Ready or not – Christmas week is here! Time to enjoy each moment. May I make a suggestion? Take it all in! Your preparations come together in a call. It’s a call for a life response to a beautiful Baby!
This is the fourth and final in a series to prepare your heart for Christmas. Each week we light another candle in our hearts as a statement of preparation. (Notice each additional week’s article in this series has another candle lit in the main featured image.)
Life Response Each Moment
It’s time to give a full life response! Even with last minute preparations, choose to be alert and present. Jesus gives reason to celebrate! So engage gratitude and worship in this final week.
Advent #1 article, Prepare Your Heart and Advent #2 article, Who’s Got Your Right Hand, and Advent #3 – Time To Remember are the first articles in this series. They are packed with thoughtful ways to prepare your heart. Do click and read.
Not Hearing Or Seeing
People miss important moments when they are too busy. They fail to see and hear what’s really going on. To be present in important moments means cutting other things away. It also means setting boundaries to protect your life response to God. And it means to focus.
God has something to say about being present as you live. “Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Is. 6:9-10)
These verses have a twist – a kind of riddle. God states the upside-down condition His people often live in. They hear but don’t hear; they see but don’t see. Then God engages in a bit of sarcasm “. . . make their hearts calloused, their ears dull, and their eyes closed; because if for a slender moment they actually get a clear picture of Me, they might turn to Me and be healed. They might make a life response (and we can’t have that, now, can we?!).”
God is disappointed when you don’t seek Him with your heart. He wants to share special moments – “secrets” – with you, which is why you need to make a life response.
“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jer. 33:3)
God is available to you and gives Himself freely. Do you see His face and hear His sweet voice this Christmas week? Have you paused enough to connect with the Lord as you prepare? Are you giving Him a life response?
Woe, Not Woah!
Remember grammar class? Homonyms sound the same, but are spelled different and have different meanings. You can have moments of woe (terrible stuff) – or moments of woah (awesome stuff)!
There’s a passage that talks about woes. Is. 5:20-21 says, “Woe (terrible stuff) to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”
But when you “set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts,” (1 Pet. 3:15) each moment turns into a woah (awesome stuff)! Christ has a way of turning things back right-side-up, turning the lights back on, bringing sweetness back into each day.
The warning word used for those who flip God’s reality upside-down is woe (terrible stuff). A dictionary defines woe as “anguish, grief, affliction, distress, despair.” So, it’s logical to conclude these will affect you if you do not live within God’s reality.
Why not have the right kind of woah (awesome stuff) by bringing your life into alignment with God’s? By setting apart Christ as Lord in your heart, you grow to cherish Him more, daily. Life becomes a woah! And this requires a life response from you.
God went to such extremes to reconnect with people and give the extraordinary gift of eternal life! Just amazing!
Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, and let us settle the matter. Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow. Though they are red as crimson, they will be like wool.”
Christmas means God invites you to “come and reason together” with Him. Because Baby Christ becomes the stand-in sacrifice for sins, giving you freedom, eternal life, and adoption into His royal family, you have an incredible Christmas gift!
This Christmas, Reach Back to Emmanuel as your life response.
1 Cor. 6:20 says, “You have been bought, and at what a price! Therefore bring glory to God both in your body and your spirit, for they both belong to Him.” Jas 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Come alive each moment of your life. Because of Baby Jesus, you can have an Alive and Active Life at Christmas and all year. Let go of everything else, and choose Christ as your First, Most, and Best gift this Christmas.
What is your life response to His generosity?
How Do You Come Alive?
It may sound crazy – but you come alive by giving up your life completely. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.” (Mt. 16:25; Mk. 8:35; Lk. 9:24) You gain by letting go.
That seems counter-productive. But consider with me. When you surrender your life completely to the God who created you and to His original design for your life, you actually gain your true self. You become who you were intended to be. Why not be the real you?
Because God loves you and has purpose for your life, you can be assured your life has value and meaning attached to it. Part of the adventure is you finding out what that looks like. Yours is the joy of discovery as you see how incredible life becomes as you let Christ live in you. Woah!
In fact you can’t ever be the real you until His life is in you. That’s the original design for humanity. And Jesus – God-man – is the exact picture of what that’s like. It’s so helpful to study His life, to get to know Him, to pray for His transformation, and to build His character into your heart.
So, come alive! Step back and let Jesus step forward in your life. As you let His Spirit govern your responses in the details of each day, you find yourself making an incredible life response back to God.
To claim the peace Jesus gives, to have joy in your heart even when you might not have happiness, to know the contentment of pleasing God! These are the things that make life rich and precious.
There is no better way to celebrate Christmas than to make a life response back to God. You can do this by fully participating in each moment from your heart. Make this Christmas an altar where you “give up what you cannot keep to gain what you cannot lose!” (Jim Elliot, missionary)
Consequently, you will discover things about yourself you never knew. With growing knowledge about God and love for Him, you will discover secrets about the greatest Person there is. There is no substitute for the deep and abiding companionship God offers to those who love Him back. And the best way to love Jesus back is to make a life response.
Start this New Year by taking ownership of your choices, do these things:
- Simply trust Jesus.
- Obey Him.
- Rest in Him.
- Give yourself so completely to Him that you find yourself thinking – “I’m not my own. I don’t belong to myself. I belong to God. Truly, I am His servant – but He has made me His child and His friend.”
Once you’ve made up your mind to submit to God in all things, you will truly begin to enjoy your life. Since you are choosing to do your life His way, the most amazing “win” takes place. You take power away from dreams, goals, and ideals that began to entangle you and keep you prisoner. Instead you become FREE.
In this place, Jesus fulfills your dreams, helps you meet your goals, and blesses your ideals – His way!
“It is for freedom Christ has set you free.” (Gal. 5:1) This is living. This is a life response you’ll never regret!
Application Thoughts and Questions
- What is your life response to God’s invitation to abide in Him each moment?
- Are your eyes and ears fully open to see and hear?
- Would you say you have moments of woe (terrible stuff) – or moments of woah (awesome stuff)?
- Are you working to save your life or to lose your life for Christ’s sake?
- Why not get to know the real you as you make a life response to God in the New Year.
- Do you know that God wants you to be fully free and fully alive?
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