It was supposed to rain. It did. The weatherman was right this time. But my friend just said, “Bring an umbrella.”
It was a Christmas Party and a Caroling Party and my friend’s way of blessing her neighborhood. True enough, the gospel is contained within the lyrics of many a Christmas Carol. The Light of the World’s story is sung. The name, Jesus, is pronounced as the King of kings and Lord of lords, and people smile. I don’t know the impact a Caroling Party can make in one’s neighborhood, but I know the impact it makes on me.
Years ago I remember having caroling parties. It was tradition for us back then, too. It was my heart to bless my neighbors with truth and love and music and it was so much fun to be with my friends. I hoped for some of that tonight and I got it in spades. Spades, I tell you!
The truth of the matter is you can’t rain on a Jesus Parade and that’s what we were... that’s what we are. When the Wonderful Counselor shows up and the Spirit is walking along side you, what’s revealed is encouragement, hope, fellowship, friendship, food, laughter, games and quite simply, peace on earth. It’s not contained in the activity itself but in the people who bring the message.
Often our instinct is to look at the circumstances. “It’s raining,” you might say. But my friend said, “Bring an umbrella,” because she knows what matters. It is not what you see, but what you don’t see. It’s not the obstacles or inconveniences, those things are always temporary. What counts is people, living for eternity’s sake with streams of living water flowing from them. Rain is just wet and rain always goes away. By the way, God sends rain. Matthew 5:45
So whether you are toting an umbrella or singing in the rain or walking on sunshine remember this, "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7:38
I say.... Let it Rain.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Isn’t that the truth?
Some people would argue that starving people in deprived countries need STUFF. What I argue is that they need HOPE... and yes, clothes, clean water, access to healthcare and education, freedom, Jesus... My heart aches for the broken hearted and crushed in spirit... everywhere...and for some people in the world, hope is borne in a vaccination, a sewing machine, a well dug in their community.
Many of the studies that have been done on life satisfaction around the globe clearly indicate that PEOPLE connected to PEOPLE creates the conditions most necessary for happiness. Gretchen Rubin makes mention of this somewhere in the first six chapters of her book. The studies consistently show that what ya GOT, physically speaking doesn’t compare with WHO ya got. Good people make a rich life indeed. Exhibit A: the United States, one of the richest countries on the planet, is not the happiest.
But getting back to my point - Good people spur you on to love and good deeds and shall I say it? ... Yes, bring Joy.
Christmas Season is about JOY to the world, right?
JOY to the world. What? JOY.
JOY to the world. To WHO? The world!
JOY to the world, WHY? The Lord has come!... as a... PERSON! A human being. Living. Breathing. He came.
He ate. He drank. He laughed. He touched. He wept. He cooked. He sang. He listened. He spoke.
Do you hear the bells ringing it? The songs being song? Are they resounding in your heart and your home? Are you sharing that music with people? Are you donating to charity or buying someone in Chile a cow? If so, are you enJOYing it?
It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.
So whether you are ready up to your eyeballs in Christmas boxes stuffed with stuff from too many years of tchachke collecting, or whether you are up to your eyeballs in bills and burdens, enJOY your holiday season... with PEOPLE..... and your God.
I wish you JOY! To who? To YOU!
Here is my little drummer boy. We Got The Beat day is his favorite day of the week. Why? Because in addition to drumming, he loves “peopling”. He made that word up. He said one day after I asked the “How was your day, dear?” question that he had a great “peopling” day.
I said, “What do you mean, ‘peopling’ honey?”
He replied, “I just love people.”
I think Jesus did, too.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
We love because....
My little girl has been on-the-ball this Christmas season. Do you have any kids like that?
Even before the holiday she wants to go shopping. Not for herself. For others. She is begging to look at Amazon wish lists. She is counting her money and even making a budget. She is probing her brothers for everything they want, because she wants to (smirk, giggle, eyes lit up) SURPRISE them!
I am in wonder of her generosity.
Jillian: Mommy, why is everything on your amazon wish list so expensive?
Me: I don’t know honey. Maybe it’s because the things I want and need that are cheap, I just buy them for myself.
(In the back of my head the little voice cries out, “Do not cheat her of the joy of giving! FIND SOMETHING that she can give you. She wants to do it. She wants to give!”)
(The other voice in the back of my head asks, “When did she look at the amazon wish list? Who was her accomplice? Are there other things she’s doing on the internet I don’t know about?)
(Voice Number Three arrives - yes, I talk to myself often - and she says, “Relax.”)
So, today, I need to find something that she is excited to give me that she can afford so that she can enjoy the gift of giving me something I want. Isn’t that a funny take on Christmas giving?... My 10 year old’s heart is so generous - a lot like Jesus’ heart.
Jesus can afford everything and He gave it all. All. He didn’t hold one thing back. He didn’t budget His mercy or His grace. He didn’t try to do what was convenient or easy. He KNEW what we most wanted. He KNEW what we most needed and he poured himself lavishly...isn’t that a beautiful word? ...lavishly....excitedly....sacrificially....joyfully.... and He still does it today. It’s why He came. So that he could keep on giving!
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us. 1 John 3:1
Why? We love because.... He first loved us. He came so that He could give love, through us.
So whatever you are in position to give this holiday... to your God or to your family or to your friends.... Give it like a little child. Smirk. Giggle. SURPRISE! Let your eyes light up and GIVE. Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the details. Just do it. Lavishly, excitedly, sacrificially and by all means, joyfully.