20 December, 2015

All Strength Rerouted

(Cross posted from Advent.again.blogspot.com
The Internet screams "ONLY 5 DAYS LEFT"!  It makes me nervous to read those words even though I'm relatively ready for Christmas!  And there are other comments that I'm hearing: "I really don't like Christmas," "Pray for our family gathering, it's always so painful and stressful," "I'm so excited Christmas will soon be over so I can get back to my normal, boring life," and lastly..."it takes all my strength to get through these days".

Let's be reminded of our verse for this Advent season....Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’Mark 12:30

What is all our strength?  Everything I've got?  Everything I am emotionally, spiritually and physically?  Is 'all strength' all my effort, all my time, all my thoughts, all...?  How does one 'do' all strength?  How do I achieve that in my day-to-day life?

Well,...the shepherds in the Christmas story seem to give us a bit of an example.
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  This resonates with me because in reading these words, with the emphasis marked, I realize that I too am a shepherd.  Aren't you?  Here we find ourselves in our daily work, going about our tasks in routine, matter-of-fact manner, just living our lives.  The shepherds were not the top of society but very common, average.  And aren't we?  Most of us find our very blessed and beautiful lives are actually average, common not world-changing lives...just simple, everyday lives.

And like the shepherds we too 'have been told' about this Child.  We've heard and we've seen.  If fact we've been told and told and told this Baby story for oh, so long.  The shepherds found the news life-changing, unbelievable, throw-down-your-staff-leave-the-sheep-and-run-to-Bethlehem unbelievable! That took all strength.

So this Baby news for me...has it become just ho hum news?  Michael Yaconnli, in his book, Dangerous Wonder, says this, "We have lost our astonishment.  The Good News is no longer good news, it is okay news."  Just OK news...is that what I want to base my life on?  Or am I traveling on this journey to run with all my strength to hear, see, live full out?  What if all strength actually means fully glorifying and praising Him just as we've been told?

My day dawned early.  I was young and so naive.  I showered before we left for the hospital.  I wanted to be fresh!  It was 2:00 a.m.  And the precious baby boy was born at 6:00 a.m.  I'll never forget the moment.  He was so very beautiful.  His dad and I loved each other deeply and were so content in our world of two until he came into the room and then we were three...and oh, so perfect.  When my tears finally stopped and I could see him through clear eyes I never wanted to let go.  And I wanted to find everyone in the hospital and show them this beautiful boy.  I wanted to call everyone I knew and tell them of the news, It's a boy and his name is...

Do I feel the same today about the Baby boy coming on Christmas Day?  Am I ready to go all strength and glorify and praise Him just as we've been told?  He is coming!  It's a Boy and his name is JESUS.  He has come to get us....that is why it is a Merry Christmas.  The King of Heaven comes down to get us....is there any way we cannot run, sing, glorify and praise?  This is much, much more that just okay news...are you running yet?

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