Twelve Days of Christmas Day One: Life

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Job 33:4

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Psalm 139:14

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. At first blush, this song seems rather carnal and materialistic, but the original intention was a vivid example of our lives hidden in Christ.

Although we can complain that Christmas items are out at stores right after Thanksgiving, the early church began the Christmas celebration a  month out and then the timing for the commemoration of the Twelve days of Christmas was celebrated from December 25th through January 6th, leading up to the Epiphany.

These Twelve Days of Christmas are purported by some to be an esoteric code for Christians to remember their beliefs, to others a traditional song reminding us of the Wise men who came and brought gifts all those years ago, and to still others, a secular song with no inherent meaning at all.

But for the early church to set aside a month to celebrate the birth of God is a reminder to us that we can also benefit from this tradition.  Not a month just to be busy, but time to reflect on the significance of what Christ did for us.

Arriving at a perfectly historically accurate understanding of the purpose of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” might be impossible, but perhaps a new tradition is in order.  As a catalyst for sincere praise in this season of giving, over the next twelve days this blog will reflect on twelve amazing gifts that God has given us as we lead up to Christmas.  Day one . . .

On the 1st day of Christmas, our Creator gave to us “Life“.  The complexity of the creation of mankind blows my mind.  From the tiniest cell packed with DNA, to the hairs on our head, eye color, stature, personality – to every detail God lovingly placed in each of His children – our God is awesome, a genius; thoughtful and loving.

This gift of life is often painful, challenging, joyful; a wild mix of emotions.  But to feel is to live.  Each day a gift, whether it was a day filled with trouble that sent us running to our Father, or a day filled with bliss that caused us to be filled with gratitude, every day has a purpose in the scope of eternity.  The “good”, the “bad”, however each moment is assessed by man – ALL of it is used by God miraculously woven into our lives for His glory and our good.

As we come to kneel before our King this Christmas and consider afresh this gift of life, what is the greatest gift we bring now to our Creator, but to offer our lives back to Him in worship?

Lord, thank You for life.  Sometimes it hurts so terribly bad and we wonder how You could ever take such a mess and make it beautiful, but somehow You do.  Lord, thank You for every day of this life and help us to offer each day back to You in sincere gratitude and worship.

Christmas Countdown Day 12: Love is Born

Photo Credits abstract.desktopnexus.com

Photo Credits
abstract.desktopnexus.com

1 John 4:7-12

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. 8 The person who does not love does not know Godbecause God is love. 9 By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. 10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  11 Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any timeIf we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Love can be so complicated here on earth.  Defining love even more so.  We freely say we “love this or that”, or love someone, but often do not know what love requires.  For Christ, it required His very life, offered freely.  Love can be messy with imperfect beings and demand a persistence and long suffering which are of divine origin. We are truly incapable of real love apart from Jesus.  Christ demonstrated a radical love which is unparalleled.  He did not see if we would return it first, or give it conditionally.  He lavishly poured His love out on all who would receive it.

How do we access this kind of love if we are not capable of it on our own?  By asking Love Himself.  We can come to Him in our deficiency and ask Him to help us love like He did.  That is a prayer He hears and answers with a “yes”!  But we must be willing to lay down the grievances and understand that real love is completely unselfish.  We cannot go into it wanting something from the other person.  Christ certainly modeled that kind of love for us.

How much this world needs to see this kind of love lived out in each of us who have placed our faith in Jesus.  Even more, the world needs to see us loving one another – truly loving one another.  This means setting aside our judgments, even when we might be accurate in them.  It means choosing to love unconditionally, despite someone not deserving it.  Love considers the other one as more important and believes the best.  It is not without healthy boundaries and is not a doormat.  Sometimes it might be tough and seem uncaring, but real love always hopes and perseveres.  Just as love was revealed in Christ, in can be revealed in us.

Lord, this Christmas season, thank for your showing us what it means to really love one another.  Forgive us when we do not love and help us to learn more of what love looks like through Your eyes.