Saturday, December 25, 2010

She Knew to Kneel

Today is Jesus' birthday!  I wonder what it would have been like to have been present at His birth... What would I have done when I came face to face with the Savior in the manger?  What gift would I have laid before the King?

This Christmas the LORD gave me a tiny glimpse of the Baby in the manger through fresh eyes.  My family and I were at the church preparing the set for the Christmas Eve drama production.  A friend of my husband's came by the church to help with the construction.  His two little children came with him.  They don't attend any church, nor have the children had any spiritual upbringing but the most profound thing happened... When they entered the sanctuary, the father pointed to the nativity scene and told his tiny daughter (about 2 years old) that this was Baby Jesus lying in the manger.  "Sissy" quietly approached the manger and without a word, she knelt down on her knees and silently peered at the doll that represented Jesus.  She didn't reach out for him or remove him from the manger.  Instead, she gently folder her hands and gazed in wonder! 

How awesome!  I was speechless.  How did this little one know that there was something special about this baby in the manger?  How did she know to bend the knee?  What filled her with awe?

Jesus did.  Somehow, I think that these tiny children - so freshly knit together by the LORD Himself... so untainted by the fallen world - remember something that we all too often forget... that the Baby laid in a manger was God Himself.  He was and is the King of kings and the Lord of lords and there is no more appropriate response than to reverently approach Him, bow our knees and adore Him.  May I do precisely that today - and always!

But Jesus asked the children to come to him. "Let the little children come to me," he said. "Don't keep them away. God's kingdom belongs to people like them. What I'm about to tell you is true. Anyone who will not receive God's kingdom like a little child will never enter it."  (Luke 18:16-17)

Father, help me to have eyes like this child.  Help me not to forget the wonder of the Baby's birth - fully God yet fully man... Help me never to lose sight that Jesus came to earth for the purpose of saving me from the penalty of my sin.  May I too reverently and humbly bow before You.  May I be full of awe and wonder and may I always affectionately express my love and gratitude for the awesome gift of salvation that You freely offered me.  Thank You for the priceless gift, Jesus!  It's perfect!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

By Bit Or Bridle

We are in the process of buying a beautiful old farm just outside of the city where we live.  There's an old farm house, a huge old dairy barn, several stray farm cats and three delightful, strong-willed, unbroken horses that pasture on the land that is soon to be ours.  The horses will continue to roam the pasture land after we take possession of the farm and though they cannot be ridden, my daughter and I couldn't be happier!

Angel or "Mama", as we have affectionately named her, and her two colts have quickly become one of the highlights of our soon-to-be home and we venture out to see them often.  They are in dire need of some grooming and TLC and we are all too happy to oblige.  We have discovered that they really do love carrots and apples.  They don't mind the occasional sugar cube and we just heard that what they really find tasty are bagels!  We start out towards them and these beautiful, raggedy, old horses come running to us when we call their names.

Recently, my daughter and I ventured out to find the horses with our arms laden with their favorite treats.  We ended up walking nearly a quarter mile out into the pasture through snow that reached past my knees.  It was hard trudging but once we reached the hill overlooking a ravine, the horses spotted us and came running.  They reached the edge of the ravine and somehow decided that this particular part of the trek was too deep with snow.  They stepped back.  We called their names.  They tried once more but again decided the way was too much work.  After looking at us for a few more seconds, they went off another direction - the path of least resistance!

Immediately, a verse that I had memorized a few years ago jumped into my mind!  This time, it held fresh, poignant new meaning...

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. (Psalm 32:9)

Didn't they understand that we had their favorite (and nutritious) treats to satisfy their hunger?  Didn't they pause to remember how much they like to be stroked and talked with?  How much am I just like them?  God holds exactly what I need in His hand.  He loves me - even though I require some grooming and have nothing to offer Him.  He loves to be with me and He comes out to meet me, calling my name.  How many times do I look at the place He is calling me to and wade a step or two in His direction only to decide that the path is too difficult?  Why do I not remember - truly understand - that He holds precisely what I need?  Not only does He hold nourishment but I enjoy being with Him... So why do I all too often resort to the path of least resistance?  What about you?

Father, I confess that I am often just like these horses.  My actions beg to be controlled by bit and bridle when You offer me freedom and the drawing of Your love.  Please help me to remember - to truly understand that Your way is for my best.  Help me not to resort to the path of least resistance and miss out on all of the wonderful blessings and provisions that You hold in Your hands for me.  I really do love You, Lord.  Keep calling my name.  I want to learn to listen...