Books, Come Lord Jesus, Guest posting

Presence Over Presents (The Only Way We Can Be Truly Satisfied In The Waiting)

Presence Over Presents (The Only Way We Can Be Truly Satisfied In The Waiting)

 Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting is now available! For the next few weeks I have invited the members of my “street team”  to share their stories and reflections on the book, the topic of waiting, and Advent. (This post contains affiliate links.) 

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Advent, that short parenthesis of time before Christmas, can be wasted or weighted, fractured or full, banal or blessed. We celebrate Christmas because Christ came to earth. We celebrate in hope, because He promises to come again. And in the meantime, the in-between time, we wait. But how do we wait? In her breathtaking new Advent devotional, Come Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting, author Kris Camealy gives us the answer.

I was especially moved by Day 3, where Kris describes her childhood and how she and her siblings celebrated Christmas: “Before coming to Christ, it was the tangible gifts we longed for the most in this season.…Our longing was purely material … plastic and cardboard dreams that never lasted long enough. We had not yet experienced the transformative touch of Jesus in our lives.”

Kris explains that “our culture still lures our hearts with man-made, mass-produced enrichment.” As I read her convicting words, I thought back to a time when my heart was lured by materialism one Christmas.

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We had just moved into a sprawling ranch house after living twenty-four years in a charming little bungalow. I felt as if I’d left my heart and a lifetime of precious memories behind. Oh, God . . . how can I experience Christmas joy in this “foreign” place? I wondered.

As I often did when depressed, I asked God to comfort me through the Psalms. Much to my disappointment, that day I happened to turn to Psalm 81: “You shall have no foreign gods among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god. I am the LORD Your God, . . . Open wide your mouth and I will fill it” (vv. 9-10). Great, Lord, I thought. I want joy, and You talk about idols and wide mouths! I don’t understand what You’re saying, but I open my heart, and ask You to fill me with Your presence.

I decided to go Christmas-shopping, thinking that if I bought some special decorations for the new house to make it really mine, I’d experience a little joy.

I had my heart set on hand-blown golden ornaments, but was unprepared for the price. Ouch! Our ordinary old ornaments would have to do. Surely we can update my pitiful childhood nativity set, I consoled myself. I spied a gorgeous set made of cream-colored china, elegantly accented with real gold. The baby Jesus was especially exquisite—and so was the price! I grew more disenchanted by the moment.

Forgetting decorations altogether, I dropped by the jewelry department. I had always wanted a sapphire ring. Though I knew I couldn’t afford one, I thought that just looking would be fun. Yet window-shopping only fueled my discontent.

With my shop-for-joy trip a dismal failure, I headed for the exit as tinny mall Muzak whined Santa-songs over loud-speakers. Racing out the door, I almost ran over a tiny high-school choir caroling in the frosty air. There was poignancy in their presence, simplicity in their song. I, and a young mother holding a beautiful baby boy, were the only shoppers who had stopped to hear the plaintive solo of a young African-American teen singing  “Sweet Little Jesus Boy.” His velvety voice floated on the air like soft-falling snow. The baby cooed gently. I listened to the entire song and, with moist eyes, hugged the singer, grateful for his gift of joy, the first I’d experienced all day.

Approaching my car, I stopped to gaze at a distant row of pear trees, their bright gold leaves flashing like bangles against a jewel-blue sky. I could hear the sharp intake of my own breath, surprised as I was by such sudden beauty.

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One glance at my watch interrupted my reverie; I needed to reach the hardware store before it closed. Completely exasperated when the salesman told me he’d sold the last set of icicle lights (that I’d wanted to buy for several years), I drove home in the dark in a foul mood, without Christmas lights, without Christmas joy.

I parked the car and stepped out. Glancing upward, I was mesmerized by thousands of glittering stars—like crystal confetti scattered across the moonlit sky. It doesn’t matter if we don’t have lights, I realized. Lord, we have your glorious galaxies!

The truth dawned forcefully. Because I had opened my heart to God’s presence, He removed my fake idols and filled my day with His real treasures: Instead of golden ornaments and a sapphire ring, He gave me gold leaves and a cerulean sky; instead of commercial Muzak, the genuine Christmas message in a stirring spiritual; instead of a lifeless china Jesus, a beautiful living baby—a real reminder of the vulnerable child, Jesus, born just for me; instead of a string of light bulbs that would soon dim, a starry host that would blaze eternally.

Kris’s insights in Come, Lord Jesus are a timely reinforcement of what God had taught already me that Christmas, but which I can all too easily forget. She wisely exclaims,

“The experience of knowing Jesus enriches our hearts and lives completely. He makes His home in the hearts of those who love Him.…We lack nothing because in Christ we have everything. The very gift we need most we already have! The shiny temporary pleasures advertised to us this hungry season pale when propped beside the magnificent majesty of the King of heaven.”

