by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
He is calling you to Christlikeness. The path is narrow. It can be arduous. Yet, you do not walk alone. And once more remember, a list of shoulds is not the emphasis. Learning to love God, self and others is. As Spirit teaches, equips and leads.
He is calling you closer to Himself. To bury yourself more deeply in Him. There He catches your tears as He holds you. He understands. He knows. He weeps with those who weep. He carries you. He is for you and those you love. Especially when how things are right now is not to be fully understood. He is forever God with you and will never ask more of you than He gave Himself.
The Holy Family walked out the hard path. Mary’s pain was valid. So is yours. In this season as you walk out yours, God is still there reaching for you to cry on His shoulder for as long as you need. In the midst!
The first Christmas, the angels sang, and celebrated God’s Kingdom had come! He had finally drawn near in the manner which He had promised. It was the fullness of time. The people—all the people for every generation were to be delivered from every bondage, set free to be fully themselves and put on a trajectory to return to the life for which God had made them.
Yet it was not easy. It could not have been. In order for God’s plan to go into completion He worked through people who had to make some very edgy, courageous choices to walk out the path God laid before them. The discouragement, doubt, fear, uncertainty, anxiousness and hardship which likely accompanied Joseph and Mary would have been very real. They knew the Son, Mary carried and gave birth to, was the Messiah, but how much did they understand about what that really meant? Had they yet perceived the full cost? Did they understand He was the final and ultimate Lamb, which meant He would become a human sacrifice? Could they have fathomed this?
What were the dreams for their lives which had to be set aside in order to walk out this God-path unrolling before them? What dreams did they have to die to so as to follow in the direction God was pointing them? How small and helpless did they feel in the process? How aware were they of their own vulnerability and their complete dependence on an invisible God to get them through?
Your Christmas path is not one of people-pleasing shoulds or societal musts because to fulfill these supposedly expresses true love. The path to which God calls is to receive love, hope, peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness from His Spirit so you can take your next steps, get through your next day (and sometimes your next moment) okay. In the way He leads this season to be for you. Your path is composed of His next steps even though the whole future remains a fuzzy unclear blur.
He is the Way. His life, the example to be followed. And Spirit will lead you in it. It is His job. Not your will but God’s. Like Jesus. Evil and what is wrong sometimes seeming to win, but God working in you through it. As you follow Him on the path you did not want, He is also using you to help make this path more level and easier for those who come after you to traverse. To walk out their own God-led steps through their own hard stuff. Because even if it has not been made known to you, they have their own hard stuff, too. Every person does.
Gentle Jesus, this reaod is not easy. Yet, You walked out Your own hard path long before mine. Your life, death and resurrection encourage me. This isnot what I had hoped for, but I recognize You can use it. The nemey does not to unthwarted. Ever. You re the one I trust. Give me Your strength, courage, wisdom and direction for the day. This next second! Spirit—thank You—what sweet relief—that You are ever there leading me and working through it all. My Peace. My Joy. My Great Solace and always my Hope.
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].
25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting].
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]?
1I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
SONG Recommended: MESSIAH, MESSIAH–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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