Friday, December 15, 2006


Tonight, I cried until I ached.

For the first time in my life the reality of what Christ did for me and what He's calling me to be has brought me to the point of speechlessness. I can't even find the words to express the awe I have for Him. I can't even express the praise my heart feels for Him. It is so overwhelming, I just cry. And moan. And cry some more.

It is an emptying out of the old Self. I feel like an empty vessel, ready to be used. All the dings have been gently tapped out of me. I've been polished a bit. I am now ready for God to use me for His service.

I'm going to stray away from my usual format today. There won't be an excerpt from "My Utmost for His Highest." This message isn't really based on a certain scripture or text. It does have a lot to do with the Christmas Story, so it is biblically based. But right now, God has revealed some things to me and I know nowhere else to share them but here, with you - my dear friends and readers. And so I must. That's all I know.

Maybe you have heard this expression: "K.I.S.S., or Keep It Simple Stupid." Well I don't exactly like calling myself, or anyone else for that matter, stupid, so I just say "Keep it Simple."

I believe it was August or September when I felt God calling me to write a Children's Musical. I had never written a play before, so I didn't know what God was thinking. Really. Derek is the playwright, not me. But there it was - this plot for a play, stuck in my mind, refusing to let me go back to sleep when I got home from my three-hour paper route. I tossed and turned. I prayed, "Lord, I just need some sleep." I would close my eyes and the children of Revival Tabernacle would be having entire conversations in my head, laying the play out before me. I could see them move around the stage. I could see the set. Finally, I had no choice but to get up and feverishly write this play. Then came the songs. They flowed off my pen with little effort from me. I know this came from God. I have actually considered entitling the play: "'A Reason for the Season' by God," because I have had little to do with its creation.

A theme has arisen for this play - and for the bigger picture - Christmas itself. It is: "Keep It Simple." When I started out, I had visions of Paper Mache sculpted camels and donkeys; angels with wings and all kinds of artistic spectacle. But every step of the way, with fabric in hand, waiting for God to show me what the end product is to look like, I have heard His voice: "Keep It Simple, Danielle." Then, it was revealed to me: how to take a foil bread pan and turn it into a camel's head; how to take yards and yards of fabric and turn them into choir gowns without sewing one stitch; how to make a small church stage into three or four different places by only moving one set piece. God has layed out every step of the way for me, and the message becomes clearer: "Keep It Simple. Keep Christmas Simple. It is not in all the pageantry and excessiveness that the Christmas Story is found. It is in the simplicity of one truth: God made Himself into a tiny baby of lowly means to be born unto this world for the one singular purpose of dying for our sins." It is that simple.

And here I am. I'm still looking for a job. I applied to Weis Markets and K-Mart this week. Haven't heard anything. Bills are piling up. Cell phones are off. Satellite TV - disconnected. Between our two cars, we've had three flat tires this week. I find myself unable to buy a Christmas card - for anyone. I want to get a few gifts for friends who have brought me through some real struggles this year, but I don't have the means. Of course our children are taken care of - we bought early for them, knowing we wouldn't have it now if I still couldn't find a job.

And then I have this vision that I am the Little Drummer Boy standing at the Nativity of Jesus.
"Baby Jesus, pa rum-pum-pum-pum
I am a poor boy too pa rum-pum-pum-pum
I have no gift to bring pa rum-pum-pum-pum
That's fit to give a King pa rum-pum-pum-pum, rum-pum-pum-pum, rum-pum-pum-pum
Shall I play for you pa rum-pum-pum-pum
On my drum?"

I can write a play to bring God Glory. I can direct a play to bring God Glory. I can make Christmas cards to touch the hearts of those around me. I can make gifts for those who have changed my life.

It is not about the wealth, or the lack thereof, the over-abundance or the excess.

It is about that tiny baby - born in a barn - for US!

It is about spiritually stepping out of the way, becoming that empty vessel that God can use for His purpose.

It is finding, and I mean, really finding, those gifts that God gave you and using them to reflect the Glory back on HIM.

This Christmas, I challenge you to examine it all: The gifts you give, the money you've spent, the food you gorge yourself with. Where is Jesus in all of that?

He's lying in a manger filled with the straw the animals would have eaten. He's waiting for you to turn your eyes to Him this Christmas and present your gifts. All you have to do is remember three words:

"Keep It Simple."