Tag Archives: Christ

Glory to the Newborn King

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I love Christmas decorations in my home.

Even when the vision isn’t mine (my roommate, B, gets all the credit this year!), something about the lights and the extra specialness of it all reminds me…

to pause and reflect,

to slow down long enough to enjoy everything this season has to offer,

to find Peace in the inevitable crazy schedule,

to remember the ultimate Giver,

to seek His presence even when it feels like there’s just no time,

and to give glory to the newborn King.

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Hail, the heaven born Prince of Peace
Hail, the Son of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

—–

*linking with The Nester’s 2012 Christmas Tour of Homes*

*and to see how we decorated the same space last year, check out this post*

I Press On

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV – emphasis added)

:: Yes. This. Prayer of my heart this morning. I press on. ::

“Abide in Me”

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

– John 15:4-5 (ESV)

As branches, sometimes abiding in the vine means we experience great joy through the bearing of much fruit.

Other times, abiding means we know deep pain through the pruning and refining process in order to bear even more fruit.

But always, abiding means trusting in, leaning into, and depending on Christ … the One who chooses and appoints us, the One who sustains and loves us through every season, and the One who receives all the glory. For apart from him, we can do nothing.

Are you abiding today?

Grace in the Quiet

“Make glad the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.

Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; and give heed to the voice of my supplications!”

– Psalm 86:4-6

I love words … reading words, speaking words, hearing words, pondering words, singing words, writing words.

But it seems in the past several days (weeks, even) I have had little energy left for words. In the wake of processing much that can’t be penned publicly {at least not yet}, my own words feel hollow and my brain feels like mush.

I have a list of sermons to be listened to, books to be read, Scriptures to be reflected upon, and experiences to be written about.

But I don’t.

Instead, in the midst of commitments that are good and necessary and rich, I find myself meeting an unspoken need to be quiet. To just be. Abandoning my typical routines, I fill my free hours with long and purposeful walks, music that effortlessly leads into pure worship, and a prayerful soul.

Yet beginning to feel guilty at this unexpected inward turn, my thoughts shift slightly, almost hesitatingly, towards others. Lacking significant will-power to do much else, I simply pray.

And as I spend my time walking and praying and worshiping, as these moments of intercession turn from me, to them, to HIM, I receive this beautiful reminder of Grace in the quiet.

The perfectionist and legalistic side of me is quick to judge all that I am doing wrong and all that I am failing to do.

But this Grace reminds me that it’s much less about doing what I should and much more about being who I am called.

Christ isn’t holding me to a checklist. He’s holding me to a relationship. And maybe this just being … this walking and worshiping … is just part of this season of that relationship.

And even when I fail him, when I stray from making Him the priority, this Grace is still there. Because even in the failure, He’s not after my efforts, He’s after my heart … a heart conformed to His likeness.

This Grace … it does so much more than cover each sin (though it does that perfectly). It leads each moment.

Yes, accountability and consistency and routine are all good, but maybe there’s even more in abandoning the routine from time to time in order to experience this grace anew, afresh, again.

Although serving and doing tends to feel more productive, the just being was absolutely necessary for this reminder. I simply couldn’t hear it through all the doing, but I could experience this Grace in the quiet. In His presence. Focused on His heart.

This Grace … and this Grace Giver … is everything.

“All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.

For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.”

– Psalm 86:9-10

Hold Fast

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

– Hebrews 10:19-23 (emphasis added)

I have much on my heart and mind that I so badly want to sit down and share with you. A post or two about the cruise from last month (don’t worry…I haven’t forgotten!), a few things from being in Charleston last week, and a couple of in-desperate-need-of-editing devo thoughts.

But it seems that time to process and write has been scarce lately. Life on the other side of this blog is just full right now!

I’m sure many of you can relate.

Yet even as my calendar continues to fill up and I am pulled in many different directions (both mentally and physically), I can’t not share this conviction … fully realizing that this may be more for me than for you … but maybe we all need this reminder.

Jesus – the Christ, the One greater than all others, the living water (John 4:10-14), the bread of life (John 6:35)  – is everything.

In the midst of full schedules, when we find ourselves re-evaluating activities and commitments, we can’t allow ourselves to take a break from Him.

