Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Ann Grace (please see her last Diva post for more on her journey). This is the finale of Diva Christmas 2019 – the reason for the season! Merry Christmas. I woke up this morning excited to start …
NOUNS AND VERBS, AN ETERNAL REASON FOR THE SEASON
Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by June E. Titus. Here’s a great devotional to end this week’s Diva Christmas 2019 – reason for the season!
Here are some of the phrases we hear as we approach the Christmas season: “So, what do you hope to get under your tree this Christmas?” “I hope the family can get together for Christmas.” “I hope this Christmas is better than last year!” Reminds me of “The Griswold Family Christmas” . . . not the kind of Christmas most of us really want as part of our celebration. We sold live Christmas trees from our farm in the North Carolina mountains. They were shipped all over the eastern part of the United States. To many people, it isn’t Christmas without a tree. To some people Christmas is an industry
Those superficial comments about the Season above and the holiday industry never get to the heart of the reason for the season. The reason is Jesus. Pure and Simple. Indeed it goes deeper than our hopes for favorable gifts, family, or fun.
Our Christmas hope is a noun rather than a verb.
- Hope as a verb: expectation that something will be the way we think it should happen.
- Hope as a noun: expectation based on a promise and a reality—Hope based on what has been “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
But more. There is a “reason for the hope that is in you.” The reason goes back, yes, not only to the manger when our Savior was born, but also to the cross when He “suffered once for our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous.”
And even more. Jesus not only died, but He “rose again,” and will return for us and we “will always be with the Lord.” Eternal Hope—that is a reason for the season.
But shall we go even deeper? Hope is one part of it. Hope is our “noun.” It is what we grasp hold and cling to. What was Jesus’ reason to give us that hope? His reason is a verb. He loved us and gave Himself for us, a “fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
So then, what is our verb? Is it to wish for some gift or experience to make us feel good at the Christmas season? Is it decorating our place, putting up a tree, cooking a big family meal? There is nothing wrong with these things in proper perspective. When we get a whiff of the pine or balsam, or smell the aroma of that turkey and pecan pie, we might think about the true fragrance of His sacrifice to God. Why? It was His love for us.
We, too, are to be a fragrant reflection of His love—a verb, demonstrating His love in our hearts to others. Eternal love—His for us—ours for Him and others.
Now that is a reason we can celebrate
at the Christmas season and every day.
June Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “all About Women,’ a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.
This is a guest story by Devotional Diva founder Renee Fisher! Here’s the third installment of Diva Christmas 2019 – the reason for the season! One Christmas, I spoke on the 3 Keys to Unlocking Christmas at a woman’s tea. I started with my favorite …
Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Agnes Amos-Coleman. And this is the second post of Diva Christmas 2019 – the reason for the season! My friends, this Christmas season reminds me of shepherds who tend, feed and guard their sheep. Jesus Christ symbolizes …
Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Sheila Lloyd. Welcome to Diva Christmas 2019 – the reason for the season!
I stand before the nativity crèche , looking at it as I have so many, many times before… Enjoying the colors, smiling at the way the expressions are carved in each face, thinking about the artist’s choice of costume.
My eyes move to the center figure, the baby in the manger; and I am struck a new with wonder. That baby lying in the manger truly was King of kings and Lord of lords! In his eyes was all eternity past and all eternity future combined into a shining present moment. The Word that spoke the earth into existence, that made light out of darkness, had now become flesh. Once again, darkness would give way to light and creation would never be the same!
Every figure in that manger scene had a fixed gaze on baby Jesus–an attitude of wonder as well as worship. Lord, how I want that focus as well! The world creeps in with tinsel and to do lists, money and mall mayhem; and my heart begins to feel as if it’s cold hard plastic like the nativity figurines.
