It’s Christmas, and I get all sentimental and stuff. Actually, I am becoming more sentimental all year long. I reflect more; I feel more; I both laugh and cry, a lot. Sometimes it’s awesome. I appreciate simple, quiet things, and I’m easily at peace. It doesn’t take much to entertain me and make me laugh, and since my memory isn’t what it used to be, I get to enjoy the same things over and over.
Other times, there are downsides. I can’t hear a moving song without tearing up. I can’t watch TV shows or movies that have any sentiment at all without the tissues close by. I can’t even get through some of the commercials, although there are far fewer good ones these days. When I think about how blessed I am I more often end up in a puddle than in what looks like joyous celebration.
One problem I encounter if I reflect too much is feeling like I’ve failed to live up to the standard of fruitful living that is commonly presented to us as Christians. You’ve heard the messages…”Noah, Abraham, Joshua, David, Daniel, Deborah, Elizabeth, Mary…take your pick…was just an ordinary person like you. He/she had faults just like you. But when he or she surrendered fully to God, He did miraculous things, and He will do the same with you.”
Will He? Really? He certainly may, but that choice is His alone. I would propose that in the many centuries that people have walked with God there have been millions upon millions who surrendered their lives completely (no one perfectly) to the best of their understanding. Only a handful of those have names that we recognize or that were ever recorded on this earth. God has His own timing, purpose, and economy in using our lives. Some are known and bear amazing fruit. Others may be obscure and simply bring pleasure to His heart.
I would never weaken the argument for a complete surrender. We must examine our hearts and keep them in a state of surrender to the Lord. He promises that a life filled with His Holy Spirit will flow with living water, but He doesn’t promise that it will be what we would call miraculously fruitful. Maybe we need to reexamine what we think is miraculous…
The Creator of the universe becoming a baby in a manger.
The Lord of heaven living a sinless life so that He could die for our sins.
Jesus giving us His Spirit to live in and through us.
A life graced with people to love and who love us.
Any measure of good health.
The privilege of prayer to an Almighty God.
A warm house and food on the table.
Opportunities to share what we’ve been given.
Difficulties that teach us to lean hard and trust His love.
These are the things that are miraculous. Will a life marked by these miracles look impressive to man’s eyes? Probably not, but God asks for our hearts not our efforts. He has completed the requirements for us with His own blood. He creates each of us for His own purpose and will complete what He has begun in us. We should be open to possibilities, but He designed that we be free to be the people He created us each to be. Our lives should be a good fit, with an occasional stretch, and filled with His joy and peace even in the midst of challenges.
If, like me, you sometimes feel “less than” you thought you should be, stop yourself. Look again and see the amazing things God has done for you and in you. You are His joy and delight, and He wants you to rejoice! Not only at Christmas!
Romans 9:20-21; 2 Corinthians 5:5-9; Romans 12:1-2; John 7:38; Romans 8:32;
Philippians 1:6; Galatians 4:16-18; Zephaniah 3:17; Philippians 4:4