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Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Home for Christmas
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

I have a small wooden wall decoration done up in country style, hand painted with a bit of raffia tied around the wire hanger. It reads “All hearts go home for Christmas”. This reminds me of the common saying “Home is where the heart is”. This year it seems I can’t find “home”. No matter where I am, there is a deep sadness and longing for Malcom, the one who captured my heart 34 years ago. It is the first Christmas without him and my heart is restless for home.

I really should not complain. I was abundantly blessed of the Lord with a wonderful husband for so many years. I have friends and family who love me, demonstrate their love and care in so many ways. By the time this year of 2006 ends, I will have had special times with each of our children and with many of my dear friends. And yet my flesh and my heart fails. I don’t want to be ungrateful. I don’t want to feel sad. I chide myself that Christmas is not about me, but about the Savior. I try to summon up the determination to get past my pain and focus on living life to the full now. But it seems an impossible task. Every day I do my best to look for the blessings in life, to smile and laugh. I have gotten quite good, I think, at doing and saying all the right things. But in the night hours, when the sun has gone down and the quietness settles in, I know that I’m still struggling. I have not succeeded in making myself any less of a “mess” than I felt 6 months ago.

Perhaps God is reminding me that in my own strength I can do nothing. In Psalm 73 the psalmist aptly describes the failure of the flesh and the sovereignty of God. I long for the day when the words of verse 25 can truly be my words, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.” I haven’t quite arrived at that spot yet, but I can join with the psalmist in verse 26. I freely admit my frailty and complete dependence on God. He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

posted at 11:43 PM  

Friday, December 15, 2006
Waiting for a Miracle
“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” Luke 2:30

The Jewish nation was waiting for “Messiah” the promised One to come. They were expecting a miracle. But when He came, it wasn’t as they imagined. They wanted a King, a Deliverer, not a baby born in a stable announced by angels and worshiped by shepherds.

But there was at least one person who had a different perspective. This man’s waiting was done patiently and in full faith. His name was Simeon and we find his story recorded in 10 verses stuck right in the middle of Luke chapter two. Now an old man, Simeon was just and devout. He had waited a long time to see the miracle, the Consolation of Israel. That day as he took the infant Jesus up in his arms he declared, “…mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” He believed and his faith became sight.

Some today, however, have the wait and see attitude. They want to see, feel, or experience a miracle before they will step out on faith and trust God: in essence demanding to “see” in order to receive faith. By doing so it is not faith at all then, but a fulfilling of some felt need. It was the same in Jesus’ day. In John chapter six we read of those who followed Jesus to see the miracles that he did. But Jesus, who knew the thoughts and intents of their hearts said, “…Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”

What miracle do you need today? I know for me I keep thinking some day God is going to do something to make life joyful and fulfilling again. If I'm not careful, my attitude could degenerate to the point of just wanting to be filled. The Christmas season seems the perfect time to renew my resolve to be steadfast in trusting the Lord, not demanding to see a miracle, but rather actively waiting in faith for my miracle. It may not be what I imagine, but I will surely rejoice.

“O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” Isaiah 33:2

posted at 11:17 AM