37140803_292651994838524_3479880248084922368_n
Photograph by Brody Bond

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Matthew 2:9-12

I love it when God hits me over the head with a message. He delivers the same message, in different ways, as if to say, “You didn’t really hear me before, so here it is again.” Or, “You may have heard me earlier, but you really need to remember this.”

Lately He’s been trying to restructure my view of what we’re supposed to find in this life. Until this year, I thought this life was all about me and all of the ways God and I could make me happy. I thought God existed for me and my agenda – my busy, unbreathable agenda.

Anyone who knows me, knows how extremely focused I can get on a mission. Whether I’m walking down the hall at work to retrieve something off of the printer, or I’m running across the street to save a child from the also single-mission focused drivers of Baltimore (just an example – I’ve never actually done that), I may as well have my retired first sergeant of a dad on my shoulder commanding me to march straight on and divert for nothing. I could pass a mariachi band playing with puppies and offering bags of Hot Cheetos, and I wouldn’t even notice. I wish I were exaggerating.

I miss a lot in my daily routine because I think my productivity and accomplishment will bring me happiness (nod to my Enneagram Type 3). I praise God that He doesn’t tire of telling me that I won’t find life there.

The wise men were wise. Imagine that. They knew where life was to be found, and they placed themselves in a posture to see the sign that would lead them there and follow that direction.

Jesus is life. We couldn’t receive a simpler, yet more difficult message this Christmas season. He is the way. And as we’ve learned, that way is not easy, but it is worth it.

What if we tried to live in a way as if everything we did led to Jesus on the other side, underneath a star, welcoming us to worship Him?

Even if we receive nothing else we want this Christmas season, I hope we understand that we, too, can “rejoice exceedingly with great joy,” as the wise men did, because of the eternal gift God has for us right now.

Lord, thank you for giving us the eyes to see. Thank you for removing our blinders and for showing us that You, and You alone, are the true prize, and all we really need to find.

I think the Serenity Prayer sums it all up beautifully:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

 Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

Amen.

By Lisa Morris