January 9, 2012
Last week Ray talked about resolutions and how he listens for God’s guidance and direction on which resolutions he makes throughout the year.
For me (Patty), I like to start the new year by looking back to see what worked and what didn’t. 2011 was quite challenging with school and work so as Thanksgiving approached, I contemplated decorating and putting up a Christmas tree. Each day came faster and faster and still no tree – no decorations – no shopping; Nothing! I struggled with the thought that my Christmas spirit would be impacted if I did not get to these things.
Essentially most of my focus in 2011 was doing my morning devotions, if nothing else. I saw them as a sure way I would get through each day.
Being the visual person I am, I often reflected in 2011 on a picture my daughter took some years back when I have my morning devotion time. I believe it helps me focus on what God wants me to see. For me this picture represents the “His Light” in the midst of what could be anyone’s darkness. The band member in the picture points to the light as if he wants to show us the way.
On December 10th I was still struggling with no Christmas tree and no holiday spirit. Through my devotions that week I learned that the Christmas coming was not about putting up a Christmas tree. It was much more! It was about the Hope of God’s Glory; the birth of Jesus Christ. I came to understand the Christmas season in a different light.
God sent His son to be with us in the flesh. He came to live so that we could be filled with this Glory. This Glory is God’s desire for ALL, to have Jesus Christ live in our hearts when we believe. This Glory is what becomes our strength and light to make it through the good days and bad. This Glory is what helps us Love those that are unlovable and difficult to work and live with. Remember “We love because He first loved us”. 1 John 4:19.
It is God who changes things, but we have to accept the Christmas gift first.
Without opening the gift, we can’t feel the Glory. The truth is, God reveals His Glory to us all the time but we often overlook it. That light is always there. Some days it is brighter than others and yet we look right past it.
The three wise men saw it! Do we?
I realized Christmas is a season and I was looking at Christmas as a day that I had to prepare for. Somewhere along the years, I made the Christmas tree and Christmas cards a must have part of that preparation.
I realized the Christmas season comes each year for all to have the opportunity to receive the gift; as well as a time to be used in preparation to receive the Glory. For some, this is a time of renewal. For others it is a time of searching. Year after year the season comes back as a time to rekindle the Glory, a rebirth for us to move forward! But most important, it is a time to share “The Good News!”
We have to remember the feeling of this Glory as we move through the Christmas season into the New Year. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. It is our own reactions, fears, and inadequacies that cause us to mess things up. As I reflect back on 2011, there are things I wish I had done differently, things I wish I could change. But I know I can’t change now nor could I have changed them on my own back then. Although God helped me personally through 2011 on many things, there were times I tried to do it on my own. I should have let His light see me through everything.
Here we are a week into January with our list of New Year’s resolutions. It is our HOPE to have the Savior that the Christmas season brings in our hearts and in our minds as we start this new year. For He is the only one who can make the changes we can’t make on our own. At times, I think we look for rescue in the wrong places; that’s why we get frustrated. We look for that one thing that’s going to give us fulfillment and meaning and peace in life and believe the Christmas season is the only time to look.
A lot of people look for a fix in a self-help book. Or maybe therapy or a diet. Some might think they can find it in a vacation: “If I could just escape to Hawaii, everything would be great.” The answer is not in a place. It’s not in a program or a pill. The answer is a person: Jesus Christ. We were made by God and for God, and until we understand that, life is will probably never make sense.
This year, we will have to change in order to be the person God wants us to be. Are we ready to make the changes? Do we feel the excitement of knowing God is right here with us, not just helping us change, but leading and lighting the way for us in the change?
We often beat ourselves up, saying we need to try harder! We start thinking, “I must do better,” “I must do more”. We’re left feeling defeated, and that pushes us further away from God. This kind of thinking keeps us focused on ourselves and on the things we can’t do?
God wants us focused on the things only He can do through us and for us.
As the Christmas season officially ends, I have chosen to take a different road from that in which I came in on in 2011.
I will continue to seek out the light. I realize there will be days I struggle, however, His light will show the way!
I use 1st Corinthians 16:13 -14 as guidance: Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.
As you continue your journey into the New Year, it is our HOPE that you not only see but feel the Glory of His light! May your journey take you places you’ve never been and doing extraordinary things.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Patty and Ray