I recently watched the Justin Bieber movie. I know. But it was surprisingly interesting. What struck me is how much joy he brought to people (especially 12 year old and 40 year old girls). His songs made people happy.
It made me think about Elvis, Michael Jackson, the Beatles.They had the same impact on people. We can debate whether people should have that much influence over someone’s emotions, but what can’t be argued is the power of song. It can lift us to higher heights and give us words to our deepest depths. It can spark past memories and future dreams.
As we enter the Christmas season, let me ask you, do you have a song in your heart. The Christmas story is full of singing. Check it out.
In Luke 1 it says, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly…And Mary said, I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.” (Luke 1:39-47 MSG)
And in Luke 2: “At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him…The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen.” (Luke 2:8-20 MSG)
My prayer for you this Christmas is that music will fill your homes and your hearts. Let it be marked by joy and celebration.
My body is worn out. Thursday morning I ran the turkey trot along the river trail with Mike and Kim Alexander. Then we spent all day at my brother’s house in Sisters. We ate great. Played a couple very competitive games of basketball with my sons and nephew. Then we hit a couple stores in Bend on the way home (meaning, I stood for three hours). Suffice it to say, the next morning I woke up barely able to walk. My back was killing me and my legs were sore.
Friday morning I went out with Suzanne and hit a few more stores, much less than we did last year. Then Suzanne was called into work and I spent the majority of the day in bed.
I realized that there are two kinds of worn out. One kind is when the world seems to be beating down on you and the other is from time spent with family and friends, enjoying this life to the fullest. This Christmas season you will experience one of those two kinds of being worn out. Which one may be more up to you than you think.
When I was a young boy, my family and a group from our church were hiking at Smith Rock. I was ahead of my parents with part of the group. Suddenly a fierce lightning storm came through. The wind was vicious, the thunder was incredibly loud and the lightning had me almost peeing my pants. It was the scariest moment of my life. There was one man who took me under his wing and led me to a safe outcropping of rocks where we found shelter. Even though I was out of the storm with a group of adults my fear did not subside. Why? Because I was still separated from my father.
In Psalm 23 it says, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” As I reflect on that moment at Smith Rock and think about this verse, I am reminded of the power of being close to our spiritual Father. There is a sense of security and rest that can only come from His presence. Even in the midst of a raging storm, there is a peace available to us that goes beyond any human understanding. It is an inner peace and rest.
Whatever you are facing this week, find your Father (the Bible says that He is near to those who seek Him), crawl into His lap and sense the safety of being held by His arms.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3
He makes me, he leads me, he restores, he guides me…
Which of these statements of who Jesus is most resonates with you? Do you seek guidance? Restoration? Stillness? Rest?
Let me ask you another question: do you need Him to make you do these things?
It’s been a busy season for me…something about Christmas and Church that makes a Pastor’s life crazy. And so, in the midst of this season, I’m finding Jesus wrestling me to the ground so I don’t miss Him and what He has for me this Christmas. I’m realizing that I allow life, demands, circumstances, and other’s expectations to drive me, guide me and lead me. The problem with that is none of those things restores my soul. They deplete me.
Do you remember the last time you just laid down on a nice lawn of grass and stared up at the sky and thought about nothing in particular? Now it’s freezing outside so I wouldn’t recommend this, but if you can physically do this, try laying on your back on your bedroom floor or the prayer room at the church. Just lay down and wait. Give it more than 30 seconds. Quiet your soul. Rest. Breathe deeply.
I need a new revelation of Jesus as my shepherd. I’m pretty sure that can only come as I allow Him to lead me, guide me, restore me and make me lie down.
(By the way, the weekend after Thanksgiving, Westside starts a two part series on Psalm 23).