Thursday, December 18, 2014

Savor the favor

Christmas season brings a lot of waiting for many children.  And it builds excitement in their little hearts as to what is laying under the tree, wrapped so neatly.  Excitement comes in big and small packages.  Such mystery and surprise in each gift.
When the long awaited day arrives, it's a flurry of fun and chaos.  Worth the wait.
How many times have we waited for something and then when we actually received what we waited for it was less than what we expected?  Or, how much we appreciated a gift more because we had to wait for it!  There are many rewards in the place of waiting itself!
Waiting can really prepare us for the best that’s yet to come, with a hope-filled attitude or alienate us to a long season of loneliness, sadness and deep depression.  In our attitude of the advent, it's a choice to see the hope of Heaven and how His hope helps us wait.
Mary was filled with hope.  She patiently exemplified waiting in the growing months of mothering.  As a woman carries new life inside, there is more attention to the details of the growing baby.  As a new life is nurturing on the inside, God swells our love in a spiritual way too.  
Our trust always grows through the faith of life's throes.
Consider the normal development of human life.  It takes nine months gestation to grow a baby to sustainability outside the womb.  Consider the wonderful development of the human body, the brain, blood cells, nerves, tissues and all the connecting interweaving fluids, sinews and bones.  It leaves this mother of two in wonder of how God intricately designed each and every one of us with His special design.  God designs our inmost parts as He weaves in us togetherness with His holy image.
Ever wonder why Mary was chosen to be the mother of such a divine newborn?  Look at Mary's attitude from a heavenly perspective: she was so young, innocent, and highly favored.  How did she gain such high favor?
Her heart's attitude of gratitude.
Baby news changes the climate of a family, and that of newlyweds.  There are so many changes and adjustments to living with a new person, not to mention two new people, with one being totally dependent for every need.  As a new mom, it's hard to feel significant in those days that bring the same routine of eating, sleeping, cleaning, caring for, and nurturing a baby.
Yet when the Lord knits our inmost parts, He sees us as His vessels to do what He has patterned our inmost parts to do.  It's in our spirits that greatness is born, God's grand potential for us grows in us as we grow in our trust in Him.
A common sign of growth in a mother's abdomen while pregnant are the stretch marks that mark her skin's expansion to accommodate the increase in baby's size and weight.  In waiting upon the Lord in our spiritual growth, there are often spiritual stretch marks that He imprints upon our lives.  They mark us with grace and favor as we grow in our fear and knowledge of God through the work of the Holy Spirit.
We have growing pains as teenagers, and we can have spiritual growing pains too when we wait for God's grand plans to unfold.  The moments seem endless, but the wait is worth it when He births His greater plans.  He births His perfection in us as He develops our faith.
Our obedience shapes our hearts in a right attitude to submit or surrender to God's perfectly timed plan.  Honestly, don't we long to get a glimpse of God to know that He is near us and helping us?
Yes, to be known, fully known, as God knows us is the true measure of our soul's longing.
As we wait for the day when the Lord returns again, let's not miss the holy moments in the waiting for God's growing plans.  He speaks to us in the sunrises, the sunsets, the smiles of babies, and so many grips of grace.  He favors us in His forgiveness and mercy.  He thinks of us constantly.  So much so, that His thoughts outnumber the grains of sand on an endless sandy beach.  His attention to our details finds me grateful.  When I think about how the Lord has favor upon our lives as sons and daughters, my heart can't help but respond in gratitude. 
Everything He says and does is out of His deep love and favor for us.
Be grateful for the favor God has bestowed upon us, it makes the wait worth it.  The real meaning of Christmas prepares and shows us the Christ child, the King and Savior of the world.  As the attention to God's details take center stage, His gift of Love is weighed in our hearts.  We want to know Him more, adore Him with purity of heart, and worship with Him with gladness.  May our attention on Christ be given to the One who bleeds through eternity, and brings hope down to us.  So distinctly clear … deeply, intimately, profoundly drawing our hearts toward our eternal home.

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