Only Jesus Remains– 76.Christmas Illuminated

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020

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

The first light of a suggested dawn to come. One last star high in the pre-dawn sky. A brilliant white dot of twinkle. The sky around it warms to fuchsia at the horizon with violet blue above it. It is a sign. One which will not last, but indicates the dawn is not far away.

I expected the colors of the dawn to be momentary, but they stayed and changed and grew even more vibrant as if to say, “Hold on. Persist. And see Me in all things. Yes, see Me in all things.  Hang onto the dawn until the rising Son is clearly and fully visible again. I am the Lord Most High and I am on my throne and here with you now.”

 And then it was past. The moment. The colors faded. Would I hold onto what He had shown me? Would I hold onto hope or choose to forget the glimpses of His view? The brilliant, beautiful, colors of the cold Christmas-ending dawn were a gift and a sign. A message.

Stay with it. God is still there working in the midst. Though there be no other sign. Hold onto the promised dawn. The Son is behind it. He is rising through it and nothing can stop His coming. Though it seem to tarry, actually it will not and cannot delay. 

You may not know and cannot know what this new dawn—this new day—will bring. But based on His example from the manger to the cross, you can know it will not be painless. It will not always seem easy or blessed, but He will bring His riches for all-time through it as He always has, and promises to always do going forward. It is not a promise for no pain or no evil, no injustice or the absence of hardship, but a promise of God working through the enemy’s schemes to bring His ultimate goodness. And love. Leading you. Never declaring evil is right but bringing His goodness anyway. Then the absence of death’s final power and purpose. These obliterated off the map of what we need to fear.

A Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. And will not. Jesus’ life was and is the Light. This is hope. This is joy. In this is His peace and a forward-looking that knows, through it all, where we are headed. He is the One who illuminates this singular, blessed way we are to go. The way life now and forever is to be. The text does not say the Light came into the world and the darkness was obliterated. It states that the Light is not overcome by the darkness. The darkness is unable to snuff it out.

In the darkness before the dawn, You are my constant Morning Star. You are the one who illuminates the pathway and urges me forward. Forward not unto a goal of my own contriving, but into that place in Your heart where I am at home. That place in Your essence for Your glory for which I was made. It is a turning and returning to that place in You for which You designed me. And then awe. The bliss and wonder that You long to work through me. Through me. I am such a mess! Yet, as Spirit helps me open myself to You and look into Your eyes instead of wallowing in my own tears, I am incrementally healed and joy rises up. Your Water flows over me. I am planted in Your good soil. And embracing how now is, I reach to You and find more of You in it. There is peace for my soul. Peace which co-exists with difficulty and even or perhaps especially in those places where I do not understand and will not understand until heaven. Darkness, yes, darkness, which does not lift, but Your Light in it. Your love. Your warmth and blessedly Your direction. Purpose. Purpose for my weary soul which helps me put one foot in front of the other. No longer expecting perfection. No longer striving to gain that one more thing of this earth but finding completion in how You see me and being part of Your anointed, appointed Force from heaven, where Spirit is the hope that through my weary, beaten body, Your love will indeed still flow through. My heart joined to Yours and Yours for mine. Together. Under You. In You. For You. By You. Through You. On the way home and with You now through forever. Bliss!

For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God.

For what we preach is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves [merely] as your servants (slaves) for Jesus’ sake.

For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.

We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair;

We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed;

10 Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies.

11 For we who live are constantly [experiencing] being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be evidenced through our flesh which is liable to death.

12 Thus death is actively at work in us, but [it is in order that our] life [may be actively at work] in you.

13 Yet we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, I have believed, and therefore have I spoken. We too believe, and therefore we speak,

14 Assured that He Who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up also with Jesus and bring us [along] with you into His presence.

15 For all [these] things are [taking place] for your sake, so that the more grace (divine favor and spiritual blessing) extends to more and more people and multiplies through the many, the more thanksgiving may increase [and redound] to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],

18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

2 Corinthians 4:4-18

SONG Recommended: MESSIAH, MESSIAHSo You Sent Your Son album

ONLY JESUS REMAINS PODCASTS

CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATED 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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