If I was cold, I'm not now. The Nabe Udon is steaming before me. Seafood, veggies, and thick noodles in a Japanese broth continue to cook in a small iron pot that serves as my bowl. As I stir the ingredients to cool, a tiny octopus surfaces. I snap it up immediately, blow on it tenderly, and devour it smiling slightly as I recall introducing octopus to my youngest. It wasn't the best experience for her at the time. She was greatly disturbed by the texture as the crunch of the beak caught her by surprise.
Still too hot to eat, I listen to the Christmas music playing in the background. Outside the sky is blue and the sun feeds the festive spirit as people prepare for Christmas.
My Christmases over the past few years have been very inconsistent. In country, out of country, at home, at others' homes...This Christmas, being in a new house (that is yet unfinished), I wanted to create a beautiful traditional-type memory for my girls. The focus: family, friends, food, and sharing Jesus.
It is the "sharing Jesus" part that has been gnawing away at me for the past several months. You see, I encounter many different people in a day - just like any of you do - some poor and disenfranchised, some very influential, and some that are seemingly middle-class, ordinary. The problem is that I appear to have hit a wall. It is one of those walls that I believe the Lord put in my path to guide me, not hinder me. I cannot seem to find the right words to engage in conversation about Jesus. The verse about always being ready to give an answer for your faith immediately jumps to my mind as I stumble to find the right words. One of the mercies in this situation is that it is the Christmas season! Engaging in conversation about Jesus is almost expected, certainly tolerated compared to other times of the year, and bringing the message of Good News to the mixed group of personalities has the opportunity to go beyond straight "evangelism" to engaging in God-ordained relationships. That is exciting!
I have seen people, including clergy, who simply want to get the Word out and leave it at that, but in doing so, they miss the opportunity to grow themselves and mentor/befriend others. They almost have an attitude that exclaims, "I have done my job, now let someone else deal with the day in and day out..." I have seen this so often that I didn't realize how indoctrinated in that mentality I have become! Tell them about Jesus and let them figure out how to be a "Christian" on their own. Point them in the right direction, which is sometimes necessary I realize; however, often it is the staying power of the relationship that is what is most needed, most beneficial for all involved, and most manifests the Truth of being a follower of Jesus Christ.
This is part of the wall that I have hit. I want to let God father me in how to deal with this so that I am transformed in my thinking and in my behaviour around this matter. I want to engage in meaningful, Godly relationships with others yet, I really do not know how to do this consistently...or perhaps I am holding back (out of pride?). Regardless, as the Christmas season progresses I will seek out my King on how to navigate this portion of the wall and focus...on Him.
My udon is cool enough to eat now...I imagine Jesus sitting with me, sharing in my meal..."Let's talk," He says...