20 December 2007
One of the things I love about Christmas is gathering together into warm spaces with God and with people I love and have genuine relationships and connections with. These gatherings happen at home, at church, at special Christmas programs, and in ways unplanned and serendipitous. I love how God gives us invitations into His presence, opportunities to hear His voice, chances to increase our intimacy with Him and obedience to Him.
It’s always seems odd to hear people pray, “Oh God, please be here with us.” Like God could stay away from the people He loves (which includes all of us). What we need to pray is, “Oh God, help me be here with You. I don’t want to let the burdens and the distractions of my life shift my focus off of You and onto me. Help me center my heart, my mind, my thoughts, my emotions, and my will, onto You … so that my awareness of Your presence, and my sensitivity to Your voice and Your leadings in my life will increase and not diminish.”
As the shepherd of the flock called 2nd Street Community Church, it's my prayer that we'd give one another, and God, the gift of our presence … p.r.e.s.e.n.c.e.
The Christmas story begins in LUKE 2 ... "And it came to pass …"
That’s one of my favorite phrases in the Bible. Whatever we're feeling, whatever we're going through, it will come to pass. When Jesus came to earth, the world had been waiting for and looking for God’s Messiah for centuries. And then He appeared. And from that moment on, everything before Jesus was born is referred to as BC and everything that’s happened since Jesus was born is referred to as AD.
Jesus is the person Who’s very existence cut all of time in two. Maybe you saw the cartoon called "Bizarro" in the Friday, 14 December 2007 edition of The Oregonian newspaper. A teacher is standing at the front of a school auditorium stage and announces, “And now, we present this year’s sanitized, politically correct, holiday play, ‘Mary And The Magic Baby’”.
Gang, I'm so glad we don't have to talk about Jesus that way. Jesus isn’t just a fable. Jesus isn’t just a charming myth. Jesus is God’s Son, Emmanuel, God With Us. Jesus, is the One The Old Testament prophet Isaiah named “The Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, the Holy One.” (ISAIAH 9:6)
Jesus Christ is the One we long to press into. Jesus Christ is the One Who alone, can change the course of our lives and give us beauty for ashes, joy for sorrow, healing for pain, and hope for despair (cf., ISAIAH 61:3). Let’s open the eyes of our hearts up to Him so that we’re able to say …
“I was discouraged. But then it came to pass, that the hope of Jesus Christ met me and I was restored.” “I was filled with doubt. But then it came to pass that the story of Jesus Christ connected with me, and I became less bewildered, and a lot more amazed.” “I was anxious and worried. But then it came to pass, that the peace of Jesus entered me, and helped me become centered and grounded.”
So let’s offer God the gift of our presence … p.r.e.s.e.n.c.e. And let's invite Him to bring to pass His plans and His purposes in our lives. Godspeed.