Sometimes during the Holidays, I can get melancholy. It is too hard to explain why, besides, I am not always certain why it happens; it just does. I know when it started, but that is not important anymore. It just seems to linger.
This morning I had a bit tougher time getting started. I pushed through it, but it was just a bit muddled. I listened to a couple of old songs folks had posted and read a few words of encouragement written by wise people, and just had to stop and think about what I was hearing and reading.
The songs were beautiful. They were ones I grew up with in the early 70s. The words of wisdom were also beautiful on the surface. But both the songs and the words balanced on the edge of sadness and loneliness.
I pulled myself away from these worldly things and started praying about the condition my condition was in, and I ended up in John 1.
I read the first 18 verses and paused and prayed several times as I read them.
John 1:1-5 (ESV) The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
These words are some of the most beautiful to me. When I read them my heart swells with love and hope. John describes how he sees the incarnation of Christ Jesus but not on his own but with the Holy Spirit to guide his heart and his pen. Then in verse 6 he speaks of the messenger, John the Baptist.
John a man sent to make straight the way of the Lord. To call out to the world and alert them to the Savior’s coming.
John 1:6-8 (ESV)
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
I love how John refers to Jesus as the Light. In these verses. I love what my mind’s eye sees as I read them. I love the image. There is nothing as beautiful as a day filled with sunlight. Even in a thick forest, the light will find a way through the trees to light the forest floor.
John 1: 9-13
Then we come to verse 9, and I look at that passage, and I can see why so many struggle so with things in this world. They not only do not accept the gift of Christ Jesus they do not even recognize it.
John 1:9-13 (ESV)
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
I was one of those that did not see him. My parents took me to church probably until I started working at age 15. Then I pulled away. Looking back, I knew who God was just like I know who the president is today. But I did not know him personally. So instead of seeking solace in God, I sought it out on my own and that never works. It took some time, but I finally became willing to listen to the witness of John, and others in the Word of God, and I am blessed beyond measure.
I did wake up on a sunny day the end of April around 8 or 9 years ago, and I heard the Word and recognized all my parents had tried to teach me from a young age and Pat shared with me in our marriage. The words were clear.
John 1:14-18 (ESV)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
What an amazing sacrifice God made for us all. I end up in Ephesians 2
Verses 1-10 give me chill bumps every time I read them.
Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV)
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
What a powerful declaration. What a powerful promise.
Now I am not saying that as a Christian I should not have times when I am sad or even in mourning. I still have the same emotions had before I came to the Lord. I can still be pushed along by a sad song, and sometimes I do not know why. But I have an action plan that is different today from the days before my rebirth.
I talk to God about it. Sometimes He takes it right away, and sometimes he will leave it with me for a time that I might grow from it. I talk to my wife about it and lastly trusted friends who I know to trust in the Lord and will pray for me and with me.
In all this, I remember always one thing…
Psalms 121 (ESV)
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Father, thank you for replacing my heart of stone with a heart of flesh that can ache for others and be saddened by the things around it. Thank you, Lord, for the indwelling of your Holy Spirit in me to help me and guide me when those moments come, and you use them to trim and prune me to bear fruit. Lord God I love you and thank you for every step in my life and in the name of your blessed Son Jesus Christ I pray, Amen!