Sunday, December 16, 2012

25 Days of Christmas Presence--Day 16

In recent years I have chosen a word I use as a tag all year (Debbie Macomber and Ann Voskamp have this tradition also). Almost everything I read or do then pivots on this word.

2012’s word? 


It became an acrostic for me: 


I wanted this acrostic to permeate my life.  I wanted every word to frame, on a regular basis, my actions, thoughts and behaviors.

I have succeeded. I have failed. I have attempted. I have been apathetic. I have yearned. I have forgotten.

Inside of me, in the deepest depths of me, there is a well and it holds a mighty cavern of waters. This water routinely rushes in joy and often flows in sorrow. I’ve tried to control it to a trickle, just a little stream of water, but it just simply wells up inside me. This passion is intense because…

You see, she who has been forgiven much, loves much.

And I have been forgiven much.  

Perhaps this is an Easter devotion more than a Christmas one, but you can’t have one without the other.

I wonder if, when the woman bent down and broke the alabaster jar at Jesus’ feet, long dormant memories came to Jesus’ mind.  Did he recall, either by his mother’s recollections or by his own memory, the men who came to visit him as a child in Bethlehem? Did he remember their exotic faces bent toward his? Did he remember the different cadence of their speech and phrasings? Did he remember his mother and Joseph’s reactions to these men?

Did he remember the gifts? The gold? The frankincense? The myrrh? Did the aroma rise when the wise men from the east opened the lid of the boxes as it did when Mary’s jar lay broken and in fragments at his feet?

What did the wise men from the east and Mary, in the house of Simon, have in common? And what, oh what, do I have in common with them?

Both Mary and the wise men came to passionately worship Jesus.


The first point in my acrostic. I thought I understood worship. Yes, I thought. Little did I know.

Not long ago early in the morning hours, in the back sanctuary of my home, I was utterly overwhelmed in the presence of God. Undone I went to my knees on the dark laminate floor. And there I remained, bent and bowed. Weeping and praying.

And then I rose far more whole than I was before.

As did the Magi and Mary. The Magi knelt and then rose—rejoicing; Mary knelt and then rose—forgiven.

To be in God’s presence we cannot help but worship. And when we do, it rises like perfume—a pleasing aroma in God's presence.  

Heavenly Father, we want to worship you. We want to understand what that means. It is more than singing, more than liturgical reading, more than public praising. It is pouring out ourselves, the spilling of the best of us into your lap and onto your feet. It is calling you who you are.  Worship is more than weeping or praying. It is allowing you to enter into the deepest depths of us and overwhelming us with your presence. It is forgetting ourselves and bowing until we have forgotten the time. It is becoming a pleasing perfume to you. This Christmas, like the wise men when your Son was a child and sweet Mary when your Son was grown, show us how to worship.

Daily Activity:  Not one today. Today is almost over as I post this. But tomorrow? Tomorrow, set aside five minutes. Just five. And in that five minutes pour your self into his lap and at his feet. Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be reluctant. Just pour.

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