Only Jesus Remains– 47.Restful Christmas

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020

Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas

I saw the building with its double doors from a distance. Both of the doors were decorated with evergreen wreaths.  I continued my walk catching glimpses of these through shimmering trees still adorned in California’s early December end-of-autumn golden flourishes. The doors beckoned.  As if inviting and welcoming all those who were nearby to come and enter. To be embraced. Loved. To rest.

 This is Jesus. Always beckoning. So far beyond an insistence that you say yes. His love is extended and open to you to simply come in. To be at peace. He is imparting His view.

In this season to celebrate that He came, we rejoice in the freedom His way of life-unto-death brought and revel in His promise of resurrection. That He will come again. Thus, here in this place now the Holy Spirit’s invitation to enter in and simply be with Him a while. As you do, He will decorate your heart with Himself. This is for your delight because His truth and love incrementally heal your inner hurts. He resets you on His trajectory which is sweet and right and just even in the midst of the most-messy of messes.  When you choose to stop and enter into His ongoing now-through-eternity rest, His peace is there emanating from His presence. He lovingly, graciously fills you with it here in the midst. His peace is that cool draught of water in an otherwise agonizing dry space.  He is the bread—the manna—for the journey.

The reality of the life of Jesus feeds you.  Stripped of its romanticized outer covering, it can be seen in its rawness. Not easy. Often not pretty. Hard. Suffering. Injustice. Confusion. Betrayal. Jesus singularly focused on the goal.  Here was not His ultimate home. His kingdom was not (and is not) of this world.  But His was mission critical work. You are called to do this, too. Spirit-directed unto fullness for you and for others. While still in the midst of the mess.

Jesus could rest in the truth of how things really were. He was never to be rustled into restlessness by other expectations. No anxiety. Worry never a driving force. In fact, non-existent.

Rest is an odd term. Normally, we add to the schedule so many have-tos in an effort to make Christmas special. Rarely is there rest in it. Further, where is rest to be found when all around you seems out of order? God’s rest is different.

 You are not called to pretend.  Indeed, life will be hard here. But this just makes Christmas all the more precious.  Coming to rest in Him is found less in the exterior trappings of an earthly party and more in that certain hope of a heavenly one. And God with you now. The thanks, gratitude and even awe that there will be restoration and no more tears. And the understanding of current assignment.

This attitude of rest is life-giving in your now. It is His gift, if you will choose it.  It is the rejuvenating call to abundant Jesus-life found in the dailiness. His way your direction, heritage and inheritance. Life. Yes. Life to the full. And rest. That inner rest which comes from firm knowing that God is King, and He is working through everything and everyone, to build His kingdom. Not with rocks and stones and inanimate buildings, but with the living stones His followers become, out of which He builds that place for yet more to find their safety, purpose and peace in how it is, and will be in Him as well. You not only believe, but seek to follow Jesus. You are a crucial one of these living stones.

Come into His Christmas rest. Ruminate on these truths. Glory in His kingdom-come and His will be done now and forever. Our King is leading. He has won. It will be glorious. And for now—the assignment.

Baby Jesus, You came and showed me Your way. Thank You! You came, are here with me now and are coming again. Thank You! And here in the midst You are ongoing extending Your rest to me. Rest. In the midst. Peace-filled, peace-filling, peace-emanating moments which when strung together in Your presence become a lifetime. Of being grounded in Your peace even now. With Your peace I can breathe! I can inhale deeply and know that no matter how things look, You are still there in the messy middle loving each one of us, never leaving us alone and gently, tenderly working out Your purposes. Embraces us by Your Spirit and whispering encouragement, comfort and direction for each day to come. In You and with You, by You and through You is my strength! And so I am leaning on You, Holy Spirit. Help me to take up my place at rest in God and stay there. No matter what. Bliss! Joy!

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

Matthew 11:28-30

10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

John 10:10

20 You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself the chief Cornerstone.

21 In Him the whole structure is joined (bound, welded) together harmoniously, and it continues to rise (grow, increase) into a holy temple in the Lord [a sanctuary dedicated, consecrated, and sacred to the presence of the Lord].

22 In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you yourselves also are being built up [into this structure] with the rest, to form a fixed abode (dwelling place) of God in (by, through) the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:20-21

SONG Recommended: –SHALOM So You Sent Your Son album

ONLY JESUS REMAINS PODCASTS

RESTFUL CHRISTMAS PODCAST

If you are just joining in these reflections, read the Introduction here to learn what these are all about.

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Author: Elizabeth Fulgaro

I am a God-seeker--a Jesus-worshipper--a Holy Spirit follower. I create songs, devotions, prayers, books and Bible studies to give words with which to get to know God more. For you. Its for one-on-One encounter unto transformed, transcendent living. This is not my vocation. I am not professional. I am a real, ordinary person just looking to do what God put me here to do. (You have a unique purpose too.) So I am called to the work. It is not my income source, but my gift to those who find it blessing. Eagles Nest Foundation sponsors all projects for you. The result: pure, clean spiritual nutrition to feed that deep insatiable spiritual hunger which eventually overtakes each of us and galvanizes you to the life God has for you. This life is purposeful. Exceptional. You--yes, you--are called to something greater and more satisfying in His service. So it is hoped you'll try this spiritually dense nutrition and find it to be a personal blessing. However, the goodness of God-following doesn't stop there. He uses those who seek Him to be His love and care (justice, mercy, advocate, kindness) very tangibly in the lives of those around you. Not by your power but by His. His ideas. God ideas. Not just good ideas. To be part of changing the world, if you will let Him. You learn to just follow where He leads. That if you listen, He will teach you to hear His voice and then when you obey His inner promptings you will become His incredible hands and feet in this hard world. These materials will help! They will help you aim your life towards God in a way you never look back. You will not be the same. He will become the River in your desert spaces and you will become a conduit of this same River of refreshing, replenishing Water of Life to others. Find a prayer. Pick a blog post. Read a book. Be led deeper into the Bible. Select a song which resonates and use it and use it again to go close and ever closer to the God who longs to draw you near. Oh, and don't be tempted to think I'm a crazy over-spiritualized loony...My background is financial planning and counseling. Almost 40 years of it. To choose to believe in God is not to leave practicality and reason behind, but to learn that there is that which goes beyond it and includes it, unto true life fulfillment beyond all your dreams for the one who keeps seeking Him. I am a third generation Californian. I am a person to whom family means everything. The only priority higher is God. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada are my home. It is here the 1849-1856 Gold Rush is still glorified. Easy money? Actually only for the few. Even though I was raised in the Church, it took me ten years of doubting God even existed to realize that without Him, no matter how much of this life's "stuff" is accumulated, I actually have nothing. To come to know that all those who chased after gold are dead and all those who still chase stuff will be dead. That's when I became a God-seeker. Looking for that more. And Eureka! (This is California's state slogan and means I found it.) I found God...or rather, I discovered He was there and had been there waiting for me to look for Him the whole time. May you discover more of Him for you, greater flourishing life and greater flourishing for all in the world as well. God bless you! ~Elizabeth

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