by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
Joy may be something different than you are tempted to think. Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy is not a momentary emotional feel-good but comes out of a deep well of recognition of where God is and remains. Even when momentarily He is unseen in the midst. Joy rises up from the chasms within as one of His gifts when we choose to rest in Him.
Joy expands as you grasp increasingly the truth that the battles, hardships, brokenness and injustices you face are the same as those faced by the Holy Family. The reason for this is the same for you as it was for them. Here is not heaven. It is not your home here. No amount of pretty decorations, festive feasts or bright, glittering gifts will change that. It might give your eyes something beautiful to look at temporarily, but it’s all like the wrapping paper. It’s on the surface.
And if standard Christmas traditions are something as fragile and ultimately fading as wrapping paper, then how much worth are they really?
Is this a reason for some of the emptiness you feel? Nothing which has been the tradition has been able to fill the void for the more significant for which your heart yearns. The statements about Christmas and life upon which you have stood for some time may seem exposed as if flimsy platitudes. A holiday set up on usual expectations of momentary happiness is vulnerable to topple.
Awareness increases that the Essential Christmas is not about gathering with other people, though this can be special. Or about decorations or gifts. Christmas is about all creation’s sigh of relief that in the greatest meta-narrative of all time—that over-riding, over-arching story for all of us forever and ever, the story above all stories, the story in which all other stories are connected, find their high point, conclusion, summit and pinnacle—God loves us so much that before we could ever respond in kind, He sent His Son. Jesus came and broke the bonds of slavery we were under and brings us out of exile even now unto a new type of movement and life from here through eternity. A life of learning to love. To know and love God so we can comprehend how to love and enjoy one another.
God healing inner wounds when we let Him here in the midst of the still raging storm. God activating each one into His service. As you gaze at Him, He gives you His heart for others. And your assignment. This is life satisfaction. You in Him and He in You leading. Union with Him. United with His purposes. Looking to Him. Being His child. Taking His hand and going where He leads as He reveals Himself more and flows through you (in ways you see and ways you do not) to touch yet others. To give them a cool drink in their desert. To comfort, revivify and restore them as He is doing for you. In their deserts. In their storms.
God-purpose which leads to jubilant Jesus-joy. Because your life is beginning to imitate His. This is what you were made for! This is life according to His design!
Not just at some future point. But now. God’s instrument through whom Spirit touches others in the way He knows each one needs with His comfort, peace and joy! And through this process, God leading you to increasing thriving out of that fountain of Jesus-joy which can never be diminished or taken away. Because you are understanding more of who He is and what He did. His purposes are now yours. Fountain welling up to eternal life! Living Water flow! Jesus-joy. Yes, JOY.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive their King. Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing.
You came to set captives free. You came to set me free. So many of us bound to that which is less and will fade and be no more though we don’t even know it. Thank You for loving us more than this and bringing us one at a time into Your more. How glorious You are! You lead in the way of everlasting and it has already begun and is already outflowing. You are love and this love is unstoppable. Through all things, through all things, through all things, You still mightily and victoriously reign.
16 So He came to Nazareth, [that Nazareth] where He had been brought up, and He entered the synagogue, as was His custom on the Sabbath day. And He stood up to read.
17 And there was handed to Him [the roll of] the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened (unrolled) the book and found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity],
19 To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day [when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound].
20 Then He rolled up the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were gazing [attentively] at Him.
21 And He began to speak to them: Today this Scripture has been fulfilled while you are present and hearing.
SONG Recommended: WHEN THE TREES AND LIGHTS MEAN NOTHING–So You Sent Your Son album
If you are just joining in these reflections, read the Introduction here to learn what these are all about.
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