Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Tea

"If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, 
the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." 
C. S. Lewis

Every two or three weeks, I travel from my home to my friend's house for coffee or tea and talk.  In between our homes one must go over the river and through the woods (literally) and then traverse the traffic through the larger of the two towns before reaching her quiet neighborhood.

This past week, I had to make another stop first so I found myself driving a different route than usual.  As I was in the midst of heavy Downtown traffic, I had to recalculate my internal (mental map) GPS to quickly decide which street would give me the straightest journey.

For some reason... perhaps the Christmas music coming from the radio speakers... I thought of the expression Due North and that star which appeared in Bethlehem announcing His birth, as it directed Wise Men from the East... and my need for such direction in my life.

I'd written my daughter about the heavy fog which surrounded me this year and how it seemed to keep me down all Holiday Season.  I felt I had to keep my eye on "He Who is Due North" just to remember what Christmas is all about.  My true journey is not simply driving on one way streets through town but each moment He gives me breath here on this Silent Planet (as C. S. describes Earth since it rejected the Savior).

As I kept a mental image of the Bethlehem star in my mind, why couldn't I shake the darkness which enveloped my world?  The house looked very pretty, I enjoyed the Christmas books and movies and music, and I'd read through the Book of Hebrews (which... of all New Testament Books... explains the coming Advent to the Jews). 

I expect a large part of the gloominess was missing people who are not with us due to death or distance.   Christmas brings lovely memories which can also bring heart pain as the Advent of the Eternal reminds us of empty spaces caused by the continuance of time.

I longed for True North and that peace that transcends human understanding in which I often wear as a shawl against the cold winds of reality.  I felt as one in a windstorm searching the skies for that Light leading us to safety and all I could say at times was... help.

His answer came in a variety of ways.  I received a couple gifts this week which He reminded me came as He put my name on the heart of blog friends (whom I have never met in person but appreciate so very much).  While receiving a gift was lovely, it was knowing they cared that meant so much.... and they appeared as a beacon light in the storm... that brought warmth to a weary soul.

The second part of His answer was the arrival of Randy Alcorn's most recent newsletter*.  If you have read any of Randy's books, you know he talks a lot about Heaven.  I realized as I perused one of the pages of quotes I'd forgotten that which I'm always saying... it isn't Heaven, yet.

People who do not understand will often put down those of us who look toward the Heavenly City as being too "heavenly minded".  We're not, really... if anything we realize more than anyone that we live in a fallen world that cannot be expected to offer us the Peace and Joy found only in Jesus and the hope of His coming.

It is "in Christ" that we have the assurance of Heaven and unlike a religion (for Christianity is not really a religion but a relationship with a Person)... He has done all the work to get us there and we just have to accept... to believe... to have faith that the work is done and accept it as our own.

I literally felt the sunshine break through my spirit (Sonshine?) as I was once again reminded that nothing in this world can bring true and lasting Joy... no books (gasp)... no movies... not even music... no furry member of the family... and most of all no human person.  I cannot expect Christmas itself to bring what I know is not possible any other time of the year.

I think it's just that during the Christmas season, we get a little minuscule peek of Heaven bending down to Earth.  Perhaps it is that very Light shining down in the lights that places within me a longing for the Perfection to come and an even stronger realization that I live in a fallen world which has been redeemed... first by the Christmas infant... then the Lamb of Easter.

For always in the songs of Christmas is the shadow of a Cross... and a Resurrection... and the people replied Hallelujah!

* Randy Alcorn's newsletter is available online... here.  The quotes about Heaven are near the end of the issue.

Picture: Lesson Top


Anonymous said...

As someone who struggles with seasonal depression to begin with, then add no living family around we need to be reminded that this is not all about decorations and fancy treats.You have brought it into clear focus, and for that I thank you. It is a relationship and in troubled times it is important to see that truth. And I also had to put down an elderly kitty this week, so there is little joy. I will reread this everyday to keep my eye on the real meaning. Blessings to you.

Terra said...

I have a copy of Randy Alcorn's book "Heaven" and his ideas about what heaven may be like are wonderful, or full of wonder. I know you like C.S. Lewis too and his book "The Great Divorce" is very helpful, about who goes to heaven and why. I send you wishes for lots of joy this week.

Mrs.Rabe said...

I love how God reaches down and loves on each one of us just how need it, besides the obvious need of Salvation of course.

I wish we lived close - I would have you over for tea every week! Tea, treats and good conversation! What a blessing...but for now it is just good conversation on line!

Thankful for you and your gift of words...


Vee said...

Oh yes...there's always the cross. I remember a play that was performed one year at Christmastime when the decorated tree was cut down limb by limb and then put back together in such a fashion that it became a cross. It has stayed with me.

There is bound to be sorrow. I always feel the losses suffered at Christmas time as such an affront. The news that this dear one is at death's door or that one is unwell or struggling. I was even frazzled that my dog has been ill through recent days. I can't do a thing when someone is ill in the house...even the dog. =) I am a spoilt one that's all there is to it. Oh my...I just looked to my left and read about the kitty who had to be put down...sigh. That's the kind of thing I mean. And for all of it? For THIS We Have Jesus!

Love to you, Brenda. Much love to you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I am struggling a bit this holiday season for various reasons. Need to keep my focus on the Star - the reason for the season. I appreciate the reminder. :)

Lori in PA

Karen Andreola said...

Your words resonate with me. I grew up surrounded by cousins. My grandparents lived three houses down the road - just around the corner. Their house was full for the holidays. We were a merry group. After I married we lived states away and had quiet Christmases with the children. I felt the lose of extended family. But remembering that my longing was a longing for heaven and the close fellowship we will have with our Savior there - was a comfort.
Karen A.

Anonymous said...

The best thing about Faith is knowing that we are never alone, no matter what.
Thank you for reminding us of that in your blog.

P.S. I sometimes think that people have too 'heavy' expectations of Christmas. It's a lovely holiday but not a cure-all. Some years it's best to just do what we can, enjoy what we can and let the rest go.