I was asked the other day if I was in the holiday spirit. It was a hard question to answer for two reasons. We live in Florida and, if you have ever lived somewhere tropical after having lived in temperate climates your whole life, it’s a huge shock. I have struggled, since moving here, to feel festive when I’m still in a tank top and capris. While all of the Christmas movies we watch have people bundled up warm sweaters and mittens and the decorations are covered in snow.
Secondly, I had just finished talking with this friend about something that had been troubling me. I was describing to her how I could feel this whole other person deep down in me but I struggled to get her to come out and shine. How if felt like the swarm of chaos, unhealthy thinking and habits, that always tends to come out, were crushing it under foot. Like the Christ filled joy and love that I feel inside is held captive and is never allowed the freedom to take it’s prominent place in me.
She helped me to realize that I was warring with the flesh more than I wanted to admit. That this chaos that takes control of my thoughts, actions and words are lacking Christ’s love. It broke my heart! It was the last thing I wanted to hear because deep inside I want SO much to allow the love I feel for Christ and God to be shown. It would be like the person who received a heart transplant to be told that they’re dying. They love the heart, they love the person who took such good care of this precious gift prior to them receiving it. They cry tears of joy each time they stop to feel it beating within their chest and recognize what a precious gift it is. But, non-the-less they are dying of some curable disease that they don’t know how to cure on their own.
When I stop and reflect on the precious gift that Christ gave me, I am filled with such joy and I want to cry tears of joy (and sometimes do). However, when I go through my day and I get caught up in the things of this world, the joy gets overshadowed. I start to war with this very curable disease of sin, but I turn to myself instead of the ONE who is sustaining my very life. I have received a gift of a new heart, but I’m trying to manually pump it with my own will power instead of entrusting it to the hands of the one who placed it there.
As we draw closer to celebrating the day of Jesus’ birth, I am trying to soak in and marinate in the gift of what this Christmas means. That it is not simply a one day event or a season. It is a day of celebrating what I should remember and reflect on every minute of every day. It’s the one gift that can change lives and that will never depreciate, never break, never get boring. It is unending love, joy, hope and peace. However it is not a gift like any other. It’s not meant to be unwrapped and played with. It’s not meant to be put on a shelf. It’s not even a gift that is meant to be worn some days and not others.
HE is the gift that will unwrap you, if you will only surrender yourself to him. HE is the gift that will shelter you if you will only come to him naked and unadorned by things of this world. He is the gift that will lift you high and will light your very soul for our Heavenly Father to see, if you will only trust his strength, his power and his love for you.
We battle with the flesh every day. Some days more than others. However, I know, that with help, guidance and faith, He can ease the suffering of this war I am in until the day that all battles cease and I stand before his magnificence. I have been given a most precious gift. A gift I never knew I wanted until the day I received it and it’s a gift I treasure above all others, for nothing can compare to it! When someone has such a gift, why do we go to war so often over the lack of so much more?Tags: Christmas, Gifts, Jesus, Salvation
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