Source of Christ-mas JOY

Holy One, You are the Source of our joy. Magnificent and wonderful, all the hard things pale in the Light of Your eternal plan. All I want to see this Christmas is You. By focusing on You and what You have done and how You did it and reflecting on what You promise to come, I sense Your joy in Your giving and You give me Your strength. Lord, thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your care. Thank You for Christmas and the reason You came. I have hope and can look forward only because of You. Thank You for holding me close when human means of celebration hurt. You are all that I want and all that I need. In Jesus' name, Amen
Holy One, You are the Source of our joy. Magnificent and wonderful, all the hard things pale in the Light of Your eternal plan. All I want to see this Christmas is You. By focusing on You and what You have done and how You did it and reflecting on what You promise to come, I sense Your joy in Your giving and You give me Your strength. Lord, thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your care. Thank You for Christmas and the reason You came. I have hope and can look forward only because of You. Thank You for holding me close when human means of celebration hurt. Show me how You want me to commemorate Your birth this year and give me Your peace in it. You are all that I want and all that I need.  I look to You for all direction and comfort. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

Most of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus already know Christmas is not about presents, or gathering with people we love, decorations, lights or Christmas trees. Ultimately it is not about kindness to others or even a baby in a manger. Christmas celebrates and commemorates God come down to earth as one of us while remaining fully God and living with us, then dying and rising again to life everlasting in order to reveal the true nature of our Creator, Father God, open up the Way (His Way) and show us the Way home.

This is a way of restoration. We all need to be restored. We are born without the ability to live out our destiny with and through God, Who created us. We were not created to “get” from Him (though He provides all things to us), but to rely on Him and give to Him.

This is the feast of Christ (“Christ-mas”): that the Lord God, knowing we could never achieve it for ourselves, demonstrated His incomprehensibly infinite and unconditional love for us by being born, living and suffering unjustly until His death in order to ransom us from captivity in a temporal, fallen world. We celebrate freedom from this life being all there is. We celebrate the gift that death at His appointed time has become the door for each of us into ultimate fulfillment of all His promises instead of a bitter end and defeat of all for which we had hoped.

This is what we celebrate. The rest is mere trappings we have chosen to add to it.

So what, if we don’t want to set up a Christmas tree?! So what, if we don’t feel like parties, decorations, baking or celebrating our current life? While these can be very special additions to Christmas, they are not the core. Christmas is a celebration and commemoration of the birth of hope into our world. Jesus’ birth was the beginning of the Lord visibly fulfilling His greatest promise to us: never to leave us or forget us here, but to provide for us the way to the eternal home which He always intended for us.   Christmas reminds us that because He was born, He showed us the Father. He demonstrated His unfathomable love by going to the cross before we ever knew Him or pledged allegiance to Him. Selfless. Giving. Forever. Love. From Him. For us. Christmas is the hope of the Resurrection for our future and the promise of Pentecost where He remains with us through the Holy Spirit leading us today.

Candles and lights remind us of the Light of hope, truth and love which He is, shining into our darkness. Evergreen trees brought inside in winter remind us of never-ending life, which is His promise because of Jesus. Red reminds of the blood Jesus selflessly, sacrificially shed to give us this eternal life and green represents the combination of His restoration and the LIFE to which He invites. The gifts we give and the kindness we pursue are supposed to represent the overflowing outpourings of love we have for Him because He loved us, which we shower on others because we have deep inner need to pour out for others because of how He has done for us.

And yet, kindness as an expression of our love for Him in light of His love for us has no season. And none of the trappings we associate with Christmas are essential.

The core of Christmas is simply Christ. Christ celebrated. Christ adored. Thanksgiving for what He has done and will do with a focus on eternal more than temporal.

If you enjoy all the trappings we associate with Christmas then enjoy! If you find yourself in a place in life where this does not fit, then do not feel obliged and do not allow anyone to cause you to feel obliged. Be kind and just say “no”.

The essential is Christ.

Sit at His feet. Ask Him whatever you want. Tell Him you wish it weren’t so. Cry your tears and remain with Him.

