Thursday, December 10, 2009

Newness Under the Son

When you have the "be still and know that He is God" moments, you realize that nothing else compares to the awesome wonder you have for who He is, all He does, and how He loves. When you soak up the grace that He pours out, the sorrows melt away and He fills you; really fills you. Nothing and no one else can do that; or even remotely come close.

If only the reality of those moments of clarity would embed themselves so incredibly deep that you never forget it for a second; never to be deceived by a deception of Satan who tries to steal your joy. However, in this world, it’s all too easy to forget. It’s all too easy to wander away from the presence of God and forget everything that is important. Life gets “complicated” because we don’t remember to keep it “simple”. We become like Solomon and start searching for something new to captivate us and then realize the simple truth that the only thing that never gets old is the true newness that only God can give you. Everything under the sun is vain and meaningless; it all gets old sooner or later. There is only one thing that is continually new (rather SOMEONE). It‘s Jesus! He is always refreshing, restoring, and fulfilling. He’s amazing! The more you get of Him, the better! He truly satisfies your heart’s desire and doesn’t leave you empty.

For some time now, it’s been on my heart to re-read (and re-post) something that I wrote last year. I always feel weird saying “I wrote”, though, because I don’t really feel like “I” ever write anything. I have no ability on my own to write anything worthwhile. If any blog has an impact, it’s because God did it. I can’t even tell you how often I am blessed (and re-blessed) as I read over the things that end up getting typed on this screen. When you just KNOW that God is teaching you something, and that you couldn’t have possibly come up with it on your own, that’s simply the greatest thing ever! I think that’s why He’s been nudging me to repost the following blog because He knows that I need the reminder just as much as anyone. I confess that I have been very stressed and depressed. That’s pretty typical for me during the winter, which is why I always dread October through about February. This year, it has seemed to be a little worse than normal, but I think I am starting to “snap out of it” like I usually do. It just takes prayer and perseverance (and the support of TOTALLY awesome friends! Thanks to all who have, and are, praying for me! I deeply appreciate it! Thank you for carrying me and helping me bear my burdens!).

I hope the following blog helps you as much as it did me. I also hope that you will consider reading “A Simple Christmas” by Mike Huckabee. It’s a short little book, but it’s very touching (as well as humorous). I was deeply moved and encouraged by it, and it was a great boost for me. May we all remember that true peace and joy really does come from the simple things; the things that don’t come from a store and all wrapped up with paper and bows. Grace and peace to you all!!! Merry Christmas!!


"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)

Do you ever feel like Solomon, like there is nothing new and that everything is just the same old thing? Does it seem like everything just repeats itself over and over again? Such is the case with me the older that I get (and I am only 27!). I find that there is nothing "new under the sun" and that everything just cycles and repeats in a monotonous routine. It's how I felt when beginning to write because I struggled to come up with something beautiful, inspiring, and focused on the reason for Christmas.

Though, the more I tried, the more cliché it seemed. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing cliché about Christ's birth and the miracle of what God has done for us. What I'm talking about is the tireless beat of the drum at this time of year. The whole "in the midst of your shopping, get-togethers, etc. don't forget that He's the reason for the season." I mean, don't we all know that by now? We are reminded of it every single year. Yet, everything repeats. We get through the holidays, celebrate a new year, and the seasons change, holidays come and go, and everything just keep going and repeating.

How do we stay fresh in a world that has gone stale? How do we find the "newness" under the sun? Well, my friends, I think that we need to think about things a little differently than Solomon. He was probably the wisest human to ever live, and yet, he seemed so empty. That is why he came to the conclusion that there was nothing "new" and that all had been done before because he had "been there, done that" so much. Hence, he became bored and discontent when there was seemingly nothing new left to discover or experience. So, of course there was "nothing new under the sun" because nothing under the sun can fulfill! ALL of it will grow cold and lose its luster! This world cannot offer us anything that lasts.

Thankfully, since Solomon's time, we have been blessed with something truly new: the new covenant! Now THAT would have been something for him to discover and experience! Maybe he wouldn't have been so bored if he could have had the renewal that all of us can have in Christ every day of our lives! Though, even with all this "newness" at our fingertips, we STILL get bored because we are still searching for fulfillment under the sun rather than the SON!

This concept provokes deep thoughts in my heart. It stirs me because I know that I get "bored" a lot. Though, I don't suppose there is much excuse for that when there is so much joy, fulfillment, and LIFE in Christ (which is FAR from boring)! Yet, we still get stuck in the temporal things and wonder why we are wasting away inside.

Christ never gets old, and the newness doesn't lose it's luster. It's our desire for him that sometimes wears away. We get busy, distracted, and overloaded with responsibilities (and even the blessings) of our lives. Just like Solomon, we can have so much and still be so bored and discontent. Dear friends, this need not be! Jesus said that he came to give us life to the fullest (John 10:10). Life isn't found in the temporal things, but the things that are unseen and non-material (2 Corinthians 4:18). The unseen things are what last, and what will fill us and bring us joy. These are the things of the Spirit; the untouchables that we cannot get our hands on, but fill us beyond measure! It's the loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled moments that bring us unfathomable renewal, and keep us from getting bored, apathetic, and on a downward spiral in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

I pray that we would do more than just "survive" the season and breeze through all the traditions, rituals, etc. I pray that we will remember the "Jesus is the reason for the season" mantra, but that it will truly sink into our hearts. I pray that the newness the Son brings will fill us up with gladness as we focus on the freshness that Jesus can bring to each moment of our lives; whether we have experienced them over and over again or not!!

Grace and peace to all of you!! Have a truly blessed Christmas as you celebrate the Son!!


Shane Gilreath said...

I'm legendary for feeling like life is mundane and just getting bored with my life, from time to time. That doesn't just happen to me during the winters, though I can see where it might be most prevalent during the cold months (thank God we only have about 3 of them), and I've often wondered if weather isn't a reason for such high suicide rates in places like Scandanavia.

I do wish that people would continue to be as kind to one another as they are around Christmas. It's nice to see people look their fellow man in the eye for once, and not just go about the routine. And sadly, I think, for me, that Christmas spirit makes my faith the strongest this time of year. That and just knowing abotu the gift this season represents.

And I know all abotu those, what I call, "ah hah" moments, where thigns just become clear as day.

Melissa said...

Yeah, it's like that at any time. Though, the colder darker months abound with it even more (and times of stress - like the holidays). I know this personally because I seem to be one of the people that gets Seasonal Affective Disorder. With whatever Christmas money I may receive, I'm going to get me one of those blue lights. Light therapy might do me some good. I'm sure a lot of Alaskans would agree too.