Wednesday, December 17, 2008


"Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful.  And since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let is snow!"


It is winter in Northwest Iowa - I mean winter. Yesterday I think the temperature reached 4 degrees. And we were thankful!  Plus, we got four inches of powdery, white snow.  I know, I guess I could move somewhere else if I truly hated winter as much as I think I do right now, but moving really isn't an option yet, either.

Frigid - that's the first word that comes to mind.  We have saw -13 degrees on Monday morning with 40 below wind chill.  Yesterday got all the way up to 4 degrees and this morning, -4 didn't even feel so bad.


Merriam-Webster defines frigid as:  intensely cold, lacking warmth or ardor.

The prospect of an entire winter of frigid is daunting, particularly when it is mid-December.  Mid-February is another thing - at least then we can say in a couple of weeks it might warm up - but in mid-December it is cause for concern.

As I was blowing my driveway clear early last evening from the snow that had fallen during the day, and the drift that had been built up from Monday's windy day, the word frigid was on my brain and on my heart. I wasn't so terribly cold in completing this task, but the idea of being frigid in my life began to swirl around in my mind - kinda like the snow in the air.

Revelations 3:15-17 reads like this:  "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (NIV)

The same passage from The Message reads this way:  "I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking.  You're not cold, you're not hot--far better to be either cold or hot!  You're stale.  You're stagnant.  You make me want to vomit."

These are Jesus' words in my handy red-letter Bible.

Jesus, obviously, can't stand the thought of us being lukewarm.  If we know the story, His story, and yet seem oblivious or don't really care that He has come and offered Himself as a living sacrifice, then we make Him want to vomit!

I guess He knows where we stand if we are cold or hot, and He prefers it that way, but I also believe that God doesn't have a whole lot of interest in us being frigid.  Am I right?  If He had it His way, I believe he would want us piping hot!

As we continue to Advent, continue our waiting upon the Savior's birth, I pray that we are not frigid this Christmas season--that we are not intensely cold or lacking warmth.  I pray that we are paying attention to those who are in need, those without income and in dire circumstances.  That we are warm to those who need Jesus in their lives, those who are looking for any sign of hope in their lives.

I also pray that the reality of the Season, this Christmas season, may move us from frigid, through lukewarm, to hot, if need be!  I have spent a lot of time since finding Jesus pondering his death and resurrection and what it means for me.  How that amazing gift of grace is life-giving for me.

I haven't spent a lot of time truly "getting" Christmas, it seems.  For many years I hustled as much business as I possibly could before Christmas, and by the time the day occurred, I was simply spent.

It appears to me that it is becoming more clear that Jesus' birth is the most precious gift - an incredible gift to each one of us.  Had He not been born - come into the world the way He did - and lived as He did, His death and resurrection would not mean what they mean to us and for us.

I learned a little Greek word in the past couple of weeks and have spent a little time thinking about this word.  The word is hupotasso - it is the Greek word for subject - and is defined as "voluntarily giving in, cooperating, accepting responsibility or carrying a burden."

My prayer, this Christmas, is that we would all hupotasso, if you will, those in need.  That out of our love for Christ, for the amazing gift that God sent into the world for us, that we might love a little more deeply, that we might give a little more voluntarily.

May Jesus see us inside and out and find a lot to His liking.  May He find us piping hot, even in the midst of a long, hard Iowa winter.  May He find us anything but stale and stagnant, but rather joining Him in His work in this world.  May He find us celebrating His birth, showing His love and sharing it with those around us.  May He be glorified in all that we think, say and do!

So long frigid!  Today is the day you have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!


patty said...

It reminds me of Ez 19:11:
"I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh."
Fleshy, hot, undivided hearts ...that's what we need for Christmas!
Thanks for yet another great reminder, Chris!

Billy Coffey said...

I've been seeing how dreadful the weather is in your neck of the woods (we've thankfully been spared. It's raining outside right now, but it's in the 50s).

But I've also seen my share of cold this year, too. People seem edgy, grumpy, and generally ho-hum. It's enough to rub off on you if you're not careful, so thanks for the kick in the pants.