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My Life Verse
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.”
I think of the final week of each year
as a time for meaningful reflection and re purposing –
but I also think of it as a time of detox therapy from week after week
of sappy Christmas carol lyrics that we burn into our brains
as some form of twisted self-flagellation holiday exercise.
I mean, think about it . . “oh whet fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh”?
It’s 17 below this winter day in Vermont – I’m thinking about the joy
of a fully enclosed BMW SUV . . or how about
grandma getting run over by a reindeer?
Visions of hoofs thumping Nana’s cranium is not such a sweet image AND
who is going to be making those scintillating apple pies
while she is laid up in the hospital? . . or how about Rudolph
getting cut out of all those reindeer games yet again for the umpteenth time?
What hypocrites those sleigh pulling beasts prove themselves to be
while acting all nice and proper when it comes to helping Santa
with a global gift distribution flight – once again, those who tout tolerance
seem to be the biggest bullies in the bunch!
So the pause of the holiday season now gets swallowed up in the hustle and bustle
of a new year and the Fear Factory otherwise known as planet earth . .
or does it?
Beneath the many layers of “sappy” carols that drench our Christmas,
a handful of melodies find themselves anchored to lyrics that ring true to God’s Word
and offer a timelessness that rise above the unnerving brokenness of our world
and point our fear-challenged souls to a place of rest . .
perhaps none better than “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”.
My favorite rendition is offered by the amazing Meredith Andrews below.
Maybe you can find a little Christmas in your January and ponder on these lyrics …
Come, thou long expected Jesus
Born to set thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in thee
What mesmerizes my soul in the Andrews version of this classic carol,
is her ability to underscore the 3 “comings” of our Savior.
Most Christmas literature is focused on His first advent while some
also gives token acknowledgement of His return – or second advent if you will,
but very rare is it that a Christmas classic will find itself
square in the middle of our “in-between” – you know,
that place between Lamb in the cradle and Lion in the eastern sky
where wars, disease, death, destruction, loss and sorrow take aim
at the hope within our soul and pour gas on the inferno of fear.
Why is this so important?
You see, the first and second comings of Jesus are all about heaven’s schedule –
we had no say on the timing of the Divine being born in Bethlehem
nor does anyone have a deciding vote on the hour or day of His return . .
but as to His third coming that is modeled as our primary request
by Jesus Himself in the Lord’s Prayer, that timing is on us entirely as His followers.
Every day and every moment of every day
is our “You are God and I am not” opportunity to bow before His throne
instead of breaking in the face of fear while sitting on our own.
You know fear is trumping your faith when you find yourself
trying to control every detail of your life (and those around you) . .
or retreating from “opportunity next” . . or thinking thoughts like “I’m on my own”
or “what if’ this happens?” where an unholy attachment to all that is safe and known
pushes back on the adventure in Christ that is waiting just ahead.
Jesus offers a much different path that begins
with choosing to be anxious for nothing and instead bringing
all our worries and overwhelming concerns to Him.
Hear the words of the carol this day?
From our fears and sins release us
Now thy gracious kingdom bring
Rule in all our hearts alone
Raise us to thy glorious throne
While it is easy to focus on unrest and tribulation in our world,
what Jesus wants to know today is have you identified and dealt with
the unrest that’s in your soul?
What unresolved matter have you stuffed or buried under your “busy” –
what is robbing you of your rest and peace? –
what are you trying to manage and manipulate
that has yet to be transferred to His care?
Longing for a jailbreak from fear?
He is eager to set you free but will only come by invitation . .
an invitation that can only come from a soul bowed down . .
a soul who is ready to stop trying and start trusting
and utter this simple three-word petition . .
“Your kingdom come”.
My Life Prayer
“Father, right now I come boldly to Your throne of grace.
Only there will I receive Your mercy and find grace
to help me when I need it most. Amen”
How is God encouraging you today?