by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
It is a journey from where you are into the arms of God, who waits to comfort, explain, help, direct and heal even now before heaven. Life has always been a journey for each one, regardless of whether there is geographic movement. The most vital journey is the inner one upon which you have been catapulted more abruptly when Christmas doesn’t look like Christmas.
You are not alone. Be encouraged. Some of life’s greatest blessings are the result of unanticipated, uncertain, un-wished-for steps in life journeys. They are exquisite and bittersweet. Not necessarily happy. Especially in the moment.
Joseph and Mary embarked on a journey that just one year before neither of them could have imagined taking. They had to leave where they were and what they had thought would be and entrust themselves to God’s care for every uncertain day which lay ahead. And as they lived it, how their future would play out remained uncertain.
Today we look at them and call their lives blessed! Yet it could not have been easy. It had to have been rough. Yes, they were faithful to God. They trusted Him. But they were utterly human, too. As it was for them, now for you. For them to embark on this journey and to take each further step was a choice. It was a step into the unknown and that which was may have been privileged assignment but also came with loss along the way. We see their lives with glossed over sentimentality, but actually in the moment it required tenacious faith-choices to just do the next right thing as best they could without assurance of what would be.
You also are traveling from here to that place where you will bridge over to eternity with God. That is the path, though you will never see be able to foresee what all the steps will be in between. How you get there—the Lord’s divine will for you—like Mary and Joseph’s is to be walked out day by day without certainty of what is to come. With pain, hardship, difficulty, obstacles and loss along the way. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding…
Yet, here is Jesus’ call. Do not worry for tomorrow has enough worry of its own. Be anxious for nothing. What?! Not, do not worry because there is no cause. Not, do not worry because troubles will cease. But do not worry or be anxious because God is there with you through it. Not a promise of peace or ease the way you might think you want it, but the reality of the difference between life now and eternal life in heaven in your face with the simultaneous call from God not to waste time worrying about it. He is there. Now. With you in it. Emmanuel God-with-us. And whatever is going on which has shocked you and brought you to your knees, He foreknew. Just so, He will be faithful to get you through.
The way to walk out this part of your journey which represents this Christmas season is to be where you are at this moment. The blessing of choosing to lean into God is that you do not have to figure out where this part of the path is going. All you have to do is become more aware you are His child. It is His job to lead you. Thus, the assignment: to tune into Him more to learn to listen better to what He might have to say, so like a child you can take His hand, let Him carry the burdens and let Him lead. Joseph and Mary did this.
You do not have to know where this is going. He does. He is all good. He loves you. Take His hand. Breathe. Take all your woe and load it on Him. Again. He can take it. It is too heavy for you. Now continuing to hold His hand, keep going.
Lord, Your path is all I want. There can be nothing better. I don’t fully understand this place where I am or where I am going, but You do. You have been here before me and You alone lay the path with next steps out before me, if I will but have the courage to trust what You my invisible God has to say and grasp hold of your hand. Just the next step. Just this moment. Just today. I don’t have to see more. For You are God. I am not. Gratitude unbounded!
1 In those days it occurred that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole Roman empire should be registered.
2 This was the first enrollment, and it was made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3 And all the people were going to be registered, each to his own city or town.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
5 To be enrolled with Mary, his espoused (married) wife, who was about to become a mother.
31 Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?
32 For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.
33 But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.
34 So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.
SONG Recommended: NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS–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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