I hope your Thanksgiving was a special time of giving thanks and being with those you love. We had a much smaller gathering, just my family of four, plus my mom. It was my first year to ever make the turkey! My mom brought the most important dressing and gravy, along with a pecan pie. My son made the pumpkin pie. And I made the rest of the sides. It was a joint effort and sweet time together.
Scrolling through social media, I saw such a variety of honest emotions with expressions of thanks, despite fears and concerns. It’s important to pray for those who are suffering and sick, to reach out to those who are lonely and hurting. None of us can escape the changes brought into our lives in 2020, for good or for bad, one way or another. No doubt, 2020 will be a year to remember.
For me in 2020, I’ve realized how many things I have taken for granted in the past: small, daily joys; being with friends; going to church; unencumbered travel; grocery shopping and daily activities without a mask. Yet I’ve also found joy in scaling back, simplifying things, having less to plan and organize, be that at work or at home. It’s been a refreshing change. Focusing on the many gifts of 2020 was a blessing, to name and list the blessings that have come, even amidst a world that can feel turned upside down. Griefs and joys collide, don’t they?
I’ve just started reading a book by Tony Evans called God Himself on the attributes of God. I’m impressed by the fact that knowing God and making Him known should be my life’s highest pursuit. Knowing God is more than knowing about Him, more than having information. It’s knowing Him, who He is, believing and understanding Him, His heart for us, allowing Him to transform our lives, our ways of thinking and acting. In reading just the first few pages of this book, I could see such a contrast between the outcomes of knowing and believing God versus not knowing Him:
|If we don’t know God, we:||If we know God, we:|
|-fail to access the abundant life Christ gives;|
-are not living out God’s purpose for our lives;
-are negatively influenced in our relationships;
-don’t know ourselves;
-will have false and damaging views of God;
-will be led toward destruction and death, confusion and defeat.
|-access the abundant life Christ gives;|
-live out God’s purpose for our lives;
-have positive relationships;
-have a better understanding of ourselves;
-understand His true nature and our call to reflect it as image bearers;
-will be led toward life, clarity, truth, & spiritual growth.
I love these verses:
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (ESV, emphasis mine)
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” (ESV, emphasis mine)
The apostle Paul put it like this in Philippians 3:7-12:
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (NIV, emphasis mine)
And how can we know God? By knowing Him according to His Word and according to His Son. As we enter into the Advent season on Sunday, it’s a wonderful time to learn about Jesus, about his coming to earth for us. There are many Advent devotionals or even readings in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) that can teach us more of who He is, this Savior of the world and Savior of our souls. If you want to join me in this pursuit of knowing more of God and entering fully into the Advent season, let me know in the comments or by email.