Contemplating the Crib

When we think about Jesus, when we start to contemplate the crib, we explode into joy over what we have seen. We inaugurate a convincing of His second coming. You might say that we suddenly adjust to a Jesus who just drops in on us.

“And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”

Col. 3:4, NLT

Jesus anticipates that His visits to earth, will start to bear fruit. There will be many who will be validated to step up into this place of salvation. But many of us will be part of many others who are involved in this sharing. Jesus has come, and all of us enter into something quite exceptional.

But this is all a future event, it hasn’t happened yet, but we do think about when He will return. But this is not an occasional, fleeting awareness. But we are confident we do understand that His return alters everything. All of a sudden, we are launched into real and eternal promises. These critical assignments coming from this world, will never take the place of being in God‘s purposes.

Paul is wrapped up with a deep and profound understanding of things that are on the threshold.  He is the apostle of the aware. He seems to sizzle with understanding that progresses out of his initiative and creative effort.

But Paul develops, after he sees, a careful sense of certain things that are moving. But he knows what He has seen, and he insists that others join him in this.

This is why we must procure this awareness. To operate in the realm of Paul will be worth our weight in “celestial gold.”  Things are rich and fecund, and they wait in a exceptional awareness. As Paul follows, so we follow. In the Heavenly places, we are being counted as being faithful and quite true.

A Broken Christmas

My friend, JD, passed away earlier this month.

And I feel like I am reading the same script over and over again.  I’ve lost count of how many loved ones I’ve lost.  I try to believe the promises of our Father.  I do.  I try.  Though grief has clouded my vision before — each time, actually — things are different for me this time.

It’s not because people don’t know what to say.  It’s not because I’ve endured disappointment from The Church, either.  And it’s not because I cannot make sense of yet another loss that, to me, makes no sense at all.

Divine wisdom defies human logic.  That much I’m sure.  And I suppose I have gotten used to that part.

But, I do feel like a boxer getting pummelled in a corner — and the crowd is cheering.

In my constant quest to find comfort, I have encountered endless tales written by those who claim to have been broken.  And, if I am honest, I have seen some such people — in fact, many — dress up their testimonies with a grandiose glaze.  They cite, in scant detail, only the most necessary ingredients of their story, discussing their difficulties like a waiter runs through the specials of the day; it’s a matter of procedure, of training.  And instead of a passionate conviction of faith, I am fed a false ideology, an idolatry that foolishly demands the will of God bend to our own comfort in a fallen world.

But such grandiose testimonies alienate those of who are broken.  We are isolated, and there are times I feel as though I have a deadly, contagious disease; it’s as if people cannot bear the thought of enduring what cannot be endured.  I have not overcome the odds at all. 

Our suffering is constant, and our struggles cannot be resolved with a delightful dressing.  We do not hide from our pain, nor our anguish.  When we are willing to accept our suffering — and I certainly am a most unwilling student — we do so because we know Christ Himself has suffered; He took no shortcuts to His Crown, and neither can we.

The Tree is Speaking

***

There is so much I would like to share with you.  Christmas Day is here (finally), and we celebrate that God has reached out to us through His Son.  Jesus is fully and completely like us, and yet He is fully God.  It was arranged for this Son to grow up and then die in place of us.  The image was that of the Jewish festival of a lamb dying to pay for the sins of a family.

I could say much on this, but if you will commit to finding out about this yourself,  God will give you as much as you can handle.  I would suggest starting with the Gospel of John.  Don’t let others decide for you.  Find out for yourself, after all eternity is a long time.  The decisions you make are vast and significant.

Please, contact me if you think that might help.  No religious goofiness, but a sounding board as you sort things out.  Joy, and the joy of forgiveness are very close to you. I’m at flash99603@hotmail.com.

The Greeting Card (Christmas 1986)

‘Hail, O favored One,  the Lord is with you! 

(Luke 1:28).

A Poem written on Christmas, 1986

My mail carrier, driving his stubby white truck trimmed in blue and red, wingless, but wheeled, commissioned by the civil service

Daily delivers the Gospel every Advent.

This Gabriel, uniformed in gabardine.

Unsmiling descendent of his dazzling original,

under the burden of greetings is stoical,

but prompt: annunciations at ten each morning.

One or two or three at a day at first;

By the second week momentum’s up,

my mail box is stuffed, each card is stamped

with a glory at a cost of twenty-five cents

(Bringing us the news that God is with us.)

First class, personally hand addressed.”

Good morning!
   You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
   Beautiful inside and out!
   God be with you.”

Luke 1:28, The Message

Written and guided by Eugene Peterson, author of the “Message Bible” and many other works.  He wrote this poem in 1986 to commemorate the power the Gospel that has in the lives of those who really have no awareness of the light they bring.