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Nourishing Your Spirit During the Holidays: Part 1

Our is a hungry society.  During a time of year when treats are rarely out of reach, it seems odd to say. But we’re not hungry for food or nourishment for our bodies. We’re hungry for connection and a way of nourishing our spirit.

 

We’ve all seen the unexpected effects of social media. We’re “friends” with hundreds and hundreds of people online, yet we’ve never felt so alone. If we do meet face-to-face for coffee or small groups, we fly in at the last minute, barely making it on time. Then we watch the clock the entire time we’re there. We rarely settle in to be present. Instead, our minds remain distracted by the tasks that await when we leave.

 

It can be hard to make new friends when we move at such a rapid pace. And it can feel even more difficult to keep friends when we let our busyness control our lives. Our feet hit a treadmill the moment we get out of bed and don’t stop till well after nightfall. Who has time for connection?

 

And then we add holiday festivities to the craziness.

 

The Cost of Holiday Craziness

 

Like most of us, I adore Christmas and the holiday season, even with its chaos. From Thanksgiving through New Year, so much points to Jesus and we have heartwarming reasons to celebrate. Our Lord came as Immanuel, entering the world to give His life so we can spend eternity with Him. The festivities draw loved ones to gather. We take in traditions and delicacies that come only once a year. The sights, smells, and generosity of the season often move me to tears.

 

But the stress!  The stress that stems from the busyness and overwhelming commitments gets the best of me. You know the drill… There are gifts to buy, treats to make, relatives to gather from the airport or a family to shuffle off to faraway destinations. While I adore my distant relatives, we don’t always see eye-to-eye and I find myself suppressing my ‘religious’ side so I don’t offend. I long for people to see the beauty and peace of Christ in me. Instead, in the busyness, they see a stressed-out and impatient hot mess.

 

It’s crazy to me how we can immerse ourselves with so much to do, so many people to see, and still carry a level of loneliness that makes us feel as if we live in Antarctica.

 

 Nourishing Your Spirit Through Connection

 

We feel lonely because we were created for connection. It was God’s idea from the beginning. That’s why we crave it so desperately. It’s why we feel so empty without it.

 

You and I were designed to connect within our communities, yes.  But we were created to connect first with God.

 

Since the beginning of mankind, God connected with His children. Following His creation of the world and mankind, God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

 

Now God is Holy. That means He’s perfect, without fault or blemish. It means He’s set apart—completely set apart from evil. When original sin happened, God could no longer fellowship with Adam and Eve. Because of His holiness, and because of their sin, He could no longer “hang out” with them.

 

What is Sin, Anyway?

 

You might find yourself asking, what is sin anyway? Simply stated, sin means missing the mark. In the Garden, Adam and Eve ate some fruit. It’s not like they ate processed carbs or sugar. They ate fruit, which is supposed to be good for us. The act seems so insignificant, but it was fruit God had specifically instructed them not to eat. They missed the mark and caused a devastating chasm of separation between them and God.

 

The Bible teaches us that sin brings death, but that there is life in blood. As strange as it sounds to us now, only by a covering of blood can God continue to fellowship with sinful people. There in the Garden of Eden, God provided the first blood offering to make amends for the sins of Adam and Eve. He made garments of animal skin to clothe them. God did that. He did all the work necessary to reconcile.

 

But because of Adam’s sin, all people are born with a sinful nature. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Separation from God continues to this day.

 

Why a Tabernacle?

 

In the book of Exodus, God took reconciliation another step. He commanded Moses to lead the Israelites to build what was called a Tabernacle. It was a huge, elaborate and ornate tent — essentially a building in early Bible times. God said to Moses “They are to make a sanctuary for Me so that I may dwell among them” (Ex 25:8).

 

Catch that — God was separated from mankind because of their sin, but still loved them so much He desired to abide with them.  That depth of love carries into our own lives today. Our sin separates us from God, but He provides a way to reconcile. He provides a way to connect and allow us to abide with Him both now and throughout eternity.

 

In the next post in the series, see the extent of God’s effort to reconcile with His beloved children—that’s you and me!

 

We long to nourish our spirit through connection. We’re hungry, but we don’t have to stay that way. The God of the universe desires to dwell in our hearts. When He does, we are never alone. When we connect with God in the way that He designed from the beginning, we nourish our spirit and can embrace a level of joy that is unshakeable in any circumstance.

 

I can’t wait to share more with you! Read the next post in the series here.

 

Nourish Your Spirit

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