Friday, December 30, 2011

Well-Trodden Path

Yesterday I went to visit a friend that lives pretty close by, and the shortest way there takes me through my backyard and through a big empty lot.  I strapped on my boots and made the short trek through the snow, a lot of it through untouched snow, my footprints the first to break the snows surface.  After my visit, on my way back, I ended up walking in my own footprints as a path back to my house.  I remembered how much easier it is to walk through snow when there are already footprints to follow.  

When we still lived in Red Deer, I walked to my work at the bank everyday.  The route I took also took me through a large park where I crossed a big grassy area.  In the winter, I often found myself walking through the snow at this part of the walk.  Once in a while, if I was working early and we had gotten lots of snow overnight, my footprints would be alone.  But more often than not, because this was a well used route by many other people, there would be a full out path in the snow.  The snow would be untouched on either side, but because of the number of people walking through the same place, it was no longer overlapping sets of footprints, but a solid path of packed down snow.  This was much easier to walk on than making your own way through the deep new snow.  

Lately I've been trying to find a way to be more consistent in prayer.  Walking home from my visit yesterday through the snow, seeing my own footprints, I started thinking about this.  I think we make (or don't make) pathways in our hearts and minds towards things like prayer, reading the Bible, quiet and reflection.  And if it has been a long time, it's like making new footprints in deep snow.  It's harder than we think it should be.  We can be tempted not to do it again, and then life will blow over our single set of footprints and take them away, so that if we try again, its just as hard.  But if we choose to walk those paths often, making new footprints over old ones, again and again, we eventually make a solid path of packed down snow, and what used to seem hard to get to somehow has become a part of who we are.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Morning

It's Christmas!  The 28th one I have ever gotten to enjoy, my 5th with Kevin, my 3rd with the MRCC, and my 3rd with nieces!  A wonderful day indeed!  But wait, Christmas is not really about me.  It's not even really about spending a day celebrating with family, though we will enjoy that as well.

Christmas is about celebrating Jesus' birth.  But not just the fact that He was born.  We celebrate His birth because of who He was and because of why He was born.  Without these things, why would we celebrate?

This morning I woke up with Silent Night in my head.  I'm even listening to it now.  The last line of the second verse says "Christ, the Saviour is born."  Here is the key to Christmas - it's not just that Jesus was born.  It is that Jesus, the Christ, our Saviour, was born.  

Jesus is the Christ - the Anointed one, the Messiah.  God incarnate.  God, choosing to take on the form of a man to be born as a baby.

Jesus is the Saviour - He came to save us.  He came to suffer, He came to die.  For us.  Instead of us.  

Christmas isn't just about Christmas, Christmas is about Easter!  Already in celebrating the fact that He came as a baby, the "Why?" of Christmas leads us to Easter.  

This Christmas morning I am celebrating and worshiping my Saviour!!  To begin, I'm reading Phil. 2:5-11 -
 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All Out of Words

Brian Doerksen has a song on his album It's Time called "More".  It talks about how he needs God more than anything - more than oxygen, food, the warmth of the sun, the passionate expression of song.  It is very reminiscent of Psalm 63:

1 O God, you are my God;
      I earnestly search for you.
   My soul thirsts for you;
      my whole body longs for you
   in this parched and weary land
      where there is no water.
 2 I have seen you in your sanctuary
      and gazed upon your power and glory.
 3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself;

Your love is better than life.  I need you more than anything life-sustaining, more than anything beautiful, more than anything that provides fulfillment in life.  I need you and love you more than anything.

This is intense!  But I think a very appropriate adoration of our amazing God.  He sustains our every breathe, He provides the food and water we need to survive.  And His love is better than life!

And then, in Brian's song, there's this moment at the end when he has gone through this wonderful list of things that God's love is better than, where he throws out this line, "I'm all out of words..." And they proceed to go into a sweet instrumental outro to finish the song.

That line defines my worshipers heart sometimes.  You get to a point where you have tried to express in words the beauty and magnitude of God, trying to express through words how your heart responds to this amazing God, and you realize, "I'm all out of words".  And you throw your hands up, and dance, or cry, or just play your instrument with all the passion you can, try to find a way to express the love, the gratitude, the awe that is bursting from the inside out.

Sometimes I have had people ask me why we have to do repetitive songs, just sing the same line over and over.  Or what the point of a high energy instrumental is in worship.  To me, this is why - because sometimes I'm all out of words.  My heart needs to worship but my words just don't cut it anymore.  And I think for me something happens between my own spirit and God's that is outside of the music, that is beyond trying to sing about God's greatness through well crafted words.  My words fail, and my spirit cries out to Him in a way He can understand.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another Morning

This morning I am thankful for...

  • Sleep
  • The goodies that start coming out at Christmas time
  • The beautiful story of Ruth - love, redemption, faithfulness, devotion, compassion
  • Rain in December!
  • Christmas music, new and old