Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wonder-Filled, Love-Covered, Fabulous Week

Last night, Tiger and I had a very enlightening conversation {21}, and on top of it, when I woke up, there was a Christmas letter from my parents in my e-mail, which is only funny because I wrote our Christmas letter yesterday {22}. I guess it's just one of those things.

In the letter they sent, there was a reminder of a trip I went on with them to one of the places my Dad lived when he was growing up, not too far from here {23}. There's a boardwalk or sorts, with bricks of names people had bought for themselves or in the memory of others. Mom linked this to the Book of Life. Like the names on the bricks, we have a choice to make. People bought the bricks, sometimes for others, but when we get to heaven, the only thing that will "buy a brick" is faith in Jesus Christ.

I know that to some, this Jesus is the only way thing is seen as exclusivist, though they forget they are invited to follow. Christianity isn't a good ol' boys club where people decide the fates of other people and who gets to join, though in the past, sadly enough, there have been times throughout history that people have tried to do this.

For those who may be reading this who have been taken advantage of, judged by, or made to feel as less-than by people who proclaim Christ, I apologize with all my heart for the behavior of those representing - truly or falsely- the Savior. For those who don't understand what it means to be unconditionally loved and therefore who have a hard time understanding that Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died IN ALL OF OUR STEADS so that we would have the option, by faith, and faith alone, to escape hell and separation from God, I pray that He will open your hearts to the idea. May He touch you even now as you are reading this and plant a seed that will help you to become who you were always predestined to be.

God says in His Word that ALL have fallen short of the glory of God, and that while we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us. It tells us that He loved the world, and those in it, so much, that He sent Jesus to be the Savior, the Messiah, of the world. Jesus, Who was fully God and fully man, sinless, born of a virgin, Who lived a normal life without giving in to temptation or doubt, and Who CHOSE to go to the cross in His great love for each of us - for you, for me, for your best friend and worst enemy. God is not a respecter of persons; He is a respecter of His Word and promises. He says that He doesn't want ANYONE on earth past, present, or future, to end up separated from Him by their sins, nor anyone to end up in hell, or sheol... but ALL to come to know and love Him so that they can be the people He called them to be.

As I was talking with my Aunt Sandy, not long after waking for the final time of the morning, Tiger sent a text that said: "I just wanted you to know I love you very much and have a grrrr8 day". {24}You know... God is like that! He sends us reminders throughout the day in varying forms He hopes we will acknowledge, that He loves us and hopes we have a great day! This might be in the smile of a child, the laugh of a baby, the playfulness of a puppy that makes you laugh, the heart-shaped cloud in the sky, the note of acceptance or thanks from a friend or boss, or any number of other ways. He just wants to remind us, like the rainbow reminds Him of His own promise to never flood out the entire earth again, that we are loved and watched over. We aren't always cognizant of His love and care, or even His presence, and He doesn't limit these things to those who know Him, but gives them freely to all - just as Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was for everyone - if everyone believed or just one believed, He still would have made the sacrifice. And so, today, one week before Christmas Day, I ponder these things in my heart, and many more... and wish you a wonder-filled, love-covered, fabulous week!