It sounds like it will be a while before most of us can line up for a vaccine, but it is definitely coming.
I’m happy that those who need it most will have it first. But I am excited to know that I will be in line someday.
2021 is looking up!
It’s a cold, blustery day in Texas as I type this post. The wind is blowing the cold rain sideways across the backyard. But, inside, the fire is going, the tree is lit, and the Christmas candle is burning.
I have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas.
FROM THANKFUL TO THOUGHTFUL
I also have a lot to be thoughtful about.
There are different seasons of life, and I am lucky. COVID has been difficult but doable. It’s just Jim and me in the house. We can work from our home office. We don’t have to make school choices for kids or keep up with their schedules. I can order what I need and it arrives at the front door. There have been some things to give up, but nothing that a vaccine won’t soon fix.
But this is a random, indiscriminate virus, and not everyone has been able to avoid it. We all likely know someone who’s had to fight the battle. Most of us know someone who didn’t win their battle. There are a lot of families who will be thinking about loved ones they lost on Christmas morning.
Everyone will have a different kind of holiday this year.
A MINISTRY OF PJ’S
Yesterday, a friend sent me a front-page story from the Dallas Morning News about a woman we know.
Jo Alch was a “regular” in the Sunday School class I used to teach. According to the article, “Alch is the director of Pajamas for Seniors, a Dallas nonprofit that provides new pajamas for low-income residents of nursing and assisted living homes.”
“Pajamas for Seniors” is blessing a lot of elderly people this Christmas with a gift they need. In addition to PJ’s, they also receive love and attention they are often missing.
I read the article with a smile because it was so good to read about her ministry.
Jo was a hospice nurse when I met her, but the Lord has grown her life, her business, and her ministry in some amazing ways. I’ve linked to the article so you can read it. I was reminded of all the good God can accomplish through a person who wants to serve him.
A lot of people are focused on what they have to “give up” this Christmas. Jo is focused on what we can give.
So, from your former Sunday School teacher: WAY TO GO, JO!!!
A lot of good can be accomplished through people who truly care.
GOD USES YOUR LIFE MORE THAN YOU REALIZE
D. L. Moody is one of the most quotable preachers of all time. A Christianity Today article described him this way: “With his boundless physical energy, natural shrewdness, self-confidence, and eternal optimism, Dwight Lyman Moody could have become a Gilded Age industrial giant like John D. Rockefeller or Jay Gould. Instead, he became one of the great evangelists of the nineteenth century.”
D. L. Moody described himself as an ordinary man who sold shoes and had the equivalent of a fifth-grade education. Yet, he became the American preacher who is considered one of the finest evangelists in history. He preached the gospel to more than a hundred million people in his lifetime.
D. L. Moody was a fan of ordinary people. He said, “If this world is going to be reached, I am convinced that it must be done by men and women of average talent. After all, there are comparatively few people in this world who have great talents.”
Jesus had that same sense. When he chose disciples, he didn’t go to the synagogue in Jerusalem to find the trained talent. He went looking for the ordinary faithful.
PURE PERSPECTIVE FROM D. L. MOODY
I wanted to send some wisdom from D. L. Moody to you this Christmas. I’ve long thought that a great hindrance to living for Jesus is how we often allow our sense of “self” to influence our calling. D. L. Moody was right when he said, “I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I have ever met.”
In the Christian life, success isn’t about what people accomplish for God. Godly success is measured by what God accomplishes through people.
Jesus taught his disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19). If Jesus knew he needed to yield his earthly life to God, we should be making every effort to do the same.
D. L. Moody could advise our 2020 Christmas with these words: “No one can sum up all God is able to accomplish through one solitary life, wholly yielded, adjusted, and obedient to Him.” When you are yielded to God, you are accomplishing much more than you realize. You are accomplishing what Jesus wants to do through you.
GOD’S WORD + GOD’S WILL = GOD’S GUIDANCE
D. L. Moody also said, “I never saw a fruit-bearing Christian who was not a student of the Bible.”
If you are reading this blog post, then you care about God’s work in the world. Our ministry is called to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). It’s safe to say that our readers are likely servants of God. But I would point out a key word in Moody’s quote.
He didn’t refer to a “reader” of the Bible, although that is a great thing.
He said a fruit-bearing Christian needed to be a “student” of the Bible.
I am occasionally led by God when I read his word. I’m often led by God when I study it.
I think about what I’ve read, pray about it, and listen for his will in it.
This equation has been consistently true in my life: God’s word + God’s will = God’s guidance.
A COZY, COMFORTABLE, COVID CHRISTMAS
This isn’t a season to contemplate only what we have lost because of the virus.
I have believed since last April that God would redeem all of this for our greater good—if we are called to his purpose (Romans 8:28). That’s a promise from God’s word.
Going forward, we will learn more about what God has done. I can promise you that this time has changed almost everyone in some way. Our ministry has received some amazing correspondence this past year. God’s word is powerful. The COVID quiet has been used by God to draw people to himself.
We will get a vaccine, and we will get back to our new normal next year. D. L. Moody has a suggestion for all of us to consider before then: “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.”
Which “matters” matter most?
God wants to answer that question for us.
So, get comfortable in your favorite spot and look around.
- What do you have to be thankful for this Christmas?
- What does God want you to be thoughtful about?
- How does God want to use your ordinary life in an extraordinary way?
The Lord will answer those questions as you study his word.
Get cozy and comfortable this COVID Christmas. God always has something to say to those who are willing to study his word and listen.
A warm fire, a cup of cocoa, and a thankful heart can provide a great start.