Happy New Year to you, Sisterhood!!
Wow-2019 is coming to a close. My prayer is that we would all take a moment to ponder on our Father's presence, this past year-through it ALL-good and not so good. I pray we walk into 2020 with greater expectations of His inhabitance in our lives, and that we would not only SEE it, but be carriers of it to those around us!
A few weeks ago, I was sitting with a dynamic group of young leaders. We were discussing the topic of Christmas traditions. I loved hearing the different ideas from their families and how they are either still doing them or have tweaked them for their new families. I shared a story about how when I was growing up, during the Christmas season, my mom would set up an empty manger under the Christmas tree. This was part of our Advent tradition. Every day, at the end of the day, my mom would pull out a bag of hay and she would distribute a portion to each of us to place in the manger. Some days, depending on our behavior, we'd have less than to give. I understand now what my mom was trying to teach us, and as a mom myself, I also see the humor in finding creative ways for our kids to behave :)
In its simplest form, though, it was all about preparing for Jesus' coming. It was about being aware of how our actions honor Him in a way that says we want Him to come. It was about understanding that when we dishonor Him, we say "we want our way, not yours-there's no room for you because we don't have any to give. We don't want Your Presence, Jesus." That's the lesson I have walked away with from that childhood experience.
The older the get, I see the need to become more intentional than ever, in teaching my kids why His presence is necessary. Why it WAS necessary for Him to come those 2,000 plus years ago. Emmanuel, God with us, is so precious to me. Sweet sisters, can I submit that there is more to Him coming down from Heaven to dwell among us, and sacrifice His life for us? May I humbly say that there is MORE beyond our salvation? And while He is not here in the physical anymore, He left us His Holy Spirit presence to carry? Can you see where I'm going with this? WE are vessels that carry "God with us".
How does that even tie into my childhood story of the manger? I'm so glad you asked :)
While I may not have brought this particular tradition over into my adult life with my kids, we have indeed created our own that says "we carry Your Presence, King Jesus." Over the last several years, we have picked up Christmas projects, if you will, to bless someone or a group of someones during the Holiday season. This is our family's tradition. BECAUSE we are bearers of the presence of Christ, we proclaim it by blessing those who not only need a revelation of the goodness of God, but of the fact that His presence does indeed STILL dwell among us.
Sisters, we have an incredible opportunity every day, not just during the Holidays, to be bearers of Emmanuel to those around us. This will look different for each of us. As we enter into 2020, I'm praying that God will show us all, how we can share His presence wherever we find ourselves. May 2020 be the year that someone comes to the saving knowledge of Jesus because of what they SEE IN US!!