Monday, December 10, 2018

Just for You: Beloved
Christmas Reflections: Waiting
11.30.18
Good Morning, Friends,

I love Christmas. It seems I always have. The reds, the greens, the lights and trees, the packages and cards, the music, decorations and festivities. The gathering of friends and family and the laughter and the surprises all can put a spring in my step and a smile in my life. I love the preparation and the anticipation. 

This year as I put away our fall trappings and the house was waiting for its Christmas dressing, I began to think of my Christmas heart as well as my Christmas house.  What would fill my heart this year at Christmas?  I took this to be a whisper from God, a good and godly question. And so as I heard the question, I was nudged to wait on the Lord for Him to tell me His plan, rather than to rush into my plans and preparations. 

As I sat with the Lord in stillness, I asked Him to show me His plans for me this Christmas. And I waited, counting on His presence and His caring. 

“Come, follow me,” is the first thing the Holy Spirit reminded me of that morning. Jesus invited His disciples to follow Him and He was inviting me to follow Him into my Christmas, both preparations and anticipations.
I wanted to do that, to follow Him So I questioned Him again, “Lord, what does that mean for me today and into this season?”

Very clear the answer came: “I want you to have a heart like Mine. A heart of compassion, mercy, reaching out, kindness, caring and freely giving. And I want you to start right behind your own front door. I want you to show My heart by your attitudes and actions to David. This is where I want your Christmas to begin as you follow Me. Then I want you to take this Heart of Mine with you out to your neighbor, that is anyone who I put into your day. ”

Other things came to mind that Jesus would want for me as I approached Christmas—

~a peaceful spirit, especially when things do not go my way,
 ~a focus on the Person this season is all about, 
~a priority of still time listening to His word and talking with Him, so that I can then practice His presence all day long, 
~a forgiving heart as I have been forgiven and so many more ways I can show Christmas in my home and to others.
 
I have found that when I am listening carefully He will show me step-by-step and day-by–day how I can follow Him. He will do the same for you this Christmas if that is what you desire.

Next I remembered that Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing.” Even at Christmas. Oh I can make a list, and order on Amazon, I can “set around” the pretties and color my home with red and green. I might even find a Christmas sweater that isn’t ugly! I could even “eat, drink and be merry.” For a time.  
But without Him I can do nothing that will last, nothing that will matter in the end. 

I cannot love over the long haul and in His way.
I cannot have peace that passes understanding.
I cannot heal another’s hurting heart.
I cannot have deep joy that goes deeper than the grief this world brings.
I cannot take away my guilt and shame just by looking the other way.
I cannot give hope that is not uncertain.

But He can! And as I draw near to Him, accepting His invitation and His gifts, as I bring Him into my day, my struggles and my delights, as I learn to trust His mighty hand and His generous heart, His timing and His mysteries, as I depend on Him who is the Living God and whose Spirit lives in my heart, by His grace I can shine a bit of His glory and goodness in a hurting world this Christmas. I can accept His invitation to “Come, follow Me.” And by my words and my life I can in small ways point others to the One who so loves, who came and is still present.

Come, follow Me.

Without Me you can do nothing.

This is how I began my Christmas this year.  As I waited in stillness and anticipation for His best for me this year, I heard His gentle guidance from His word for my Christmas heart. I encourage you to stop and wait on the Lord as you ask Him in stillness His plans for your heart and your hands this Christmas. It could be your best Christmas ever.

With love and always delighted to hear the thoughts God whispers to you,

Carolyn Roper

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