Only Jesus Remains– 13.Intimate Christmas

Most Christmases you can get lost in what society has made it to be. Consumed by the traditions culture has created. Wrapped up and driven by all that seemingly needs to be done. So, when these things aren’t, you miss them. You may be especially impacted by the loss of the presence of people.  Yet, there is a present in this which is greatest. It is an increased opportunity to encounter the Gift.

You miss people because you were created for relationship. You love; therefore, you miss. You hurt and grieve. All this because God created you for relationships with others. For community versus isolation. But He also created you for relationship with Him. This is first. It is out of relationship with Him, He designed all other relationships to flow. Yet how easily relationship with Him can slip to last.

Not this year.

At Christmas, we celebrate this God who can be known. Who wants to be known. God who is somehow distant because you cannot yet see and experience fully in that realm where He dwells so long as you are still in the realm in which you now find yourself. And yet this all-too-real God, knowable now. In a sense. To an extent.  This invisible God came to a manger. God Most High. He came fully to us and remains. Jesus! God not only with us, but in us. In you. Indwelling. He in you and you invited to be in Him. Mystical. Wonderful.

Fathom for a moment, that this incomprehensible, higher-than-highest God wants to spend time with you! He is yearning for you to be less distracted by all the to-do’s and other things and even other people so you can have more time with Him. He is looking to see. Do you yearn for Him as He does for you? Do you know Him well enough yet for Him to be your greatest heart wish? To know you need Him in such a way that you ceaselessly search for Him like a deer who pants for water where there is none, because this deer knows if water is not found soon, it will die!

Christmas when there are those stretches of quiet, which may not be that for which you wished, is time to be with Him. To reflect on Him. To contemplate and ponder what He has shared about Himself. He is there waiting! He has secrets for you!

This is a goal of Christ-mas—the festival celebrating the birth of Christ because of the fullness of who He was and is. (Not just because of the manger.)  To know Him more. To become more in love with Him so that you continue to make Him your increased focus throughout other parts of the year after Nativity scenes are put away. Becoming an ever more avid follower of God because you know you thirst.

Intimacy with God. Not sexual intimacy. Infinitely beyond this. More. Better. Higher. Deeper. Wider. Whole ecstasy beyond a moment. That which truly fulfills and satisfies, in an infinitely lasting way. A lifestyle of living with and for God. Purposeful. Fulfilling. Awe-filled.

So much talk about encountering Jesus at the manger.  This is what is meant. To know Him because you have sought Him and He has fulfilled His promise to be found. This is the ultimate Christmas promise.  When you seek Him like the Wise Men, you will come to know Him more.  Deepening relationship with Him is what its actually about. All the rest is extra.

Lord, I am baffled and in awe that You who needs no one and nothing made me for relationship with You and that You long for me! Spirit enkindle a love in me for You which is beyond where it is now. Especially when I am confounded by some of what life has brought.  I want to be angry with You sometimes. I am tempted to be bitter. Please forgive me. (Again.) Instead, fulfill Your promise and draw me near. Teach me more about Yourself. Oh, I can feel actual joy rising (and relief) at the thought of it! Thank you, Most High!

As the hart pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God.

My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?

Psalm 42:1-2

Thus says the Lord Who made [the earth], the Lord Who formed it to establish it—the Lord is His name:

Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand).

Jeremiah 33:2-3

O God, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You, in a dry and weary land where no water is.

So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.

So will I bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.

My whole being shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips

When I remember You upon my bed and meditate on You in the night watches.

For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice.

My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You; Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:1-8

SONG Recommended: Glory to You in the Highest – Christmas Worship album

ONLY JESUS REMAINS PODCASTS

INTIMATE CHRISTMAS PODCAST

If you are just joining in these reflections, read the Introduction here to learn what these are all about.

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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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