Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Eve, Eve

We had a nice day. The sun warmed the day to a brisk 46. Snow still covers the ground in patches, but I hope I get to see some snow fall before we head home on the 28th.

Two of Tony's brothers, Dave and Jim came over tonight with their spouses, Sandy and Vickie. And Jim's grandson, Lucas. We ate. Yep. We ate. Mom made gumbo which was fab. And Vickie made corn chowder that was fab, fab. She also brought chocolate dipped strawberries and apricots.

It's always good to laugh and reminisce with family, isn't it?

Wrapped Tony's presents. He got quite a few from Santa Me, but they're boring. I can't help that. He requested boring stuff and could not come up with any exciting gift ideas. I'm going to have to remedy this next year. He's done this two years in a row, so next year, he's getting a new PDA or something. Oh, an electric guitar!

I've been thinking a lot about my life. Realistically, I've lived half of it. I'm 45. I'm not disappointed with my life up 'til now. I've been very blessed by the Lord. But, I really want the last 45 to count.

Luke 2 tells the story of Anna, a widow, who gave herself to prayer and fasting.

"And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem."

Somehow, I want to be in that place, to have an eternal mind set. It's about living not for this life, but for the one to come. This life, as we say among our friends, is an internship for the next. Yet, it's so easy to get caught up in day-to-day pursuits. Good pursuits. But, what is there value in eternity?

Look, I'm not talking about quitting my job and sitting in the church sanctuary for eight hours. I mean, I'd do it if the Lord called, but I know I'm a mixture of a contemplative and a writer.

I'm talking about frivolous things like television or movies or hamburgers. So I miss a few shows or miss a few meals to fast, so what? So what? In all of eternity, so what?

What if I bite my tongue and don't defend myself, or don't give my honest, yet negative opinion of others. What if I esteem others higher than myself? What if I give up sleep to spend extra time in prayer, or choose to give that hundred dollars instead of buying DVDs or shoes?

I have so much. I am so blessed. If I had half of what I have, I would say the same. Yet, I am desperate to exchange my stock in this life for stock in eternity. Finding "eternity bucks" wherever I can.

I have control over my affections, money and time. How am I spending them in this life so they are not utterly destroyed in the next? Will the things I'm spending them on withstand the fire of God? Are they imperishable.

Paul understood this. First Corithians 15:53 he says, "For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality."

I think he's saying, "Stop thinking in temporal terms, but eternal terms." How do I do this? I'm not sure. Prayer. Dialog with the Father. Asking. Discipline. Starting some where, knowing I'll end up where I want to be. Not of myself, but because He's faithful.

So, 2006 will be that focus. More prayer, more Word. Fasting. Budgeting my expenditures of affection, money and time. And words.

All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Him I freely give.


Heather Diane Tipton said...

Amen! I'm with you!

Ame said...

I often look at life like this :) I look around my house and neighborhood and town and retailers and advertisements . . . and, in the end, little will be saved from the fire. And I wonder at the sorrow and anger and sadness God feels when He looks at us, at me. I, too, have been turning my thoughts and heart and hopefully my actions and words toward a God who is worthy of all . . . a turn up-stream. Yet, on judgement day, I so desire to have much left after the fire to offer my Christ who gave His life for me. It's a gift we offer to Him, not something selfish we keep. We get to lay those precious metals and stones at the feet of Jesus in worship and adoration and praise and gratitude :) Pretty awesome, huh? :)

Cassie Campbell said...

Rachel, you moved my heart!! You've motivated me to yet again sign up for the life of extravagant devotion. To draw clear lines of turning, and the rending of my heart. It is true that this time here is short. How I desire to pursue the excellent way, and to count all else as loss for the sake of knowing Him. He started this pursuit anyway. Before time began the Father and Son dreamt of man, and causing the greatest amount of love possible to come from our weak little hearts. And now hope doesn't disappoint because the love of God has been poured upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 5:5) It will happen!! We will love Him fully and wholly. Merry Christmas!!

Kathy Mackel said...

Rachel, I love the notion of "Budgeting my expenditures of affection, money and time." I'm really convicted about how I use my time and your lovely resolve has again reminded me. As a Weight Watcher, perhaps I need to put my activities on the "point scale" and see which I really need to glorify God, and which are just throwing the flab on my life!

Camy Tang said...

Great post. A good thought for me to chew on as I look forward to this year.

Merry Christmas!