By dang it's hot outside. I'm not complaining though, because I'd much rather complain about the cold. I will say, however, that I miss some of the things that go along with winter, like; hot spiced apple cider (I can drink it by the gallons), a roaring fire in the fireplace (but I don't like packing wood), the crisp winter morning air, and Christmas.
I'm not one of those folks that hates the holiday season and can't wait for it to be over. In fact, we don't even take our tree down until January 6, or Epiphany (there'll be another blog about that in January). I get frustrated over the commercialization of Christmas, but I love the spirit of Christmas. Unfortunately, it's one of my busiest times of the year so sometimes the spirit gets lost in the shuffle. So...maybe I could take a few minutes in July to hit on it a little bit. You know, a "be still and know" kind of thing.
In the Church, Christmas has it's own set of scripture readings, and I love them all. There's the nativity story, which is spread out over more than one gospel and doesn't look exactly like it's depicted on most mantles. There's the stuff in Isaiah, you know, "unto us a child is born." Then there's one that's probably a little more obscure, but is actually one of my favorites. It was the Old Testament life journal reading for today, is in Micah 5, and says:
"But to you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, though you are small among the tribes of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times...He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord, his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach the ends of the earth, and he will be their peace."
Now, I have to be honest. Micah could have been talking about some earthly king, I don't know for sure. I could do the research, but the research, to me, today, is not really what's important. Most of the time it is, but I think I just want to let this one speak to the heart today. We'll do head work some other time.
What if, since Christmas is only 167 days, 6 hours, and 31 minutes away (but who's counting, right?), we took a few minutes today to think about how cool it would be to finally be at peace? That would be a pretty awesome Christmas gift if you ask me.
Think about it for a second. How would it feel to be able to totally let go of everything that kept you up at night? Or what about not needing all those Tums anymore? Stress is a bear, I know, I've dealt with it most of my adult life (and not too well most of the time).
So, here is my early Christmas gift to you. I give you permission, for at least one day, to accept an invitation from the Prince of Peace, on a trial basis, of course. If you can let go for one day and find that you like it, sweet. There is an invitation on the table to enjoy it longterm. If not, you are perfectly free to pick your worry back up. I won't say a word. Shoot up a quick little prayer, "God take it and keep it." Just give it a shot. If you want, shoot me a message and I'll pray it for you.