Monthly Archives: December 2011
As I reflect on Emmanuel, God with us, I am continually surprised. God-with-us did not go down the first time like anyone thought it would. Most thought it meant everything would go our way because God is on our side. God is on “our” side. The human collective. He wants to redeem us all. So he came into our world and took on our bodily existence. He became a human subject, but he didn’t get caught up in our subjectivity. He can relate to us now from our point of view. But he doesn’t act from our point of view. If a child is afraid at night, parents hold that child close. If a child is angry at their sibling, parents calm them. But they don’t fulfill angry requests for punishment on the “other”, just because one child asks for it. Hopefully a parent is more objective and works toward a just resolution, even reconciliation. God is with us. And God wants what’s best for us. He wants to give us what we really need, rather than what we want.
Better yet, God is always a gentleman about it. God always gives us a choice. Emmanuel, God is with us. God didn’t stoop to our level so we’d lose respect for who God is. Jesus showed us the deep and humble love of God. It’s worthy of worship.
I’ve got some circumstances I’d like to see changed right away. How about you? But often times, God is asking me to change. Other times, God is asking me to help bring the change. Most of all, God is offering me overcoming power to cope with less than perfect realities.
A baby was born in Bethlehem. Now God is with us. I had a rough day today, but it was better than the best day I ever had apart from God. God is very present to me in the Scriptures, in prayer, and in people I encounter. This renews me every day. And God is inviting me to partner with him to bring change for the better. More than that, his Grace is so big that as he moves to save the world, it lifts me to new heights as long as I hang on tight! Like I said I’ve had better days. But I’ve never been held by a better Grace! So I’m deciding again to make sure I stay on God’s side. The side of mercy, justice, compassion, truth, and Grace. I’m going to trust he’s at work even in the tiring everyday…
We’re midway through this 12 Day Christmas season. Emmanuel never meant more… Merry Christmas!
One of the reasons that Christmas is a season is so we can have time to focus on the meaning and implications of the incarnation. And the focus can be on appreciation through celebration. So go ahead: attend some parties. Exchange some gifts. Spend extra time with family. Feast a little. Maybe even spend a few of those gift cards. But do it in the glow of the one born to save us all. And don’t get so caught up in shallow matters that your life is diminished. Do it all as an expression of the joy of Christmas. Be incarnational, bearing the presence of Christ into each of these environments. Let your light shine. The stores will move on to spring fashions before Epiphany even begins. But you can linger at the manger a few more days. Joy to your world! And it’s only Day 3! Merry Christmas!
The beginning of the season of Christmas was quite glorious! There’s no better place to be than in church and with family at Christmas. Although there was no snow, there was great beauty! Birds were actually singing loudly just behind our home. I can’t remember the last time I experienced that on Christmas. The sun was absolutely majestic. Everything looked brighter and better. Truly the light shined in the darkness as we celebrated the arrival of a seminal life. That life was the light of humanity. Jesus.
Now it’s the 2nd Day of Christmas and I’m enjoying hanging with the family. It was a busy run up to Christmas for us. Now a bit of chillaxing and celebrating the hope of this holy season. God has been so good. I know for many December is a grief-filled month. We definitely have our Christmas shadows. But God has shined on in our lives, despite losing our mothers and grieving other losses. We find ourselves giving thanks despite the shadows. The light has shined and the darkness has not overcome it! And so this is Christmas…Day 2. May it be a bright and beautiful day of hope for you!
Well it’s not gonna be a white Christmas in Chicagoland. But that’s okay. It’s a beautiful Christmas Eve day. This Advent Season has been Illuminating. We’ve been making preparations for two worship events and it’s a pleasure. The effort of preparing for a holy Christmas celebration, does not compare to the preparation that went into that first holy night. Across the eons of time since the universe dawned comes a visitation of love so powerful this world has been disrupted ever since.
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).
(Matthew 1:20-23 ESV)
I can’t really add anything to that. God with us. Immanuel. I hope you’ll find a place to worship tonight and tomorrow. Don’t miss a fresh encounter with the holiest gift ever given. Christmas.
NewHope Community Church www.discovernewhope.org will celebrate Christmas eve at 7pm and Christmas morning 10:30am.