by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
When we look beyond the frenzy of wrapping gifts, parties and mandatory baking assignments, special gatherings, and seemingly mandatory pre-scripted annual events, there is more room in our minds and hearts for God to share His greatest secret, which is no secret at all: His Kingdom has come!
Jesus did not just come to a manger. (Yay! God is here!) Jesus did not just go to the cross. (Ah, Lord, thank You for restoration to life with You, forever!) Jesus announced and lived as a citizen of the kingdom of God which was re-established and is here though not fully yet.
We are in the now of the overriding return of the Kingdom of God which Jesus brought, conquering the adversary’s rule for those who would take the Door He is and walk through it back to relationship with Father. This is the fullness of time! This is what the ancients had heard about, waited for and looked for! And this redemption of all things is still happening. Entry into that eternal Kingdom of a new creation and restored paradise is not fully there yet. Complete fullness awaits the end of our mortal lives and the end of this world. It awaits the second promised coming of our Messiah King.
Our Christmas hope is God provided our way out. He is with us now in the midst of walking through our own wilderness. He puts eternal purpose in every step. He will never leave or forsake us. He is coming again, and His will be the full redemption and end of all things unto pure goodness. The evil one will be cast permanently into the never-ending second death and his reign will be no more. All those who have chosen and followed Jesus will be in the Kingdom of the One who made us. New life, new creation, new heaven, new earth. No more pain. No more sorrow. Circle of infinite Love where God is welcoming us. Constantly beckoning. As we seek to ascend to Him, He descends to us. He meets with us. He wipes away every tear. God Himself!
And in that place, when the fullness of time has finally come and we are at the end of this age, then, then, then, there will be only light. There will be no need for the sun or the moon or little lamps we try to set up for illumination, for the Lamb and Father will be the Light of the world to come, where there will be no darkness at all, for the full and complete reign of the Lamb has come. Jesus.
The One who came as prophesied from the beginning and lived with us to reveal Father. So that we could see and choose to follow and know the Love and come to understand this love, which is depicted through the earlier commandments but fully fulfilled through Jesus. Love God. And because of love of God, love the ones next to you. The God, who instead of demanding more tribute in order to be satisfied enough to care for us, always cared so much that He gave up Himself in order to set us free (realign us with the true destiny for which He made us.).
It is a freedom from that temporal and potentially eternal prison where there is an absence of God and void of everything which is truly good and lasts. Every good and perfect gift comes from above.
This is where the story ends—that story which God has been writing as an unavoidable result of His love since the beginning of our time. He has always been and always will be. He is unchanging. He longed for us to become and has forever longed for us to be with Him if we will choose. The history of the world is the history of God with His creation where humanity is its crown. It is rough here. But God works through all of it to mold us and bring who He is to others so that we can reach this place in Him and with each other for eternity for which He made us. This is the hope of Christmas because it is why Jesus came. He set captives free. Re-realizing life and the opportunities of life-to-come with Father, with Creator and with lover of our souls. He sets free now. And He is coming again. We remember. We look forward. We rejoice. We do the work of obedience now in our generation as Jesus did in His.
We can expect to suffer. There will be crosses. Like His they will not be easy. He weeps with us. He longs to wipe away our tears. He carries us. He allows it to prune so we can be more fruitful for Him. We are the clay. He is the Potter. The end will be glorious. Despite misery we still live out God-purposes now. Christmas reminds us of what has been and will be. Christmas displays His love. Christmas rekindles hope and orients it correctly because He knows that we are a forgetful flock.
When Christmas doesn’t look like Christmas we hurt and yet we are blessed with incomparable riches which bubble up as unburdened, steadily increasing rejoicing because only Jesus remains. We recognize His significance and celebrate His answer—which is ineffable love pouring out in the unceasing waterfall (the Living Water of life) of His mercy. Joy is birthed. Yes, God sent His Son as Savior of the world. The red: oh Lord, thank You for how You paid for us with Your blood! The green: oh, thank You, Lord for the new life and new creation with a new tenderized heart which You have brought forth! Jesus came. WOW! He is with us now! BLISS! He is coming again. He came in an ordinary way. He lived in a regular life. Always extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary. God in our midst in this season and every single day until eternity. He wins. There is no stopping it. Life in paradise with God forever restored. Because He loves us. He loves you. He loves each one. GRATITUDE! MERRY BLESSED CHRISTMAS!
Holy Lord, You always have been and will remain beyond my full comprehension. At times this frustrates, but mostly it is beautiful consolation. Thi aspect of You confirms and affirms, You are God, only God. Yes, You are God. The wonder that I don’t have to understand it all. The gift. The privilege to be Your child, simply connect with Your Spirit, still here with me now because of Jesus, and follow. Thank You for Your presence. Thank You for Your help. Thank You for the journey. Thank You for Your kingdom come. And Your will that will be done. Now and forever. Yes now and forever. Amen
2 In those days it occurred that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole Roman empire should be registered.
2 This was the first enrollment, and it was made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3 And all the people were going to be registered, each to his own city or town.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
5 To be enrolled with Mary, his espoused (married) wife, who was about to become a mother.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her delivery,
7 And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn.
8 And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night.
9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened.
10 But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.
11 For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!
12 And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
13 Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor].
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing (saying) that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.
16 So they went with haste and [by searching] found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger.
17 And when they saw it, they made known what had been told them concerning this Child,
18 And all who heard it were astounded and marveled at what the shepherds told them.
19 But Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, just as it had been told them.
SONG Recommended: JOY TO THE WORLD (Itty Bitty Baby intro) –Christmas Worship album
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