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God. Reflect. Lead.

A Christmas reflection for Wednesday, January 3rd by Gillie D. Abdiraxman-Issa

Lectionary reading for 1/03/2024: Psalm 110; Proverbs 1:20-33; James 4:1-10

Selected passage for reflection: James 4:1-10


James 4:1-10 NIV

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4 You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud

 but shows favor to the humble.”

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.


The circular shape of the Advent wreath symbolizes God’s infinite love for us – it is never-ending, just like the true Light of the World, Jesus, who leads us into eternal life with Him. The materials of the Advent wreath similarly lead us to reflect on the everlasting nature of God

In this passage, God invites us to come near to him and gives us instructions about navigating this secular yet hostile world by asking a question, followed by another.

I can't help but to read it as if he was speaking to me as we sat on a comfy couch or on the telephone. Picture it. The phone beeps as you are wrapping up a heated discussion or maybe a fight with someone, and you click over… {And If I were to have it be about me, I would say, it's a person whom I thought we had an understanding and we are hearing each other’s perspectives and then it turns sour and we can no longer hear the other because we are both proud.}

As I reluctantly answer because I know the timing is always “on time”, I answer with a somber but attentive voice. I listen to God ask the questions, What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? I answer.  “Lord, God, I am at battle within and I want to be heard and respected for my thoughts and actions. I often feel my intentions are misconstrued or my heart space is not filled with the right motive, which is love. I do need you. I do want to be humble and remain there. Yet, I feel like I can figure it out and I keep messing it up. I am grieving  and I want you close but I forget that you already are.”

As this new year begins, may we remember and embrace the instruction and the realization of the many reminders that God asks from us so that we would reflect and he can lead us back to his ways.


Write or speak a psalm to God…

Tell God just how troubled your life really

is, as you name with specificity what the

difficulty is this particular day.

 The goal is to recruit God into the trouble.

Intimate Address

Begin by naming God in a particularly intimate way, such as; Oh Lord, Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!(Psalm 90:17)


We seek rest in you. We adore you. God, you are our refuge and our strength. Show us how to be humble and show us how to mourn. Teach us what gladness and joy looks like in the simplest of things and teach us to stay close to you. Continue to call us by name and question us so we may look and feel like your daughters and sons. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the Author

Gillie adores peace and tranquil moments with the Lord. She often uses vacations to reflect on goodness and mercy while jotting down her secret desires and prayers for loved ones. 

Fun Facts: As the fourth to hold the distinct pleasure of her family name; both she and her mom often turn around, if called in a social setting. Gillie loves to go to restaurants, so when she returns home, she can recreate the best dishes for loved ones or game night celebrations. She secretly wishes to be friends with house organizers, like Home Edit and travel destination gurus.

She and her husband of almost two decades are raising four young men, while growing their company, Elite Concierge Chicago. Gillie is a trained Spiritual Director, a budding author with a book launch in 2024, and a conference host and speaker. Connect on IG: @GillieIssa and ask to be on her mailing list for her upcoming book by sending an email to Connect on IG: @GillieIssa

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1 commentaire

It is so much easier to blame the other person for the quarrel or fighting. I’d rather not look at my own part in the problem, but thank you for bringing me to a space and place to do just that!

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