Christmas Eve. I've always loved Christmas Eve.
I'm up in Indiana, by the way. Keith's back was so much better we decided to head up after all.
I've been wanting to blog this for a while, but with travel and all, I haven't had a chance. I've just been carrying it around in my heart, so I wouldn't forget.
After I wrote the blog about the third chapter of John, I wanted immediately to write more like that, just because it was such a pleasurable thing to write.
Who knows what it was really like- but just illustrating it with words was so satisfying, even if the words can't do justice to the reality.
So, in bed that night, I was thinking through all the other scenes in John, thinking which one I might chose. But none of them had that "spark" or inspiration that let me know I could actually write it out.
As usual, I was resting in the close and loving presence of Christ, so I said to Him, "You're not in any of these."
That may sound strange, because the whole book is about Him, so of course He's in it. But what I meant was that I didn't see Him as vividly in those other scenes.
He said, That's because I'm right here.
"Yes, Jesus," I said, with a kind of humble joy.
I like this response- the response He's teaching my heart to say- I like it much better than my old response, which was to flatly deny His grace and love out of a deep feeling of unworthiness.
For a while there, I began saying, "Yes, Lord," as a sort of automatic response to His voice and it wasn't long before I felt Him check me.
Jesus reminded me of how I had used to hide my true self behind my religious behavior, and among those behaviors was using the title "Lord."
Which is a completely appropriate title- He is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. But He didn't want me to go back to hiding behind the formality of the title.
When I was first getting used to having Him so close and real, one night, I used the phrase "I worship You," as opposed to the outflow of my heart, that springs up like a song without words. It was as though I were trying that phrase out for the first time, and it did feel a little stiff to me.
When I said "I worship You," I felt Jesus draw even closer to me. I felt His tender love of me, and most surprisingly, I felt His loving humor.
He said tenderly, How formal my little one is tonight!
That was the first time I ever experienced His loving humor. It took me so by surprise- that was not at all the response I had been expecting from Him. But, oh! How it made me love Him more.
It's like He said to the woman at the well:
"It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."
John 4:23-24, The Message
Tonight and tomorrow, we celebrate our God with us. Not far away, not unreachable, not aloof- He is with us.
Our God is living with us, suffering right alongside of us, speaking to us, teaching us and above all, loving us in each moment of each day, right where we are in our life.
How could we not worship Him in adoration, in the truth of who we are and who He is?
Let every heart prepare Him room!