Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Of grass, flowers, decorations, plans and the Word

I as thinking about and meditating on Isaiah 40:6-11, which was part of the Old Testament reading for this last Sunday. I know that I should be looking ahead at the readings for tomorrow evening's service and this next weekend readings in order to be ready to preach on them, but I find myself reflecting about life in general. The idea is that we are all like grass and our acts are like flowers in the fields. The grass withers and the flowers fade. The grass doesn't stay green and luscious nor do the flowers bloom forever. As I look out on the grass (which I will do as soon as the sun is up this morning), I see that it isn't the beautiful looking yard that it was last spring. Why? Because it is December and we have had the cold weather that causes grass to go dormant for a while. The flowers don't look so beautiful. In fact, they look downright sick. The cold air has nipped them pretty good. I should probably just pull them up but I want to hang on to the thought of summer, or at least fall, as long as possible.

Do you feel like that? Like withered grass? Or maybe you feel like the flowers that have been nipped by the deep cold. Or maybe it is the cut flower that looks beautiful in the vase only to fade as it has been removed from the plant itself. Perhaps you feel that way because at this time of the year there is so much to do and so little time to get it done. Presents to buy, decorations to put up, cookies to bake, parties to attend, cards to write, friends to call, family to visit and all in this coming week! Ugh! Just thinking about it wears you out. I think about it as I look at the "to do" list for this week (actually just for today!). Service to write, sermon to accompany, tests to grade, services for the next 3 weeks to plan (the organist is calling and wanting the hymns a day or two ago, not tomorrow), paper on patience to write (how ironic), calls to make, meetings to prepare for, all the while keeping the joy of Christmas in front of myself and the members of the congregation. Add to that trying to keep up on what is going on in the family, shopping, planning and interacting with one another. And I feel like the cut flower, the withered grass, the shriveled begonia that the cold has made look pretty sick. Toss in physical problem once again (a new one, as the others have been or are being taken care of), and yes, I am worn out.

Grass withers and flowers fade - BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER! That is the best news I have heard up to this moment. The Word of the Lord never changes or fades. It is so true and wonderful. It touches my heart with wonder each time that i go into it. On these busy days, it is so tempting to set aside personal devotions in order to accomplish those things that NEED to be done. But I can't do that. (Neither should you.) It is right there in the Word that I am given new life. The withered soul is watered with the Lord's Word and greens back up and becomes wonderful again. The soul that feels cut off because of all that needs to be done, finds new life when it is connected to the vine once again - connected through the daily use and study of God's Word.

I needed that Word this morning. I needed to be reassured that while my works fade (as they always will), the Word endures forever. So what I bring to people, what I give to others, is not myself. It is the Lord's Word. Each of us need the Lord. That is the message of this season - the Lord has come to us.Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel. Ransom me from the bondage to the things that I feel need to be done. Oh come and be God with ME!

He has come for you too. He has come to give you strength, comfort and guidance through this time of the year. He has come to save you from yourself and the traps of life that have been set for you, traps that are meant to rob you of the true joy and peace. He has come to save you from yourself. Rejoice! Rejoice! Join with us and sing. that is what the "Carols of Christmas" is all about - singing the praise of Him who came into this world for me, for you, for all mankind! Christ Jesus is born! Christ Jesus comes to us each day in the Word! Christ Jesus is coming again.

Thanks Lord, I needed to hear that this morning. I needed You to remind me of that which gives me the ability to accomplish all that needs to get done. I am now focused on what matters - the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.

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