Christmas Advent, Faith, Spiritual Encouragement, Stories from Scripture, Uncategorized
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Simply Jesus, Day One

Hold on a minute while I take a deep breath.

Has this been a busy fall/season/year for you? Are you ready to slow down? Do you, like me, have ideas of being intentional and focused on the real meaning of Christmas this year? Do you, like me, have those ideas every year, yet commitments and work and life and making merry seem to spin ever faster as Christmas morning approaches, leaving you breathless and a little empty?

Well, this little blog of mine is where I slow down. I don’t blog to promote anything or make any money. I blog to remember why I write, who I am, and why taking time to breathe and sit in grace is absolutely life-saving.

Let’s be saved from the swells of the season together. For the next few weeks, let’s quietly gaze upon this:

Simply Jesus.

That’s all that Christmas is: Jesus Christ with us.

The promised messiah, the sign to the Jews ended up being the biggest surprise gift this whole world needed. All those years the people of God held on to the promise of Jesus as their messiah, but God ultimately messed with that small idea and through the people and story of Israel, gave Jesus to all of us.

One look at the news and at the current state of our world reminds me that I–we–need God’s divine help. Let’s refine our vision.

Let’s step away from the issues and the debates and look at Jesus, look for Jesus, look to Jesus.

It’s December 1st. We begin the counting. Christmas is coming.

Let’s open wide our hearts to the awesome and inspiring miracle of Jesus. Let’s sit in the light of his truth that we may go out and glow with his goodness in the world. Let’s remember the story and realize it’s import. Let’s look forward even as we look back.

Let’s start at the beginning.

 

Scripture: John 1:1-5

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:1-5

Inspiration: The Truth of God

“In the beginning”. The story of Jesus is an ancient one, told in whispering words as God, who always has been, spoke into the darkness of the great void and began all life. This began with light. I imagine music and color and movement beyond comprehension. A symphony of matter becoming, forming, birthing life.

Any view of the beginning of time and matter and space takes faith to set it into motion. No scientist was there to observe or test the events that started all of what we see and know (and still don’t know) about the world and our universe. No writer was there to document it. No journalist there to report. No astronomer was there to watch through his telescope. No mathematician was there to calculate the complex formulas required to start everything.

Only the Word was there. With God and being God. Being light. Being the beginning.

Can I accept that? Can I take these few verses in John’s gospel that so closely mirror the opening words of Genesis as truth, as the foundation of what I believe and value? It’s a big ask. Here God is saying, “You can’t see me, but you need to accept that I AM. You need to hold fast to the belief that I existed before anything and everything else. You need to trust me that I hold all past and all future in my capable self. You need to accept that you would not have to light to see — physically or spiritually or mentally — if I didn’t step into the darkness of nothingness and share my light.”

He’s not saying look to religion or politics or feelings or morality. He’s saying look to the Light and believe.

Mission: Take Away

These opening lines in the book of John are your life’s base-camp. They are the starting point to a journey of faith that only you can embark upon. With God’s Word and his Light as a guide, you have the opportunity to accept the Word in John 1:1-5 as foundational truth, and begin the adventure of following the Light. It may seem like a crazy way to live, but as you follow the truth of the story of Jesus, you will discover that this is the “living-est” way to live. It’s exhilarating and purposeful and full.

Write a personal manifesto based on John 1:1-5: “I believe that in the beginning was the Word…through him all things, including me, were made…. and that life is the light of my life….” If this is your truth, take a minute to write it down and make it personal.

Play: Have Fun

If you have little people in your home, just turning out all the lights and then turning on the Christmas tree lights can be a magical moment, inspiring giggles and sighs and awe. John 1:1-5 can be simplified to this: “Jesus is the Light. Jesus made the Light. Jesus gave me Light.”

Sleep beneath the glow of the lights on a sea of blankets.

Or, light a single candle in a dark room. We just spent a week without power and in that kind of profound darkness, a small candle flame illuminates a room. Read the passage by the flame of a single candle and you’ll better understand how much we need the Light of Jesus.

Love: Action

If we believe that Jesus is the Light, won’t we shine for him? Give a gift with the illuminating truth of John 1:1-5 written on a card. Do a kindness for a neighbor and be a light that shines in darkness. Encourage, pray, laugh. We are light-living, light-giving believers participating in a life-changing story that begins and ends with Jesus. This is exciting!

Yes: Yes and Amen, A Prayer

God of all beginnings, we praise you. We know that deep darkness stands no chance against your light. Even though the darkness cannot understand it, it also cannot extinguish it. We praise you for the beginning, for the miracle of creation and the gift of faith to believe in you. We thank you for the darkness in our hearts, in this world, that show us our need for your light and life. We thank you for being the Word, the speaker and the spoken truth, the creator and the singer-songwriter of all creation. Let us dance in the light and in the music of your creation and let us take the hands of this world and invite them into the circle of your song. Yes, and Amen.

///

Friends–

Thank you for spending a bit of December with me! This is it — s.i.m.p.l.y. Jesus every day until Christmas: Scripture, Inspiration, Mission, Play, Love, Yes (and amen!). A little pause, a moment to recalibrate, a reminder of why we celebrate. The story of Jesus is truly awe-inspiring and eclipses any other feel-good aura of the season. Here the very word of God who spoke all matter into being becomes human in order to redeem his creation. Why? Why did God not wipe it all out and begin anew, with ‘Adam&Eve 2.o’ who would not choose sin and thereby condemn us all? Because,  “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” {Ephesians 2:10} Handiwork is the greek word poiema — poem…art…the song of his creative soul. He loves us too much. He wants to work it all out for our good.

Christmas is indeed a love story.

 The following are links to advent materials that I am using with my family, that I am using for inspiration for my writings this month. Fun printables, family devotions, etc. Enjoy and share! A happy Christmas to you!

Names of Jesus Cards to Print from All Our Days : http://allourdays.com/2012/12/names-of-jesus-advent-cards.html

Advent Reading Plan and Countdown Chain Craft from Kim Sorgius at http://www.notconsumed.com

Story Warren (I love this site) advent devotions and beautiful printable art ornaments.

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2 Comments

  1. jodyo70 says

    Alyssa, this acronym is wonderful…..so much good stuff here. I particularly liked the reference to John 1 being our life’s ‘base camp.’ Yes and amen.

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