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.
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).
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.
SONG Recommended: –SHALOM 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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