Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.
Sitting under the bare branches of the pear tree on a gray morning, I pondered the meaning of life. “What’s it all about, God?” I asked.
“It’s simple. Be like nature. Serve others,” God replied.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Nothing in nature is there for itself, it is there for others,” God explained. That pear tree you are sitting under doesn’t grow pears for itself. It grows them for others to eat.
It began to rain and I rose to make my way back to the cottage. “Even the rain doesn’t fall for itself, it falls for those that need water to drink,” God said as He walked with me.
“I’ve never thought of nature that way before,” I replied. “How shall I serve?” I asked.
“Start by loving,” God said gently. “You can’t serve unless you love.”
I looked back over my shoulder at the pear tree. “Does it love?” I asked.
“Very much,” God answered. “For it is full of me.” He smiled and opened the cottage door for me. “After you,” He said.
“Thank you,” I replied and realized that God is something I can never fully understand for He is both master and servant. I walked in and shook the rain from my hair. “Let’s go sit by the fire,” I invited. And of course, He accepted.
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.
Every holiday season as a child I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. It was a tradition. But it wasn’t until I was older that I saw the most important message in the movie. Linus took to the stage and told the story of the shepherds abiding in the field, watching their flocks by night. Here’s where the movie gets profound. When Linus quoted, “But the angel of the Lord said unto them, ‘Fear not’” he dropped his security blanket before he continued the story— “for I bring you tidings of great joy, for unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
For Linus, it was a blanket. For you and I, perhaps it is our looks, our careers, our bank accounts, our fancy cars, clothes, and houses, or even our addictions, that we cling to for security. But we should drop all of those things and cling to God instead. We have nothing to fear because God loves us so very much that He sent His Son to walk among us and teach us about the greatest lesson we will ever learn: to love.
As we enter into this season of celebrating Christ’s birth, let us drop the things we hide behind. Let us drop our fears, especially our fear of one another, and embrace the message Christ shared with us. Let us dismantle all the barriers we’ve created to love and take to heart the glorious words of the angel, “Fear not,” for God is with us.
“I got nothin’ God,” I said, feeling rather guilty as I stared out the window at the clouds building up on the horizon.
“What do you mean?” God asked softly.
“I didn’t know what to write about today,” I confessed.
“Oh, that,” God replied. “I knew you were feeling a bit stuck.”
“I thought I’d write about the beautiful covey of quail in the garden. Then I thought I’d write about the sunlight that painted everything pink and gold. Then the feral kittens showed up at my kitchen door and I thought about how precious they are. But I wasn’t able to turn any of my thoughts into a soul reminder,
“That’s quite alright, Sparrow,” God said. “I know your heart was in the right place.”
“It’s always looking for ways to share your love. That’s really what all of my soul reminders are about—how much you love us.
“I know. And I do love you all, so very, very, much. It’s why I created everything for you to enjoy,” God said.
A gust of wind from the coming storm rattled the windows of the cottage. Off in the distance, thunder rolled across the mountain tops. “I’m sure I’ll know what to write tomorrow,” I said as I curled up on my chaise lounge, ready to enjoy the wild weather.
“I know you will,” God said and sat down beside. I rested my head on His shoulders as the clouds broke open and the rain came down, pattering on the roof.
Looking in the mirror I saw some new gray hairs in my eyebrows. I resisted the temptation to pluck them out; I’d have no eyebrows left if I started doing that. “God, did you know that eyebrows are now a thing?” I asked. “There’s a whole industry built around making them look a certain way.”
“So I’ve seen,” God replied. “People seem to like conformity.”
“It can be a bit demoralizing when you don’t fit in with the standards,” I said. I rubbed my finger over my wiry brows, smoothing them into place.
“You fit in with my standards,” God said quietly.
“What standards are those?” I asked.
“Uniqueness and diversity,” He answered. “There are no exact replicas of anything in my creation. Everything is special in its own way.”
“So I don’t have to go on Amazon and buy an eyebrow stencil?”
“I hope you won’t!” God said with a smile. “I rather like your brows as they are; wild and wonderful, just like you.”
“Awww. Thanks, God.” I stepped away from the mirror, happy to be me, happy that we are all so richly unique.
The Spirit of God dwells in you.
~1 Corinthians 3:16
I woke to the feeling of fall; the morning cool and crisp. I rose and went out into the garden to greet the day. “Come,” God called to me on the breeze.
“Where?” I asked.
“Into my love,” He replied.
“I’m coming,” I said, as I walked under the clouds moving across the blue sky. A covey of quail startled and rose beyond the blackberry thicket. I stopped and watched them take flight. The songbirds, now awakened from their dreams, sang to me from the trees standing tall along the fenceline. The bees, intent on their chores, joined in with their winged noise. “You’re here, all around me,” I said.
“I’m in you, too,” God whispered. “Go Inside of yourself.”
I drew in a long breath and exhaled slowly. I put my hand over my heart and walked back to the cottage in silence, marveling that God put Himself inside of me where I can always find Him.
Let the glory of the Lord endure forever; Let the Lord be glad in His works;
Walking through the garden I stepped on seeds that had fallen from spent marigolds. I leaned down and picked up one of them and held it in my hand. It looked like a little exclamation mark nestled in my palm.
“You’re like that little seed,” God said.
“You are inside of your body, just like the flowers are inside of the seed casings. The flowers are not the seeds and you are not your body,” God explained.
A ripe pear fell from the tree, startling me. It rolled and came to rest next to dozens of pears rotting on the ground. “Why do you want me to know the distinction between me and my body?” I asked.
“Your body will one day wither, like the fruit on the ground. But you won’t be inside of it anymore. You are the soul that resides inside of your body, the soul I’ve known since the dawn of time. You are the child I dreamed of before I created the heavens and the earth, before I parted the night from the day. You are my precious Sparrow whom I love dearly,” God said softly.
My knees trembled, hearing His words. I sat down on the wooden bench. “God, it is almost too much to take in, the thought that you love me as you do,” I said.
“I love all of my children as much as I love you,” God said gently.
“I’ll remind them,” I said, and leaned down and picked up the pear that had fallen. I brushed it off on my shirt and took a bite out of it. It tasted of God’s goodness and glory—His sweet and tender love for us all.