The chaos of Christmas

One of my “unfavorite” Christmas carols is “Away in a Manger.” That line “no crying he makes” is just too much. He was a baby. An animal makes a noise while he sleeps, crying he makes. 

There are those subtle reminders in our lives where we need our nice, neat Christmas pictures blown up from time to time.

A scared young lady. A pious Jewish man who has laid his reputation on the line. Giving birth in a cave surrounded by animals. Dirty hay. Upheaval because of Rome. People coming in and out to feed the animals. Trying to shove away the donkey from the feeding trough because there’s a baby in it!

Jesus didn’t march into the halls of power to impress anyone. He came where people would eventually find him as an adult: among the margins. Among the forgotten. Among the poor.

He didn’t come in magisterial glory. He came in chaos.

And THAT is good news. Our lives are neat and clean. They’re messy. They’re noisy. We’re generally not noticed by anyone else in the world. And in THAT… here comes the Savior. He can bring peace to the chaos. He does it this way to let you know he sees you. 

Thank the Lord for peace in the midst of our chaos. He comes into our mess.

PEACE on earth.

My Christmas Wish List

I don’t get asked a lot, but every once in awhile someone will ask what I want for Christmas.

This year I’ve said the same thing: World Peace.

I just don’t have a Christmas wish list. My life is full.

My family is doing well. My wife and I are having a great time as we watch our sons mature. We’ve had a house full of young adults this fall who are making their way in life and that has been nice, actually. No big struggles. We’ve actually had them successfully sit down with us every week for a house meeting, which I couldn’t do with my sons once they hit high school!

Our church is on a new trajectory as the Lord challenges us to dig deeper into our community. This next year will be full of incredible new territory for us!

At my point in life, while I can always enjoy a good book and a great cup of coffee, what is possible for a Christmas wish list?

A question I’ve challenged myself with over the past several months is this: Is it well with my soul?

In this season, that answer is “yes.”

But could someone please work on that world peace thing for me?

God bless us… everyone.

Glory to God in the highest

The tree lights are on. The first pot of coffee is made and the first cup is poured. Sidewalks are shoveled from the light snowfall we had last night. The turkey has been in the oven cooking oh, so, slowly. Ready to feast on later today.

But everyone is still asleep and in this quiet, with things a little more prepared for the day, I come to this sacred ground again.

It is certainly special THIS day because it is the celebration of the birth of the King. Yet, in this moment every morning I have the opportunity to come to this sacred moment.

He is here.

The Light has come.

And today is so immensely special as well. It is the celebration of the birth of the King. While it is not as momentous for me as Resurrection, this is still sacred ground. A quiet moment.

A place to sit back and hear heaven declare once again:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Merry Christmas.

Christmas Cheer

Simple idea #278 for Christmas (I don’t have 277 previous ones):

Christ is BORN. Light has come into the world. Darkness has not overcome it… ever.

And won’t.

No matter what is going on in the world and in your world right now, here is the simple idea:

Sit back. Get some coffee on, or tea, or other favorite beverage. Don’t EVEN turn that TV on!

Get the lights low and the Christmas lights high. No Christmas lights? Find a candle.

Sit.

Reflect.

Think of the Light of Christ coming into this world. He knows where you’re at. He knows what you are going through.

And in that moment, realize he has comeEven more important: he is here.

Worship.

Merry Christmas.

When Jesus comes

51 He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
52     He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed. (Luke 1:51-31)

What is always profound to me is the humility of Christ’s coming. It is always a sense of “role reversals.” He doesn’t land in the seat of power. He doesn’t land in the privileged communities.

And that was his choice. He could have landed anywhere. He could have come in any way he chose.

So… he chose humility. He chose the margins.

The past few months have opened doors for me as I have asked the Lord to keep me at “the margins.” How can I keep my eyes open for those society has kicked to the curb? The Spirit has led me in some interesting places. Not many, and I know that’s because I’m not completely ready. It’s my hesitancy, not my “heroics.”

The margins are challenging for me. But in the past few months I have found such deep joy. Every time I come away from a particular encounter I find myself weeping. Just weeping. There is joy as I watch the Spirit work, but there is also a deep cry in my heart, asking God to keep me there. I need that sense of his working in this deep way and even though I’m doing very minimal things at the edges right now, I am finding deep joy. 

I am finding deep joy there because I truly believe I am finding Christ. It’s where he chose to land when he came.

The Power of His Coming

4 But when the fulfillment of the time came, God sent his Son, born through a woman, and born under the Law. 5 This was so he could redeem those under the Law so that we could be adopted. 6 Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and if you are his child, then you are also an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7)