The house is empty, again. It is so fascinating to me how the brick and mortar seems to expand and contract as family and friends come and go. When they are all here, the house is somehow bigger, and when they leave the house settles cozily around the two of us once again. Our hearts are still full, nonetheless, as we hold onto the treasures of fellowship and the breaking of bread together. We will enjoy the richness of the preceding days for weeks to come and carry the fragrance of them into the New Year.
On that night, long ago, there was an expanding of another house, when the Christ child was born in the little town of Bethlehem. And it was a very small town, seemingly of no great consequence. The name “Bethlehem” has several meanings, one of which is “house of bread.” And the Bread of Heaven indeed came into the world there.
He came, He lived with purpose, and He gave His life for the joy set before Him. I’m sure I don’t fully understand everything about this joy that was ahead of Him: reunion with His Father, the establishment of His Kingdom, His marriage supper in the throes of preparation, the expanding of His own family, Such wisdom and such mystery is too high for me to comprehend. But the great adventure of it does capture my heart and draws me inexorably into things beyond this world.
Jesus told His disciples that they were in the world but not of the world. They were created to ultimately reside in another place, destined to live beyond themselves in the power of the Holy Spirit. As I ponder this reality, and tell my own soul that I am a sojourner here, I don’t want to live passively waiting for His return. I want my passing through to leave the mark He intended that it should. However, I also know that any imprint I make in the brief span of earthly life is the result of belonging to Him and not to myself. He owes me nothing, and I owe Him everything. I am here to follow Him to the cross and beyond. And, as our children left their fragrance in our home this past week, I pray I will leave the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. Like Mary, I can say, “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior.” (Luke 1:46-47)
This week we are coming to the end of another year. I urge you, dear reader, as you have time, to read John 17 and prayerfully consider all that Jesus prayed on your behalf, contemplate where and how the fragrance of your knowledge of Him has wafted through your relationships and what you might do in the coming year to deepen your roots in Him and so continue to spread His aroma. The Bread of Heaven is ever fresh and available for our sustenance and the sharing of His life. Let us break this bread together and stir the air with His enticing and effervescent life.
Until next week, beloved, share the Bread of Heaven.