“What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; If I were a wise man, I would do my part; Yet, what can I give Him; give Him my heart.”
Christina Rosetti, English Poet. This is part of a poem written in 1872
I look forward to the daily devotion shown in WhatsApp. Every morning my aunt who lives in my home country of Belize makes sure she sends them. Recently, the prolific author of these devotions quoted Brother Lawrence often. And right then, I told my aunt that these quotes reminded me to look on one of my bookshelves to find The Practice of the Presence of God. A short book written by Brother Lawrence and published in 1693. The book combines several conversations Brother Lawrence had with a recurring visitor.
Brother Lawrence discussed the importance of thankful obedience more than anything. But of course, there are many nuggets to glean from as well.
This past Sunday evening, the second candle on the advent garden arrangement was lit. It was such a peaceful time to do so. Sunday school was magnificent! The conversations were lovely, grounded in God’s knowledge. Despite each of our walks with the Lord, kindness and grace existed. This comes easier when nothing is added to the Bible. I tell you; I could not be happier and feel safer the Sundays I attend. Then the message right after spoke upon the adherence to the Bible’s truth. In obedience to God’s Word. I am thankful!
Brother Lawrence shared this:
“We ought to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed” (pg. 15).
Quiet worship and devotion, this morning led me to John 1 vv. 1-3, which say:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”
I appreciate how John refers to Genesis 1:1 in the first verse of his excellent book. He likewise emphasizes the “logos” or reason, those of Jesus, who brought order and harmony to the world. He, the Word of order and peace, who was with God from the beginning!
But what I want to dig into this week is the third verse starting with— all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made (John 1 v. 3). John continues in verse ten to remind us. It says—He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him.” (John 1 v. 10). The Apostle Paul also reminds us of the same (see Col. 1 vv. 16, 17). And we find the same sentiments in Hebrews 1 v. 2.
Now what is remarkable is, like John, both Paul and the author of Hebrews tell us about these things at the beginning of both prologues. Not in the middle or the end, but at the beginning.
So, where am I going with this? I’ll get there in the forthcoming weeks 🙂
This year 2022, is the first year I have opted out of decorating outdoors in an exceedingly long time. All I have is a wreath on the front door. I struggled even to consider the outside this year because I was having difficulty finding a theme that would be soothing to my soul in remembrance of a modest and sweet Christmas. One which honors Jesus through gatherings for only Him, as delightful gifts to Him! Finding elements in the stores to display such a theme has been daunting. And I did not have the time to create what resonated in me—a task for next year, perhaps!
As a result, I have dedicated careful time to decorating the inside of the home with God’s gifts of nature. Of pinecones, fruits, nuts, and spices—as of the old. Wreaths made of magnolia leaves sent to me by my mom are on a few walls, and bowls of pomanders in white bowls are on every table. Now that my daughter, son-in-law, and little Nehemiah are back in Colorado, I want this to be a particular season for them. A time to reflect and remember that all things come from Jesus, just as John, Paul, and the author of Hebrews, hark back.
The idea of a softer and gentler Christmas continues to shudder in my heart. These thoughts started more than twelve years ago. My heart sometimes feels like it is breaking into tiny pieces while it consistently molds back into that form of understanding, which covers the season’s real meaning. If these experiences had a sound, they would sound like the question I often ask young Christians in Sunday school on how they can balance what the world throws at them on their daily walk and devoted lives as Christians. As I’d imagined and seriously thought, this balance is sometimes not the easiest. But to live out God’s truth daily, the right choices are necessary. Much like my yearly qualms of this season.
But in the boughs of the pine trees covering rocky paths, at twilight, I still see the sun’s orange-like shape as it moves on to reach someone else’s heart. The darkness comes so quickly, then. Finally, at home, I light the beeswax candles; beeswax made by the bees in Elizabeth, Colorado, the same ones providing the sweetness of honey. These gifts are of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And I ask myself, what gifts do I have right here in my presence that I can give to Jesus?
I pray knowing:
“That all things are possible to him who believes that they are less difficult to him who hopes, they are more easy to him who loves, and still more easy to him who preserves in the practice of these three virtues.” Brother Lawrence, pg. 16.
Next week, I’ll write about the birth of Christ as depicted by Luke. I want to look deeply into what happened at Jesus’ birth. I’ll also share more on the answers placed before me to my question of gifts to Jesus. For I know that unending is the gift of life Jesus gave to me from the time of His birth. In so, my adoration for Him should conversely be eternal!
Remember, we grow in Christ when we implement the authentic teachings of the Trinity. Nothing else will ever do!
Brother Lawrence (1693). The practice and presence of God. Minerva Publishing
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.