I’m guessing that the biggest issue facing you right now is not what present to get someone for Christmas or how many different kinds of cookies to bake. There are larger forces at play in each of our lives.
From conversations I am having with friends and family detailing the sorrows in their lives, I know that each one of us or someone close to us is living in their own painful situation. We need more than a little Christmas, right this very minute.
We need Jesus. We hear the cry of the Psalmist, “Come let us worship and bow down – let us kneel before the Lord our God our maker, for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture.” The invitation is to come. Not to wait to come until it’s more convenient or feels more natural or is easier to do but to come now. Come in the midst of the heartache and the need.
Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” His invitation is to find rest in the midst of the busy, the full, the requirements, the demands, the depths, the sorrow, and the pace. We rest in his Presence. We rest when we behold him.
Sometimes it takes hardship to turn our gaze to our King, doesn’t it? Some of our most intimate times of encountering him are when we are on the floor sobbing out our desperate need. Sometimes, it is pain that is as CS Lewis says, God’s megaphone to the world. “Come to me”, he calls.
When my mom had only a few weeks left to live – she wrote that her unexpected diagnosis had been the most precious gift that God had ever given her. It had driven her to his feet and there she had found him to be more than enough, higher than her desires, and more compelling than life itself. Beauty. Hope. Triumph.
When my friend who many of you knew, Craig McConnell was in the hospital or at home battling leukemia, wracked with pain, he spent his time worshipping God and praying for others. I am one of the happy recipients of those life altering prayers. Prayers groaned out with purified holy longing. And that worship? Beauty. Hope. Triumph.
Oh to worship God in the midst of pain, sorrow, and heartache. How do we do that? Well, Jesus compels us. When push comes to shove, nothing else and no one else will do. But we have to look at him when we are not in crisis so that we know where to look when we are in order to find and know life.
School children practice fire drills and now – horribly – active shooter drills. You need the muscle memory. You practice martial arts with the hope to never have to use it in a real-life situation. You learn self-defense so that you are ready for what you pray will never come. You practice CPR. You teach your children to dial 911 in case of an emergency. You train.
We train our hearts as well. How? By turning our attention to Jesus. By fixing our gaze on our King. By looking into his beautiful face. By remembering who He is and by having him reveal more of who he truly is to us! Because, who is he?
He is the one who saved us and is saving us. He is the one who has healed us and is healing us. He has come for us and he is coming still and he will never stop. He is the one who, moved by love, laid down his glory and in unmatched humility took on our humanity forever to live, to die, to rise again that we might be saved. He is the one who is faithful. He is the one who will never abandon us. He is the one who is working all things together for our good. He is the one who finishes the work that he has begun in us.
Song of Songs 5:16 says that “He is desirable in EVERY way.” Other versions translate the words to – “He is altogether desirable.” or “He is wholly lovely (desirable).” King James says, “he is all together lovely.”
Lovely means able to excite desire or love.
May this Christmas season be a time where we turn our gaze to Jesus that he might reveal more of who he truly is to each one of us, exciting our love and refueling our hope. May he capture our hearts, yet again.