Right now, it is quiet in the house. The light is peaking over the neighbor's fence into the backyard, and the lights are glowing softly on the tree. Before long, the family will be up moving. Breakfast smells will seep from the kitchen, and the busy day of preparing for guests and gifts will begin. Right now, though, there are only the two of us.
In the quiet, I stop to ponder. It is so easy to let the "Reason" get avalanched under the "season". I've done a lot of "seasoning" this year, and I don't want the real stuff, the good stuff, the life-altering stuff to get buried or missed. So I'm getting still, pondering what is in my heart, pondering the Gift and the Giver, knowing to celebrate the Gift is not to merely see a babe in a manger or a Messiah on a cross, but to see, know, and embrace the daily presence of a GOD of love whose passion refuses to keep Him aloof or on a throne but compels Him to wildly pursue those He loves.
This is what I ponder now. The gift of pursuit. The gift of being found.
Growing up, I knew about the babe in the manger. Later, I understood the power of the Messiah on the cross. With tender healing, soft touch, and loving words, you showed me the heart of a Father. A few years ago you begin to reveal to me the passion of a Lover. Each new facet you revealed left me overwhelmed with you, overcome by the reality of a God madly in love with mere humans. Beyond my wildest dreams was a God who cared more about the details of my life than I did, who was far more realistic about my imperfections than I am but saw far more potential than I ever dreamed, and believed I could do the impossible because He wanted to do it through me. This God pursued me.
Even now such Truth takes my breath away. Such amazing beautiful gifts.
As always, you are the Giver. As always, you are the Gift.
This year you gave again. You gave me a gift I wasn't sure existed. I wasn't sure it could exist between an imperfect human and a perfect God. You stepped down from your throne and sat on my couch, and you became my Friend.
You have talked to me intimately. You have shared your heart in ways I never dreamed you would. We have sat together and watched the sun rise while you painted the sky for me to enjoy. You shared lovely morning concerts as we sat on my deck and listened to the birds serenade you. You opened your heart to me as we talked about people you love, how you want to bless them, healing you want to do, and then you asked I would use my authority you've given me to declare into my realm, to bring heaven to earth.
My realm. The place you opened your arms to and said, "I need you to govern here and do my bidding. I need you to be me where those whose spiritual eyes aren't opened see me in the form of you."
So many times you've placed pieces of heaven into my hands and said, "I need you to deliver this into your realm."
In an ICU room while monitors beeped and life was freed from his clay vessel, you sat with us. You allowed me to see you so clearly there. It was a side of you I had never seen. A side I hope I never forget. So patient. So understanding. So focused on the one you were taking home.
When my heart hurt more than I ever imagined it could without exploding in my chest, you were right with me. When I screamed, you never flinched. When I cried, you caught every tear in your hand. Sometimes you spoke. Sometimes you sat quietly. Always you were there.
As I knelt on my knees searching for seedlings breaking through the ground, you were on your knees, peering at the ground with me, and at the hint of life, you got excited, too. And I loved how you wondered at the blossoms on the plants you created. Maybe "wondered" isn't the right word, but "enjoy" is really too small of a word. It was a pleasure that settled down deep inside you. I had never seen pleasure like that. Maybe next year, you can give me that gift, too?
And the morning glories! They exploded their praise to you, and you walked by, gently brushing your hand over them, as if to tell them they had done well, that they had given you a beautiful gift, and that you were pleased.
Oh, and do you remember the one lone sunflower that couldn't take its eyes off you but followed you from morning till dark? I loved that flower. I know. You did, too.
Even when I am "ugly" and struggling with attitudes or temptations, you are right there. "Talk to me. Why is this a temptation for you? What do you feel you are missing? Where do you feel I've failed you or didn't keep my promise? I want to lay this out in the open because I love you to much to let you think I would ever lie to you or not be all I promised to be. I want you to know I am wholly your Provider and your King. I want you to realize I'm not afraid of imperfections. I will not abandon you. When the enemy comes at you, I'm right with you, and we'll tear apart his strategy, understand why has worked in the past, and fix the broken area that allowed his access by filling it with Truth. I'm not 'skeered, Jerri. I'm in. For everything. Everyday. I'm your Friend. Talk to me."
These are the things I ponder. These are the things that humble me and bring tears to my eyes.
My heart is overwhelmed with you.
I am overwhelmed by how completely tangible you are, how clearly I see you now, and how loud your quiet whisper is.
I'm still trying to grasp how completely fascinated you are with me. You love taking things that most people dismiss as minutea, and you make it wondrous simply because you care about it. You get to excited when I find a gift you've given me. You love to surprise me. You get giddy with excitement when we share a joke or I find one of your "just between us" gifts. And I am amazed at how childlike is the God of the universe.
You fascinate me.
In Song of Songs, it says, "You have stolen my heart, oh beautiful one. You have stolen my heart." Words you spoke to me a month ago, wrap around me, opening my eyes to see you more clearly, to see me through your eyes.
You have utterly swept me off my feet. You have stolen my heart, oh beautiful one. You have stolen my heart.
You are more than an almighty GOD or a Messiah raised to glory. You are my Friend that I can't wait to see every day. The one I can't wait to share my life with, the one whose heart I want to know intimately. You are the one who takes me beyond my dreams into a love that consumes you...or perhaps you are the love that consumes me.
Right now, the house is coming alive. Children are now moving around. Murmurings of empty stomachs are coming my way. Feet are heard on the hard wood floors, and anticipation for the season's climax fills the air.
In twenty-four hours the empty area under the tree will be filled with brightly covered packages spilling into the room around it. In thirty-six hours, the mayhem of ripped paper, empty boxes, and stuffed bellies will be over. Travelling family will have gone home. The first wave of dishes will be drying in the dishwasher. The recycle bins will be overflowing, and hopefully, the children will still love their toys then.
And when the house has gone silent, you and I will sit, lights glowing softly from a tree soon to go back in the attic. Maybe we'll talk. Maybe we won't, but we will be together...friends and more...both of us the gifts...both of us the givers...our hearts wide open...fascinated and consumed...such is the wonder of the Reason...every single day.
Copyright 2009 Jerri Phillips