warmed: cold hearts are warmed by God’s amazing love

 

We’re on the threshold of an arrival. Are we waiting with eager expectation or indifference? Although external temperatures might be low, are we being warmed on the inside by the thought of Christ’s immanence with us?

Will we greet Jesus with joy? Or might we ignore Him, like a sideshow we don’t have  time for as we busy ourselves with preparations? It’s possible to press our noses close to the manger, be captivated by the Nativity, yet miss the wonder of the infant Incarnate Christ within.

Will we allow our cold, wintry hearts to become warmed by the love of God? I hope so. Because He desires our heart’s devotion above all things and longs for us to open the door to Him.

I am like most of you: knee-deep in extra busyness, weary while waiting and exhausted by the preparation. But as I pause to ponder just what we are about to celebrate and Who this feast is really about, I see how easy it can be to slide into secularism and neglect the most important thing.

Maybe, as we wrap presents, ready ourselves to exchange gifts and attend to last-minute activities, we can try to focus our attention on recognising the presence of God in our midst.

Because He breathes out His beauty every day. He is ready to rule and reign, starting with one surrendered heart at a time. Jesus is the Gift. Jesus is all we ever truly need. 

I have taken an imaginary winter walk in the sonnet below. Come join me? Together we can discover grace being showered on us liberally like snow from heaven above, thawing out our chilled, distracted hearts.

Hearts are warmed

We walk, crunching grass crystal shards beneath our feet,
Seeing hoar frost sparkle like diamonds twinkling in the dark,
While air swirls breath into a misted fog and fingertips freeze.
Icy ground is too frozen hard for footsteps to leave a mark
But these wintry sights enliven a chilled environment.
And hearts are warmed by creation’s breathed out beauty
Where heaven’s wings touch earth out of love, not duty,
And sprinkle shining stardust by angelic intent.
Maybe the human mind should wonder on seeing snow,
Become captivated and charmed by how a landscape
Can alter in a moment, setting cold hearts aglow,
Initiating a thaw within, making way for God’s grace.
A melting of minds begins a bonfire of the vanities,
Whereby space is created to believe and receive.
©joylenton

Dear friends, I hope and pray you will have a happy and blessed Christmas celebration, with your hearts warmed by God’s amazing love. I’ll be sharing my 4th Sunday in Advent poem on Poetry Joy’s Facebook page this weekend, then I am taking a break until the new year. You can read the offering to come and catch up with the rest of the Advent poems here. Lots of love, Joy xo ❤

small: Jesus made himself less than to be like one of us

 

Do you feel small sometimes? It can be hard to fit within society’s constraints and confines. We’ve all felt boxed in by other people’s opinions, their flawed idea of who we are. It hurts to feel small, set aside or marginalised. We feel the sting shredding away at our worth.

Advent invites us to think about the infant Jesus, divinely conceived in Mary’s womb, helpless and tiny as all newborns are. But if we leave our thoughts of God at the manger, we are in danger of making Him too small, too sweet and too slight to be of any significance to us.

Jesus took on human flesh and allowed Himself to be made small in order to reveal the greatness of God to us via His life and painful, surrendered death on a cross. He came to rise again and grant heaven’s grace to unworthy sinners just like us. A gift beyond price. Eternal compassion writ larger than life itself.

Like one of us

He seems too small and insignificant, this suckling infant groping
for sustenance, too tiny to count for much, too little to be able to slay
demons at a word, make miracles occur, heal the sick, feed hungry
and thirsty in mind, body and soul, help the broken become whole

He’s a dependent, drooling, crying child who has no say in anything, yet
is in fact the incarnate Word who breathed creation into being and made
everything that has been made, including the shining stars he scattered
into space, and these people who watch over him with wonder, sore amazed

Their finite minds cannot conceive his immaculate conception
wrought through Spirit touching flesh, no man’s assistance, only that
of Father God, who planned in advance for the way his only begotten
Son would one day become like one of us, though he is perfect, sinless

For now he blinks his eyes, squints at emerging daylight, knowing only a
mother’s arms of love cradling him with such tenderness, mixed with sweet
awareness growing inside her mind, that this babe is Messiah, no longer
kicking inside her but wriggling, sighing, nestling close, real and alive
©joylenton

If it hurts our sensibilities to think we might be less than in any way, we might want to consider  how “our God” became “contracted to a span” and was “incomprehensibly made man” as the lines from Charles Wesley’s hymn ‘Our God Contracted to a Span’ state.

As we ponder the wonder of the child born to us at Bethlehem, let’s try to include the awe of our Majestic God deliberately making Himself small for us, that we might know His might and power, His endless love, His mercy, grace and exceeding goodness in our ordinary, everyday lives. Let’s worship Him for being our risen, ascended Lord and Saviour of the world.

No resting place

candle image

‘No resting place’

This ugly-beautiful world

wanted no part

of the dawning wonder

for human hearts

Preferring to rage cold

against the Light

Preferring their own darkness

instead of sight

Hope of glory, Hope of grace

the angels sang

While freed from Mary’s womb Your

earthly life began

No glory crown, no resting place

or kingly bed

But cross and nails and pain

ran berry-red

Death and resurrection

to the skies

Comfort of Your Presence in

Holy Spirit sighs

How blind, how hateful, how cruel

mankind can be

While You offer Love, Joy, Peace

to set us free

©JoyLenton2014

no resting place PJ poem pin file image

Weight of glory

One of the most amazing things about the Christmas story is how everyday people are invited in to share the special occasion.

So few were even aware of the Messiah’s arrival or had paid attention to the signs along the way.

A privileged few were insiders and participants in the greatest story ever told ~ God come to earth to take on our full humanity.

These bystanders may have felt the weight of glory surrounding them as angels sang and heaven rejoiced.

Been overwhelmed by it all.

Yet even they were strangers to the full implication of the Incarnation.

How Jesus would become sin for us on the cross.

Give His life as a ransom for many.

Die the death we deserved that we may inherit His eternal life to come.

This year, as we read the familiar Bible passages, see a school nativity perhaps or watch a film on it, let’s try to see it as though for the very first time.

Allow ourselves to be awed.

Awaken to wonder.

Feel the weight of glory.

‘Incarnate’

Divine conception orchestrated in the holding-space

of a virgin’s womb cum meeting-place twixt

heaven and earth ~ signalling our Saviour’s birth

Mystery deep, sublime, beats beneath

the rhythm of time, now seeping inexorably

between all that was, is now and will be

So human days and ways shift into line

with plans of aeons past colliding as history,

present, and future now subsiding as one

to meet and greet Christ-child ~ Mary’s son

How can this be?

An infant meek and warm, just barely born,

should bear the weight of glory now

and see it cast aside

for a crown of thorns, somehow

No inkling yet as befuddled shepherds

struggle into stable bleak, forlorn,

with countenance of joy and

hope spread on their faces,

jostle reverently around for front-row

seat of places in this Nativity

where grace and angels meet

on Holy ground

And wise men travelled from afar

guided by a bright and beckoning star

to see the One prophets had foretold

and bring Him gifts ~ myrrh, frankincense and gold

Here, cradled in a cattle stall

lay a babe ~ the King and Lord of all

providing reason for us to celebrate

the birth of our Saviour Incarnate

©JoyLenton2013