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Transformed by beholding
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”1
I have a little personal conviction that no one can have a really ugly countenance who constantly beholds the face of Jesus; that is, abides in His presence and meditates on His Word. It said, you remember, the prophet of old [Moses], that as he prayed, his countenance was altered.2
Living in the presence of God and fellowshipping daily with the Lord Jesus will transform the heart and soul. But somehow meditation has become a lost art in the mad rush of this generation. This mad rush is accelerated now at the height of the Christmas season; that is, the shopping season. Some will never stop to enjoy anything of life until after Christmas, and then they will fall into bed, sighing, “Well, I’m glad that’s all over.” What a pity! Why don’t we stop and enjoy Christmas just once—really enjoy what it means. Enjoy the beauty; just stop trying to do so much.
There are so many wonderful things about this season and so many beautiful things to see. It’s a shame to miss it all just to meet some people’s expectations or try to keep up with the Joneses, and wrapping this and wrapping that and rushing for this last thing and that, and trying to cook up so many things. We miss the Lord Himself in our feverish rush.
Psalm 16 says, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”3 He’s near. He is at our right hand. He is within speaking distance. But we will never see Him when we are too busy to notice Him there, and in the mad rush of the Christmas shopping we don’t even notice He’s there.
We’ll not hear the voice of the Lord, for that’s heard only in quiet waiting on Him in a holy hush, when you can have the time to disentangle His voice from the many voices about you. It is a very still, small voice and isn’t often heard on the run. There is an old saying that “the dew never falls on a stormy night.” So the sweetness of Christ’s presence is rarely found by nervous souls in the feverish rush. But the dew of heaven and the choicest blessings fall on that soul that gets quiet and waits for His presence.
I think He may stand today in our busy shopping centers with arms outstretched, saying, “Be still and know that I am God.”4 I was once standing in the doorway of the May Company in Los Angeles enjoying the lovely manger scene in the next window, when a mother and her little girl came hurrying by. The child saw the beauty of the scene, and grasping her mother’s skirt she cried, “Mama, mama, please let me stop just a minute and look at Jesus!” But the mother with some harsh tone reminded her she wasn’t half through with her shopping list and was in too big a hurry to stop.
Those words rang in my ears for a long time after that: “Let me stop a minute and look at Jesus.”—Waiting in His presence, waiting in stillness, waiting in quiet worship. Listening and learning until we become more like Him—transformed by beholding.
Life will always be a long round of rush and activity and feverishness without a personal relationship with the majestic Christ. He alone can bring that peace and rest and quiet to the heart if you’ll only stop and let Him. He says, “I am come that ye might have life, and have it more abundantly.”5 Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” All this you’ll miss if you are too busy to give Him a chance at your heart.
There is an abundant life for you if by faith you accept Him as your Lord and Savior. To live without Him is forfeiting the only real and lasting joy there is in this old world, and that seals your destiny for time, and eternity too. Accept Him as your Savior—it will be a wonderful Christmas for you. Trust Him with your life and He will transform it and completely change it, and give you life eternal.—Virginia Brandt Berg
Finding the “warm and fuzzy” of Christmas
I understand what you’re up against during the Christmas season. You’re faced with a period of extra busyness. And amid all of this you’re feeling dry, and you’re wondering where the “Christmas spirit” has gone and run off to.
You think of movies like White Christmas, or of Christmas stories with portrayals of Christmas days filled with the “warm and fuzzies” that seem to be an integral part of the Christmas season. But right now you feel zero warmth and fuzziness. You wish you had it, because you don’t want to feel draggy during this time of year that is supposed to be a celebration of joy.
You’re trying so hard to look for Christmas in the things that surround you. Perhaps you look for it in the blinking lights, storefront decorations, Christmas carols, eggnog, and whatnot, and then if any of those things are missing, or if they don’t strike the right note in your heart, you feel like this really can’t be what Christmas is about. You’re right, because you’re looking for the spirit of Christmas in the wrong places!
It won’t be found in glittery décor, or in a flurry of Christmas shows, events, or activities. If you’re looking for Christmas spirit, look no further than your own spirit, because as My child, as one who is saved and who knows Me, you are a carrier, a messenger, an ambassador of Christmas spirit. Instead of looking outward for Christmas spirit, look inward, because the spirit of Christmas is in you—it’s Me in you!
This is where it starts. More than decorating a tree or the house, if you adorn your spirit with joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, people will be drawn to you as they would be to the best, most brightly lit Christmas tree they’ve ever seen. They’ll recognize in you true Christmas joy, the real reason for the season. And the fuzziness of Christmas will come with the joy of sharing My love with others.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy
These are days of uncertainty for many, of fear and concern for the future. There is a need for peace—peace on earth, as well as peace of heart, mind, and spirit for the individual.
At this time of year, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the one known as the Prince of Peace. His life, His message, the example He set for humankind bring peace to the hearts of those who understand the importance of His life, who recognize that His death on the cross and His resurrection made it possible for every individual to have inner peace, both in this life and for eternity.
Faith in Jesus may not make the world any less tumultuous or unsettling, but it can bring peace and security to your spirit to empower you to meet the challenges of life. The assurance of His love and care, His promise of life eternal, can bring certainty even in uncertain times.—Peter Amsterdam and Maria Fontaine
Published on Anchor December 2013. Read by Debra Lee. Music taken from the Christmas Moments album. Used by permission.