November 28, 2011

Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Luke 1:16 & 17

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November 28, 2011

Traditionally for me the day after Thanksgiving is the day I take out all the Christmas decorations and put them out. I spend the entire day doing that and bake as I do it, making it a joyful event. As of today the tree is still not up, I haven’t even brought it up from downstairs. Why? Well, because I am low on energy. I am tired, but more than that I am lonely. It is very hard to do everything in the house while making sure everything else stays alive, safe and healthy. I get this far and realize this is the life Gary had for 15 years as he took care of Christine. Then I remember Gary saying to me while we were dating, “I never liked putting up our Christmas tree because it was just one more thing I had to do by myself.” Oh man, do I now know what he meant. However, I do not want to go into this Christmas season depressed. I have much to be thankful for and I know that. I want my preparations for the season to reflect that.

Some of you reading this today are going through your own struggles. Some of those struggles are with cancer, others with finances and a few with marital problems. I truly feel sorry for all of you and know that many of us are facing hard times. How then is it we will face this holiday season when we can barely pull ourselves out of bed, or get dressed? Well, it is my plan to face it with as much exuberance as the Target Lady. (Commercial added at end of this devotional.) I want the outside of me to reflect the inside of me and I want the inside of me to shout for joy, for I have much to be joyful about. I am loved by God and I have Jesus Christ as my Savior. The One who has created all things, has chosen to love and save me. Even if this were the only thing that God would do for me, it is more than enough. God chooses to do much more and His goodness is evident all around us, but when we are faced with hard times we fail to see His work.

That is why it is my plan to be intentional about this Advent Season. I am fortunate enough to be able to take about 3 weeks off of school. This is before I start a very crazy schedule of full time come January. I want to be rejuvenated in the spirit and body. I have been working very hard at staying in good physical shape but neglecting the spiritual and emotional side. I guess I was putting that in the “to do later” list. That is what happens when one becomes a caregiver. They are so busy taking care of someone else they neglect their own needs until they wear out. Well, I don’t want any of us to do that. I want all of us to learn before we collapse from exhaustion how to recharge and be well equipped. I want us to prepare the way of the Lord whose birth we celebrate on Christmas Morning.

So how does one prepare the way of the Lord? They get themselves out of the way. They literally get up and get out of God’s way. They drop what they were doing, trying to do, hoping to do and wanting to do. They surrender to God and they allow Him to lead the way and then to follow Him. This is the ministry that John would be given. He would go to the people and announce that Jesus is coming, to stop and turn away from their old life and enter into a new one. This new life would be lived in Jesus, and He is the only One from whom redemption comes.

I am asking all of you to be just as intentional. Let us all start to prepare the way of the Lord. Go out there and share the love of God by being loving to others. Carry out the commission of Christ and preach His Gospel. Invite your neighbors to your church services, go caroling or make treats for the elderly. Share this devotional and come back daily to read the Thought of the Day. Let’s make this holiday season one in which we can rejoice because we do know the love of God through His Son Jesus Christ.

Get out the Christmas decorations and with flair decorate your inside as well as your outside. Read the Bible daily and pray without ceasing. Christmas is coming and He is coming for us all.

 

 

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