I decided to join so many others this year who are decorating for Christmas really early. Not because I want to rush the season or somehow gloss over Thanksgiving, but while the winds of change may howl outside these walls, I wanted to fill our home with the celebration and joy of knowing our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Because life is full of sharp edges and hard days.
Because fear sometimes knocks loud and bold on the door of our faith.
Because it’s a conscious effort to live out these days, this season celebrating the One who offers true hope in dark times.
The sweetest of memories shine brighter when played out against the dark canvas of uncertainty. I think of all the wonderful gifts handed from one generation to the next and how they fill my heart and home after all these years. The many wonderful memories that now play in slow motion. Treasured gifts forever bearing handprints of the giver.
Between Grandma and I, this has been the skillet of choice for the past 84 years. Strong, durable cast iron that has beautifully weathered three generations of newlywed years, new-baby years, long summer days, countless holidays, and all the days in between. It’s unchanging. Dependable. Resilient, and only improves with time and use.
But cast iron doesn’t just season itself. It takes trials by fire, time spent in high heat to bring out its best qualities and add the best flavors.
I’ve been blessed to know those who have weathered the storms. Those who have endured the high heat and the many trials by fire. They’ve emerged with a well-seasoned faith, unwavering, stronger with the wind at their back and words of praise flowing from their lips.
So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7) ESV
But a well-seasoned faith doesn’t just happen without patient endurance and suffering. It takes trials by fire, time spent in the dry desert seasons of life to bring out true peace, joy and contentment. It has to be tested and put into practice if we expect it to improve with time…and use.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised
to those who love him. (James 1:12) ESV
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his
glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13) ESV
Because of Jesus and his unending love for us, we have hope for tomorrow. Only he can give meaning to our seasons in the fire, to our many trials, to the dry and dark days.
Because of Jesus, we can live out a well-seasoned faith.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard
your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7) ESV