Holidays, song lyrics

Beauty in the Ashes: Remembering to Love the Forgotten

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas

When all through the house

Every creature was stirring,

Perhaps even a mouse!

 

Indeed, my parents were wrapping gifts and finding a place to put them (since we didn’t put a tree up this year) while my brothers chatted away excitedly in their room (sharing a wall with mine. Fun.). Even I was up, but I couldn’t breathe (Sinuses. Only in Mississippi are there tornado watches/warnings in 70°F weather at Christmas time). Christmas lost some of its magic for me some time ago, when I truly experienced the materialism of our culture. We opted for a small Christmas this year. So, I wasn’t quite so excited about gifts. I wanted it to be about more than that. I wanted to focus on higher things. Focus….

 

So, I decided to read some Scripture (sleeping wasn’t really an option, even if it was 9:30pm and I hadn’t slept well the night before). What to read? Well, what better place than in Luke for this season? So, I decided to start at the very beginning. Chapter 1.

 

 

I didn’t get far.

 

 

Something immediately got my attention. Verses 5-6 of Chapter 1——

 

“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”

 

I did a double-take. Now, I don’t know about you, but I thought Mary was quite somebody, the way she took the whole thing. But this! This was way more mind-blowing! Did I just read that Zacharias and Elisabeth walked in the law blamelessly??? I understand that they were sinners like the rest of us, but apparently they were doing pretty well at this time in their lives! I mean, to be called “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”! That’s serious stuff! I started thinking about that….

 

What would I give for the same to be said of me? Righteous before God…Walking in all His commands blamelessly….What would I give for such a powerful testimony?

 

This thought seemed to coincide with another thought that has been haunting me lately. Afterall, what are His commands that we should walk in? Well, I can tell you one major one:

 

(James 1:27; KJV)

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

 

This one “command” is very powerful to me. This ordinance, established primarily in the Old Testament, has impacted my life in a more violent way than perhaps any other ordinance I’ve found. And I still struggle with it….

 

 

What, God? Haven’t you seen the widows around here? They are crazy! Out of it! They don’t really need me. Besides, that’s someone else’s job. Oh. And the fatherless? They may be more messed up! How do you expect me to minister to that little boy whose Daddy is in prison and whose Momma can’t have him by law? He is absolutely messed up! I mean, do you see the way he acts?! And oh my goodness—the way he talks! No way. Not my mission field. Orphans? Er…I don’t know any…..So, that’s out of the question….What? What do you mean, “What’s your mission field then”? I have a mission field…..er….Well, you know….there are people….around….that come in contact with me occassionally….Well, what did You expect? I’m not perfect, afterall!

 

 

For years, even though I never dared to say such things to the Most Holy and High God of the Universe, I nevertheless thought them (indirectly) in my mind. I dodged around doing my part. And I am ashamed to say that it took a series of near-death experiences for me to wake up. I still try to blind myself often, but it’s over. God has completely wrecked my life. I can never go back again. It’s too painful to stay where I am. I must move forward.

 

So, why not strive to be blameless in at least this command? What I have found while reaching out of my comfort zone, was that it’s not so bad when God is already there waiting to bless everyone involved. Sure—I’m not completely comfortable. I’d just as soon be at home playing Legend of Zelda Windwaker on the Wii than be in a Nursing Home with an old woman I barely know. Yet, when I did reach out or saw others reach out, I found something of far greater worth that I hadn’t seen before: beauty in the ashes, treasure in the brokeness. The smile of an old woman who is usually all alone at Christmas. when someone suddenly reaches out and helps the her find joy this season. The sparkle in the eye of the orphan who receives a gift for the first time. The neediness and hurt of the fatherless child finding healing in time spent with a new mentor. What these things are doing are of far greater value and beauty than imaginable. And all because someone followed God’s commands, perhaps not perfectly, but at least blamelessly.

 

So, this Christmas season, let us truly analyze whose life we can impact. Let us visit the widow and fatherless in their distress and try to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Let us reach out and love somebody.

 

To go with this, I thought we should listen to our brother TobyMac, who is bringing us partially into the shoes of an orphan with a need:

 

——————————————-

 

“This Christmas (Father of the Fatherless)”

By: Nirva Ready and TobyMac

 

 

Now Jonnie never got his wish December 25th

That’s what he said when we left the orphanage

Nine years old, but Jonnie was an old soul

Gonna spend his first Christmas in a real home

Then he showed me a picture he made the night before

A drawing of a man standin’ outside the door

He said, “I see him in my dreams

He comforts me when I can’t sleep”

 

Father of the fatherless

Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas

This Christmas

 

“Believe in angels?”

He asked starin’ at the sky

I said I do and saw a sparkle in his eye

Big brother for the weekend, respondin’ to the season

I took the chance that givin’s better than receivin’

Two nights, a new family, some holiday cheer

We laughed and sang

Came on a midnight clear

We gave, received, and as we headed to a close

We looked to the heavens, and it started snowing blessings

 

Father of the fatherless

Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas, this Christmas

(You ain’t livin’ ‘til you choose to give

Love and joy and peace to one of His)

Father let us not forget

The children who are all alone this Christmas, this Christmas

(You ain’t livin’ ‘til you choose to give

Love and joy and peace to one of His)

 

[James 1:27]

Religion that God our Father

Accepts as pure and faultless is this:

That we look after orphans and widows in their distress

Merry Christmas everyone

 

Joy to the world

The Lord is come

Let Heaven and nature sing

Let Heaven and nature sing

Let Heaven and nature sing

 

Big brother turned dad in a couple weeks

Some gifts give more than you could ever dream

Started out as a plan just to do my part,

But that little man went and stole my heart

 

Father of the fatherless

Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas, this Christmas

(You ain’t livin’ ‘til you choose to give

Love and joy and peace to one of His)

Father let us not forget

The children who are all alone this Christmas, this Christmas

(You ain’t livin’ ‘til you choose to give

Love and joy and peace to one of His)

 

Let Heaven and nature sing

Let Heaven and nature sing

[x2]

 

From me and mine, to you and yours…

Merry Christmas

This year, reach out and love somebody, y’all

 

——————————————-

 

★DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

 

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One thought on “Beauty in the Ashes: Remembering to Love the Forgotten

  1. Sanae.T says:

    I also the words James 1.27. People try to know we are true believers or not by this. My Philippina friend told me once in christian countries,there is so much ‘christmas gift pressure’ that everyone should buy something to prove their love and interest.
    I think gifts should be sharing,not showing off something.

    I respect that christian country people share many gifts with destitude especially in christmas season. And many christians are working for people in need,visit them.
    But recently I was surprised to know materialism in christmas there,too.

    What we are given by God is for our need and for sharing with someone.
    Kegan,may God bless you who remind sharing always.
    Happy new year to you and your loving people.

    Liked by 1 person

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