by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
King! The word flying into my consciousness in an exuberant burst during moments when I am tempted to slip into sadness and despair. Christmas is a season of reflection for the heart. A feast to be entered into where I open myself intentionally to Him to give what is needed in whatever particular season of life I find myself. It is here He can feed me that which will nourish, restore and grow me in a way only He can give. Christmas reminds me that I have not yet arrived. I am still here and am being affected by that which is not in which it is hard. This year again He refreshes and awakens me that He wants to do yet more repair and healing in my innermost being. He reminds me of my assignment. He calls me away from thoughts which slip down so that I will look up.
King! The One who came from a throne which led to a cross, which led back to a throne. King. Savior. Lord. If He is, then how can my thoughts be darkened? How can I find myself mentally in this pit (again)?
Because I am human. Because I feel and care and love and have emotions built into me by the Creator which include disappointment and discouragement. Because I have set my sights too low. For this reason, too.
Perhaps I should say it a different way. I have not set my thoughts high enough. Or rather, perhaps instead of lifting these to heaven, I need to lower them to a manger, His life and a cross. Perhaps I need to spend time gazing at Love—Jesus–who is uncomfortable and misunderstood, unseen and mistreated and eventually covered with wounds that cause Him to bleed to death. Inflicted by those He still loves who do not recognize Him or even acknowledge Him. They definitely are in no position to love Him in return. At least not yet. In fact, they do the opposite.
The One who is Love who came to love them, is the One they seek to destroy. Rejecting Who He is. Fully. They do not want Him. At least at that moment, they did not. He died for them anyway. He allowed them to brutalize and murder Him because through it Father would redeem them all. So, keeping His eyes on Father’s plan in the drudgery and misery of it, He let it happen. For Love. Not because He was allowing Himself to be wrongly abused. But because He was in Father’s plan for the redemption of souls, fully united with that plan in mind, heart and body. Thus, the abuse happened. It was wrong. But He was not focused on this. As much as this hurt His heart and pained and grieved Him to see others acting like this, it did not dampen or change His love. He continued to look only to Father and let happen what must be so that Father’s secret, mysterious plan could go into fulfillment. In spite of the hateful action, Supreme Love coming through victoriously. And not just for those then, but for every generation including ours.
Because He is Love, loved and loves. His love was not reciprocated or even recognized. This did not change His stance.
This suffering is not the affiliation I want there to be between God and love. I want it to be fluffy and cuddly, or like warm and frosted sugar cookies with tea, coffee or milk. Friendly and hugging. Bi-lateral, mutual sweetness! Soft and affirming one to the other. Always. Without fail. Isn’t this love, true love?
But my Savior who is love was not disappointed and discouraged. Even when He was grieved. When He hurt. It was hard. But His eyes were not downcast in the midst, because He was confident in His Father and united with Father in purpose so that the rest was mere noise and not the focus of His attention. Father was. This confidence was not in what He knew Father would save Him from. On the contrary, He knew in Father’s love someone would have to suffer. This is the type of love God-Love is. God Himself would choose to suffer at the hands of those whom He created (in love—true love). Unjustly and for Love. Out of obedience to Father singularly.
Jesus’ confidence was not that because God loved Him life for Him would be blessed in a way most of us would consider wonderful. As One with Father and Spirit, He knew that true Love was not like that. Jesus instead was confident that God was all-powerful. He knew Father would not fail. He would complete His rescue and redemption plan. Though evil was all around, God would come through working humanity’s rescue.
This is how God could not and would not fail. Jesus knew it. He relied on it. He leaned into it. He submitted to it.
Today Jesus is not just King on a heavenly throne who I can scarcely imagine and feel as if I cannot touch. He is also closer than I can fathom. Jesus came! I celebrate the manger, because it led to the cross and showed me the way of life in God with God and through God in-between. Because the Love-power of God that raised Him. He resurrected, which enabled His promise to us. That God-connected life burdened with nothing. Instead, rejoicing and resilient in our King, now through forever. Spirit-led. Christ-fed. For God-effect. Father-love there for us always. Now through forever. Amen.
Lord, lift my thoughts whenever they become downcast. Help me to remember the way You showed. Keep my heart so in love with You that listening fervently I can embrace and walk through whatever comes, knowing You are in it with me and will use it for Your glory. Yes, this is my heart’s desire: to partner with You. To be used by You. Oh, what joy and purpose you imbue to every moment.. Thanks be to You, my Lord God, Savior KING!
21 From that time forth Jesus began [clearly] to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and the high priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised from death.
22 Then Peter took Him aside to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You!
23 But Jesus turned away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way [an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me]; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men.
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] [r]life [in the kingdom of God]?
27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done.
SONG Recommended: HEAVENS KING – Christmas Worship album
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