Merry Christmas Eve….just because

O Come O Come Emanuel…..

This is one of my favorite days of the year.  Family gathers, food is prepared, games are played, mistletoe is  hungWinking smile, and love peace joy fill the room!

Actually, for me it all starts on the Eve of the Eve.  Yesterday.  All the final preparations for the biggest celebration of the year are completed.  Final presents are wrapped.  Kids scramble to find a box to put the presents they bought in and run from room to room looking for tap and scissors and bows.  Baking is done.  House gets cleaned.  Outfits are chosen for the Christmas Eve services.  Complaining ensues by the little people about how they have to walk the dogs today and the 2 Christmas Eve services their mom is dragging them to(ok this isn’t my favorite part, but somehow it give me joy).  Stockings are hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nick soon will be there…..

I have a friend that calls him Satan Claus.  A little curt and kinda makes you cringe but hang with me for a second. He may be onto something.  I have always loved Santa Clause.  His “HO HO HO” makes me smile, Rudolph is the cutest little reindeer I’ve ever seen, and he’s brought me some pretty darn good gifts.   St. Nick was a real person, who I understand did some really great things and thus our society took that and turned it into a materialistic overgrown man in a red suit that demands ‘GOODNESS’ from those he delivers presents to.  Have you been a good girl or boy this year?  If not you may get coal.  You better watch out, you better not shout, you better not cry, I’m telling you why…….Santa Claus is watching you.  Kinda creepy and the pressure for goodness to get the gift you’ve been hoping for all year causes enough anxiety to power a major city!

That’s where it gets all messed up and leans a little more toward Satan Claus then Jesus.  Jesus gives you THE GIFT and its not dependent on you being naughty or nice.  As a matter of fact your niceness is as dirty rags to Christ.  You and I are loved, just because.  You and I have free access to the throne room of God and to every good and perfect gift which comes down from the Father of lights, just because He LOVES us!  The us includes you and you need not do anything to receive it.  Santa Claus tells you there is something you need to do to earn the gift.  Much the way the enemy(Satan) would try to get you to think you somehow need to get your act together to receive forgiveness and grace.  Or if you’ve received that gift from Jesus, that perhaps you should carry around guilt for the choices you’ve made in your life or the areas you’ve fallen short.

Truth is we’ve all fallen short of the Glory of God.  But we are given the RIGHTEOUSNESS of CHRIST, just because.  Just because LOVE came down on  Christmas and the plan began to give an offering of ONE mans life in exchange for all others!  The gift given just because.  So today, do you think you would be willing to take a moment and be amazed that Christ came to give you the greatest gift of all? It blows me away every time I think about it, I don’t understand it, I want to argue that its not really a good plan, we should work for what we get but if your willing to just receive it, and let it get deep inside of you, the wonder of Christmas will grow each year and your heart will too.  Baby Jesus came just because of WHOSE you are.  You are heir to the greatest kingdom of all!  Take your rightful place, its free, just because.

Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours.

Changes on the inside….

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the NEW has come!  2 Corinthians 5:17

This is true for all of us.  Once we are IN Christ we are a new creation.  The old goes away and the new comes.  This is actually an ongoing transformation that happens one little or BIG step at a time.  Its called sanctification.  God designed it that way and I am thankful for every step in the sanctification process. 

I found, many moons ago, that Habakkuk and I have lots in common.  Have you ever read the book of Habakkuk?  Well, He saw some violence, lawbreaking and injustice go unpunished and so he questioned God about it. 

How long, O Lord, will I call for help, And Thou wilt not hear?  I cry out to Thee, “Violence!” Yet thou dost not save. Hab 1:2

I cried out for as long as I remember for God to bring justice or at least for God to lead me to a NEW place.  He often times responded to me with Habakkuk 2:3 ~ For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

HA! Not delay, God has a great sense of humor or a horrible sense of time.  I was set in a delay route for many a year.  It was the worst of times and the best of times.  But today, as I look with awe at the handy work of my God, I am bewildered and amazed and inspired.  HE can and HE will, work all things together for his good. 

I know that changes on the inside eventually get to the outside and I have picture proof:

tracy 001Me 2008

Early 2009 I began a journey to rediscover the LOST Tracy.  You may not have known I was lost but I was and I was crying out in a Habakkuk kind of way and waiting for the revelation.  I had already heard from God that he was going to be switching it up in my life and I eagerly anticipated WHATEVER he had in store.  As I worked hard to find all the core values inside of me and uncover all the good stuff that God had planted in there from the beginning of time.  This emerged:

100724-132528 Me 2010

 

PLEASE, PLEASE don’t misunderstand me….I’m not saying that if you don’t grow your hair out and change your outward APPEARANCE, that God hasn’t done a good work. I was just frankly blown away when I actually realized that the work God was doing on the inside clearly made its way to my outward appearance.  You can actually SEE the changes.  In my eyes and in my smile.  Something is different, something changed and to be honest it was all Jesus.  He cleaned house, rearranged some furniture and the ‘appointed time’ came and here we are today.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland

Isaiah 43:19

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!