Friday, December 11, 2015
God and Santa Claus. Santa was a real man. So was Jesus.
I love to pretend, to imagine...
I love to pretend and imagine. Isn't that a lot of Christmas? Knowing what is real and what is not. What is truth and what is not.
Just imagine you are here at the farm. Sitting on my back porch having coffee with me and cookies.
Just suppose we were able to talk about Jesus and Christmas and what it means to us.
I use to dread the coming of Christmas. The decorating seemed a chore and the guessing of what to buy to please people was a strain.
This Advent Jesus has infiltrated every part of my CHRISTMAS. I no longer see it as the WORLDS CHRISTMAS and the CHRISTIAN CHRISTMAS. But I see everything in it, pointing to Jesus and His coming. It is a party of gift giving and lights and celebration and family. It all is Jesus to me now.
I have loved every part of it...
I am a woman created in the image of God. I love beauty. A woman's beauty and gentleness reflects the love of beauty in my God. As a mans strength and servant hearts and leadership reflects Him. Women we are not to use our dress and our beauty to lure men into sin but to reflect the wonder and beauty of the glow of the Lord. It is a heart for God. That trust in Him and loves Him more than anything. That His desires are hers. God is more beautiful than this life but this life reflects His beauty just as all of creation does. It has been a joy to make things beautiful this Christmas and enjoy Him the creator who mades all things beautiful in His time.
I have cut greenery at the farm, made cookies, given inexpensive gifts I put together. I went and bought a tree and ribbon and made a wreath. It felt good to create. To play my music and sing and see the joy in my friends faces.
This advent has been so special as I have thought about so many reasons why Jesus came. Why God sent His son. This week of advent is LOVE. I WONDER and I WONDER how the love of God has moved and shaken me recently. What difference it makes in me and how I love people. How I trust God and His plan for me. Even in the hard.
God came down so He could get us. I don't just mean come to get us but He could understand us. He moved into our loneliness and our pain. He had to experience us to rescue us. From the guilt and shame. The fears of punishment and judgement the separation. From the losses and the ache and disappointment. From the discouragement and grief. He came to comfort and to say I know. I am with you. I have been there, right where you are.
Experiencing His Wounds, I know the wounds of others.
Friends have come to my home and we have enjoyed just being together. Sharing, laughing, listening. I use to meet my friends out to lunch. This season I have had them in my home. I hope it is a safe place. I want them to experience Christ when they are here. To feel accepted and loved.
Who can I bring Christ to through Christmas this year?
My advent this morning is who can I bring Christ to through Christmas this year? I want to give cookies to the mail lady. A wreath to the indian girl at my local store. I may get some candy canes and just pass them out.
The reason I want to do these things is because of all my friends and family have done for me when I was really down. Mental hospital material. They brought me food, did my clothes, called me and loved me when I was not well at all. When Jesus loved me when I was His worst enemy. When I rejected Him and crucified Him on the cross. When I was at my lowest my family and friends and God has loved me over and over again.
When you know what you have been given, you just want to give. Even if just myself. My smile. My encouragement or prayer. A heart of empathy that really truly cares.
For years I have heard God is not Santa Claus.
What about the prosperity gospel?
I don't want to imply that the Christian life is name it and claim it. Or that everyone that loves Jesus lives in a big house and has a new car in the drive way. Has a happy marriage and obedient children. A healthy body and money in the bank.
But I want to say God is greater than Santa. He created Santa. Santa was a real man who had a heart for giving. Giving to the poor. Tell your children of him. They will see Jesus in him. It will bless them and help them see the real meaning of Christmas even more. This Santa no longer lives but is portrayed even today. He is in the hearts of every child. God is greater than the prosperity gospel. He is the real Gospel. He gives us so, so much more and free. By His grace and mercy He saved me from hell. He has met me in my weakest point and given me strength I do not have.
In my depression He has gotten me out of bed and made me thankful. He has given me joy every morning and peace that makes my anxiety afraid to show its ugly head. He has given me life in my dry bones. He has given me a love for people when all I knew was to be selfish and think of me.
He has given me His love for His Son and placed it within me. He has taken me from the chains of perfection and thinking I had to get everything right to admitting I am wrong. To learning from others unlike me. He has given me the perfection of His Son's life to trust in and give me hope. When I was afraid to come out of hiding.
God has taught me to turn to Him and not run away to destruction, bitterness and a hard heart. I have not arrived but I am learning to receive His gifts. This is the best Christmas I have ever had so far. Being in His presence has shown me a love I never knew possible.
He gave me everything. Even His life. How can I not give mine away too? How can I not sit with a friend and say me too. I struggle too. I know what it is to be so fearful and can't leave my home for more than an hour. I know, I have anxiety too and fears and loneliness. It is a wake up call to draw near. To find myself safe and secure under His wing. To meet with a friend or my family. To give with no expectations.
He has given me perseverance and to expect surprises.
I have come to where I don't quit any more. But I still fall down and He picks me back up over and over again. I look for God in all things, to bless me and give so generously to me that I am overwhelmed. I see Him everywhere and in everything. Even the suffering gives me joy as I learn to know Him more. It still hurts and I ask Him what do I do with this Lord? Somehow He takes it and gives me trust that He has got this. He has got it all.
It is a wild ride this Christian life. My life is more full and rich that I have ever known. I am blessed beyond any desire I could have had. It didn't come when I was on the mountain top but when I knelt and bowed at the manger. When I was willing to pick up my cross and follow Him. In His time and in His mercy He sought me out.
The gates of the manger are wide open and so is His arms. He is not angry but good and loving and kind. He is about good gifts. He is the best gift of all. He is love and His love came after me.