I have a bonus blog this morning. It's not my scheduled day to post, but in the interest of the timely telling of a good story, I decided to publish this today.
It’s Christmas Eve, and death to self took a whole new twist this morning. I’m seeing a theme in my life that perhaps God wants me to die to self in all areas of my life. Today, slumber and the perfect quiet morning were called to the altar.Due to sleep deprivation during the week, I cherish Saturday mornings as a catch-up day. All I need is one a week, and I’m good to go for another six days. This morning was the perfect sleep-late day! It’s a holiday. No one in the family is working today. Our kids are old enough that they all snooze late. It’s cold and rainy outside and cozy under the covers. However, my body’s alarm clock went off at 6:18 a.m. Try as I might, I could not fall back asleep, so I consoled myself with the idea of a perfectly quiet house all to myself. I could savor my morning coffee and time with the Lord without interruption and maybe even have warm blueberry muffins fresh out of the oven for my family as they stirred. I grabbed my cozy red robe, slipped out of my bedroom, and was met with a stench no human being should encounter before their first cup of coffee, and I would argue, what I faced was unfit for human contact at any time. I will spare you the gruesome details, especially for those of you who aren’t dog lovers. I don’t think I am any more as of today. Let’s suffice it to say our large standard poodle is having intestinal difficulties and left evidence trailing through the living room, gallery, and entry of our home.
I don’t know if you’ve ever encountered a mess of disheartening proportion, but this disaster knocked the wind out of my sails and nearly brought tears to my eyes. Determined to rise above it all, I flipped on the lights, which take 10 minutes to turn on because they’re those energy saving ones, and as I surveyed the enormity of what lay ahead of me, I stepped in something wet. Yes, it got worse. Yet, as I thought of who to blame or who to wake up to be company in my misery, it just didn’t seem right to disturb another’s precious sleep to suffer with me. So I grabbed an arsenal of cleaning supplies, stopped the flow of air in and out of my nose, suppressed all gag reflexes, and went to work.As I scrubbed on hands and knees, one caked-on spot after another, one overwhelming waft after another, pondering the repulsive nature of the entire experience, it occurred to me our sin must be just as repulsive to God. Just as disgusting. Just as nasty of a stench. Just as extensive a mess. And as I worked to erase all evidence of the incident, I thought about Jesus. I was just as helpless as my dog to clean up all the messes I made in my sin. Likewise, as Prisca in her canine nature couldn’t help relieve herself when no one was awake let her out, I, in my sin nature, naturally indulged sin’s urges and left a trailing mess behind me. And just like my dog, who is completely incapable of cleaning up her own mess, we are completely incapable of cleaning up our own sin. So God sent His only Son to earth in the form of man to die as the payment for our sin, and when we receive His grace and respond in faith to His tug on our hearts, confessing with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, He sweeps in and cleans up sin and all its messes in our lives.
After disinfecting the floor, my hands, and everything I touched, rinsing the mop, disposing of the sullied paper towels, and starting a sanitary load to clean the rags, I re-entered the once-soiled rooms, and everything was like brand new. That’s what Jesus offers us: a clean slate.This is the Christmas story. John 3:16 unwraps the greatest gift of all: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”Then, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And when the Lord cleans up, He is thorough, and it is final, as Psalm 103:12 explains, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” As if that’s not enough, He promises all things new: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
On this day, as we finish all our preparations for Christmas Eve activities and traditions, and as anticipation grows for tomorrow, let us take a moment to praise and thank our heavenly Father for the inconceivable gift of new life, eternal life, forgiveness, and a clean slate. Without Jesus, life is a hopeless mess, just like the one to which I awoke today. Will you unwrap God’s gift to you today?May the Giver of the Greatest Gift bless You with His presence, His peace, and His salvation today.
Merry Christmas,Shauna Wallace