With the help of our media saturated culture and many intelligent marketing gurus, our senses have now been focused toward the Christmas buying season for 6 weeks or more. I could easily be irritated by the commercial push to skip Thanksgiving and jump directly to Christmas. Actually, I have been irritated. Thus, after deep reflection, I’ve decided my peace and joy would be better stewarded if I choose to embrace the premature focus on Christmas as an opportunity to point my eyes to Jesus.
Mary of Galilee, now she certainly had her eyes on Jesus. You know her face was radiant living daily in the presence of her Savior. Yet that didn’t for one moment translate to an easy life. She was chosen by God for His purposes, and she chose to say “Yes, Lord” to His plan.*
I believe Mary was a willing participant in God’s plan. Do you?
There was a great cost to her willing “Yes, Lord”. We fool ourselves and remove the miraculous of God’s intervening grace if we dilute the potency of the sacrifice made by Mary - and Joseph - in their obedient service to the Lord.
I believe she willfully participated with God because I too am a willing participant in saying “Yes, Lord” to God’s plan for my life. His plans have resulted in many more twists and turns than I would have chosen. My Shepherd loves adventure, changes in scenery and unexpected surprises!
When He chose me to come out of the desert wilderness of my religious wandering, my heart thirstily reached for His cup of Living Water. Like the woman at the well**, Jesus spoke to me about the deep things of my heart – the hidden things I had not shared with others. He knew me in the broken place and yet He called my name. Not unlike many other flesh and blood people, He invited me to join Him across the Jordan in the land of abundant living.
Not without counting the cost, I said, “Yes, Lord!”
Saying yes to God did not make my life easy. I hope this truth resonates with someone. I counted the cost because saying yes to God was costly. My choosing to leave my dry non-abundant religious activity meant that I would walk spiritually alone for awhile. My dear husband was not walking with me on the same spiritual path. It seemed for a time we didn’t even speak the same language, and that was heart wrenching. Yet, I continued to say, “Yes, Lord.”
Following my Good Shepherd did lead me on an adventure of a lifetime, but it did not immediately resolve all of my heartbreak and problems. In fact, Jesus pretty much guarantees us that in this life we will always face trials and heartbreak. Yet, as He has continually unveiled my spiritual eyes to see, I recognize He has always been near to hold my hand or carry me across deep water. The truth of His forever presence has added a JOY and a HOPE to my life I never would have experienced had I not said yes to Him.
He’s been teaching me patiently these last ten years that JOY is not only happy,, HOPE is not wishful thinking, and PEACE is not the absence of conflict or hardship. Jesus is the Master of all teachers, and He is my best friend. I can tell Him anything. He doesn’t roll His Holy eyes. He doesn’t tell me to stop talking. He listens with delight, understanding and compassion.
Jesus listens and asks the most unraveling questions. He tenderly probes as the best physician to locate the source of my pain. And then, knowingly He shines the spotlight of Truth upon that broken and hemorrhaging place.
As the source of pain is revealed He asks permission to work there. It’s my choice. I can say No and continue to address the symptoms. Or I can trust Him completely and allow my Healer to go directly to the root of the issue. Yes, it hurts – a lot. He knows it hurts. He doesn’t lie. He’s been there too.
Oh, but the relief when the source has been removed and the healing instantly begins to open the surrounding areas of my life to wholeness, forgiveness, and truth. It’s a process of breathing more JOY, HOPE, and PEACE into my life path with Him. I have more energy to walk with Him and trust His choice to go right instead of left or to take the desert path for a while when I would rather walk along the seashore.
Mary knew this life with Him – her son – the One she was chosen to keep an eye on for a short number of years. Mary was a chosen steward – a precious vessel, and she yielded her life and her will to God’s purposes.
I’m doing that too. And I’m inviting you to come along. You’re invited. There’s a place for you here on this pathway…
An invitation to ponder ~
My friend, where are you in this process?
What if God sent His angel Gabriel to visit you today? Would you receive him - ready or not?
Would you submit to the messenger’s declaration that God has chosen you to house His dear Son?
What questions do you have as you count the cost of following Jesus into the adventure of abundant life? (He is really ok with all of your questions.)
Would you say “Yes, Lord” and yield all your plans and circumstances to His timing and His purposes?
Christmas blessings filled up in you of HOPE, PEACE, JOY and God’s LOVE.