Can You Hear Him?

 

To my friends,

Last week I woke up early. I looked out the window to assess the time and assumed it was about 6am. The sun wasn’t up but the sky seemed to be lightening in the east.  My mind began working as it so often does in my interrupted sleep world. 

“What should I write for our Christmas card, and for the next blog … what do You want me to say, Lord?” Phrases began forming in my brain and I knew if I didn’t write them down I’d forget.

I rolled over to flip on the light and the clock said 4:45! Seriously? Not what I expected, but I was awake so on went the light switch, paper and pencil found in the bedside table and I began recording all the ricocheting thoughts and ideas. Thirty minutes later I turned off the light and went back to sleep. Thankfully.

As you begin your Thanksgiving week, one of the best weeks of the year for our family, here are some of the words from that morning in a prayer. May these words tune your heart to declare His praise. 

 

Can You Hear Him?

Opportunities abounded 

this year

for practicing … obeying … Your command:

give thanks in all circumstances

for this is the will of God  

in Christ Jesus for you.

A voice, distant, but sure.

Our land, our world,

infected

by a new virus

sequestered by universal exile at home.

Can you hear it?

Our marriage, as others, exiled by resulting changes.

We two adrift in a life raft

together rowing to a new 

as yet unseen

future.

Ears attuned.

Our history, His Story.

There is nothing new under the sun

the wisest-ever penned.

God’s people in multiple exiles

through the centuries

always hear Him,

see Him more clearly.

Moses exiled in the wilderness,

Judah marched to Babylon,

Israelites in Jesus’ day, 

exiled at home … under Rome’s thumb.

 

A voice is calling …

Our 2020 exile

an offering, if we choose, 

a sacrifice of

Thanksgiving,

prepares our hearts to welcome

Emmanuel

and 

Christmas.

Our God with us.

The Word of the Lord

Our traditions.

Thanksgiving brings Christmas,

exile offers His nearness.

Humility precedes giving thanks and receives hope.

Listen and hear, O earth.

 

 

Our presence as strangers and aliens,

this place is not our home,

my life is not my own

not my will be done

But Thine alone.

Speak for Your servant listens.

O Come, O Come. Emmanuel.

May our thanksgiving grant You entrance.

The one who offers a sacrifice of Thanksgiving glorifies Me.”

Amen.

(I Thessalonians 5:18, Ecclesiastes 1:9, Psalm 50:23)

 

Have you noticed lots of earlier-than-normal Christmas decorating this year in your neighborhood and town? Have you pulled out your Christmas things sooner than usual too?

This eagerness for Christmas is revealing our collective need for Good News. 

Good news is a word … a voice … a message to our hearts. It is not material things wrapped up in beautiful packaging with bows.

God is calling us … to listen to His Good News, His words of comfort and peace in a world falling apart. It’s the season to remember His coming, but the lights and the glitter are only hints of His Light. They lift our spirits but are no substitute for His Spirit. 

Does He live within you? Jesus physically came on that first Christmas morning, but when He departed for Heaven 33 years later He sent His Spirit to live within our hearts, to never leave or forsake me and you even in all the chaos of this year. 

He is with me!

Countless times this year I have repeated this truth over and over: “You are with me.” This is the essential message of Christmas and the gospel, that Jesus came to dwell among us and to be with us permanently and forever.

Our world is not that different from the days of Caesar Augustus and Herod the king.

 Which makes the words of the King of the universe more powerful than ever.  Isaiah 33:6, a favorite verse of mine, says, “and He will be the stability of your times,” John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the World that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life,”  and Matthew 1:23 reads, “And they shall call His Name Emmanuel” (KJV).

“God With Us” is the meaning of Emmanuel. And if you want a visual reminder of this name now is the season to add His Christmas Names to your tree and keep them out all year hanging on lamp switches or drawer knobs. His names are powerful reminders of who He is every day.

With you. With me. 

 

He is not a God who is wandering the galaxies somewhere, but He is here … present … living with us. The angels declared a stunning announcement. It still is. For anyone who hears the story and believes, life is altered. No one else has ever been born like this.

Do you know Him? Will you welcome Him, Emmanuel, the miracle of Christmas? Will you sing, “O come, O come, Emmanuel” as a prayer from your heart?

What a mystery! God is with us!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

For more about the Advent season, check out my podcast: “How Pinterest Stole Christmas: Putting Christ First”

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11 thoughts on “Can You Hear Him?”

  1. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to offer 2020 as sacrifice of Thanksgiving. What a beautiful expression…Thanksgiving brings Christmas. Exile offers His nearness. Humility precedes giving thanks and receives hope.

    I did just purchase the Christmas names – they are a beautiful reminder of Who He is. Love the idea of leaving them out all year !!

  2. I’m so glad you listened to the voice of the Lord that morning at 4:45 AM. It was an invitation to define God’s presence and His message to pass on to others. Your words bring inspiration to those who read your poem. I’ve often awoken at early hours but never acted on the impulse to put some words down that escape when I lull myself back to sleep. It is awesome to see how the Lord can relay such a message that brings me hope and peace to my spirit. You inspire me to listen more to God’s speaking in my heart and to the whisper that will bring calm and peace for my daily living.

  3. I really needed this centering on Christ today. It’s so easy to get distracted and hurried with preparing for Thanksgiving. Yes the eagerness for Christmas is here too in Southern California all around my neighborhood. But I’ve felt some tug not to pass by Thanksgiving so quickly and today’s blog was the reminder of why. Thanksgiving brings Christmas and you are right, may it provide an entrance to our Savior in our hearts! Let me center on giving Him thanks as I remember Emmanuel!

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