“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” – John 1.14From Dave Atkinson:
I don’t “do” New Year resolutions. It is also rare for me to journal personal reflections throughout the year. But I do, often, write out a Bible verse that has struck me on a particular day.
On 1 January 2020, I wrote down this marvelous and profound verse from John’s gospel. It never ceases to amaze me that the eternal Word of God, Jesus, who spoke creation into existence, gave up the glory of heaven to dwell with us, and to humble himself completely for us; to show us the glory of God – ultimately on the cross.
The word “dwelling” that we have in the above version of the Bible, means “tabernacling” – referring back to Old Testament times when God made his presence among his chosen people, the Israelites, in the Holy of Holies section of the Tabernacle (a very big tent). When Jesus came as a human he tabernacled among us; and he continues to do that, by his Holy Spirit, in those who have committed their lives to him.
Although I said I rarely journal, I did write a few lines on 1 January. I expected 2020 to involve significant changes for me. I wrote: “…new calendar year, retirement year, new decade…hope to slow down from ‘doing’ and to enjoy tabernacling with Jesus in me…to hear the Father’s Word…for the Spirit to reveal himself….I need to listen in this fallow year…looking forward to experiencing the depth and fullness of Jesus’ grace and truth.”
But, as for so many of us, it hasn’t all turned out the way I had planned. It would be easy to end the year thinking only of the frustrations and pain (in particular of Coronavirus), saying that it was one of the worst years I can remember, to try and quickly cast it away into the furthest corner of my memory.
But, actually, I do not want to cast the experiences of 2020 into oblivion because I realise that the most important hopes of my 1 January reflections have, by God’s grace, been fulfilled. Jesus has tabernacled with me by his Spirit, I have had opportunities to listen and hear from the Father. And, although not how I anticipated, I have experienced the depth and fullness of Jesus’ grace and truth in a vast array of unexpected ways that have helped me to know Jesus and his glory more deeply.
So before you cast off 2020 and focus on New Year resolutions, why not take some time today to ask the Lord to help you realise how he has carried you, upheld you, grown you, tabernacled with you…and give him the praise and glory he deserves?
I think I’ll write the same verse for 1 January 2021. What about you?