I’m currently reading Rumors of God by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson. Whitehead is one of the teaching pastors at my church and I had the pleasure of hearing Tyson speak at my church and a three-day retreat. When Tyson spoke, I felt like he was speaking directly to me. Never have I completely agreed, related, and understood a pastor as much as him. This book reaches out to me even more. I feel like it was written just for me.
What really struck me was one of the stories they shared in which a protester yelled out at a Christian group, ”Aren’t you supposed to be defined by love? Where is your grace?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be defined by love? Where is your grace?”
I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. One of the things I struggle with as someone who is trying to grow as a Christian, is the reputation that much hatred within the religion has built up. I know that Jesus wants us to love others as they are without judgement. This is how I want to live. This is what I believe. Yet, many of my non-Christian friends abhor religion because of the negativity that conservative Christians have brought upon certain members of society. They are all about the fire and brimstone, not the love and light. Too many people have stood on street corners, preaching hell instead of preaching love. I can understand why this would scare people away. It made me turn away, too. Years later, I was finally exposed to the light and love of God. My heart turned around. I only wish my friends could do the same. I guess I just have to pray for them and continue to show them light and love.
To get myself to really understand and appreciate the Christmas season, I’ve started reading three different bible plans on my iPhone application (YouVersion’s Bible). One of the plans is about discovering the origin of certain Christmas carols. While reading Day 3 of this particular plan (which covers Luke 10:41-42), the devotional mentioned how Christmas can seem like a hectic time of year with numerous obligations and gifts and commercials and decorations. It reminded me to take the opportunity to enjoy the time I have with friends and family, not worry about the things I have to do but the enjoy the people I’m with, and to be present where I am. That is what’s better and that’s how I will have a merry little Christmas. It then asks, “What are some things you need to take off the list to make yourself become more like Mary? What are the better things that you choose to be a part of this Christmas?”
I started really thinking about this. I want this Christmas to be wonderfully warm and cheerful. I’m already against the extreme materialism and consumerism that surfaces during December, but I want something more than just making my own cards and homemade cookies. I want to really spend my time with loved ones or volunteer and serve somewhere. I mainly want to really focus on spending time with my husband; however, this extends to other friends and family.
Last night, we had a lovely evening eating dinner at a friend’s house and decorating his house/tree for the holidays. We ate around the table, shared memories, laughed, talked about the future, set up the tree(s), put up the lights, played holiday music, and just really enjoyed each other’s company. It was grand!
Today, I had the chance to give. One of my co-workers had the idea of donating her extra clothes to three of the girls in our classroom. I added in a couple of my favorite shirts (she shops very often, but I rarely shop and have given away almost all my unused clothes) and we surprised the girls with a small pile of clothes to choose from. They were so thrilled! They went through the clothes and picked out items, trying them on and modeling to us. One of the girls remarked, “I’m so grateful for you guys!” My heart burst upon hearing that. I am thankful my coworker had that wonderful idea. I also love that I was able to pass the clothes along to people I already knew that were in need. I’d rather they have the clothes than me. I already have more than enough.
God has been really good to me. I’m so blessed.
I’m not usually out on a Sunday night, but I was driving home tonight in the dark, in the rain. The first rain that we’ve had in so long. It was so nice. I turned on 94.3 K-LOVE tonight and instead of a song warbling through the speakers, I heard talk radio. Usually, I switch the station over whenever I hear people talking because I don’t understand what is being said; but not this time. I heard them loud and clear. They were talking about something that I really needed to hear. I swear, God was speaking directly to me.