Forgive me. Fix my gaze upon Jesus–Not just the baby in a manger, but the Messiah on the cross, the risen Lord, and the reigning King! May my gaze be one of fixed wonder and joyful worship.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.John 1:9-13
Sheila Lloyd is learning to live in freedom through Jesus Christ! Her vocational life has included teaching private piano lessons, writing, acting in and producing musical dramas, spearheading women’s retreats and other ministry outreach events, composing music, leading worship across the country, teaching Bible studies and mentoring. Shelia has two grown sons, one of whom has special needs. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Brian, since 1990. The couple experienced growth on the cutting edge of faith as Brian suffered a massive rehabilitating stroke in 2014. They published a book sharing God‘s powerful hand in the situation titled, It’s OK! I Had a Stroke. It was released on Amazon and Barnes and Noble May 2019. Website here. The couple currently shepherds a storefront church in Woodstock, VA.
Well, last week’s devotional wrapped up our fall stories. Now, I’ll be announcing our Christmas series and opening submissions! I just moved (again, I know.) to Washington State and we are already SO excited for Christmas. Well, this year we’ve been excited for every single …
Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from Sheila Lloyd. Sheila’s husband had a stroke in 2014, and this is part of their story of recovery. Thanks so much, Sheila! WHAT DID I LEARN THROUGH THE STROKE? How I am more like Jesus because of …
Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from Jennifer, the Sunflower Mom! Thanks for sending this in, Jen!
“Are you happy?” she asked me.
A friend I hadn’t seen in a few months asked me this question early one Saturday morning over coffee. She knew some of the depression I’ve been wading through the last few years.
“Yes,” I replied, closing the conversation so the discussion could move on to more comfortable topics.
Later that evening I thought about that question.
Happy is a fleeting emotion. When I look back at my life, I’d only describe one season as truly happy: those first few months of awestruck wonder when my daughter was born.
Otherwise, happiness comes and goes. It seems like an impossible goal, especially for someone who is crawling out of depression.
An accurate response would have been, “I’m content.”
Webster’s definition of content is “feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.”
If that sounds the same to you as “happy,” then you’re right, happy is a synonym of the word content.
This dictionary definition leads me to believe a promotion, a change in my singleness, or a new car will bring me contentment. Which I’ve all tried, by the way, and none of these brought me out of my depression.
To truly understand the meaning of contentment, I dug further.
After all, if in Ephesians, Paul can call himself content writing from a jail cell, surely it has nothing to do with singleness or possessions.
Philippians 4:11-13 NIV: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, the biblical definition of contentment is an “internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances.”
This definition demands I find satisfaction where God has me today. Not how I wished my life looked.
No mention of possessions or status or situation. Quite the opposite.
Giving up on the dreams I have for myself isn’t fun work. I never imagined I’d be 40 and a single mother. Those aren’t the goals young girls dream for themselves.
But it’s where God has me.
After years of striving for happiness outside of my life, I came to the end of myself.
Prideful, I was determined to do things my way and only give God what I wanted to give Him. I held onto relationships, hurts, and pride for years.
I begged God all the time to change my circumstances. Certain I knew the way to my happiness.
It wasn’t until one completely broken night that I gave Him all of me, and He fully met the broken me and restored me.
I now put my focus on what God has blessed with me with each day.
For me, that looks like pouring myself into my children in ways I never did before.
I no longer dread being their chauffeur. I look for ways to serve them, teach and prepare them to become human beings that make a difference in this world.
After years of putting my life on hold, I finally went all in: I went back to church. I took a vacation solo, I put myself in new situations. I’ve found blessings that have been waiting for me all this time.
Most of all, I asked for help.
I shelved my pride and starting with my doctor I asked for help. Then I asked a friend at church, then another one, and another.
Shockingly, I was met with grace and love.
God didn’t change my circumstances. I’m still a single mother. But now I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from Maggie Meadows Cooper – one of my favorite Christian mom bloggers, and she just happens to have a great name!! Y’all, lately I have been feeling the pressure of numbers. So. Many. Numbers. The number of likes …