Friday, December 20, 2013

Reflection or Merely Recounting?

[Advent Week 1 - Posted a bit late]

The season of "Here is what I did this year" letters is upon us. Yes, most people call them 'Christmas letters' but they are more truly year-in-review letters. I am not guiltless of this practise when replying to long-overdue e-mails or letters, but I try to have the decency of not calling those communications 'Christmas letters' either. A Christmas letter ought to be about Christ, whom we remember became man at one specific point in history. Whether it was in December or April or some other month I really do not care. We pick the busiest time of year for reflection on this point of truth, so I plan to reflect on it. 

Perhaps this time of year is the busiest because the enemy of our souls despises stillness and reflection upon Jesus. If there are more and more Christmas parties and stresses and less and less meditating on Christ, that enemy is accomplishing his underhanded goal: distracting us from setting our eyes where they ought to be. We need to see Christ, not ourselves, our busy lives, or our accomplishments. Paradoxically, the more we set our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the more clear and correct is our view of ourselves. 

Those year-in-review letters that so many of us write focus on our highlights, sometimes our low points, and rather useless information about our corporal man which is passing away. That is all merely recounting. Real reflection is not that at all. Reflection is 'looking back' on the blessing God has given, on the lessons He is teaching, and seeing His strength and hope bringing you through your darkest moments. In short, reflection is seeing the Glory of God shining back to Him through yourself in circumstances and quiet moments. How do we know that reflection if we are not focussed firstly on the real, the true image of God, Jesus Christ?

So, in the busiest season of the year let us strive to make time for stillness and solitude daily. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, who is before (both 'prior to' in history, and 'ahead of' as an example) us. Let us know Him as He IS, so that we might reflect His glory and His image.

~ johanna

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