God’s Word for Today: Next. As we wander thru this Christmas season, the focus is primarily on the evening of December 24th and all day on the 25th. Plans are made. Presents purchased, wrapped, and tucked under a tree. All the necessary food is acquired for the special meal or meals. Decorations are pronounced. We pretty much know what is next. And, if family behaves itself, another Christmas is celebrated and has the potential to be marked as the best Christmas yet.
Then, comes the question, what next. Well, we simply catch our breath for a week, then do whatever is necessary to bring in the New Year. Not much to focus on there. Plans to be made of exactly where and how and who to bring in the New Year with. Diehard fans are making out their schedule based on the presentation of the College football Bowl games. What is next is no concern. We have it figured out.
After a couple of days into the New Year, this word next, starts to enter your thoughts. It has been tucked away in the back of your brain for several months now. Something in the celebration of Christmas and New Year gave it the push it needed to come forward and announce itself. It is time to think of what is next.
Is this next year going to be any different from the previous? All of us believe it will be a better year. If we didn’t look forward to what is next, what would be the purpose of waking up each morning?
Hopefully you had an awesome year. Christmas is a definite cause for celebration. Life has been good. You really don’t care what is next because the here and now is just fine.
Maybe though, 2015 hasn’t been the most kind. Just surviving Christmas this year is going to be a struggle. It will be the first Christmas without that certain someone who moved on. You know they are up there hanging out with God and Jesus doing the Birthday thing. But, you would much rather have them here with you. You miss them. This time of year is very special. Your pain is trying to outweigh your joy. You really don’t want to know what is next.
Ephesians 4:1-6. As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; on Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
This Scripture has a few direct orders to it. No questioning of what is next. It is telling you what to do right now. Pretty much a statement of calling that will determine your next. As in the next minute, hour, day, week, and year. God has your number. He has called you.
Yes, if you have read these words this far through, God has you written down in His book. You may not really want to be there. You have enough going on without having to do this God stuff too. You have enough pain that you are trying to carry through these next few days, God can wait for a while. Besides, it is His fault that you are having to suffer through this Christmas. God had the nerve to call someone you dearly love up to His kingdom, why should you want to do God’s will? Well, because.
Because God loved you first. Because God loves you most. Because believe it or not, God loves you more than anyone on this earthly planet ever will. Because God sent His only Son down to save our sorry butts. Because Jesus went through more pain and suffering that we could ever imagine just so God could stay connected with you and me. Because you are being urged to live your life worthy of what God has Blessed you with. And, because what better way to honor those you loved so much who have gone one before you, than to carry on God’s work until it is your time to join them?
Today, not much use in wondering what is next. God has already given you instructions. No use wasting your time looking other directions for other next. There is but one God, one faith, one baptism, one body (yours) and one Spirit (God’s). Next is a give me. Something to do with being humble and gentle. More to do with being patient and bearing with one another in love. That’s what’s next…………….
Prayer: Holy Father, the One and Only, I come to you today humbled. Forgive me for the pain, anger, and emptiness I feel this Christmas. I need your strength God to get thru this Christmas season. I know Lord if I focus on living for you, I can find peace in living without those I loved so much. I can’t imagine the sacrifice you made just for me. But God, I can celebrate it. I can share it with those you still don’t know your Love. I want to be the next one who people recognize as one of God’s children. In Jesus’ whose birthday is next to the ultimate gift, I pray. Amen.