Christmas is just around the corner!
2021 has been a challenging year filled with drought, pandemic, border closures, changes, challenges, grief, loss, fear and uncertainty. We have been forced to stop and think about life in a whole different way, one that has seen us change much of how we do life.
At Christmas we are reminded of another time in history where the world was in chaos, a time when anxiety, fear and darkness abounded, a time when people were searching for hope. In a world of darkness, Jesus surprised us with hope in the most unexpected of places and circumstances. Hope in the form of a King born into a messy, chaotic manger; a King born to working class parents; a King who sought out, lead, served, and ministered to the lost, broken and outcast; a King who served without expectation of reward; a King willing sacrificed himself for those who hated him; A King who paid our debt, and to set us free. A King who showed us that hope and joy is found where in places and circumstances where we least expect it.
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus was prophesied; King Jesus was long expected! But he did not come or conquer in the way that the people hoped. The people were looking for a conquering king who would meet them on their terms, and deliver them in their way. As we prepare for the coming of King Jesus, we too fill our lives (and particularly our Christmas’) with all kinds of expectations. The bible, however, teaches us that Jesus is not particularly concerned with our expectations. For Christ, Christmas is not about tradition but salvation; it’s not about expectations but sanctification. Christmas is about love - earthy, gritty, sacrificial, even bloody love. When Jesus came, he did not come “to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). This was a love that no one expected, and provides hope that exceeds all our expectations.
This year as we prepare for Christmas let’s strive to love as He loves, and serve as He serves. Let’s truly make Christ King of our lives (sovereign over all of our life) and experience the true unexpected hope and joy of serving the unexpected King!
Grace & Peace
I’ve been thinking a lot about change in the last few days.
Mark Twain is quoted as saying “nobody like’s change, except a wet baby”. Whether he said this or not, the underlying premise is pretty well right! Humans, in general, love to keep the status quo, we love to have neat, controlled and predictable environments, so we resist change. This is normal, natural, but seldom helpful!
Change is hard, and it is especially hard when it comes without warning. Even small changes – like changing your hairstyle – can be difficult. But the big changes, the ones that fill us with excitement, fear, dread, pain, or longing; those changes, are almost always hard to accept and adjust to. With our tendencies towards the status quo, change in whatever form can be unwelcome, it can cause grief, it can dash our dreams, it can unravel our plans and undermine our sense of certainty and peace.
With change being such a difficult thing for us to deal with, you won’t be surprised to find that the Bible has a lot to say about the topic. In fact, throughout the bible we get the sense of God being the God change, the God of the new:
It means that we can have confidence in seeking direction, comfort and guidance from God.
It means we can trust in his purpose and plan for our lives.
It means that we have something and someone solid and unchangeable on which we can stand and build.
It means that we can find true contentment in all circumstances, knowing that the one beckoning us forward is ultimately sovereign and in control.
I pray that you find comfort and confidence in knowing that the unchanging God who we know, love and serve, is the one who is beckoning us forward to places unknown, always guiding us, and steadying us as we trust in him alone.
Grace & peace
Jen is an energetic and passionate disciple of Christ who loves to share Jesus with anyone who will listen!