 

lynn-morrisseyGuest Post By

Lynn D. Morrissey is author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, and is a professional journal facilitator (CJF) for her ministry, Sacred Journaling, blogger for The Consilium and Deeper Waters, speaker, and soloist. She’s passionate about encouraging transparency in women through reflective journaling. Lynn lives in Saint Louis, Missouri with her husband Michael, grown daughter Sheridan, and their incorrigible Standard Poodle, Chevy. One of Lynn’s greatest joys is singing in a Bach performance group. Contact: words@brick.net or on Facebook.

 

 

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Comments

  1. I always enjoy the words and honest heart when Lynn shares her soul stirring words. I think all of us that know the Truth have felt things like this. The flesh longs for what can’t be satisfied. Only in Him can we find true peace within and without. This is a great reminder to start this wonderful season. The more I get to experience the more I see the grace of our Father.

    Thanks to the both of you.

    Reply
    1. Lynn D. Morrissey

      Floyd, it always means so much to me when you take the time to read (from your own excellent and busy writing schedule). I’m so glad that this resonated. Oh yes, how we long . . . and (as I indicated in this post), even though I know and love Jesus, I can allow myself to get sidetracked on meaningless trinkets and diversions, on what doesn’t satisfy. I love how you always look to true fulfillment in Christ alone. God bless you my friend!!
      Love
      Lynn

      Reply
  2. Bill and Becky Steinmeier

    BEAUTIFULLY written, Lynni! Thank you for sharing these profound thoughts and for introducing us to Kris’ Advent book! Blessings to you both!

    Reply
    1. Lynn D. Morrissey

      Becky & Bill, what a lovely surprise to see you here, and I have your dad in many ways to thank for rich Advents celebrations at church as I grew up. I loved celebrating Christmas at Nelson. I think you will love reading Kris’s book as you both prepare for Advent celebrations in your own home. I know this has been a meaningful time as you raised your children as well. Thank you for taking the time to read!!
      Love
      Lynni

      Reply
    1. Lynn D. Morrissey

      If anyone can do tribute to the beauty of Christmas, Pam, it will be you. And I can’t wait to see what you share at Writing . . . Apples of Gold. Don’t you love the way we can see manifestations of God’s goodness and presence if we will but have eyes to look and, especially at this time of year, not to be blinded by all the shining decorations and artificial lights. May we be warmed by the One, True Light of the world now and always. I hope you’ll read Kris’s book. You will so appreciate her insights.
      Love
      Lynni

      Reply
    1. Lynn D. Morrissey

      Elizabeth, I appreciate this vulnerable sharing. Even when we know and love the only One who brings us joy, it’s so easy, I think, to get caught up in the hubbub and even “excitement” of the season. I know you love Him dearly, as do I. May we take shelter under His wing this Advent, and take time to wait in His beautiful presence. (Actually my original title was “All that Glitters Isn’t Joy”… and I think this too is a reminder. The only joy is found in His shining glory! I’m so grateful you stopped by. Thank you for your words.
      Love
      Lynn

      Reply
    1. Lynn D. Morrissey

      My dearest Judy,
      It is always such a joy to see your lovely face shining back at me on the screen, and to know we are linked in the Lord in many ways, including our passion for journaling. What better way to wait on Him, pen in hand. (And I know you wait most attentively as you write what He gives you). You are such a blessing, and I think you will find Kris’s words a real blessing too this Advent, as you wait on Him.
      Sending you so much love and thanks,
      Lynni

      Reply
  3. Thank you for sharing your story. What amazing gifts you found with that spiritual and the sky and stars. I hope that your home that Christmas did feel a little like home, one way or another. Thank you for reminding us to look for what’s important.

    Reply
    1. Lynn D. Morrissey

      Katie, those were amazing gifts, and not one cost me a thing, but taking time to be aware and to be grateful. What a change of perspective God gave me. And yes, Ingleside (what I named our house) has now been home for seventeen years. We love it here. It was hard to move (our darling little Arts and Crafts bungalow was razed), but God has surely blessed us here. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Katie. I’m so grateful. Happy Thanksgiving.
      Love,
      Lynn

      Reply
  4. I love this story, Lynni! What a gracious lesson God orchestrated for you that night! And for us here, now, as you share it. Five “God-incidences” to fill you with joy once you could see them for what they were! Wow. Yet I wonder if I would have missed them altogether. I think there was a time in my life when I would have. I want to keep this post tucked in my heart for the coming holiday season. Thank you for it.

    Reply
    1. Lynn D. Morrissey

      Sylvie,
      Oh yes! You point out something bittersweet! How many moments and gifts have I missed because I had not the eyes to see or else, in my busyness, I rushed right past them. Like you, I’ve found that journaling and collage are two ways to sharpen our spiritual heartsight. May the Lord give us both eyes to see Him during this Advent. Do read Kris’s book. It’s one way to improve your vision.
      Love
      Lynni

      Reply
    1. Lynn D. Morrissey

      Laura, you always help me to see truth and beauty beneath the surface of life. I thank you so much for taking the time to read and to share, and how I wish you Advent joy as well.
      Sending much love,
      Lynn

      Reply

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