A new soundtrack.

Do you have a soundtrack for your life?

Unfortunately my life has had personal failures, I’ve hurt people, I’ve chosen selfishness, and I’ve sinned.  Some of these things poked their head out publicly, and others stayed hidden.  Over the years, I blamed myself for what I did, but the blame also began to be directed at who I am.  Therefore, a soundtrack of self-rejection took root.  So, when I disappointed someone or failed again, I would begin to hear the words that, ‘I deserve to be pushed aside, abandoned, rejected, thrown out, and forgotten.’

Have you ever had a critical soundtrack blaring in your ears and constantly reminding you of who you really are?

Henri Nouwen, from his book “Life of the Beloved”, relays this truth from God to you and I.  I think it should become a new soundtrack for everyone.

“I have called you by name, from the very beginning.  You are mine and I am yours.  You are my beloved, on you my favor rests.  I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb.  I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace.  I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child.  I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step.  Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch.  I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst.  I will not hide my face from you.  You know me as your own as I know you as my own.  You belong to me.  I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover, and your spouse… yes, even your child… wherever you are I will be.  Nothing will ever separate us.  We are one.”

So, when the old music starts to play, I encourage you to change the channel and remember that you are God’s beloved and on you His favor rests.

Will’s Lexicon

My six year old son Willem has a fairly expansive vocabulary.

And he is the one expanding it.

Recently he inserted a few new words, he made up, into our family’s vocab.

Here are the new words and rough definitions:

Fully – “Fully” is a condition when you feel like you consumed too much and now your tummy feels a bit sick. Example of usage, “Mom, I feel fully, I need to lay down” (after sneaking handfulls of cookies and treats).

 

Knife-Sick – “Knife-Sick” is a descriptive phrase used when you have a sore throat with sharp cutting pain. Example of usage, “Dad, my throat hurts, I think I am knife-sick.”

 

Gross Mixture – “Gross Mixture” is an affliction in which ‘boogers and mucus’ combine together, in your throat, and create a “gross mixture.” Typically, “It feels hard, but it really is soft.” Example of usage: “I had a hard time sleeping because I had a gross mixture.”

 

Right now I feel fully. After all, it is the holidays.

Christmas Wishes

          “You’ll shoot your eye out kid!  Merry Christmas!” These were the words from a department store Santa to Ralphie, in “A Christmas Story”, when he asked for the elusive “Red Rider BB Gun” (with a compass in the stock). I think many people find themselves wishing and longing for something in the Christmas season.

The longings and wishes may be things we want to receive, but I think they are often deeper and unspoken. The real Christmas wishes don’t make any paper or electronic list. The deeper wishes take up space in our hearts and sometimes gather in the pit of our stomach.

Perhaps some of these deeper wishes sound like…  “I wish I wasn’t alone.  I wish I could go back to when my life was good.  I wish I could experience peace in the midst of the craziness.  I wish I wasn’t afraid.  I wish I could have a do-over.  I wish…..”

The first Christmas was an answer to these and other longings.  The birth of Jesus, the Messiah, was wished for before there was a Mary, Joseph, and a baby lying in a manger. There is a book in the Bible called, “Isaiah”.  Isaiah was a prophet (heard from God and revealed to others what God was saying) who wrote promises from God about what was going to happen.

When this was first declared by Isaiah, the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, were divided into two kingdoms.  The northern Kingdom still went by the name Israel and the southern Kingdom was called Judah.  It was a complex world with many threats.  In this complex and dangerous world,  the northern Kingdom of Israel, and another nation, combined forces to take over Judah to make them join their coalition.  They surrounded the city of Jerusalem, in Judah.  They planned on taking it over and setting up a ruler who was friendly to them and would go with their plans.

In this environment, God showed up and encouraged the kingdom of Judah, through the words of Isaiah.  God was offering a sign that the King could choose faith over fear.

God seemed to be saying, “In this time of being overwhelmed and ganged up on… In this moment of hopelessness and feeling alone in the world… I will give you a sign – a glimmer of hope – a promise for better days.”

How would the people know that their deepest longings would be satisfied?  In Isaiah 7:14 it proclaims that the virgin will be with child  and His name will be “Immanuel”, which means,“God with us.”  God promised that a child would be born and within a short period of time, God’s own presence would help Judah remove the threats around them.  But overtime, this sign expanded beyond hope for the moment.  This sign was also seen as promise for the future…that God would bring about a virgin birth and that this child born would be the King – the very real presence of God to rescue.

So, people began to wish that things would be different and they longed for the one to come who would be called,  “Immanuel”. They wished for the day that God would be with them and live among them.  Around 700 years after this promise, Jesus was born and is called “Immanuel” (Matthew 1:20-23).

Perhaps the deepest wishes and longings we have, are answered in the one who is called, “God with us.”  When we bring our Christmas wishes to God… He doesn’t merely give something… He gives Himself.

What longing and desire do you carry in the pit of your stomach?  What wish do you want more than anything?  Consider that these have their answer in the one whose birth is told  in the Christmas story.

What are you wishing for?

Christmas is marching toward us. This is a time associated with wishing. It is a time of hoping that things can be different.

In this season someone might be wishing for…

a toy

a job

a second chance

a relationship

a healed body

a sense of peace

 

The first Christmas was a much anticipated moment with the wishes of many people wrapped up in the Christ child.

So…

This Christmas… what are you wishing for?