Monday, December 23, 2013

Remembering a Christmas Past

"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love...These things I command you, that you love one another."  (John 15:9-10, 17)

Every Christmas until last year we had been together with our children. It was after the Thanksgiving holiday that I began to hear the plans of my family, one by one, most of them going in other directions instead of to our home. I knew all their plans were for the best, but I was expecting to fall apart and go through a major down spiral. You know, the poor-me that I can slide into. The one daughter and our grandson who would be there would be wonderful. But with the rest of the family away and with my husband's plans to be out of town some, I pretty much saw myself going through the holidays alone.

I started thinking what that might look like. Didn't feel like reading. No concentration. Couldn't seem to write. Computer problems. Had not bought any presents. The kids already had the things in mind they wanted to buy. Had not put up a tree. Didn't plan on cooking. My grandson was going to grill for us. So while my husband was away, I decided to do some things that would make the occasion special. Different, or unique. I spent time with great friends and family, and so enjoyed them, but also a lot of time alone. Wanting to be with some women whose family could not be with them on Christmas, I prayed, "Lord, tradition is great, but Christmas is really about you. I want to enter into rest in your presence. In your love."

Jesus tells us to abide in His love. That is to dwell. Live. Breathe. Move. Be nourished. To me it is like a little baby in its mother's womb. She provides the baby's every need. The two are as close as they can possibly be. The baby is inside the mother. She surrounds herself around the child. We are to be inside Jesus' love. He loves us as the Father loves Him. How utterly amazing!

I remember a special time I turned the lights down low. Lit the candles throughout the room. Placed the nativity figures just as I imagined they were on that glorious night. Made a warm fire with music softly playing to quiet my heart. God's presence was amazing. I pictured my Father letting me rest on His shoulder. My Savior, as I kneeled in front of Him to wash His feet with my tears, like a brother, reaching for me. Whispering His love for me in that still small voice. In His presence I experienced being loved, healed, strengthened, cleansed, renewed, and reassured. For it is there I am whole.

There is no happier place to be than trusting in the One who is Supreme and who controls everything. To know your life is in His hands. That He gives you rest in His gentle, meek, humble heart. That He lives in you and His love is in you. That you are in His love and nothing can separate you, ever.

After we have come into God's love, may we then go and give that love to others. Let's give it to a love-hungry world whether inside our homes, or beyond. When we are in the presence of God we are so full of joy and love, it has to go somewhere.

May you have an abundant love and joy this Christmas.