by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
The true view in awe of the manger is one thankfully reveling in and celebrating the promise of heaven and different living now. The better view of Christmas is the gateway to a truer picture of God whose power was not used in creation the way we usually interpret power to be. Jesus conquered, liquidating the adversary’s hold on us by laying down His life.
Mary laid down her life. Joseph laid down his. The Wise Men laid down what they had going on to go find Jesus. These men were compelled to go beyond their work of the moment to embrace the greater work of going to find and honor God. To celebrate what God was doing even though this Savior was as yet a mere Baby. At the time He was not very recognizable for who He was.
The shepherds, too, laid down seemingly all-too-pressing responsibilities to follow the angel’s instruction to go, see and honor the Christ Child. When they had done so, they told everyone they knew what they had seen. Even though the Baby as yet appeared as nothing.
Anna long before had laid down her life to live as God had called her in the Temple, waiting decades for the coming of the promised Savior as she partnered with God in devotion, prayer and steadfast obedience until He had come. Simeon, too, had laid down his life. Life had not been his for a long time. But because of Simeon’s obedience, he was present when the Child was presented at the Temple. He could do his part, which is remembered still today.
John the Baptist laid down all other potential aspirations, trusting that he had heard God correctly to embrace a repentance-preaching, locust-and-honey eating wilderness existence. The list of those who laid down their lives in collaboration with the greater plans of God for one and for all continues.
For God so loved the world, He gave. Jesus’ life laid down as a ransom for many. Each one called to a sacrificial life. This means you.
How are you called? What is your animal feed trough instead of a bed? What are you to do or not to do so God can work through it something greater? What are you still measuring according to foolish lesser human perspective?
For then the angel showed St. John the city of God which no longer needed the sun or the moon because the Lamb (of God—Jesus!) was its light. The Lamb who had been slain at the hands of selfishly minded and therefore evil people, yet through this Jesus had become seated on the throne over all in the way God had always intended. Forever already now. The old passed away. The new way had come. Each one who had chosen Jesus gathered around with their new, soft hearts received when they were born again through the water of the Spirit because of the blood of the Lamb spilled and gushing from those of unjust, excruciating wounds, which were undeserved, yet necessary because God foreknew. Thus, what the enemy meant for evil used by God for His victory for all. Each one who has gone faithfully before us into their eternal rest and His forever presence now praising Jesus as He rules from His throne in unity and union with Father and Spirit. Trinity. Separate individuals, but together. As One, the Head. And to this our role. All the parts of His Body, still individual, but working together as one the way He always intended.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches!… This is just not it. It is a pretty view, but a lower one and can be distraction. Unless the green reminds of the promised new life and the twinkling lights provide the comfort and symbolize that one Light who chose to be born and through whom and because of whom we can all live in the hope of a purposeful now and promised perfection to come.
Is it possible to give thanks in pain? Is it? Indeed, for there are these greater things. Hurting hearts simultaneous to awe-filled minds. Expansion. Truth. Wisdom. Encounter with true Love (versus lesser human love).
Because a Child was born. A Son has been given. The Government was upon His shoulders. He is called Prince of Peace. His peace is not of this world because neither is His kingdom. In the world, but not of it. Beyond and here. Both. Not fully experienced yet, but still present and working and looking to us to partner with Him in it. For the life of the world! For the reign of the world to come! For wholeness and healing and joy and peace and awe and bowed-down, falling-on-your-face-because-you-must gratitude.
For God so loved the world. For God so loved each one. JESUS! (His name means God saves.)
Sovereign, wonderful, unfathomable Lord. How I love You! How I attempt to love You with arms stretched out as You stretched Yours out for me. Because You came. You gave. You listened to Father and obeyed. At all costs. To do Your part. The essential role because You are the Essential One. You came. You are coming again. For now You have these plans for me which are to be part of accomplishing Your will for me and for all so Your kingdom here and coming more now. For one. For all. Today and today again, I seek to lay down my life to pick up Yours. Spirit, You will help. Not my will but Yours. For Your glory, because You are glorious.
And I saw lying on the open hand of Him Who was seated on the throne a scroll (book) written within and on the back, closed and sealed with seven seals;
2 And I saw a strong angel announcing in a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll? And [who is entitled and deserves and is morally fit] to break its seals?
3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in the realm of the dead, Hades] was able to open the scroll or to take a [single] look at its contents.
4 And I wept audibly and bitterly because no one was found fit to open the scroll or to inspect it.
5 Then one of the elders of the heavenly Sanhedrin] said to me, Stop weeping! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root (Source) of David, has won (has overcome and conquered)! He can open the scroll and break its seven seals!
6 And there between the throne and the four living creatures (beings) and among the elders of the heavenly Sanhedrin] I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God the sevenfold Holy Spirit] Who have been sent [on duty far and wide] into all the earth.
7 He then went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him Who sat on the throne.
8 And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders of the heavenly Sanhedrin] prostrated themselves before the Lamb. Each was holding a harp (lute or guitar), and they had golden bowls full of incense (fragrant spices and gums for burning), which are the prayers of God’s people (the saints).
9 And [now] they sing a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the scroll and to break the seals that are on it, for You were slain (sacrificed), and with Your blood You purchased men unto God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 And You have made them a kingdom (royal race) and priests to our God, and they shall reign [as kings] over the earth!
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels on every side of the throne and of the living creatures and the elders of the heavenly Sanhedrin], and they numbered ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands,
12 Saying in a loud voice, Deserving is the Lamb, Who was sacrificed, to receive all the power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and majesty (glory, splendor) and blessing!
13 And I heard every created thing in heaven and on earth and under the earth [in Hades, the place of departed spirits] and on the sea and all that is in it, crying out together, To Him Who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb be ascribed the blessing and the honor and the majesty (glory, splendor) and the power (might and dominion) forever and ever (through the eternities of the eternities)!
Not My Will But Yours
SONG Recommended: NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS –Christmas Worship album
If you are just joining in these reflections, read the Introduction here to learn what these are all about.
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