by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
To face Christmas without its usual cultural trappings and to try to find meaning without these takes courage. To let the season be naked with all its discomfort, sorrow, pain and troubles is brave.
You are courageous because you are here and have chosen to remain. God is with you. Smiling. Pouring out His overwhelming compassion. And care. Well-pleased at your faithfulness. Sorrowing with you for He weeps with those who weep.
The courage also to go on. To do the next moment, though you are not sure how.
Sometimes the road ahead looks bleak. Bewildering and confusing in ways unwanted. It does not make sense. At least not how you always thought it should.
There has been this impression from society leaking into our way of thinking and our souls. If we just do everything right. If we just build it the right way, then life will be perfect and good and wonderful. And we will all be happy together.
But now you know this is not true. It is not the way of this life. It is myth.
He is motioning to you. Calling. The nail-pierced hands at the end of His arms extended. Always in your direction.
When it gets tough, go to the wounds. Remember and choose to consider, contemplate, look and see. Like St. Thomas in your mind invite Jesus to come and show you His wounds in a way you spiritually insert your woundedness into His own.
Identifying your wounds with His is a place to find great solace. The mystical, glorified, victorious, ever-present wounds of Jesus are where truth is found. Where God is revealed. Here He shifts our expectations, and this provides relief. It is in Him and in the awareness of how He showed us to expect life to be that His peace begins to increase, accompanied by His comfort. In, through and from Him who knew and knows suffering and injustice. Hardship and sorrow. His and yours.
Jesus understands exactly this place where you are. What has been. He urges you onward. Here is not your stopping place. It is not your end. He beckons you through the next moment, not at a societal-set pace, but in His simultaneous rest, encouragement and strength. Courageously. Decisively. Not ignoring your wounds. But carried by Jesus though His.
Beloved Jesus, I recognize on my own I have no strength. I have reached the end of myself again. Thank You, that You are Emmanuel. I lean into You. You invite me to rest in the midst under the shadow of Your wings. This is beyond what I can even fathom! Wings. What?! Shelter. The bad seeming to win and yet You surrounding me through it. You there at all times never leaving or forsaking me or those I love. When it all seems to go wrong. When the supernatural spiritual enemy seems to make inroads, which cause me to quake within. You remain the unmovable Rock. The unshakable path and purpose. Sometimes I am oblivious to Your provision and care. Forgive me….Help me to see. You are my Dwelling Place. You are my Refuge. I take up shelter in You. And choose to come to rest in the storms.
12 Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you.
13 But insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, rejoice, so that when His glory [full of radiance and splendor] is revealed, you may also rejoice with triumph [exultantly].
19 Therefore, those who are ill-treated and suffer in accordance with God’s will must do right and commit their souls [in charge as a deposit] to the One Who created [them] and will never fail [them].
1Peter 4:12-13, 19)
SONG Recommended: HOPE FOR THE WORLD– So You Sent Your Son album
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