We get so busy preparing for Christmas: special foods, presents, Christmas trees, decorations…..sometimes it’s difficult to take time to stop and think what it’s all for.
These things, the trappings of the season, can easily become a distraction, taking our hearts and minds away from the purposes of God. However, they also have the potential to become the means by which we enter His Presence and co-operate in His work.
Three words can keep us on track in the festive scramble:
worship, grace & declaration.
This month's blogs will explore some of the ways we can have a truly blessed Christmas!
Prayer walk the neighbourhood. Pray that in the silence that comes with darkness, people would start to hear the voice of God, speaking to the depths of their being. Pray for His light to shine in their dark places, a revelation of His love to envelop them.
We live in exciting times, when the Spirit of God is moving powerfully. There is an increasing number of testimonies of people with no prior knowledge of Jesus, having an encounter with Him in their dreams. Let's pray for our friends and neighbours to have a revelation of Him during their night hours.
The dark time of the year is a time for dreams and visions. Dust off old dreams, the deep desires of the heart, unpack them again and pray over them. Revisit personal prophecy. What has been spoken over your life that hasn't been fulfilled? Start to pray and 'incubate' these 'words' with the Holy Spirit.
Think it's too late? Think you've missed the boat? It's never too late with God, He can turn even our mistakes around.
Ask the Father to speak to you through the night hours. Keep a pad beside the the bed, to record your impressions as soon as you wake up, so they are not lost.
Let's dream big with God!
In the darkness under the earth, all is not lifeless. Seeds are germinating and small signs of life are sprouting.
We are sowing seeds all the time: in every conversation, in all our interaction with others.
Which Gospel seeds have we sown in people's lives? There are some plants which take years to germinate, (one, Equisetum, takes 18 years! ), so pray for the seed, even that which has been in the 'ground' for years. Pray for it to be nourished, grow strong and come to maturity.
The Jews welcomed the former rain, the rain that fell in the autumn which softened the ground ready for planting. Pray for the rain of the Spirit to soften the ground – first in our own hearts, then in our neighbourhood. Soon the Word will be going forth at Christmas, through nativity plays, carol concerts, Christmas cards and even the canned music in supermarkets. Pray for the ground to be softened in readiness for the divine seed. Pray for rain. And then pray for the Word that has been spoken to take root, grow and produce shoots.
The earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep
and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. [Gen 1:2,3 NIV]
At the beginning of Genesis we have this wonderful image of the Spirit brooding or incubating over dark, unformed places. We can be inspired by this to ask Him to do likewise over the dark or chaotic places in our lives, families, towns and villages. Then, when He prompts, as His appointed representatives, we too can give the command: “ Let there be light!”
Darkness brings silence. As the earth moves into winter it brings a silence with it. Some November days are so still, it seems as if all life has drained away. The Father reveals Himself through His creation. In harmony with the season, set aside time to slow right down. Take a trip away from background music, the bustling city streets and enter the silence. Listen to the 'heartbeat of the earth', the 'divine breathings'.
Allow yourself to become really still. Many people are afraid of silence. Our world is so full of noise, it can be threatening to be alone with your thoughts. Break through that barrier, ask the Lord to come present to you and He will. Just be in His presence. Let the silence creep up on you and overwhelm you. Let everything become absolutely quiet inside. And listen. Listen to Him.
This is what the ancients called the 'thin time of the year', the time when the veil between the worlds becomes 'thin', and people can see the supernatural activity that is taking place in the heavenly realms.
Elisha prayed for such a revelation for his servant, that he would see the hosts of angels arrayed on their behalf [2 Kings 6:17 ].
If the 'veil' is indeed 'thin' - and even if it is not - we can pray like Elisha, that our eyes would be open to see the glories that dwell in the darkness – the hosts of angels and the crowd of witnesses urging us on[Hebrews 12:1,2, 22-24]. We can ask the Lord to show us what He is doing, to unveil the secret treasures of His purposes [Isaiah 45:3].
The secular world has become increasingly enthralled with Halloween, the celebration of the dark, and the powers of evil. But our Lord is Lord over the dark. He made the darkness as well as the light. It is not a time to be given over to the enemy for his work, but a time to celebrate our King and Creator of all. We do not need to be afraid. Let's declare His victory over every dark place.
…..even the darkness will not be dark to You
the night will shine like the day
for darkness is as light to You. (Psalm 139:12)
THE DARK SEASON
For our ancestors, November heralded the coming of the Dark Season, and the beginning of a new year. It was a fearful time: days were short, and untold dangers lurked in the dark. Winter also brought the threat of starvation as food supplies diminished, and for some, exposure in threadbare conditions.
For most of us in the western world, with our artificially lit environment, our well stocked supermarkets and central heating, those days are long gone. Although the dread of lack and exposure are still a present reality for some, and for others the darkness still holds terrors. Perhaps for the majority, however, the winter is just a period to be endured until the spring comes again.
I once heard someone who lives with extreme weather conditions, explaining how he copes with them: the secret, he said, is embracing the seasons, rather than enduring them. I have remembered his advice, and over the last few years have tried to find ways of embracing the dark winter months, and have found that his were truly words of wisdom. The following posts contain some of those explorations...
Journey into Rest - Seasonal Blog: a Diary of Seasonal Living.
LIVING WITH A SEASONAL RHYTHM
We can scaffold rest in our lives by punctuating our days & weeks with breathing spaces. Paying attention to the passing seasons is one way of doing this. So come on in & enjoy the Creator's symphony....
AUGUST, SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER
The Season of Fruitfulness
Check out this site by Photographer, Pat Mingarelli: