Old glass Christmas orb full of shredded garland, Haven, KS

Putting pieces back together with hope

It would have been the day after Thanksgiving in 1992 or 1993 when I watched my dad pull an old clear glass ornament out of the ancient, dusty box we stored our decorations in. I’m not sure what possessed him to do it, but we had a bunch of old garland just lying in the box. And he magically got the top off the ornament (it seemed like magic to me) and stuffed it full of garland. Then, he put it all back together, and what had been a blank, empty ornament ball had become a brand new ornament.

I snapped this photo in 2013, 20 years later, and that ornament is still hanging there. On the same tree. Yes, I tend to be a bit sentimental about my ornaments, but this one was special, mostly just because my dad made it out of scraps. The old ornament wasn’t worth much; it was just an empty globe. And the garland wasn’t anything special either. It was heading for the trash can probably. But my dad saw what it could be.

Old glass Christmas orb full of shredded garland, Haven, KS

Old glass Christmas orb full of shredded garland, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Proverbs 24:14.

In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul.
If you find it, you will have a bright future,
and your hopes will not be cut short.

Like no other time of year, Christmas is a time of hope. We sing about it, and we send Christmas cards with little sayings about hope and such all scribbled inside. But what is hope really? And where does it come from? And why does it matter?

I posted yesterday about fools and mentioned the book of Proverbs. Well, we’re back there again today, but the point of this verse is wisdom–finding wisdom means you find a bright future where hope never dies. The writer here is actually continuing from a previous sentence where he’s talking about how eating honey is good. Like honey, wisdom is sweet.

Wisdom is one of those priceless things you can’t buy, and you won’t discover it by accident either. It’s something you have to ask for many times. And the rest of the time, it’s something you have to learn. You don’t get wisdom overnight. Kind of like eating a honeycomb. Have you ever tried to get enough honey out of eating honeycomb? I always ended up with more wax then honey. The honey was great, but it took some effort to reach it.

Wisdom is like that. And once you have it, wisdom changes your entire perspective on life, on yourself, on God, on others.

So where do you get it? Well, the best place is from God. That’s the best place to get wisdom. Ask God for it. Read it in the Bible. Listen to the Spirit when you’re praying. Take God at His word, and wisdom will just come.

When you accept God’s perspective on things, it’s not that you ignore the world’s brokenness. Following Christ isn’t about living in denial about where we live and what our purpose here is. It’s that you have so much grace in your life that you can’t help but extend it to others around you. It’s that you can see yourself in other people, your sins and the consequences you had to face in the lives of people around you.

Your life might be a wreck, a shattered pile of splinters and glass shards and good intentions gone wrong, but that doesn’t mean your life is over. It just means you need some glue. You may have made every mistake in the book, you may have let everyone you know down, or you may have committed what you consider an unpardonable sin, but there’s nothing that you have done or that you could ever do that would make God love you more or less than He already does.

Wisdom is seeing the broken pieces and putting them back together anyway, trusting that God is going to do something with it.

That’s what this verse means to me. If you have wisdom, your hope never dies. Your hope never stops because God doesn’t. Even if all you have to work with are broken pieces, God can still make something beautiful out of it, something that lasts, something that changes other people.

Remember that, this Christmas. Wherever you are and whatever you’re going through, find God’s wisdom, and once you find it, you can start putting the pieces back together with hope.

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