Contemplation

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”~~Anne Frank (BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is fulminate, “to complain loudly or angrily : to send forth censures or invectives.”

Today is Roast Chestnuts Day. So today is the day to do what that song talks about. “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose . . . ” Unless you live where I live and it’s going to be in the sixties all week.

Well, it’s only eleven days until Christmas. I think we are mostly finished with our Christmas shopping, except for a few little things and stocking stuffers. We’re supposed to get free lunch at work on Wednesday, and then those who participated in the “Secret Santa” will be exchanging gifts on Friday.

We’ll be having our traditional Christmas Eve gathering with Christi’s family. Our church is having a Christmas Eve service, as well. We’ll do our normal Christmas morning, and then head to Grandma’s for a few days. Then Christi and I will both be off work for the first three days of the next week, which uses the last of my PTO.

We don’t have band practice tonight. The band’s Christmas party is tonight, but we won’t be making that one. Our next rehearsal is on January 4. I will, however, be taking part in something rather unique next Saturday in Grapevine. The 6th annual Grapevine Yuleslide will be occurring, in which trombone players from around the area will be gathering to play some Christmas music. That should be great fun!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

The final piece in Keller’s framework for daily prayer is contemplation. Again, here is a word that causes many people to run away, but if understood properly, it is truly a necessary piece of the equation. I believe Keller has been very good at explaining just what he means and does not mean by contemplation.

Jonathan Edwards “described contemplation as times when we not only know God is holy, but when we sense – ‘see’ and ‘taste’ – that he is so in our hearts. Martin Luther describes it as a sense of getting lost in an aspect of God’s character. Luther writes this:

It often happens that I lose myself . . . in one petition of the Lord’s Prayer, and then I let all the other six petitions go. When such rich good thoughts come, one should . . . listen to them in silence and by no means suppress them. For here the Holy Spirit himself is preaching and one word of his sermon is better than thousands of our own prayers. . . . [So] if the Holy Spirit should come and begin to preach to your heart, giving your rich and enlightened thoughts . . . be quiet and listen to him.

However, if we assume that this kind of experience will be the norm, John Owen reminds us that it is not so. Many of us will begin and end our prayers with a kind of sense of “spiritual dryness or even of God’s absence.” When this happens, our final contemplation should simply consist of mulling over the best thought we received about God, giving him thanks and praise for who he is, and then petitioning him to “come near and show us his face in his good time.”

In its simplest form, contemplation can be nothing more than enjoying the presence of our Father.

Father, I ask that you help me be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit in my prayer times, listening to hear if he might be “preaching” to me, in regard to some truth or aspect of your character that has been highlighted.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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2 thoughts on “Contemplation

  1. Love and peace to you, too, Jeff. This was a lovely read and I especially enjoyed hearing about your Christmas plans with family. Sounds like a lovely way to do the holiday. Happy Christmas to you and yours 🙂

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