On Mute

mute_button2

“And now you will be silent and not able to speak…” Luke 1:20

Gabriel zapped Zechariah’s tongue and rendered him mute.

Me too, I thought.

I could use a silent Advent, a season of calm, an absence of words.

“…until the day this happens…”

Zechariah had to wait, wordless, until the birth of his son, John.

“Immediately his mouth was opened

and his tongue was loosed,

and he began to speak,

praising God.”

Luke 1:64

After months of making signs and writing notes,

something immediate happened.

Words of praise exploded out of his opened mouth.

A Holy Spirit song burst from his loosened tongue.

Me too, I thought.

Advent has come.

My wordless wait is over.

With the angels let us sing Alleluia to our King.

Glory be to God on high.

Go, tell it.

unmute

 

Shhh

November has been noisy.

kid

So many, many words flung here and there.

So many, many opinions, weighty statements, impassioned posts.

I felt myself drowning in the sea of words,

so I stopped using them for a while.

Why add to the noise?

Shhhhhh.

candle

It’s Advent.

Be still.

And know.

That I.

Am God.

Remember?

He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Don’t forget!

The government will be upon His shoulders.

Reminder:

Prepare Him room.

vacancy

Let’s scooch over a little bit, away from the focus on ourselves.

Let’s toss out some of the clutter in our minds and hearts.

Let’s turn the volume down and lift our eyes up.

Make some room for Jesus.

He’s on His way.

He couldn’t come at a better time.

Star of Wonder

star of wonder

I couldn’t resist closing out the Advent series on stars with this song.

JJ Heller is one of my favorite artists, singing about one of my favorite topics, the Star of Wonder.

This week, this is my story, this is my song.

Starstruck – Day 16

stars in uni“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.”  Philippians 2:14-16

I’m so grateful to Matthew for writing his account of the Wise Men following a star to the Christ Child.  I’m thankful that this story is re-told every year at Christmastime to remind us of their arduous journey, their exceedingly great joy and their profound worship.

Of course, this is not just a story.  The star was real, the Magi were real and the baby was real.

Today, we find ourselves somewhere between the first stars of Genesis 1 and the Bright Morning Star of Revelation 22.

For the time being, it’s our job to shine like stars in the universe.

How do we do that, exactly?

Stop complaining and arguing.

Hold out the Word of Life.

Shine.

Our little rays of light are exactly what this crooked and depraved generation needs.

Your spark may be just the thing to lead someone to the Savior.

Thanks for going on this star-studded journey with me through Advent.

Merry Christmas!

 

Starstruck – Day 15

sun moon

“God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.

He also made the stars.” Genesis 1:16

 The stars were not made to govern.

The stars were not great lights, or even lesser lights.

Were the stars after-thoughts of the Creator?

Did they get thrown in as a bonus by the Designer?

In an outburst of Holy laughter, did the stars come tumbling forth?

Did these insignificant twinkling pinpoints have a purpose?

The Bible says the starry hosts were made

“by the breath of His mouth.” Psalm 33:6

Far from being insignificant,

“He determines the number of stars

and calls them each by name.” Psalm 147:4

Job 38:7 tells us that while the foundations for the world were being laid

“the morning stars sang together.”

Perhaps God needed a soundtrack for the Creation event.

It seems the Father has a soft spot in His heart for heavenly night lights.

Stars are sprinkled throughout the Holy Scriptures.

So, how fitting for God to point us to His newborn Son with a star –

a celestial singer,

energized by the exhale of the Father,

and known by name.

When we feel small and unimportant,

wondering if our little bits of light blinking out into a dark world

make any difference at all,

we must remember that we have our Creator’s breath of life within,

that He knows each one of our names,

and that we have been made to sing His praise.

Oh My Stars-Day 14

gold star2“Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts…” Matt 2:11

The Wise Men came to worship.  It’s as if God said, “My Son will be worshiped. If Israel won’t respond to the birth of their Deliverer, then I will drag a bunch of people from Persia to acknowledge Him.”

God has a way of getting things done.

If we don’t cooperate, He will find someone who will.

The Magi traveled hundreds of miles over several months.  You’d think the trip alone would have been offering enough.  But they didn’t come empty handed. They came prepared to give magnificent gifts.

Toward the end of our church service, the ushers come forward with gold offering plates. They make their way down the aisle, passing the plates through the rows of people. For many, that’s the cue that our worship service is about over. There is some chit-chat as people whisper about dinner plans or what time the game starts.  We forget that opening our treasures (our checkbooks) and presenting Him with gifts is a high form of worship.  The offering is not something tagged on at the end of a service in order to pay the light bill. Instead, it is an opportunity to express our love for, dependence on, and trust in our God.

The Magi didn’t sing praise songs or hymns.

They didn’t share joys or concerns.

The Wise Men bowed down,

opened their treasures,

and presented gifts.

The star may have directed them to the Christ Child,

but once they found Him, the Wise Men knew exactly what to do.

God is still looking for worshipers.

“…true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”  John 4:23

Oh My Stars – Day 13

star ornament 5There’s nothing harder than letting go of someone you hold dear, whether it be an aged grandparent on their deathbed or the hand of a five year old on their first day of kindergarten.

Mary must have been exhausted after that 80 mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem. On a donkey. While nine months pregnant. Oy-vey.

She gave birth without a midwife and had to wrap the newborn in strips of cloth herself. No one was there to whisk the baby off to a warm basin of bath water and return the sweet smelling infant to her arms in a sterile blanket.

Mary had to lay that child down in an animal’s feeding trough. She placed baby Jesus in a hay-filled manger. She offered the child to a dirty, stinky, contaminated world. She laid Him down — something she would have to do again 33 years later.

It would have been nice if the star that directed the Wise Men to the Christ Child could have continued shining on Him throughout His lifetime. A light from heaven spotlighting the Son of God might have made believers out of some people. It would have been hard to deny the deity of a man enveloped in starlight.

It also might have been a huge distraction.

When Mary and Joseph took their baby boy to the temple eight days after the birth, the old priest Simeon took the newborn into his arms and praised God, saying – “My eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32)

Jesus didn’t need a radiant beam from heaven following Him around.

He was the light from heaven.

The Old Testament prophets knew it — “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…” (Isaiah 9:2)

Jesus knew it — “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)

Now we carry the light of Christ into the darkness.  We are the stars.

“You are the light of the world…let your light shine.” Matthew 5:14-16