Let's Be Inspired Together Blog Articles

 

A God Imposed Silence

This Christmas time, I am grateful that God is still doing some of the same things that he was doing during the first Christmas time. As awe and wonder were found at the first Christmas, so they can be found this Christmas. As hope, peace, joy and love arrived through the coming of Christ, so they can again as we invite him to come into our lives this Christmas.

Recently, I experienced in my own life, God doing something in me, although admittedly on a smaller scale, that was present in the build up to the first Christmas.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving...

One of my favorite verses of one of my favorite Christmas carols is the fourth verse of "In the Bleak Midwinter". The song asks:

"What then can I give him, poor as I am,

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.

If I were a wise man, I would do my part.

Yet - what can I give him? I give him my heart"

I like these words because provoke a response from me - What is it that I can give to a king who has given so much to me?

Finding an appropriate gift to give the one who makes all things possible is an impossible task, because there is nothing that we can do, offer, extend that could possibly even come close to repaying all that he has given for us. We just don't have enough to recipricate his kindness. Whatever it is that we give, because even our best is somewhat inconsequential, it needs to be something that is perpetually offered. In order to start to repay we do not need to just give once, but always.

There are some obvious things that we can and must give as a way of saying thank you - our time, our talent, our thoughts, and our actions. I have recently been led to believe that one of the best gifts that we can return to Jesus is our awe and wonder. These two traits are expressions of worship that God desires and deserves.

C.S. Lewis believed that "we become more in awe of him as we stand in awe of him". I wonder if the best gift that we can return to Christ, not just on his birthday but everyday, is that we constantly remain amazed at all he has done?

Standing in awe is not a static action because it involves us discovering new ways to look at him. As we see something wonderful about him, we become more awe filled, and thus our worship increases. I wonder this season whether the best gift that we can give to our king is simply to stand amazed by him. Doing so creates in us a perpetual gratitude, changes us from 'glory unto glory', and allows us to offer a gift that keeps on giving.

What can you give him? The gift he wants is our worship. As we stand in awe of him... we continue to ever become more in awe of him.

The Long Christmas Journey...

One thing that I increasingly detest is busy stores. I find it especially frustrating when I don’t exactly know what I’m looking for. This is especially true at Christmas when there are thousands of others lingering around the stores, not knowing what they are looking for either. The invention of Amazon.com has become a Christmas blessing for me. I can shop privately, on my own time, get discount prices… all from the comfort of my own couch!

 

As I started shopping this year for my brother in-law, I considered some of the things that I knew he had interest in and searched for items related to that. As a supporter of West Ham United (a Football Club from England) and a lover of beer, I thought the perfect gift would be a beer glass, coasters and bar towel that contained the West Ham United Club’s insignia! For the low price of $13, plus $3.50 shipping, I was able to check another gift off my list. I figured these items were so cheap because my brother-in-law's team isn't too popular in the US (or honestly, outside of East London!).

Reasons to be Thankful!

Gratitude matters.

As he sits down to dictate this letter to his Christian brothers and sisters at the Church in Colossi, you can almost see the Apostle Paul scanning through the rolodex of his mind at the faces of his friends who worship in this Church… and the gratitude he has for them. In a moment of profound gratitude, he recalls the ways that they have helped, supported and furthered the call and cause of Christ. Maybe he remembers the family who hosted him on his last visit and their radical hospitality? Perhaps he remembered the young man whose inquisitive questions assured him that the gospel would have a life after him? Perhaps he remembered the elderly lady who faithfully prayed for him each day? Perhaps he remembered the Church comedian whose funny turns of a phrase caused him to laugh deeply?

He probably recalls personal stories of generosity, kindness, and encouragement, and courage, and honesty, and victory, and transformation and bold faith. If he were to list all the stories, it would have looked more like an epic novel than a letter.

So with eyes welled with tears and a heart that rests in humble gratitude, he tries his best to summarize what he is thankful for about the people he has partnered with what remains the greatest pursuit that we can give ourselves to.

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because... of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth.” Colossians 1:3&5

Paraphrasing, he says -

  • “I’m grateful for your faith… time and time again how you have chosen to trust Christ!
  •  “I am so thankful for your love that springs up and expresses itself in such rich ways!”
  • “My heart is full of gratitude for the hope of heaven that you hold before those inside of your fellowship!”

As the country pauses to say thank you this week… pause and say thank you for the people that God has put around you whose faith inspires, whose love encourages, and whose hope lifts you.

This year I am most thankful for the faith, the hope, and the love that others extend. I am grateful that, come what may, these three will always remain within those who are in Christ.

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