This week we read Chapters 11-15 in our Advent book, The Greatest Gift. (affiliate link)
If you are just checking in you can see the introduction, week 1, week 2, week 4 and week 5 here. Please don’t be discouraged if you haven’t read every day or have fallen a little behind. The daily readings are relatively quick and one doesn’t necessarily build on the other, so you can skip ahead if needed.
As I read through the scriptures and thoughts this week I visualized a scarlet thread. This thread running through all of time, straight into our lives and connecting each one of us to another, but most of all tethering our hearts to the Lord. A bright fire of red, the scarlet of riches, blood and flames. Our hearts. So purposely planned, woven by our maker, knitted to each other, binding our very souls to God.
Yes, this week was about hearts and red yarn for me.
You must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window. Joshua 2:18
In what is perhaps one of my favorite recounts in the Bible, we find Rahab. A women we wouldn’t invite over for coffee. I doubt we would even give her more than a judgmental glance. But here is this woman, with an inkling of faith and a deep love to save her family. She has a heart that we don’t give credit to. Where we least expect it, as Ann says, “That is always the secret to abundant life: to believe that God is where you doubt He can be.” God shows up in a brothel and he sees Rahab. He sees her in a way no one else ever has. He nudges her heart and she throws out a scarlet rope that saves her soul. Then she becomes a mom. A matriarch to the great King David and later on …Jesus. This scarlet cord is one woman doing what she can. “She steps out not in competence but in faith,” as Ann states.
God can and will use anyone he chooses.
We delve into the book of Ruth and follow the trials of Naomi and her daughter in law Ruth.
The famous lines Ruth spoke to Naomi that reveal the invisible heart strings we develop with others. These strings don’t have to have the same blood courseing through them, the bond is not made only through blood family, but through life family, believer family. Ann talks about how nothing to apparently major happens in this story. These women are just living their life, drudging through the days the best they know how. And all along God is walking them down a path to His great plan. Like Kindergarteners holding the walking line down the hall at Elementary school so they get to their destination, together and straight away.
“When your Father’s hand isn’t readily apparent, it’s only because He’s readying gifts.” points out Ann.
God walks out the lineage of Christ one more unexpected step through Ruth and Boaz’s non-coincidental relationship. What I noticed even more, is the women, Naomi, who couldn’t see the love around her and felt alone and uncared for got taken care of through this story. God never forgets the details of meeting a wanting heart’s needs.
So maybe you are walking in a spot that appears to be mundane and non-eventful. Remember this thread running deep, lacing together unseen moments, that someday will cumulate into something you never imagined.
God is always weaving.
We should be able to read this verse and quit reading for the day. It’s such a powerful truth in one sentence. But we don’t ever take it at face value. I love how Ann says, “Advent is a baptism of the eyes.”
“Always, always – first the eyes.”
“You begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see.”
This shepherd wasn’t even invited to the party. That’s how considered he was by his own family, his own people. Here Samuel is looking for a King and he too gets tripped up by appearance. But the one left out in the field, he is the one God wants. It’s his heart that God sees.
We are called to strive daily to be more like Christ. That means we too are to look at the heart first and only. The heart of the prostitute, the lonely mother-in-law, the one left out in the cold. To remember our sworn enemies have a heart worth saving. It’s not always easy. But maybe today we could start with just one. One hard heart to love and see and hold and hug and thread to ours.
And maybe today we can let the weight of other’s eyes on us fall away.
“The light never comes as you expect it” says Ann.
No, it never does.
“God favors the darkest places so you can see His light the brightest.” sings Ann. As I chew on that truth I ask God to light the fire in my heart.
Lots of things can light a fire in my heart. A passionate burst that feels fresh and new. When ‘things” light that fire it tends to fall asleep like an un-kept campfire. It’s an insatiable beast that constantly needs to be feed to stay alive. And I can’t keep up.
And got a little teary.
But isn’t that what this is all about? Finding Christ this Christmas and bending to Him, letting Him set the fire in our soul, letting Him carve out of our hearts all else that doesn’t matter, grabbing the scarlet lifeline He freely offers and relishing in the miracle of His birth.So tell me…what was your take away from this week? Are you enjoying the book? Have you made any projects? How are you seeing Christmas different this year? Let me know if you have any questions about the project!
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