A Christmas Hangover

Jesus said in John 7, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” The passage goes on to say that “by this He meant the Spirit.” The Message puts it beautifully and accurately when it says “Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in Me this way.” I LOVE that! Especially the phrase “spill out of the depths.” Constantly spilling out the living water of the Spirit deep within me – love, joy, peace, patience .. well you know the rest. (Galatians 5:22-23 if you don’t)

I’ve got a River of Life flowing out of me,
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see,
Opens prison doors, sets the captive free
I’ve got a River of Life flowing out of me.
Spring up oh well, within my soul
Spring up oh well, and make me whole
Spring up oh well, and give to me that life abundantly!

I am reminded also how Paul encourages us: CELEBRATE God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! (Phil 4, Message) REVEL in Him! That’s a great word, revel. As an Auburn fan, we have just come through an amazing football season. Based on the outcome of the National Championship game coming up on January 10, the Tigers could even be National Champions. I just gotta say: I am REVELING in this. 🙂
Revel: 1. to take great pleasure or delight  2. to make merry; indulge in boisterous festivities. So I am well aware that I know how to revel in something. Some people revel in certain food (especially during this season), some people in their pets, some in their kids, some in parties, etc.
Paul says: REVEL IN HIM!

Brent’s message on Sunday about the abundant life of the Christ follower stirred me to meditate on joy this week. In my most recent Precepts’ study, I’m reminded that happy are those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be FILLED.”
Sunday we looked at those somewhat familiar verses (to many “church” people anyway), in Ephesians 5. Paul says to the believers in Ephesus not to be drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Spirit. This is the same Spirit that Jesus was referring to when He said that rivers of living water would constantly flow out of those of us who say we believe. I’ve known some denominations that preach the first part of the verse loudly and boldly, but honestly I think they overlook or ignore the rest of the verse. While I believe that getting drunk is wrong, I believe that not being filled with the Spirit is wrong-er! I realize that all sin is ugly to God, but it seems to me that He spent much more time telling us as believers to rejoice, be filled with joy, etc than He did about eating/drinking. I want my life to focus on the things that God focuses on, not bogged down or caught up in the lesser. 

I just read a magazine article entitled “I love Christmas, but this hangover seems to last forever.” The writer’s first line says this: All the best parties are followed by a hangover. Which explains why the tinsel now looks a little less twinkly and the prospect of more Christmas pudding is as appealing as a giftwrapped tarantula.
I couldn’t help but think of these verses from Sunday (in Ephesians 5). This writer is speaking of the ills of the Christmas hangover. Well, I’ll admit I’ve got a Christmas hangover this year! And hopefully, if I keep drinking, I will not get over it through next year. 🙂 And my hangover doesn’t darken everything. It brightens everything. My hangover brings out the best in me rather than the worst. ‘Cause the best in me (and only good thing) is Jesus Himself. I am filled with songs and praises today because I’m filled to overflowing with His Spirit.

Yes, I admit that I don’t enjoy “taking down Christmas”. But CHRISTmas is not over. I want to celebrate God and His goodness all day, everyday. I want to hunger and thirst after righteousness and be filled! Filled to overflowing. I want to revel in God. Think about His love. Think about His goodness. Think about His grace that’s brought me through. Some “cheesy” holiday songs talk about making it Christmas everyday. Lines about sleigh rides, snowmen, lights and tinsel are sprinkled throughout the songs. Well I want CHRISTmas everyday in my life. But I want the real meaning of CHRISTmas in my life everyday. The abundant, overflowing River of Life springing up in me and producing joy.  More joy!
Joy to the world, the LORD has come! Jesus came to set the captives free. The LORD Himself resides in me, and with heaven and nature I sing His praise. You oh LORD are worthy to receive all the glory, honor and praise my life can give. All day. Everyday. I want to revel in You!

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