Christmas is such a wonderful reminder of faith. I’ve always pondered the time after an event and the time the event becomes a memory that you can either laugh at or accept with more grace than the actual moment of occurrence. How easily a mother forgets the pain of childbirth when her heart desires another child. Losses are like this. You never forget a loss that took you to the depths of despair, but over time, you manage the pain, and you eventually can help others going through similar events–mentor them–because you’ve been there.
Faith is something you learn as a child–the innocence of all things wonderful. As you grow, you realize the granular details of truly what it means to have faith when the temporal takes over. We have eternity in our hearts; however, circumstances and life here on earth brings the practice of our faith.
Through a series of messages, songs, and scriptures, I’ve been reminded again that Christmas was not easy for those who attended the very first one. From the get go, Mary was “confused and disturbed” (Luke 1: 29). Mary, with no menu of options, was faced with a difficult journey and faced obstacles that would bring any courageous soul to question their faith. The Greek words that describe this verse are “completely shaken” and “troubled”.
If you are looking around and staggered by your current condition and circumstances, remember what glorious redemption occurred when folks at the first Christmas party decided to look up and away from their reality. Wise men followed stars, shepherds lifted their heads to embrace an angel’s message of hope, and Mary pondered all of these things in heart.
I just read this morning from my devotional book about a shepherd who had no fancy equipment but herded thousands of sheep by running on foot for days. At 61, Cliff Young, showed up at an ultramarathon (544 miles) with no sponsor, no special training, other than life itself, and just “wondered”. While others would run for 18 miles, sleep on the side of the road for 6, and finish within 5, 6, or 7 days on average, he was unaware of the average and ran through the night. Coming in first and beating the world record by two days, Cliff was awarded the prize of first place and 10,000 dollars in which he shared with other runners. Did I tell you that he showed up in his every day clothes of overalls and work-boots? I know it sounds like something you should check on snopes.com. Well, I checked it out and Cliff is quite the interesting person who continued to inspire until his death.
His game plan during the race was to continue running through the dark with a “shuffled” run while others ran fast during the day and rested in the dark. My devotional, The Way of Abundance, reminded me “while others run fast, you can just shuffle with perseverance. While others seek to impress, you can press on.” (Voskamp, pg. 64)
The Abundant Light has come to help you shuffle through the darkness. Just like Cliff, we can navigate the darkness and confusion and use it for God by looking up, shuffling on, and remembering. Remember what Christmas is truly about–a Savior who came to love you all the way home. He has already mastered the darkness through His life and love.
It’s going to be tempting this Christmas to look around verses looking up. As humans, we can manufacturer chaos like a good “I love Lucy” episode. I love the one with the chocolates. If you go to see the new Mary Poppins movie–oh my goodness!!!!!! Seriously, a pivotal and tender moment is when a child “looks up”. I wont spoil it. But, you know, I cried and smiled, and said, “I see God. I hear you.” Look up, child!
When it’s hard, I pray you’ll set your mind on things unseen and have faith that His light will never let the darkness overcome you.
Look up and dance with me! (Lauren Daigle, Look Up Child, Video)