Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seeing Glory

Only a few days left until Christmas and for more than a few women, life is at its ultimate craziness. Decorating, shopping, parties, baking, recitals and concerts, travel plans, cleaning, packing, wrapping, card writing and a myriad of other seasonal activities seem to add themselves to a woman’s already traditionally long “to do” list. Rarely does a new year roll around that I do not hear at least one woman exclaim, “I’m so glad the holidays are over.”

In addition, there are many of us who struggle to see this as a joyous time of year due to the circumstances of life. Children not returning home for the holidays, aging parents with issues, military family members deployed far away from home, a doctor’s diagnosis you never wanted to hear, facing Christmas without the presence of a beloved family member who has passed on, or one of many other painful situations. So, between the stress of the season itself and the stress of life in general, where do we find the joy?

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
we have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

As a teenager, I learned the hard way that Christmas is not always a joyous time when we unexpectedly lost my brother just three days before Christmas. His loss was not only devastating to us as a family, but also to our small community and church. I still remember the pastor’s message in that dark hour. He preached about how Christmas is not always a joyous time, but it always brings joy because it brings Jesus. Jesus came and we can see His glory.

How? This week, He has graciously shown me His glory in so many ways. I see His glory when my tired husband makes time to call me on the computer no matter how long and stressful his day may have been. I see His glory when my oldest son comes out from the city to take his sister Christmas shopping. I see His glory when my daughter-in-law travels out to the suburbs not once, but twice, in one day to take my daughter to get her hair cut. I see His glory when my younger son rearranges his schedule to come home early and help out his family. I see His glory when my daughter prepares a meal for me after a long day at school and rehearsals. I see His glory when meals show up at the door unexpectedly to make our lives easier. I see His glory as people give my daughter rides to and from school. I see His glory when friends call and say they will pick up my son at a distant airport very late at night. And more than anywhere, I see His glory in that He would send His only Son to save someone as messed up as me.

Biblical scholars can illuminate much more profound demonstrations of seeing God’s glory. But for me, per usual, the lessons must always be kept very simple. God’s glory is evident all around me in the small occurrences of daily life. And seeing His glory brings joy to my Christmas.

So how about you? Where is your stress level this Christmas? Could you use some joy? May I encourage you to begin to look for His glory? Look for those small places in your life where God has reminded you how very much He loves you. It may be the best gift under your tree this year.