I'm sort of throwing my hat into the ring with a post about New Year's resolutions, but only by retooling a piece I wrote two years ago from my then-position as Sunday School coordinator. I think it's still relevant, and since I resolved not to write another one on the topic again, it's all you're going to get.
I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t like feeling compelled to make promises I can’t be sure I am able to keep. This especially goes for resolutions where I resolve to lose XX amount of pounds or spend less time looking at screens. Things happen, and while sometimes those things can legitimately interfere with the keeping of a resolution, I know myself too well and anticipate happily taking advantage of a good excuse to ditch the resolution.
Does the thought of researching Bible Reading Plans wear you out?
Do you scroll past the posts recommending Bible in a Year plans, letting yourself linger only long enough to catch a glimpse of the exhortations from pastors and writers about the need to be in the Word daily, but avoiding the laborious task of deciding which one to pick?
Do you dread the building knot of guilt in your gut as you recall the months it's been since you checked off a box on this year's plan?
Divine purpose, and divine and human action. The thought always comes to me in retrospect -- "Oh, now I see why that had to happen that way!" But sometimes the images slide together in focus, and I comprehend that God is this very moment providentially moving about in the world, through human action, to bring about his will for his glory and my good. "I don't know what he has planned as the outcome, but there are things he is doing today that are instrumental in bringing it about." My most-used application of this is in the ubiquitous matter of the job search. Isn't it true that the position God has ordained for you has to be made available at the right time? And that that availing process involves another availing process -- someone else needs to leave their job before person B can take it, thereby leaving their job to create the vacancy for you to fill tomorrow? Right?
The Christian life is surrender to a sovereign mercy. It all comes down to this for every believer. Either God is sovereign or he is not. Either God is merciful or he is not.
Everyone knew him because, though you see people of his sort only in Narnia, you see pictures of them and hear them talked about even in our world—the world on this side of the wardrobe door. But when you really see them in Narnia it is rather different. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn’t find it quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn. . . . Then he cried out “A Merry Christmas! Long live the true King!”
C.S. Lewis wrote this in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in a chapter entitled "The Spell Begins to Break".
Have a merry Christmas, and here's my thought for you if you don't know why we celebrate the day:
If God in his mercy breaks through the fog and buffer of the joviality of the celebrations and brings you face to face with the true King, I hope you will be made to recognize him -- Jesus --- and see your true self for what it is, and love him and desire to serve and worship Jesus for all your remaining days.
It's December 24.
At this time last year I was logging my 24th musing on the Season of Incarnation, which I'd dubbed From Thanks 2 Giving. God was filling my heart and my head with Christmas-themed devotions, studies, and reflections so much that of all the barriers that usually stand against writers who attempt to pen words every single day, the only one that seemed to slow me down was the time it took to get online and format a post at least once every 24 hours.
That little baby in the manger, the cherub the world Gerberizes and too much of "the church" compartmentalizes, that Child believers must accept as more than a babe, but the Son of God -- that child is the spotless Lamb of God in whose body all the sins of all of the elect of all time will reside, against whom all the wrath of God will be unleashed, by whom the miracles of Incarnation and Resurrection will be displayed. That baby came to die.
Photo credit (No, this is not my mom.)
This certainly isn't my first Christmas with my mom, but it may be the first one that I am seeing through her eyes.
As I watch, the ribbon succumbs to the twirling command of her fingers, spotted and stiff though they be, much better than it does mine. Her package corners are much tighter and crisper than most you'll find under any Christmas tree -- like her bedsheet corners, which she learned to square from my grandmother, the nurse.
I quit Facebook for a month, and what I discovered as a result can be illustrated in a quote from Douglas Wilson (in reference to a scandal of over a decade ago, link since removed): “If you don’t know anything about the situation, then that is just great and your world remains a better place.”
...who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, by taking the form of
being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
(Philippians 2:6-8 ESV)
Merry Christmas indeed!
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
2015-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to #thereyougothinkingagain, lauraenglandmiller, or Laura E Miller with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.