by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
Consider for a moment one of the promises found in the Book of Revelation to which we cling: “God will wipe away every tear.” This is such a comfort. It is also revelatory. It means there will be tears here.
We each are called to do our part to manifest God’s way in this wilderness, which is not our home, but where we are on ambassadorial assignment until God calls us home. He Himself is telling us there should be no expectation that life will suddenly become easy, beautiful and filled only with that which we consider blessings by our standard.
Hard is normal. We are walking wounded. Crushed hearts. Pain as we come in contact with the brokenness of others. Then in our woundedness inadvertently inflicting more pain on yet others because of our own wounds. The agony at times of trying to keep going. To go on in spite of the wounds. This is the plight of each one. No one unwounded. Not one. Remember, this is not heaven and we are each far from perfect.
Christmas is not a time to pretend things are not as they are. To cover the pain with a weak or pasted-on smile to make the best of it. Make the best of what?
We need to be real. This does not have to be negative. It just is. In all things we can still endeavor to be kind, but we do not have to put on a fake happy. There is no need to participate in human-designed activities which are not a good fit presently.
Come to Jesus. Come to the manger. See the One who created the universe, emptied Himself for love of us, who came into this fallen, dirty, evil-tinged realm and not into a palace, but was placed in a bed which was no bed at all, but where animals snotty muzzles usually rummaged around for food. Humiliating circumstances from the beginning. Appearing as a nobody who was good for nothing, but through whom God would accomplish everything. Yet not becoming humiliated by His circumstances but being humble. Looking to Father. Jesus staying focused on what was important. Consumed by His role. Not caring that to others His life appeared of no account. Completely unconcerned by this.
Come to Jesus. Come to the manger. Our comfort is that we serve a God who sees, knows, cares and poured out everything to give us a future and hope beyond anything imagined. A future that is not of this world. Giving us a lifestyle of living with eternal value and current good consequences. Jesus’ manger, life and cross are the hope that in this hard place, God still uses us. For eternal kingdom-of-God work if we will let Him. And promised resurrection is coming.
Mary the Mother of Jesus beyond the Nativity is known as the Mother of Sorrows. Simeon declared to her when Jesus was only 8 days old that a sword would pierce her heart. What kind of words are these to say to a new mother?! What did this say about the way God’s purposes would be accomplished through Jesus and how would this effect Mary?
Our pain hurts God’s heart. So, did hers. But He does not take our pain away. Yet.
He is Comforter. He does not ask us to pretend what is difficult is not there. He asks us to crawl up onto His lap and weep while He holds us in deepest understanding and compassion. As we simultaneously listen for His next word for us. Then maybe we can go forward and just do the next thing before us. The next moment. As Joseph and Mary did. As Holy Spirit leads. This is all He asks. For His mission, which is for our great rejoicing and His glory.
Lord, it is in Your joy that I find all strength. In Your promises and Way of Jesus all answers are found. How blessed Your provision and care. How unfathomable this Love which is overall, works through all and does not leave us to our own devices. In this hard season You are there. Yet, Yu are leading somewhere even better, where indeed there will be no more tears. For now there is a mission which is secret and undisclosed to those who do not know You. You beckon onward. My singular wish is to unite my heart to Yours. Forever. And You will help me.
1 To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,
3 A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,
7 A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,
8 A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace…
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be glad and to get and do good as long as they live;
13 And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
14 I know that whatever God does, it endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it. And God does it so that men will [reverently] fear Him [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is].
SONG Recommended: BE NOT AFRAID–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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