I scoop a sweet crisp snow pea into the delicious guacamole and top with a juicy purple grape before popping the taste sensation in my mouth. It is simple and good, which is the hope I have for my entire life. This yummy random treat reminds me just how full of hope, love and joy my heart is right at this very minute.
I experienced a wonderful spiritual journey during Advent, this particular bible verse from the Christmas story captured my heart and imagination “When they heard the king they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” (Matthew 2:9-10). I have no idea how far the Wise Men walked before they arrived at the manger where Jesus had been born, or how many there were, but can you imagine being filled with such conviction, having such a strong faith, that you would pick up and just follow a star. I love to imagine what exceedingly great joy might have looked like all those years ago but I reckon it was pretty awesome. This one verse filled my heart throughout Christmas and has followed me into the New Year.
Three other quotes that repeat themselves constantly in my head at the moment are “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” Proverbs 4:23; “And Jesus went about Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23) and “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
If you watched the news, listened to the ABC radio, went on Facebook or Twitter during the festive season you would have been bombarded with horrific stories of stabbings, shootings, fatal road accidents, drowning, fatal quad bike accidents, gang rapes and the list goes on. These stories seep into your mind and heart like toxic smoke, they make it hard to breath and your perception of mankind, the world and your life is altered. I very actively try and limit worldly negativity because I simply cannot carry the burden, my heart aches and I see pain all around me. I do not believe our light can shine if we are weighed down with the heavy burdens of the world.
At the same time I know I have a responsibility to my global brothers and sisters to help overcome and address poverty, injustice, human trafficking. I feel I have been abundantly blessed so I am better able to help those less fortunate then myself. However, watching and talking about the misery, pain and suffering of others does not actually help anyone. I see our community and country overrun with fear, worry, guilt, depression, anxiety, obesity and brokenness and yes I feel a huge desire to help, to help ease the burden of others, but I still believe there is a freer, more liberating, joy filled, love focused existence available to all of us. If only we could have child-like faith in God, if only our hearts and imaginations could be captured daily by the mystery and magic of the Christmas story, I think it could be so much better.
Am I over simplifying life, maybe? I just feel if we surround ourselves with good, happy, fun people and experiences, like Jesus and the wonderful stories about what He said and did while he was on Earth; if we read, listen to and participate in what makes our hearts feel happy and light then just maybe we could be healed of all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. We would be healthier, more rested and better able to answer the call of God. What do you think?