Holy Days

Holy Days remind.

When we lose our sense of Life,

They reveal its gifts.

Thanks for reading! Be Blessed!

Just a Moment to Marvel

“For this foreign affair, I will abide as the middle man, ‘Cause the solo cry is more than I can stand. So I walk on air, and awkwardly seek out a child’s form. And I know that you won’t lead me to the storm.”

Christmas is a-coming! With just two days to go, I have been reflecting pretty intently on the Incarnation. If you don’t know, this is the word that means “to take on flesh,” which is what we Christians celebrate on Christmas: when God took on flesh as a baby in a feeding trough, soon to show us the true meaning of love and humility in the person of Jesus Christ.

The quote above is from a song called “Anything You Say,” by Deas Vail, a band with heavy Christian influence. When I hear this verse, I immediately think of the gift of the Incarnation, and I wanted to share why this story is so beautiful, powerful, and worth becoming a part of.

When we think of God, we often picture a big person or figure in the sky, like Zeus. Maybe we imagine an invisible, impersonal force. Some just don’t even think about it at all. In any of these scenarios, God is something hard to look to or imagine, much less something with which we can have an honest, intimate relationship.

That’s why this story is so important! God desires to have us love Him, know Him, and follow His ways. Because God is so immense and, in some way, unknowable, He has made a habit of revealing Himself to us. We see God in Creation, on Mount Sinai, in the still silence on a mountain, and, in time, our very own flesh!

The Christmas story is the tale which reminds us that God is not some distant tyrant who lords over our lives. God is willing to humble Himself, becoming a lowly child, not born in a palace or house, but in a barn. This child grew to be a wandering preacher and healer, crucified because of the wickedness of those He came to save, only to break the powers of sin and death by rising again. On Christmas Day, we celebrate the beginning of this beautiful story, which teaches us that, wicked as we may be at times, God still earnestly desires to dwell among us in love. That’s some inspiring and instructive stuff!

Peace be with you!

“To Bind Up the Brokenhearted”

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.” — Isaiah 61:1

This is a pretty popular Scripture among Christians, as it should be. After all, Jesus quotes this very passage, using it to refer to himself in Luke 4, which actually makes this a perfect Scripture for the coming of Christmas!

Christmas isn’t always a full-on occasion for celebration. Many people find it to be one of the hardest times of years. It is a time for family, love, togetherness, and joy, but many of us experience it as a reminder of the absence of these things in their lives. I myself am experiencing that this year. I am unemployed, changing careers/callings, and about to close a chapter of my life that I was so sure had many more pages to go. I will be battling shame and a major sense of disappointment as I interact with family this year. This is one of several Christmases that were more painful than joyful. Odds are, you yourself know what this is like.

This is why it is essential that we remember Scriptures like this one from Isaiah. They remind us that the coming of Christ isn’t about family gatherings, presents, and being of good cheer for a month straight. Christ is entering into the dirty, dark depths of human existence. When Christ takes on flesh, it is that of a poor carpenter’s son, nestled into a feeding trough. Christ’s life is lived in the service of others, homeless, wandering from place to place, His great love rewarded with a cross.

With that in mind, the Incarnation we will celebrate this coming Monday is more than a cause for joy; it is a cause for remembrance. We are to remember that there is no darkness, no heartbreak, no addiction, no dishonor, no shame, no scars that are strong enough to defeat the love of God revealed in Jesus. We are to remember that, knowing all that we are and all we have done, God still chooses to be immediately and powerfully present among us, sharing our pain and guiding us to wholeness by the tenderness of His Spirit. Further, we must remember that we are called not only to experience this wonderful story, but also to take part in it. Through Christ, we are made members of God’s family, and as members of God’s family, we are called to share in the work of Jesus Christ. We are called to be sensitive toward those who are in pain, and to develop a rule of life based on the compassion, justice, and grace we receive in Christ.

As you go about the final days of preparation for what truly is a joyous holiday, remember why it is joyous. It’s not about your successes or failures. It’s not about what you have lost or what you have. It is about the God that meets you right where you are, with open arms and a heart full of love as He calls you to experience grace. Believe in this Good News, and share it through your own love of others.

Peace be with you!