In the midst of the necessary and mundane tasks of each day, we can’t simply put Him on hold for later, only to realize at the end of the day that we are drained and don’t have any energy left to spend time with Him.

In the midst of uncertainties and unknowns, we can’t merely pencil Him in for a hopeful date at a coffee shop next week.

He demands more and He is worthy of more … our worship, our prayers, our lives.

In coffee shop terms, spending time with Him is worth every cent of the $4/cup daily habit. And once we experience His richness … consistently, intentionally, daily … we simply can’t go back. Oh, we’ll most certainly mess up again, we’ll take another break, and we’ll put Him on hold for consecutive days. But then because of His Faithfulness and by His unending Grace and Mercy, we’ll draw near again with confidence as we remember…

He is everyday. He is every moment. He is everything.

Hold fast.

—–

**Linking with Thought-Provoking Thursday**

The Miracle and Mystery of the Incarnation

It began well over a month ago with lyrics from a choral piece, “The Mind of Christ”, based on Philippians 2:5-11:

“He laid aside his crown, from glory He came down. Divinity within a human soul. God in the form of a man.”

Words that gripped my every emotion, words that prompted intense theological discourse within me, words that registered in the depths of my soul.

It came softly … yet it was all-consuming in the way that only Truth can be … until it overwhelmed every song, every Scripture, every message. It hasn’t been far from my mind ever since.

A recognition that this Truth should have even deeper roots, should be even more significant, should have an even greater impact on everyday life.

Then after reading this post written by Melissa with a translation of The Mystery of the Incarnation: A Scriptural Tapestry of Jesus as Man and God by Gregory of Nazianzus on the Living Proof Ministries Blog, the beauty and the weight of this Truth was fully exposed:

The miracle and the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, the only Son of God (John 3:16) and God Himself (John 1:1), became incarnate man (John 1:14). The promised one (Matt. 1:22-23). Fully man, yet fully God.

Jesus Christ became man for us. To be Emmanuel, God with us. To be love in our hatred. To be light in our darkness. To be peace in our chaos. To be strength in our weakness. To be rest in our weariness. To be Savior in our sinfulness.

Jesus Christ became man in the form a baby, humbly born in Bethlehem. He grew and lived and walked among us, yet He was sinless … perfect and blameless … so that He could humbly and obediently approach the cross to be our Salvation.

And this Truth about the Incarnation, this gift of God becoming man in the person of Jesus Christ … for humanity, for us … though it seems to be most often remembered and most eagerly discussed at this time every year, it’s Truth eternal.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

Let us worship Christ, the Lord! Merry Christmas!

O Come Let Us Adore Him

“Come adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the newborn king.”

(Angels We Have Heard on High)

From the well known lyrics of familiar Christmas carols to the oft recited passages in Matthew and Luke, the truth emerges softly … yet boldly.

Christmas is an invitation … a beckoning, even … to come and adore.

The choir prepares to sing “Carol Medley” in the Christmas concert, a piece aptly named for its unusual arrangement of carols: “Angels We Have Heard on High”, “How Great our Joy”, “I Wonder as I Wander”, and “Birthday of a King”.

Of all the lyrics in this 16 page piece, one innocent phrase of “I Wonder as I Wander” stands out: “When Mary birthed Jesus, twas in a cows stall, with wisemen and farmers and shepherds and all.”

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

– Luke 2:10-12

Wise men. Farmers. Shepherds. Angels.

An unlikely grouping with little in common, yet their paths converge. Bowed in worship at the feet of the Savior. In adoration of this Holy One, Emmanuel, God with us. Born of a virgin in the humblest surroundings. An infant placed in a lowly manger in the town of Bethlehem.

A jubilant and compelling invitation is extended … in a star and in a multitude of heavenly hosts … to come, to worship, to adore.

The wise men follow steadily, faithfully. The shepherds come promptly, hastily. To see this baby … the Christ, the Messiah, the fulfillment of prophecy … to see the humility of his birth, the miracle of his incarnation, the peace of his coming, the joy of his appearance, the beauty of his salvation, the majesty of his kingship.

Will you come? Promptly and faithfully? To worship and adore HIM?

“O Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

(O Come all Ye Faithful)