Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)
TITLE: On the Other Side
By Dixie Phillips
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My pastor-husband and I collapsed in our recliners. He quickly dozed off. My body was exhausted, but my brain was wide awake and buzzing with anxious thoughts. There were more parties and programs we needed to attend. Not to mention the baking and shopping that still had to be done. The Christmas countdown had begun and it was taking its toll on us physically, mentally and spiritually.
As my mind continued whirling, I felt a gnawing in my soul. My heart was lonesome for Jesus’ manifest presence. Just the day before, I felt that spiritual “tug-of-war” inside of me, but because of my busy schedule I quickly dismissed it. This time I couldn’t ignore the knocking at my heart’s door. I closed my eyes and the Holy Spirit began shining light into the darkened nooks and crannies.
“But Lord, we’re in the ministry. We’re doing Your work.” I argued.
Like Martha of old, I had been busy serving, but had neglected my quiet times. I didn’t hear an audible voice, but in the depths of my soul I heard Jesus sweetly speak. “My birthday is coming. You’ve been wondering what you could give me. What I’d really like is some quality time with you.”
I sat at His feet in holy stillness for several minutes, tears trickled down my cheeks. How did I get so caught up in working for Him and lose sight of loving Him?
“I’m so sorry.” I whimpered.
“I have many workers, but so few lovers.”
His words gripped me. It was his birthday celebration and I had neglected the Reason for the season. Without even realizing it, I had said, “I have no room for You today!”
I spied my Bible on the coffee table. Hoping to read the Christmas story, I opened it up, but before I turned a page, my damp eyes fell on the familiar story in the Gospels where Jesus’ disciples had fished all night, but hadn't caught anything. Jesus told them to cast their nets on the "other side”. I had read this story many times before, but it was different this time. It was soul food.
The words I had spoken to my husband earlier echoed in the crevices of my parched soul. “Honey, I know everything will be just fine when we get on the “other side” of Christmas.”
I knew what the Lord was asking me to do. I cast my “mental net” on the “other side” of life’s ship. The Christmas countdown had begun and I wasn’t going to miss a single minute of what the Lord had planned for our family during His birthday celebration. No more temporal tunnel vision, He had given me eternal perspective.
My husband stirred. Opening one eye, he peered at me and mumbled, “When we get to Heaven we will be on the “other side” of all this stress.”
“How did you know?” I gasped.
His blonde brows lifted in surprise. “Know what?”
“About the “other side”…” I muttered.
“Well, I have been a pastor for over thirty years.” He adjusted his glasses and chuckled. “I’ve preached about the “other side” hundreds of times.”
I gave a snort of disbelief. “Honey, do you have your Christmas message yet for Sunday? I think I may have some sermon material for you.”
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