May it be the most beautiful, significant season of celebrating His coming ever. Here is not our home. Let us truly celebrate the One who is our hope because He is the One Who came and is coming again. LIFE!

END

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth also posts brief devotions and prayers on Facebook on her page: Spiritual Armor and Ammo where you will find more posts of God’s truth and His way to help you stand strong against the battles of this life in which we all find ourselves.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

Christmas is Coming! Before Spending, Pray

We remember the profound, miraculous gift of Your birth.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011    www.holyspiritpress.org      www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Christmas is coming.  Before we spend, we need to pray.

In our culture there is a beautiful tradition of giving each other gifts at Christmas as an expression of love and caring.  But too often if not handled correctly, this can put undo financial pressure on households which potentially causes ongoing discord and unrest long after the annual “holy”-day festivities are past.   To stay in the peace God intends for us, we must avoid the cultural landmines of too many commitments and too much spending.  Our focus today is “holy”-day finances.

It is still November, yet already permeating the airwaves, cyberspace and written media is a plethora of messages encouraging you to focus on spending.  Either you will be “merry” if you give the right gifts or you will be “merry” if you finally get what you want.

When did a gift ever bring lasting inner peace and happiness?  It is not possible, because that is not what God ordains as the source of true inner peace and joy – He is.

Now you may say – let’s be practical. I have to give gifts.  It’s expected!

Perhaps it is expected, but this is where our faith should give us strength and courage.  The Bible is clear that we are not to worry about what others think of us, but only about what God thinks.  So before you shop, PRAY!  God knows your financial circumstances.  He knows where you are now, where you’ve been and what’s coming up.  He is the One who enables us to have all that we have.  He is the One to whom everything we have belongs.  We are mere stewards, which means it is our job to put the money He provides to work the way He ordains.  To whom we give what is part of this.  God knows how He wants money spent.  We are obliged to seek His will even in this and not succumb to any social pressure or pressure within families.

Sound hard?  Might be.  On the other hand you might find it quite freeing!  That’s the way God intended it to be.

Cultural pressure is to spend lavishly on others so they know they are loved and yet, no gift should be a prerequisite to love.  If there is a threat you will lose someone’s love or friendship if the gift isn’t “good” enough, then perhaps this friend’s love or friendship was never authentic.  Love can never be measured by how much money is thrown at it.  Love is separate from money.

As Christians we are blessed!  Our Christmas focus is the Gift of Jesus,  not the gifts.  We can stop and pray when the pressure to buy sneaks in and do a double check with God to see what He thinks.  In this way, we can avoid spending more than perhaps we can afford.

So make your list.  Check it twice.  Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you exactly what to do to cause each person you cherish to feel valued – but within your budget.

Selah! [Pause, and calmly think of that!]

END

Note: I have another blog called: THRIVING ~  NOT JUST SURVIVING ~ MONEY BLOG (live purposely, live responsibly, live well) where I will begin posting more practical money management tips.  I encourage those who want to become better stewards to subscribe.  You are also welcome to submit money questions.   We are to live in the world, not of the world, but we must know how to handle what God provides rightly.  However, it is not taught.  Thus the blog:  http://thrivingstudentmoneyblog.wordpress.com/.    May God guide our every step! ~ Elizabeth

Please consider giving the gift of CHRISTMAS WORSHIP this Christmas. Christmas is coming.  A few years ago, the Lord whispered to my heart that He wanted to be worshipped at Christmas and He showed me how many of the songs we sing beautifully tell the story of His birth and why He came, but very few actually worship Him during this festive season.  As a result in December 2009 I was in the studio beginning to record CHRISTMAS WORSHIP, which includes 7 new, original Christmas worship songs, which the Lord had me compose specifically for this project.   It can be purchased at www.holyspiritpress.org or amazon.com  http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Worship-Elizabeth-Fulgaro/dp/B004D9931G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1320069144&sr=8-2  or  itunes or CDbaby.com  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/elizabethfulgaro3.  Music clips can be heard at the CD Baby or amazon.com links.  May God receive the honor and worship He is due this Christmas season.

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org   Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.