We began today, though it doesn’t “officially” start until December first. But I know me, and I know us. Life happens, schedules get tight, and we struggle to finish what we start whether it be a devotional, project, or “school” book.
I’ve purchased many advent devotionals over the years, bought every “memorable” ornament, tree, and wreath there is to make this season count. This year, though, I’m going back to basics. Like so many things in my too-busy life I’m paring us down, starting at the beginning and revisiting an old favorite that brings back beautiful memories of the days when all five of my babies gathered ’round the warmth of a winter fire and listened with wonder to the stories that just happen to be true.
We read the first few pages of “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones this morning over hot coffee and before a crackling fire. I’m down to three kids in our morning time, the oldest two having grown and moved on to other things, so I savor these hours and pray they will last longer with these three. I opened the book, now worn and with binding beginning to fray, to “The Story and the Song” and read the words slowly, carefully, wishing I had the author’s lovely British accent and determing to make the reading beautiful for my children. The familiar words felt like home on my tongue and I slowed down as I came to page 17…
It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle-the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.
My voice broke over these words, tears spilling from my eyes and my heart bursting with gratitude for fresh understanding…revelation, even…of the Christ. That Jesus would become a baby. That He would give countless clues all through History that we had not been left to wallow in our sin, but were so very loved that the Son of God had already planned to descend here before we even knew we needed Him…I could barely speak.
“Are you ok, Mom?” My son’s soft voice broke my concentration.
How do I even answer that question? I am more than ok, I am free. I am saved, gloriously and forever seated with Christ in the heavenly places! I am forgiven and beloved and, oh my sweet ones, how I long for you to realize this is true about you as well!
He came. Jesus came and lived the life I could not live, died the death I deserved to die. He is the center of my story, and of yours.
“…So in Heaven and earth and below, every knee would bow in worship and every tongue would proclaim that Jesus, He reigns with the angels. Son of God, Son of man.
From the song, Gather ‘Round, Ye Children, Come by Andrew Peterson
We too easily complicate things in an effort to make Christmas beautiful. We too often forget the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ. But, today, I was reminded of why I am who I am and why I do what I do.
For the sake of Christ and the Glory of God.
Keep it simple, my friends. Remember and celebrate the Advent of Christ with all of your heart, and without all of the fluff.
The stories are true.
Gather ‘Round, Ye Children, Come. Listen to the old, old story…