Christmas is approaching. It could bring joy and peace or sadness and grief. Regardless, we all have choices about how we respond to the things that come our way. A dear friend shared this story with me.
Rick had a terrible week at work, and then expensive car problems. He was driving home in traffic that was bumper to bumper. He’d try a different road only to find another traffic jam.
As he sat in frustration, he turned on his radio. An announcer was advertising that a car dealership was looking for bicycles to give to children for Christmas. Earlier that day, he had noticed a gift card in his wallet that had been unused. Rick had a choice. He suddenly was inspired to make another turn; this time to go buy a bike and deliver it to the car dealership. I could only picture his big grin as he delighted in delivering a brand new pink bike for a little girl. My friend reported that Rick’s shift from his momentary troubles to an others-centered perspective turned his whole week around.
Settle: Cease and Release
Take a few deep breaths and let go of the outside stresses in your life. Notice what your feelings are trying to convey to you today.
Listen: Rest in the Word
Consider the words of Isaiah as he contrasts the various blessings that are available to us from our Lord, even in the difficult times. God will restore us.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
Reading 1: Simply let the words flow through you, ministering to your body, mind, and spirit.
Reading 2: Which words draw your attention? Focus on those words for a few moments.
Reading 3: What is God saying within you?
Reflect: Feast on the Word
Spend some time reflecting on this passage. What is God revealing to you for your journey today?
Complete the prayer below in the way that the Holy Spirit leads you…
Lord, hear my prayer.
Today I ask you to release me from ______________.
In its place, please give me_____________________.
Instead of _________________________.
Please give me _____________________.
Today let others see in me______________________.
Instead of ___________________________________.
Thank you Lord that you renew me. You give me choices. Help me to choose abundant life in you today. Amen.