Monday, 9 March 2020
God's All-Year-Round Christmas Stars
As I sit here at my desk, inquiring of the Lord what it is he wants me to talk about in this blog, my eyes fell on a Christmas decoration lovingly stored, (randomly shoved!), in my desk drawer. As I pondered its shape, and colours, and gold ribbon, it got me thinking about how strange it is, that this is instantly identified as a Christmas tree decoration. I showed it to 3 kids in my house, and they all looked at me quizzically, and then affirmed that it is, indeed, a Christmas tree decoration.
So, Helen, how does this tie in with writers? In March?! (I must confess...I was asking God the very same thing; who writes about Christmas decorations in March?!). It's a very beautiful, very simple message, about two things:
Identity and purpose.
We so easily identify things by their characteristics; in this case, the red/gold combo, the shape, the glittery ribbon, all of these things are standard Christmas things. Does it change because Christmas is over? Not at all! Given these things on their own have other meanings, does that affect the decoration's purpose? Again, no, it's still a Christmas tree decoration, and carries that meaning with it all year through. Its purpose is to declare the birth of Christ, and help us celebrate it; it heralds the joy and love and peace that he brings to our world
No matter what genre we write in specifically, every single day we have so many opportunities to bring Christ's light to the world, which is just oozing with negativity and the most horrid of comments and conversations. In today's world, we must be like this little red and gold star of Christmas, and point people to Christ, and his message of love. When people least expect to find us, we must be there, shining the light of Christ. Whatever it is we're writing, the undercurrents must be those of Christ: we should be standing out, and signalling hope to all, and make people stop and say, this author, this commentator, this narrator, this random person commenting on a Facebook post...they emanate something that makes me want to linger a little, spend a bit more time in their words, soaking them in, and hearing what they have to say.
Because what they have to say, it speaks differently from most:
Their words build others up, where others tear them down.
Their novel leaves their readers feeling positive and believing in the truest form of love, rather than leaving them negative and cynical.
Their comment on a viral social media video defends someone who perhaps doesn't have the voice to do so for themselves, rather than just joining in with the worldwide shaming and humiliation, just because someone caught them in a vulnerable moment and decided to video it, rather than help them.
Their reply to an acquaintance on a Facebook post is full of humility and grace, rather than a fighting, retaliative spirit that so many Christians are known for.
Their blog posts encourage people to seek the Lord, the God of all creation, rather than believe that we are just here as accidents, unloved, unimportant, and with no future.
Colossians 4:6 says, Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. (The Message translation).
The goal is to bring out the best in others!
What is it that God is asking you to say today through your writing? Who is God asking you to build up in conversation today? Encouragement via an email to a boss? Strength to a friend via a prayerful message? Unconditional love and respect for a child who perhaps knows it, but needs to hear it? Perhaps it's an apology for a previously sent email, which was truthful, but not perhaps gracious...oh, I've been there, and I'm learning to temper my words. For our words...they are powerful! And in today's environment of fear, and selfishness, and filth, and a total lack of respect for other people, our words can be the reminder to the world that Christ is still on the throne, that his love is unchanging and his grace is all-encompassing!
And the best thing? The more we do this, the more people will begin to identify us, through our writing, as people who bring Christ's joy and love and peace to this world.
All year round.
I can think of no greater inspiration to write, and no greater purpose: the love of God, and of his people.
May the Lord help us to be Colossians 4:6 people, identifiable by our character, through our written words, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God the Father, for the salvation of all through the blood of Jesus Christ.
These thoughts were bought to you by Helen Carr at 08:00