Globally we live in dark times unless our media is deceived and is deceiving us?? Apparently it’s not either/or but both/and in this case. 🙂 But thanks be to God, we can live in His light and joy in the midst of darkness. Why? How? Trust in God, and His Son Jesus Christ.
It’s been a peaceful and joyful time in my heart as I’ve pondered the advent story each day in December. I pray that it has been so for you as well. I’ll share with you by note and hyperlink some of the things that have come my way in the last few days that remind me of the power and beauty of this magnificent season. They speak to events hatched in the mind and heart of the Trinity eons past, entering time in the fullness of time, as foretold by prophets and witnessed by the stars. I pray Jesus’ story of passion and pathos warms your heart and spirit during this Christmas season as it has mine and all the people who have come to trust him throughout the ages.
The Star of Bethlehem. Since I discovered it a few years ago, I’ve watched this DVD in awe and worship ten or more times with friends and alone. It’s masterfully done and fills my heart and mind continually with wonder and joy.
“Tidings of discomfort and joy,” was the title of a Christmas sermon I heard last week from a young man visiting from east Asia. He reminded me and the western church that there is nothing normal or comfortable about a baby in a feed trough. He went on to point out how dark the times were for God’s people the Jews at Jesus’ birth, and that Jesus’ life wasn’t one of comfort. We his followers should reexamine that as we look at our culture, our lives, and the days ahead.
Advent readings and books. Daniel Partner & Walter Wangerin Jr. in their unrelated, and much inspired advent reflections have ushered me into the dark, simple, trusting world of Zacharias, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus as they lived and touched lives as normal mortals while great and evil forces and governments churned around them — God working out His own plan in their “quietness and trust” during dark times.
Lastly, a book has come into my life by Wayne Jacobsen that I’m reading for the second time, slowly and devotionally, mediating on short chapter after short chapter. The Lord is speaking to me out of it about “living loved.” It’s Christianity 101 but it’s also Christianity 707 for those of us who have walked some years with Jesus. Within it’s pages are beautiful insights about the prodigal son, which the author points out is really the story of God our Father, the rich young ruler, the human Jesus, and some insights into the mystery of the cross and the Trinity. The quote below I borrow from the beginning of Chapter 16….
“You will trust God only as much as you love him. And you will love him not because you have studied him; you will love him because you have touched him — in response to his touch…. Only if you love will you make that final leap into darkness.”Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Brennan Manning, Lion and Lamb
“the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”” (Matthew 4:16)
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
[If you’re still hungry for more Christmas spiritual food, check out this pastoral letter from my most formational mentor, and this month’s blog from one of my best friends. Joy to you, and to the world! The Lord has come! :)]