"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." ... Zephaniah 3:17
So this past December, I felt the grace to give out just 5 Christmas cards.
Yes, only 5. (Hey, I'm more shocked than you, but sometimes God likes to mix things up in my life to check that I'm paying attention and not going all rogue.)
Anyway, each card had money/checks in them and each represented joy and much grace. I felt no smidgen of burden digging for them inside my Christmas card bag, matching cards to envelopes, locating a pen, etc.
Nope, no burdens nor guilt anywhere, that is, until Everybody And Her Grandmother sent me Christmas cards. Sheesh! The mailman nearly needed a Santa Claus-like bag in which to carry them.
So. Many. Cards. We'd not received this many since Twitter became a thing and weeks into this, the cards made me feel bad--like, bad, bad Debra bad. I dreaded lifting the mailbox lid lest I spy more red, green or white envelopes from friends to whom I'd not sent cards.
(Don't tell anyone, but a couple times I looked at the cards down there and whispered, "Darn it.")
Oh my. But finally our merciful God, in His extreme wisdom and goodness, told me, "Knock it off, Debra. Just knock it off."
And somewhere within me I heard, "Receive. Just receive the love and kind words which came with these cards. Send New Year's cards later if you wish, but now? Just receive."
Hey, I enjoy a good receiving season as much as the next lady, but oh dear, they also show me the shoulder weights I cling to sometimes, unknowingly, the earning of Brownie points when God meant this, instead--
Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22)
Receive wisdom from our generous God. (James 1:5)
Receive forgiveness. (1 John 1:9)
Receive God's gifts. (1 Peter 4:10)
Receive what you've asked for in His name. (John 16:24)
Receive God's incredible love. (1 John 3:1)
Some things we're to work for, yes (our food, our homes, our good health, etc.)
But things from that list, above? No. They're to be received. Accepted. Reached for with open hands, appreciated--then shared and flung all over our world in joy.
And now this new year? May I work or rest or receive when God tells me (even if it feels a bit odd). This faith walk is so moment-by-moment--Jesus is so moment-by-moment--and I'd want Him no other way.
And of course a huge thanks to those of you, my readers, who sent Tom and me such lovely Christmas cards, photos and letters! Truly, I appreciated them so much--that is--when I finally got God's 'just receive' message. ツ
"In God's presence, the noise of everyday life will begin to diminish as you learn the sound of his voice, & the resonance of his spirit."... Neil Vermillion
“Gracious acceptance is an art - an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving.... Accepting another person's gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.”
“And there’s also ‘To him that hath shall be given.’ After all, you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can’t give. Perhaps your own passion temporarily destroys the capacity.”
Yay! Tom and I finally watched Unbroken: Path to Redemption. Loved it as we knew we would, having seen the first Unbroken film in the theater in 2014.
I can recommend both of these films 100%. (The credits of this second film were fun, also, and how cool that Billy Graham's grandson portrayed him!)