Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Let Him Warm You Like a Fire in Winter

It's December 16th, which means we're right in the heart of Christmastime. And I've been busy doing what most of you have been doing--shopping, planning, baking, going to Christmas concerts, and trying to find ways to bless others at this time of year. And yet, again and again, I've felt a recurring prompting not to let my heart and my relationship with Christ get lost in the craziness of the season. Because in the end, I can only fill others' empty cups when my own has been filled to overflowing. So I've been trying to find quiet moments every day to spend at the Lord's feet, taking in His love and sweetness and power in a way that truly restores and renews and recharges my soul. It's made the season that much more meaningful for me, and prepared me to share that sweetness and love with others.





In the December 2015 New Era, Elder D. Todd Christofferson talked about connecting with Christ in a way that really touched my heart. Here’s how he explained it:

   Some years ago I heard a radio interview featuring Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Anglican archbishop in South Africa. He had just published a book with his daughter about the reconciliation that had taken place in South Africa following apartheid. Basically, the book’s message is that there is good in all people.
   During the interview the host asked a perceptive, inspired question of Bishop Tutu: “Have you found that your relationship to God has changed as you’ve grown older?”
Bishop Tutu paused and then said: “Yes. I am learning to shut up more in the presence of God.”
   He recalled that when he prayed in his earlier years, he did so with a list of requests and solicitudes. He would approach heaven with what he called “a kind of shopping list.” But now, he said, “I think [I am] trying to grow in just being there. Like when you sit in front of a fire in winter, you are just there in front of the fire, and you don’t have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you.”
   I think that is a lovely metaphor—just sit with the Lord and let Him warm you like a fire in winter. You don’t have to be perfect or the greatest person who ever graced the earth or the best of anything to be with Him.
   I hope you will take time this Christmas season to sit for a few quiet moments and let the Savior’s Spirit warm you and reassure you of the worthiness of your service, of your offering, of your life. Sit quietly with that little baby and come away spiritually strengthened and better prepared for all that is going to come later. Let that moment be one of rest and refreshing and reassurance and renewal.


Photo from christianfictionsite.com

I also wanted to add one other note that may not seem Christmas-related at all, but it's something that has brought me closer to Christ in a very profound and personal way. So I thought I'd share in the hopes it would do the same for some of you. I love fiction--especially historical fiction. And several years ago, I came across a series called A.D. Chronicles by Brock and Bodie Thoene. It's set in the time of Christ and weaves several fictional characters right into the lives of Jesus, John the Baptist, Mary and Joseph, Herod, Pilate, Mary Magdelene, Peter, James, and John, and many others. It's so well written and researched, I feel like I'm truly living in that time and experiencing what these great ones experienced. But what I love most is the characterization of Jesus. The way the Thoenes portray Him has made Him come alive for me as one who actually lived and laughed and loved on this earth in a very real way. I can't recommend the series highly enough (I'm guessing you can probably find it in your local library). If you love historical fiction and you want a way to draw closer to Christ any time of year, this is definitely a wonderful way to make Him more real in your mind and heart.

With that, I simply wish you all a very Merry Christmas! May you find time this season--maybe even a great deal of time--to "sit with the Lord and let Him warm you like a fire in winter." 

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