Robes And Rings At The Ready...

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Today is Christmas Day. The sweetest thing happened with God.  Oh wow.  I tasted a little of what the prodigal son experienced in Luke 15, when he came back home after squandering his inheritance and hanging with the pigs...and was met so beautifully by his merciful Father. Obviously I haven't been backsliding or squandering my stuff...but I had definitely drifted away from the beautiful presence of God over the last week. I'd been feeling so burnt out...ended up being quite lazy...sleeping too much...catching a cold....needing rest but knowing I needed to meet my book writing deadline...so to try and catch up on writing I hadn't been spending time in the secret place with Jesus. I would just pray in the morning and then crack on with writing.  At night, before sleep I'd be watching TV to zone out.  My mind felt a little disengaged from God.  I missed Him so much. When I opened my eyes this morning and remembered it was Christmas Day my heart sunk a little because I was like..."Dad I've been away all week in my heart and I'm scared that I won't be "present" with you in my heart the way you deserve today...on this super special day to celebrate your Son, it sucks that I just don't feel spiritual...I feel numb...and I don't know even know how to seek your face because my heart feels cold...and kind of zoned out...etc etc etc.

I got out of bed, brushed my teeth and then standing in the kitchen I started to pray. I began to apologise and to explain to Jesus that I knew I hadn't really given Him my time this week, the way that He deserves, even when I could have. I wanted to be honest and confess to Him my shortcomings.  I wanted to share with Him my desperation to see His face.  That I missed Him. As I began to pray I wondered if I would be able to press in and meet with Him. Would I be able to get beyond the outer court into the Holy of Holies?  Was there a chance that I would have the delight of even glimpsing His beautiful face.  Yet before I could even get beyond the first couple of sentences suddenly He came. He floored me instantly with His love. I began to weep.  I felt His embrace all around me.  I began to laugh out loud with fresh delight at His scandalous mercy. I cried and laughed at the same time, repeatedly telling Him how crazy His love was. I suddenly felt the way I am convinced the prodigal son must have felt.  Before his son could even vocalise the apology he must have been rehearsing his entire journey home, the father was already telling his servant to fetch his robe...get the signet ring...prepare the feast because my son has come home.

Thats exactly how I felt. We had a feast right there. It was so glorious. Please don't get me wrong, I am not unfamiliar with Gods mercy and scandalous grace and I have been a recipient of it millions of times. I can't even tell you of how many occasions just like today when I have wondered just how I will see Gods face after where I've just been...or what I've just said...or thought...or done, and instantly He has taken me into the most holy place of His presence.  I never can take that access for granted and every single time He opens His heart up to me in that way I am undone.  Yet what I love so much about today was that this morning -  Christmas Day - was totally meant to be all about about glorifying Him and lavishing Him with my affection and devotion in a fresh way to say thank you for Who He is and what He did. Yet rather than prep my heart for it over the last week I'd been so disengaged. Rather than pray before I went to sleep last night I'd watched TV to switch off.  Heaven had every right to be a little aloof given I'd been a little distant over the last week. Heaven would have been totally qualified to make it a little bit difficult to press in considering how unspiritual I was feeling on such a special occasion, where in fact it should have been about sincerely appreciating that Jesus was the greatest gift ever. 

Yet He floored me with His scandalous love and once again, rather than the shoulda, woulda, coulda's, He simply made it about His incredible goodness.  Like totally. Not only did He totally mash me up afresh with His love, His mercy and Father's embrace but He flooded me with holy laughter...something I have been asking for and praying for.  I was literally overcome with holy giggles as I stood there in my kitchen in fits of laughter at the crazy, unfathomable love of our Father.  It went on for ages.  It felt so delicious.  I can't believe that only minutes earlier I had been wondering if I would even have the opportunity to glimpse His glory today...HAAAA...only to encounter the sweetest communion ever. Literally got swept off my sweep...had a robe placed around me...signet ring straight in my finger...partay partay partay before I could even say "Papa I'm sorry!!" Oh my gosh, I simply cannot get over what a beautiful, perfect, Father in heaven we have. I am SO SO SO in awe of His Son, His Spirit and His scandalous love.

Time and time again I have been knocked out by just how lavish our God is with His presence. He is not like man. When someone is aloof, distracted or disengaged from us, as humans we have the tendency to withhold our affection...guard our hearts, protect our space just in case we get rejected again right? Not God. No matter how unfaithful we are, He never ever withholds His presence or His love from us.  Instead, even when we are unfaithful...He is always there just like the Father in the parable...waiting to meet our gaze the moment we choose to look in the direction of His beauty once again...He runs towards us...arms wide open...rings and robes at the ready...having already prepared a feast in the presence of our enemies...ready to celebrate our prodigal hearts, however far...however close...returning home to Abba Father. Aaaah love. Sweet love.

Merry Christmas Jesus....Son of God...Darling of heaven. You my sweet love, are the greatest gift of all. x