I have enjoyed looking through the Christmas Gift Guide/2017 over the past few days. So many fun ideas, and thinking about my girl who can really appreciate some quality lip balm. (She collects it from the orthodontist’s office!) I am a little behind with shopping, but I’ll catch up. In the meantime, I’m thinking about my favorite gift that I’m giving and the best One I’ve received.
Today I might have given my very favorite present of this season to my oldest boy. It wasn’t the Playstation 4 that is hidden under our bed in an old, flannel pillow case that our baseball-playing boys have been asking for so they can play “MLB the Show.”(shhh..don’t tell!) And it wasn’t the spending money for our upcoming trip to Prague to see my sister’s family after we were gifted with plane tickets (!) No, it’s a black, elastic bracelet that says “Ao1” on one side, and “Audience of One” on the other. It has a fair market value of $1.
My son and I have been on a journey this year. He is learning what it means to play his very favorite sport (baseball) for an audience of One. At camp this summer, he began to grasp that “everywhere in life- even in a stadium full of people- ‘we live and move and have our being in Christ,’ and it’s His pleasure that we should pursue above all else.” (Athletes in Action) Josh is starting to walk a journey where he understands that this thing that he loves can draw him closer to the One who first loved him. (I John 4:19) When competition didn’t turn out the way he thought it would this fall, he still stood at first base, focusing on his Audience.
I have been reading the book Unseen (Sara Hagerty) and I’ve been finding friendship with God in the all the moments of my day. Sara writes, “What I forged with God in secret led to a sweet partnership with Him,…” I’m sensing His presence in the car, in hard conversations, in tasks that seem meaningless but really aren’t, in secret choices that only He knows but that draw me closer to Him and bear fruit in others.
At Christmas, I always think of the incarnation, but often from different angles, depending on what has happened during the previous year. Fifteen Christmases ago, I looked into my newborn’s face and thought about Mary and the treasures that she could ponder in her heart when Jesus came to earth as a newborn baby (Luke 2:19) This year, I’m thinking about God’s presence with us that He so generously gave when He came to earth- that offers relationship now in every activity, in every moment of my day.
As I placed the bracelet on his pillow today, I left this note underneath. “Dear Josh, I loved getting this bracelet for you. I’m so glad that you are considering what it means to play for an Audience of One. I’m praying for you and cheering for you as you begin this journey. Sometimes it will be thrilling and amazing and fun…but sometimes it will be lonely and hard and disappointing. Sometimes it will seem like the best adventure ever, and sometimes you will ask yourself, “Is this really worth it?” Through the ups and the downs and even the mundane, I want to tell you-from my few years ahead of you, living for Him as my audience- that I don’t have any regrets. I have found Jesus to be worth it.”
Hi my name is Kristin! I came to know Jesus Christ at an early age through the influence of my parents. I graduated from Messiah College with a degree in nursing, and while working in the HIV/AIDS community, I observed what a critical decision-making time the college years can be. Through this God led me to campus ministry. During our years on staff, my husband Jeff and I have served in several different countries and we now live in Williamsburg, VA where we serve with Valor, the ROTC ministry of Cru. Once upon a time I ran cross country but now I find myself running Joshua, Elizabeth, & Caleb to their varied activities and supporting Jeff as he gives guidance to our Valor staff.