by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
What does God sound like? In my experience, He drops thoughts into my mind or there is a sudden inner knowing which tends to come with a sense of certainty which I otherwise should not have. His peace tends to accompany such thoughts. Importantly, a test regarding whether a thought is from Him is that His messages cannot contradict His character—who and how He is. Thus, His thoughts may be convicting and directing but are never threatening or condemning. He will never shame you or make you feel guilty but give you a greater clarity both of where you might have been wronged and how you may have wronged others, too. The revelation tends to come with inexplicable calm. Generally, He will not look to motivate you to do or not to do as He is leading with fear or worry, which spins relentlessly and can block your hearing Him. Instead there is a simple knowing something must be, which often seems inexplicable.
God wants to speak to you. Therefore, if He has brought these devotions to you, it is likely that He has messages for you in them. Additionally, He will guide and accompany you through these. Because He knows where you are and what you need each day right now.
Will you dare to let Him? (Or will you fight His process.)
Take a breath. Exhale slowly. Maybe inhale another. Deep and long and soothing. Let it out methodically and steadily. Intentional about inviting an inner quieting and calm. You cannot hear the Lord speaking when you are filled with the buzz of worry or hectic. Take a risk. Invite the Lord to lead you. Give Him permission. Let Him know that you are committing yourself to His care. This too is prayer! Prayer is not always pre-written words but simply talking to God. Pouring out your heart! He can take it. He wants to take it. To carry your burdens for you, so you are less weighed down.
Possibilities of how to meet Him in such moments are endless! As you open your heart to hear, sometimes He will speak through thoughts or words or impressions which are suddenly there in what was a self-created mental void. Often, He will also give you inner nudges of understanding through looking at His creation, as you listen to songs, during reading of a devotion or immersing yourself in His Word, the Bible.
These are just some of the places He meets you in your thoughts. It becomes exciting. You enter into these times of focus on Him with great anticipation, giving Him opportunity to communicate (because you are paying attention), you never know when it will happen.
Take a God-oriented Christmas song. Really pay attention to the lyrics. Intentional, but relaxed. Anticipating but not trying to force anything. Expectant but patient. Is there a lyric which seems to stand out more to you than others? Perhaps it means more for some reason now. What does it remind you about God? Is there something new about Him that it brands on your heart? Read a line of Scripture. Read some of that included at the end of each devotion. Randomly open your Bible asking the Lord to direct your gaze. If it is part of your tradition, read the daily liturgical readings thoughtfully. No rush. No push to get it done. Open your heart as you do this. Scan the devotion list and let Him cause your gaze to fall on one or two titles which strangely seem as if highlighted more than the rest even though they are not actually bolder and spend time with these.
Follow where these inner nudges accompanied by His peace which surpasses all understanding take you! Breathe. Take your time. Continue to ask Him to accompany you as you proceed. Be anxious for nothing! Ask Him to reveal what He wants you to know. For the Holy Spirit to begin to attune you to His inner whispers. Measure what you think He is showing you against what He has already taught you through His Word about His character. Does it match? (Is the message from Him?) He will never be inconsistent. He cannot contradict Himself. Remember anew that in all the ways He will grow you, the results will likely be progressive.
Be His child! This is spiritually taking His hand and letting His Spirit lead! What thoughts are dropping into your mind? Based on what you know about God, does it sound like how He would talk to you?
Lord, I know You are here because You promise. I cannot see You. I’m not sure I can hear you, but again You promise. So, I am here looking for You. Listening. I want to know You more. I don’t really know how to do this, but You tell me all You require is the faith of a child. So, Holy Spirit, know You are welcome here. I am relying on You. Please help. My heart is open to You and I am listening.
3 In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].
2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the east and His voice was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with His glory.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
11 …And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;
12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.
13 When Elijah heard the voice, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.
1 Kings 19:11-13a
SONG Recommended: Heaven’s King – Christmas Worship album
If you are just joining in these reflections, read the Introduction here to learn what these are all about.
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