Saturday, December 29, 2012

Parked Semi's and Parking Spots

We were trying to avoid shopping on Christmas Eve.

It was the Saturday before Christmas, but we still had those last minute stocking-stuffers to grab. 

(Okay. My sister had ALL her shopping to do – but don’t tell her I said so).

So we braved the cold and the crowds and headed to the closest store that might possibly have everything she needed.

I prayed for a parking spot. 

Christmastime is the worst for parking spots. You get to the point where you stop hoping for the one right next to the empty handicapped spaces and start praying for just someplace to put the car.

So I prayed for a parking spot. Any parking spot.

And we headed out.

My sister and I prefer the dollar store close to the house. 
(Yes. It had everything she needed). 

We especially prefer the back way into the parking lot. But, as we headed up the hill, we were met by a semi-truck blocking the area. Not just parked inconveniently. There was no way to get around.

When I say the semi was parked . . . it was parked

There was no driver sitting there watching in amusement as two sisters were trying to get by. 

The truck was turned off, and the cab was empty.

It was either find a different way around or sit there until Christmas Eve.

We found another way.

As we rounded the corner, we were met by rear view lights and a car backing up. This now-available parking spot was right next to a handicapped parking space
. . . and directly in front of the door.

My prayer was answered.

The car had a place.

But more than just a place; a convenient place following an inconvenience. 

Life is full of inconveniences.

But keep watching for answered prayers. 

They could be just around the corner.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mary Didn't Pray for Christmas

Mary bowed her head in humility – that she would be chosen to give birth to the Messiah.

She was the first to hold Him close.
To feed Him.
Love Him.
Wipe away His tears.

Mary laid Him in a manger, rejected.

She didn’t pray for this.

Mary looked up at the mangled body of her son she had loved, misunderstood, and now believed in.

Her mother heart wrenched when He did.
Her heart of love ached when He was forsaken.

Mary stood back helpless as He hung on a Cross, rejected.

She didn’t pray for this.

Rejection of the humblest means – a manger, a cross.

But from the first, Mary “rejoiced in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:47)

The manger meant God had come to man.

The cross meant man could come to God.

We didn’t pray for this.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rest Spelled Right

They say, “STRESSED is just DESSERTS spelled backward.”

I agree. Desserts help.

Maybe that’s why the Christmas season is full of desserts – Christmas cookies, Gingerbread houses, fudge, candies, sugar-coated whatever you can think of.

Maybe we’re trying to sugar-coat the stress.

Add a couple of “S’s” and STRESS is just REST spelled wrong.

Stress is . . . rest lived wrong.  It’s life lived wrong.

What are we told to be anxious about?  “Nothing.” (Phil 4:6)

Instead of sugar-coating life, what if we chose to rest? 

Rest in the reason for Christmas.

God promised He would send His Son.
And He called Him the Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6)

God sent His Son. And this is love.
Not that we loved God, but that He loved us. (1 John 4:10)

Christ's coming meant peace, goodwill toward men. (Luke 2:14)

We now have peace with God through Him. (Rom. 5:1)

He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Abundant life is moment-by-moment rest in the all-sufficient God who sent His Son that we might have peace.

Peace with God.

And the peace of God.

This is rest spelled right.

This is life lived right.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Why Are We Celebrating Christmas?

We’ve approached a time of bustle.  
Shopping, baking, holiday greetings, and home for Christmas.   

But why?   

Why are we celebrating Christmas?

How would the average person answer that question?  
Love for hearth and home?

Let’s go back to the first Christmas.  

A baby in a stall.   
And the most incredible statement ever spoken:  “Jesus was born.” (Matt. 2:1) 

The “image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” who is “before all things, and by him all things consist” (see Col. 1:15-19) . . .was born.  

GOD was “made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

He was made flesh.   
All the blood of bulls and goats could not fully atone for man’s sin.  The blood of Christ was the only blood sufficient.  So a body was prepared for Him (Heb. 10:5).

Suddenly, God could bleed. 

And 33 years later, Christ bled on a cross, and God’s perfect justice was satisfied.

He dwelt among us.   
He didn't arrive as a full-grown man the hour of the crucifixion, pay for sins, and then leave.

He "dwelt among us.”  

He associated Himself with us and was tempted “in all points. . .like as we are” (Heb. 4:15).   
He went through the things we go through.  
He was touched by every grief, every disappointment, every painful trial, and every overwhelming temptation.    

But He never sinned.

When He came, He bled as a perfect sacrifice, and He lived a perfect life. 

Horatius Bonar once said:

Upon a life I did not live,
Upon a death I did not die;
Another’s life, Another’s death,
I stake my whole eternity.

You and I can say that, too, because “Jesus was born.”

THAT’s why we’re celebrating Christmas.

Related Post:  The Perfect Christmas Gift