Warmest Christian greetings!
By now you will have taken down your Christmas tree, packed the decorations away for another year, and resolved to eat less and exercise more. How’s it going?
I must confess to a reluctance to part with Christmas. This is due mainly to feelings of nostalgia. As time goes by and the memories begin to fade, I sense a deepening desire to hold on to them. If only it were possible to capture and keep those moments of family fun and Christmas fellowship. The photos on my phone stir the memory and deepen the longings. C. S. Lewis wrestled with these notions and pointed out that, when we consider our deepest longings, they can never be satisfied in this lifetime.
That is why—and you may be surprised by this-—that I am taking a leaf out of Mary’s book. Twice in the second chapter of Luke we’re told that Mary “treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19, 51). The fact that there is a gap of 12 years between the incidents points to this being characteristic of Mary’s approach to life. So if you are at all interested and especially if you are, as I am, always dashing ahead and always moving on to the next thing, I invite you to join me in pondering and treasuring.
Our first exercise can be to reflect upon the song Mary sang at Elizabeth’s house. We can notice that:
- God shows mercy to those who fear him.
- God exalts the humble.
- God fills the hungry.
We can learn from Mary that this praise is an expression of faith. It is the record of God’s dealings in the past that sustain us in the present. One of my favorite hymns by John Newton begins:
Be gone unbelief, my Savior is near,
And for my relief will surely appear;
By prayer let me wrestle, and He will perform:
With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.
So let me encourage you to listen to (or download) our brand new series from the book of Esther. It’s a good study of God’s providence and a helpful reminder to trust in the certainty of God’s faithfulness, even in the most difficult of times. Also this month, to help you with your private devotion, we’re offering a prayer book titled Prone to Wander: Prayers of Confession and Celebration. It’s a helpful resource that offers just the right words when seeking forgiveness.
And finally, before I sign off, and on behalf of our team here at Truth For Life, a huge thank you for your wonderfully generous giving to close out 2014 and put us in a solid position at the start of this new year. Next month, God willing, we’ll celebrate our 20th Anniversary! “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136).
With my love in the Lord Jesus,
Category: Letters from Alistair