by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
Outside it pours. Winter in the Northern California foothills. The sound of the pounding raindrops like so many tears of our hearts.
These are not always tears which have found their release, but also those carried silently within. Such tears can seem to dampen what others call the Christmas spirit. But those who say this do not really understand. Nothing can snuff out the true Spirit of Christmas.
On the contrary, when you allow Him too (and even partner with Him), the fire of the true Spirit of Christmas now has the opportunity to finally ignite and burn without ceasing from within, eradicating every aspect of the holiday, which is not part of the holy day until all that is left is Christ.
The result is a Christmas peace resting on the Rock of true God from true God, though tears still may fall. God—compassionate and unmovable—who emanates simultaneously into and from within the deepest recesses of your soul. God weeps with you in your mess and beckons to view the life of His Son where healing awaits as well as activation into true purposeful life as a citizen of His kingdom.
Does that seem impossible and far off? It is not. Press into Him and stay in it. He is leading you. Be encouraged. The first Christmas likely was not an easy, sweet, sentimental time, but a hard one. The Holy Family’s relatives and good friends are not mentioned. There was no room for the Holy Family! Baby laid in a trough into which animals regularly slobbered. Yet angels accompanied the Holy Family. Angels brought strangers to come and adore. A miraculous star appeared in the sky and led another small group to travel to find Him. Simultaneously, the bulk of the population was completely oblivious that the long-awaited Savior had been born.
Ah, God, how inscrutable and in the moment how seemingly nonsensical is Your perfect will! How did any of these things make sense for the birth of the King-Messiah?
Mary pondered all these things in her heart. This was not jumping-up-and-down jubilee, but observing and considering and wondering and thinking about it all. It is not holly-jolly or sentimental or romantic. And definitely not ho, ho, ho. It was not put-on smiles and an overfilled schedule of events. It was a moment-by-moment faith-filled choice. The Holy Family choosing each second anew to walk out the invisible un-dreamt-of-life God now set before them. An invisible path to be walked out step by step as it unfolded before them to whatever awaited them, which at the moment was likely not fully comprehensible. Holy. And teary. Mary continuing onward even as she was promised this life with and for her beloved Son, Jesus, would cause her heart to be as if pierced with multiple swords. The promise of pain. Not ease or happiness. In the midst, Mary’s response continued to be, “Not my will, but Yours.”
This is the crucified life to which you are called. All of us singly and together. This year you receive the hard blessing that this is true. You are aware of a cross and have picked it up to follow Christ. It is agony. So, there are tears. Tears are normal, because hardship is normal.
In the dark night of the soul, You are with me and each one. Inscrutable. Majestic. Marvelous. Never leaving or forsaving, especially when I cannot see. Always working through that which is hard to bring Your multi-faceted good. Always, my only rest is in You. My ownly peace in Your promises. And when tears fall, You hold me in ways I cannot see.
27 And prompted by the [Holy] Spirit, he came into the temple [[j]enclosure]; and when the parents brought in the little child Jesus to do for Him what was customary according to the Law,
28 [Simeon] took Him up in his arms and praised and thanked God and said,
29 And now, Lord, You are releasing Your servant to depart (leave this world) in peace, according to Your word.
30 For with my [own] eyes I have seen Your Salvation,
31 Which You have ordained and prepared before (in the presence of) all peoples,
32 A Light for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was before unknown] and [to bring] praise and honor and glory to Your people Israel.
33 And His [legal] father and [His] mother were marveling at what was said about Him.
34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this Child is appointed and destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against—
35 And a sword will pierce through your own soul also—that the secret thoughts and purposes of many hearts may be brought out and disclosed.
38 And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me.
39 Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].
SONG Recommended: HOPE FOR THE WORLD–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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