus, in the undesired quiet of this particular Christmas season is very, very great blessing. I am working on writing these devotions for when you are experiencing a Christmas which doesn’t look or feel like you wanted, or our culture implies that it should.  It gives permission for your grief to be real to you during this time. It gives permission to celebrate differently or without any of the typically prescribed decorations and manners of celebration.

Instead, you are invited to the most important. To the most essential. To be with Jesus. To come closer to Him. To spiritually approach Him more nearly.

Our customs have over-romanticized His birth.  When you really look at Jesus, His family and the circumstances and conditions which surrounded the Nativity—including that which came before and after—you realize and recognize with relief, that the hard, sad aspects of your life are normal. Normal! You are not alone. In your troubles, you also are going the way of the Holy Family.

It’s hoped these devotions offer you a more beautiful, deeper and Christ-like Christmas experience. Full of comfort and positive significance even when there is still pain and grief.  When that which you used to lean into for meaning at this time of year is stripped away and only Jesus remains, it is there you can be truly nourished in your spirit. You can be grown and become more grounded and founded in Him and that which is truthfully His way.

You are personally invited more intensely into the presence of Most High God, where He can give you the gift of Himself, encourage your heart and help you come truly to rest in Him. Peace beyond understanding. Joy. Tucked away in His truth, you become safe in the storms. You are comforted. As His lamb, it is as if you find yourself by cool streams of water with pleasant, lush grass to nibble and rest on instead of feeling like you are wandering listlessly through parched, desolate spaces.

Do not pressure yourself to have answers or grand realizations. Foremost, this is opportunity to consider your thoughts and let Him meet you in them. Let His answers come as He wills. In His timing. Like welcome, unexpected soft breezes of His Spirit.

What does He have to say to you right now?  And how will you recognize He is speaking?

PRAYER: Lord, I am restless. I long for inner rest and have put my hope in You. I cannot do this myself. So humbly I am here, knowing I am broken on the inside. Please come and according to Your promises comfort, lead and guide me. I have deep need of You.

SCRIPTURE The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.

He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.

He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

Psalm 23 (AMPC)

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Author: Elizabeth Fulgaro

I am a God-seeker--a Jesus-worshipper--a Holy Spirit follower. I create songs, devotions, prayers, books and Bible studies to give words with which to get to know God more. For you. Its for one-on-One encounter unto transformed, transcendent living. This is not my vocation. I am not professional. I am a real, ordinary person just looking to do what God put me here to do. (You have a unique purpose too.) So I am called to the work. It is not my income source, but my gift to those who find it blessing. Eagles Nest Foundation sponsors all projects for you. The result: pure, clean spiritual nutrition to feed that deep insatiable spiritual hunger which eventually overtakes each of us and galvanizes you to the life God has for you. This life is purposeful. Exceptional. You--yes, you--are called to something greater and more satisfying in His service. So it is hoped you'll try this spiritually dense nutrition and find it to be a personal blessing. However, the goodness of God-following doesn't stop there. He uses those who seek Him to be His love and care (justice, mercy, advocate, kindness) very tangibly in the lives of those around you. Not by your power but by His. His ideas. God ideas. Not just good ideas. To be part of changing the world, if you will let Him. You learn to just follow where He leads. That if you listen, He will teach you to hear His voice and then when you obey His inner promptings you will become His incredible hands and feet in this hard world. These materials will help! They will help you aim your life towards God in a way you never look back. You will not be the same. He will become the River in your desert spaces and you will become a conduit of this same River of refreshing, replenishing Water of Life to others. Find a prayer. Pick a blog post. Read a book. Be led deeper into the Bible. Select a song which resonates and use it and use it again to go close and ever closer to the God who longs to draw you near. Oh, and don't be tempted to think I'm a crazy over-spiritualized loony...My background is financial planning and counseling. Almost 40 years of it. To choose to believe in God is not to leave practicality and reason behind, but to learn that there is that which goes beyond it and includes it, unto true life fulfillment beyond all your dreams for the one who keeps seeking Him. I am a third generation Californian. I am a person to whom family means everything. The only priority higher is God. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada are my home. It is here the 1849-1856 Gold Rush is still glorified. Easy money? Actually only for the few. Even though I was raised in the Church, it took me ten years of doubting God even existed to realize that without Him, no matter how much of this life's "stuff" is accumulated, I actually have nothing. To come to know that all those who chased after gold are dead and all those who still chase stuff will be dead. That's when I became a God-seeker. Looking for that more. And Eureka! (This is California's state slogan and means I found it.) I found God...or rather, I discovered He was there and had been there waiting for me to look for Him the whole time. May you discover more of Him for you, greater flourishing life and greater flourishing for all in the world as well. God bless you! ~Elizabeth

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