Remembering the Reason

“The worst crimes are the crimes of the heart.” – Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey)

As I sit in bed my thoughts are all in a tangle and I won’t attempt to unravel them because 1) I might bore you 2) I might lose you 3) I don’t think I could explain if I tried. Wow, where to begin? This was definitely not a planned blog post. I think I’ll just get to the meat of it; what all my thoughts sort of beautifully accumulated to. Bear with me, as it may take me a bit to get to it because I always feel I need to lay out some groundwork and background to how I came to my revelation.

So I’ve been diagnosed, as of this afternoon at 2:30, with an upper respiratory infection. Exactly. Merry Christmas. Ah, it could be worse and I’m thankful for meds and wonderful, concerned family and friends. Ok, trying not to yak on here…..

That being said, it’s Christmas “Adam,” as some call it. Most of my Christmases have been full of cheer but this one seems to have a lot of soberness and sadness in it. Or perhaps I’ve just been more aware and sensitive to it. Seriously NOT having a pity party here for me or anyone else. In fact, it’s caused me to ask some good questions of myself and be more in prayer. On the other hand I can feel sadness and shame trying to take ahold of me and plant despair and doubts in my head.

I took a hot shower before slipping into my pjs and under my covers. I started reading Psalms; I randomly picked 57 and 10. So I had David’s despair and his words of praise AND Christmas in my head. Then I thought of that old hymn, “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day.” This was my first pastor’s (Bill Billingsley of Sheradon Hills Baptist Church, Hollywood, Fla.) favorite Christmas carol. It was in remembering this song I felt compelled to write this post. I was immediately eager to share with you the lyrics so you could soak them up, roll them around in your mind and bask in the glory of them:

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867)

Then I chided myself for making Christmas about me and my feelings, when Christ is THE point, purpose, REASON and greatest gift of the season. I don’t and even still don’t think I feel the weight and joy of that enough! Marvelous grace…..the gift of Christ, our HOPE, ASSURANCE, SAVIOR, LOVER and our SALVATION.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. IN LOVE he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his GLORIOUS GRACE, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” – Ephesians 1:3-6

Much love, shalom and a Merry Christmas to all,

Rachel B. Duke

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