by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
Away in a manger…O holy night… We long so desperately for a pretty world where there is love and joy and peace. This is because God made us for paradise with Him. For heaven. But here will not be so.
Thus, the hope of Christmas cannot be that all problems go away, and all difficulties resolve. Your heart knows this. For this reason, putting up some twinkling lights and decorating with candy canes does not assuage the inner aching. There is a longing for resolution, which at its core is a longing for heaven. A yearning for our true home which is not of this world. Especially when life in its current form hurts or is not that for which you had hoped.
The true hope and joy of Christmas has nothing to do with pretty packages or even guests visiting. No. Christmas is the soulful celebration that there is more to look forward to than how life currently is. Thanks be to Jesus!!!
There will be a time and place where all that is hard and evil resolves. This is the promise!! When suffering will end. Fully. Forever. No…more…tears. Or struggles. Or difficulties. An end to pain, disappointment and injustice.
Yet sometimes when you are in a hard place, the yearning for this final resolution promised can be overwhelming. You want it now. You want out of the pain, grief and unwanted circumstances already in this moment. (Make it stop!!!) It’s all too hard and hurts too much.
Ah, but Jesus. The One you follow. The One sent so you could know what to expect. He did not exit too soon. He stayed in the womb until His birth. He stayed a child until grown up. He stayed. He hung on the cross until dead. He did not come down because He could. He did not quit early because it was simply too much. He knew that God works out His purposes through all things. Even suffering. He trusted Father. He united Himself to Father’s will. God’s kingdom come, His will be done on earth as in heaven. Jesus stayed because in every moment of His Father-willed earthly existence, there was God-work for Him to do. It is the same for you. This also His promise. God will work through you. You have divine purpose for God now. In the midst!
Compassionate, loving God is not absent in your current pain. Remember, Emmanuel means: God-with-us! This supreme, supernatural, spiritual Ruler is ever-present. Even now. (Even when you cannot feel Him.) In His kindness and mercy, He does provide current help. Comfort. Assistance. Not just at the end. Now. Yes, the evil spiritual adversary always at work, but the one true God greater than every evil scheme. He does counter what the enemy has done and holds you close. He does weep with you, aware and mourning this fallen realm and all its lack. He does put Holy Spirit balm on your wounds towards healing and sends angels to accompany you even in current circumstances.
Additionally, He lovingly works through your pain and suffering in the lives of yet others toward their restoration as well. The nature of Most High is orchestrating this multi-faceted God-work. This is one way He takes what the enemy meant for destruction and uses it for ultimate good.
Thank You, Lord. Thank You for love. Thank You, for purpose. Thank You for mission Thank You for care. Thank You for awakening. Thank You for gentleness and the inexpressible wonder of You working through all things in Your timing for ultimate good and blessing—as You define these. For me. For those II love. For all the others. And for the joyous Kingdom life of the world. Now and in the age to come.
1 How lovely are Your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul yearns, yes, even pines and is homesick for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out and sing for joy to the living God.
3 Yes, the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young—even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
4 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; they will be singing Your praises all the day long. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
5 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills [the pools] with blessings.
7 They go from strength to strength [increasing in victorious power]; each of them appears before God in Zion.
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
9 Behold our shield [the king as Your agent], O God, and look upon the face of Your anointed!
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather be a doorkeeper and stand at the threshold in the house of my God than to dwell [at ease] in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts, blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts in You [leaning and believing on You, committing all and confidently looking to You, and that without fear or misgiving]!
SONG Recommended: TO SEE MERCY TRUIMPH–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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