I had lunch with a friend this week and afterward we decided to run into a very pretty gift store. I have to say this store was definitely curated to be holiday perfect. The music was just right, the decorations were hung with care and the smells were definitely on point. After a little browsing, I found a nice candle for the upcoming Christmas season that was not too perfume heavy, not too pine coney and just about the right scent to set the holiday tone without giving me a headache. But to my surprise when I flipped the candle over to check the price, I discovered this to be a nice candle for $34. Perhaps, in a different season of life when I didn’t feel like I had much to give and I felt the pressure to curate the picture perfect Christmas setting, then I would have not thought twice about paying $34 for a candle. But since embarking on this journey to follow Christ, I have found I have that I have have so much more to give than holiday cheer. As a result, I have spent a lot less money curating and more time creating the space to be present with other people.
Not surprisingly, my curated consumer lifestyle has taken quite a hit as I try to live out what really matters- receiving and giving my time, talents and truths to love and encourage others through personal relationships, which means I prefer $34 lunches with people and not $34 candles. As I put down the candle, I remembered why I was in the gift shop in the first place and that I was being gifted the time to spend with my friend and I took a deep breath and inhaled the moment, and I let it this remembrance nourish my whole being. Then I exhaled Thanksgiving to God for helping me to remember how he moves through the creature to the creature (not candles) to give encouragement and inspiration, love and truth, mercy and forgiveness, joy and thanksgiving, hope and help, compassion and empathy, and divine truth and love.
And.. this is what we so desperately need to remember right now and at Christmas- that it is a person who we are designed to receive and give to other people and his name is Jesus and Jesus is Love
Love does so much more than set a holiday tone, he cleans and creates spaces in our souls, hearts, minds, bodies and homes to receive him- who lived in flesh and blood, humility and poverty and who came on a divine rescue mission. He isn’t here to help us curate Christmas cheer but he has come to bind our wounds, heal our broken hearts, take our heavy loads, anoints our heads with oil and fill us with new wine, redeeming love and transforming truth. It is the living Christ, who tells all to “Come” and it is he also who must fill our hearts, minds, souls and bodies with love- so that he will flow out of our lives to our neighbors. Only Jesus can change the way we feel, think, speak and do, and fill our homes with the eternal fragrance of love that creates the space for what we all need and want- rest and restoration.
So as we make ready our homes, let us make ready ourselves. Take some time and think about how you can create the space over the next 7 days to be present with the One who loves you more than you can ever know or imagine and receive him – so that you can move to give your time, talents and truths to love and encourage others and create the space in your hearts and at your tables for your neighbors to do the same.