I woke up with this song in my head, Baby Boy by for King & Country. As I read the lyrics, I found something beautiful. The simplicity of Jesus’ birth and why it will be celebrated eternally. In a time of hustle and bustle, the truth of our celebration is grounded by a humble beginning.
Our Savior, this baby boy was born in a barn and laid in a manger. A King was born who would never wear a crown on earth. As we decorate and desire things of beauty, design to attract and lure, I wonder what would happen if we put that stuff aside. Can we believe that a simple manger was good enough for God with us? Could understanding Jesus’ humble beginnings stave off the holiday anxiety and stress? Would this help us lay aside all of the striving to create something temporary and replace it with something permanent? Jesus came to give us abundant life, eternal life. Christmas should be a time where we experience the reality of what the birth of Jesus really means.
As the trumpets sound in heaven, as we begin to anticipate, remember that Jesus’ birth was simple and understated. The meaning behind his life was powerful and exciting. It is everlasting. His birth meant something and yet His birth was quiet and hidden. Be excited! Celebrate! But use it to create something that lasts because the ultimate reason to celebrate is that this baby boy came to give us eternal life.
I am starting to understand something about Christmas. There is an element of anticipation. It’s about the build up to THE DAY! The day we celebrate the birth of a newborn king.
The Prophet Isaiah foretold Jesus’ birth. This prophecy created anticipation of the coming Messiah. God designed this season to be one of anticipation because he foretold our Savior from Genesis to Malachi. The birth of the Messiah was truly something to anticipate and celebrate.
I remember celebrating Christmas because it’s just what you do. There was no meaning attached to it except for the family traditions and gifts. For some, that’s enough. As an adult it left me depressed and cynical. It all seemed overrated and underwhelming.
Now that I understand Jesus is the reason for the season, I anticipate. I get the symbolism, I understand the songs, and I experience all the words and wonder of Christmas. Keeping my eyes on the reason creates the season. Love came down on Christmas Day. Real love came to earth to live among mankind.
Tomorrow was on the horizon. Another disruption to what I really wanted to do. I knew I had no choice. There were children and obligations. If I chose not to, our lives wouldn’t be covered. I questioned God. I considered calling in sick. None of it produced good. I took a deep breath, put on my determined face and drove to the warehouse. I thought, “I can do this, if He does it with me.”
I believed it was true. I believed Jesus was sitting in the passenger seat as I delivered groceries, door to door, for a year. My body groaned and ached. There were rainy days and icy roads. Long hours and rush hour traffic. But I had Jesus and that is what brought a seemingly unimportant job to life. Working with Jesus gave me a new perspective on work.
In the past, it seemed like my jobs were ill-fitting. I often hated going to work. In that state, I under performed. Comments regarding my accomplishments were that I lacked effort, organization and consistency. Not surprising since I didn’t want to be there in the first place. Now, I have a new life in Christ. The position of my heart is toward Him. Because my heart is changed, my perspective has to change.
Inviting Jesus into my work helped me understand that everything I put my hand to has meaning. Work is purpose. I was able to connect work with helping others. This fulfilled my desire to have meaning associated with the function of my job. Showing up for work became worth while. In addition, my job was helping me! Jesus showed me that my work is a provision. If I chose not to have an occupation, provision would cease at some point. God grew me through the work I did when I included Him in it.
Do you think I made a mistake with the title? You might be remembering Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” From cleaning our own home without pay to working a job for another with pay, all of it is supposed to be done for the Lord. What happens when we work without Him? The complaining “why?” starts to manifest in our soul, leaving us powerless. Where does our strength and help come from? Psalms 28:7 says, “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” If our only conclusion about work is that we have a job to get a paycheck, it is lifeless. The key to seeing all of life’s activities as purpose is to not only do it for Him but to do it with Him. It is in this place where work comes alive.
Have you ever heard that Jesus is life? He is! His life is the example we follow. His teaching is the Way we follow. His voice is the Word we follow. His resurrection gave us life so that we could bring Him into the world. Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
John 8:12 AMP
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Have you ever heard that God’s love is infinite? Romans 8:38-39 is the scripture that reveals this truth. Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ. I believe that this love offers us a security to choose the good life. God’s love destroys the grip of sin. (Song lyric reference to Bethel Music, “There’s no other Name”.)
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Hope asks us to look beyond what we see to what we long for. If we can fix our eyes on Jesus when sorrow and fear enter our circumstances, we will be lead into hope. Can you envision the restoration coming your way? He is riding on a white Horse toward you. In His eyes is peace. In His hands is rest. Restoration is His speciality. Be patient, brothers and sisters, He is on His way!
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We all want to be free. Our soul desires it. Yet we have a hard time living our lives without trying to follow a set of rules in order to be loved. Religion left me guilty, condemned and ashamed. Jesus freed me. Walking in freedom is often what we want but don’t really know how to do. Living guilt free, condemnation free, and shame free is the beginning. Entering into moment to moment relationship with God is the ultimate goal. The example of Jesus only doing what the Father was doing and saying what the Father was saying is our inheritance and where freedom lies. We never live our lives separate from God. Because the veil was torn, this life of freedom is ours. It cannot be taken from us. So, go be who God created you to be and enjoy your life!
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The Word is alive, active, and powerful. When God’s words are used in prayer with faith, it has the power to transform. Scripture has the authority to do miracles. By the power of the Holy Spirit living in you, the Word is also alive in YOU! Let it speak to you as you live life. It will change you from the inside out.
I purposely arrived at the meeting 5 minutes late. To my surprise, no one was sitting down. There was no food out. People were still trickling in. I felt myself start to sweat. My body was beginning to shake internally. I was having a mini anxiety attack. A voice told me to turn and run. “Get out of here, you don’t belong at this meeting.” I couldn’t believe it. That old orphan voice was trying to take over my heart. It almost worked. I was embarrassed that I was sweating. I quickly walked to a private place. Trying to escape notice.
I thought to myself, “I am employed at this church. I can’t believe I actually feel out of place! This is ridiculous.” I started to wipe the sweat off my face. I took a deep breath and started to pray. As I prayed, the voice of truth took it’s place. The truth is that I am accepted. God, through Jesus, has adopted me and made me whole and holy. The NKJV says that Jesus made us accepted in the Beloved. This was God’s great pleasure. If you feel like you don’t belong, I promise it is the wrong voice trying to take hold of your heart. You are accepted always. Let it be your security.
A treasured possession. Wow, God considers YOU a treasured possession. Whenever I think of being a special possession, I think about Linus from the Peanuts gang. He has a blue blanket that he takes everywhere with him. The blanket is used for comfort, companionship, protection, costume… you name it; Linus uses his blanket for everything. It is the greatest example to me of how God feels about me and how I feel about God. It is a true “I am yours and you are mine” relationship. We are a treasured possession indeed.
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