Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:4-5
"The holidays made easy." "Press the easy button." All phrases I keep seeing from the grocery store to the office supply store.
Each of us would like less stress. I think the world is selling us a concept of less stress by making us think an "easy" life equals a stress-free life. In this fast-paced, often challenging world we live in, we've decided easy equals less-stress and hard equals more-stress.
I don't believe it. I've had times in my life where I'm cruising along with my job and home life and not under deadlines. Times when I should have it all together - when life was easy - and I was miserable. Compare that to days, weeks, months I'm under constant deadlines, traveling like a crazy woman, and my house is a wreck -- I'm content and sleeping easy.
I think of Mary and Martha - two sisters that were friends with and followers of Jesus Christ. These two sisters come alive for me in the pages of the Bible when we see how they cope with the death of their brother Lazarus. Lazarus had been dead for four days and his body was prepared for burial. At last, Jesus arrives and Martha runs to him.
Martha says to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
Martha's statement is not one of accusation, but simply of the facts. She knew Jesus could have prevented the death. She also knew Jesus could bring Lazarus back. Even more important, she accepted that what happened next had to be a part of God's will.
In the grief, stress, and hardship of death, Martha found her "easy" button. Jesus never promised Martha (or us) an easy life. Jesus has promised us a joy-filled life if we trust him. Martha accepted that Christ was with her in the situation. That acceptance is what brings us a joy.
When I present my prayers to the Lord humbly, with thanksgiving for all that God has provided, I receive a peace and joy that surpasses any "easy" button I might try to use.
Life is hard. Jesus makes a hard life easy bestowing his followers with never ending joy. We just need to accept the joy each day.
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Additional Liturgical Advent Readings |
Action Item |
Write down one thing that is hard for you today. Then write out a prayer of thanksgiving and joy presenting your request for resolution to the Lord.
Dear Heavenly Father, life is hard. There are so many distractions pulling us away from you and from gratitude. Lord, you promise your followers joy if they follow your commands. May I follow your commands today. May I count my many blessings. May I live in today but, also, yearn for your return. Amen.
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