Frost like gossamer blankets the hills out back, a pot of roasted turkey soup simmers on the stove and Frank Sinatra is crooning Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
It’s quiet after Thanksgiving and I’m asking Father how my Michael and I can best focus our hearts and our marriage during the next four weeks of Advent that are sure to pass in a flurry of activity and celebrations.
Simply, God reminds me.
There was no pomp and circumstance the silent night the precious baby boy came to earth in that sleepy little cave, cows lowing and sheep snuggling down in the hay that was also His bed. And it is not so much in the do-ing and decorating as in the be-ing and becoming that we prepare our minds and hearts for the arrival of the One whose gifts to a dark, hurting, fear-filled world were light and love, forgiveness and hope, peace and joy.
No matter how dark the world gets Jesus is still and forever the light and hope of the world.
In Him my marriage — and your marriage — is meant to light up the one tiny corner of the world wherever we are. Consecrating our hearts day by day by choosing to obey not just at Christmastime but all the time.
As we grow in obedience we increase in freedom that creates and transforms marriages into the living love letters that God wants them to be. That has a silent power that captures the attention of a world gone mad.
And what better Christmas/Birthday gift can we give the One who is a forever gift to the hearts of those who choose to receive Him?
But it’s not enough to just receive Jesus, or go to church or memorize verses. We must live Christ one moment at a time thinking as He thinks, responding as He responds, loving as He loves, praying as He prays and adopting His mind and heart in every human transaction we conduct.
If we don’t live Christ then it’s like receiving an amazing gift but leaving it unopened at the back of a crowded closet collecting dust. We’ll never fully know or enjoy the blessing and this must hurt Father’s heart! From the cradle to the cross, the gift of Jesus is His power to save us from our sins and transform us individually and as a couple when we choose to cooperate and do life and marriage God’s way.
As of this writing moment there’s 24 days till Christmas. And then only one more week until 2016 and the clean slate of a brand new year. Wouldn’t it be great to get a jump start on all those resolutions that no one ever keeps by redirecting our attention off ourselves and the hustle and bustle of merry-making madness and make one simple choice to focus on Him for whom we wait by offering Him our gift of utter obedience?
In the midst of all the crazy of the next few weeks why not just Jesus?
Instead of crowded shopping malls and too many Christmas cookies why not Christ?
Why not hush and humble your heart today — and by extension your marriage — as you center your attention on God, gifting Him with the best of yourself instead of the ragged little bits of leftover you, and redirect or reinvigorate your wedded union with the potential and power it’s meant to be?
Marriage as an example of Christ and His church is needed now more than ever in our world full of atrocities too vile to list. For if couples like me and my Michael and you and your husband commit to serving God first by making our marriages a sacrifice of obedient praise and an acceptable gift to Him, God will lasso the moon to help us humble as never before, honor Him and our marriage partner above selfish-self, and herald a joyous new season in our marriages regardless of where they stand today.
So let’s start a ripple effect in marriage that will positively impact our children, grandchildren and great grands to a 1,000 generations.
Let’s build marriages so sturdy that no matter what huffs and puffs in our lives or the world they will stand strong.
Let’s create unions that encourage our married neighbors to stop considering divorce and instead turn to God as the solution that heals and restores marriages that seem beyond hope.
In this season of self-imposed stress why not get off the never ending up and down of overcrowded mall escalators and escalating emotions and still your soul and make your marriage better in the process as we wait for the baby who brought God to earth.
Will you join me and Michael?
And count the days to Christmas by practicing obedience like never before as a gift to Father who gifted us with His very own Son? Growing into the mature sons and daughters, husbands and wives, that He intends us to be.
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