Christmas

I woke up this morning, taking the time to lie in bed and just thank God for His gift of Christ’s incarnation. He felt that we, as unwilling to seek Him and as sinful as we are, were worth subjecting Himself to what it took to save us from our sins.

Loving a person just the way they are – it’s no small thing
It takes some time to see things through
Sometimes things change – sometimes we’re waiting
We need grace either way

[[Sara Groves, “Loving a Person”]]

I have struggled a lot lately with worry about people getting sick of me or being annoyed with me and, yet, God still loved me enough in all of my sin to redeem me! He didn’t look down and say, “She’s going to annoy me someday, so let’s skip her.”

How beautiful are our justification and sanctification!

Being constantly surrounded by and finding new music to satisfy my ears makes me slightly ADD sometimes (a habit I’ve picked up from John and Chris, among others). But every once in a while, I buy or receive an album that hits me right where I’m at.

Granted, Sara Groves has always been an amazing songwriter, but this particular album is… wow. There are so few words that would do it justice.

Love, wash over a multitude of things
Love, wash over a multitude of things
Love, wash over a multitude of things
Make us whole

[[“When It Was Over”]]

There has been so much I learned this past semester about how God’s love can cover all of our sins and, when reflected upon, it is impossible to even fathom how much it cost.

I’m going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the common place
Open the windows and feel all that’s honest and real until I’m truly amazed
I’m going to feel all my emotions
I’m going to look you in the eyes
I’m going to listen and hear until it’s finally clear and it changes our lives

The glory of God is man fully alive

[[“Just Showed Up”]]

In some ways, it is almost like I’m learning to live all over again – learning to accept that there are parts of life that God created for us to enjoy, even though they have been corrupted through our sin… Despite the fact that the earth is cursed, we are still to be stewards of it, and I think that includes enjoying it. Other things, like being happy, which we do not feel that we are “allowed” to feel, were created by God. Our emotions, whether they be good or bad, are there for a reason, and we experience them everyday – Christ experienced them, too!

I am the moon with no light of my own
Still, You have made me to shine
And, as I glow in this cold, dark night
I know I can’t be a light unless I turn my face to You

[[“You Are the Sun”]]

And yet we cannot forget that, apart from Christ, our lives are truly not lives! He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6); no one comes to the Father, but through Him! He came so that we might have life and have it to the fullest – He came so that our lives would be redeemed, that we might be able to come into the presence of the living and holy God who designed us for fellowship with Him.

We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are

And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
I want to shine with the light
That’s burning up inside

[[“Add to the Beauty”]]

And our response to that is surrender – full surrender of our lives, including our time and our talents, our futures and our desires, our comfort and even our minds.

It is for His glory that we are here to begin with!

There’s a story burning in me
I want to tell it again and again
It’s a story of redemption
Bound to change the hearts of men

I cannot find the words
and sometimes it’s sounds absurd
and I don’t even know myself
all the depths, the heights, the wealth

How can I tell this story again to make you wonder when
You stopped believing?
How can I paint a picture of this kind of love –
This kind of healing?

[[“How Can I Tell”]]

As I prepare to commit a semester to music, it becomes an issue of whether or not I trust that God will give me all that I need – that He has prepared me to tell of His love and grace by gifting me with the talents that He has so graciously given me.

How little I truly trust when I am stripped bare!

And yet, so much of what I was given for Christmas gives me even fewer excuses for putting this off – there is nothing I need (not that there was before but, now, I truly have no excuse). Laura got me a notebook for writing songs in, as well as a binder to keep finished stuff in (and staff paper to write it on); my parents got me a keyboard (which I’m really excited about) and an audio recorder (small tapes – I actually asked for this). Pray for me – I am so susceptible to pride here and, yet, I only need to remember my previous disobedience in this area to remind me of my true place.

When fear engulfs your mind
Says, ‘You protect your own’
You still extend your hand
You open up your home

When sorrow fills your life
When in your grief and pain
You choose again to rise
You choose to bless the name

That’s a little stone, that’s a little mortar –
That’s a little seed, that’s a little water
In the hearts of the sons and the daughters
The kingdom’s coming

[[“Kingdom Comes”]]

So often, I look to the coming months and years, and I find myself terrified at the prospect of what may occur. But, as the sluggard says, I am merely saying that there is a lion outside or that I will be murdered in the streets (Proverbs 22:13). We are to glorify God and show His love to people, even when we are afraid (which we shouldn’t be) and even when things are difficult. Christ told us we would be known by our love for others – holding our tempers or our tongues might just be all it takes to plant seeds to be watered by others and ultimately reaped into the harvest!

I know this is long, especially when it would be easier to just list in detail what I received for Christmas but, perhaps, the best gifts are in what we learn – in what we glean from what we receive, not actually in what is received.

And, despite the unrest in my heart right now, I know that God still is sovereign over everything – His purposes are always proven good for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and His timing remains perfect, despite our impatience or questioning.

In three weeks, I will return to school for another semester – only two to go! But, perhaps, this semester will look different (because of my plans for it, but also because of what is to come that I do not know).

And, again, I pray that I will return a changed child – if I am not growing, if I’m am not becoming more like Christ, what is the point?

The kingdom is coming… May I always look forward to it as I do now – even more so than I await other things that God may set before me to enjoy in my redemption.

Life to the fullest!

Rejoice! Rejoice! Our God has come and dwelt among us – and He has redeemed our very lives!

Mood: Anticipatory Listening to: Sara Groves, Add to the Beauty
Reading: Jan Karon, Light From Heaven

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