Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)
A Thanksgiving gathering as it was meant to be. With our family gathered together, temperatures in the fifties, a fire in the fireplace, the sky just as blue as it should be, and a table full of food for which to also be thankful. And then lifting prayers to the Creator of it all, in the mountains, with our granddaughters’ only additional wish—that it would snow.
How was Thanksgiving for you? Was it as it was meant to be?
Some of my fondest recollections of times of family gathered at Thanksgiving were with my bride Lynda’s family when we were first married; where her family gathered from homes both near and far. Where extended family gathered, hugs were shared, laughter bounced off the walls of the rooms, children played, and nothing stronger than coffee, tea or milk was served to drink all day long.
It was a great Thanksgiving!
And now what? “Black Friday.” “Cyber Monday.”
You have got to be kidding. And what is sad is that there are way too many of us who actually listen to and arrange our lives so as to line up with those commercialized man-made obstacles to all that is good.
So then what?
And then we wonder, and sometimes express surprise, at what our children learn from all that is going on around them. Merchandising madness. Commercialized chaos. Things. Self-indulgence. Rooms full of people with electronic devices in hand preventing personal face-to-face connection. Stuff. Indeed, what will our children learn from a society which unfortunately teaches that it’s okay to require less rather than more of yourself, that “okay” is as good as your best, and that doing whatever you feel good about is acceptable—instead of becoming all who God created you to be and reaching out to make the world around you better.
But hold on for a minute, because in the midst of all that society says we should live by and live for, there is good news—our annual moment and sacred reminder of the Good News which is just around the bend and heading our way at eternal speed. It came as the first gift given at Christmas—wrapped within a human life, and presented to all of mankind in a manger, in a stable, behind an inn, in the little town of Bethlehem.
The Babe of Bethlehem.
But will He make a difference in our lives?
Will He make a difference in the next few weeks of our lives, in our families, our society, or in our world? Will we let Him?
We’re moving quickly now, past Thanksgiving, and on into the season referred to in the organized church as Advent, meaning “coming”, or I heard a friend refer to it not too long ago as the season that—
“…reminds us that Christ has already landed and He is on the move.”
A reference spoken like a true follower and believer in the One whom Isaiah referred to as Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
While Isaiah was going through his list of possible names, I wonder why he didn’t also refer to Jesus as extravagant, or disruptive, or as John Eldridge refers to him, as the “Beautiful Outlaw.” Maybe when Isaiah wrote those words over seven hundred years before the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem, he didn’t know that Christ would be a bit disruptive, or a bit of an outlaw raging against the norms of the day.
But, upon honest reflection, that’s exactly what He was, and what He is, and what He will be in all the days ahead—our God, on the move, calling us to anything but the norms to which society calls us. From the quiet birth of a gentle Baby, unnoticed by those scurrying around to obey a census decree, who would have thought He would have grown to be such a force throughout the centuries?
God thought that. That was His plan all along. That is how it was meant to be.
Like the temperatures which are changing, the contrasts around us are clear and compelling. Contrasts between the desperate needs—homelessness, poverty, neglect, loneliness, orphans, addictions, confusion and despair—and the prevailing standards of success established by society to which we too often aspire—money, power, accolades and awards, nice church buildings and homes, rubbing elbows with the right people in the right groups. The contrasts are clear.
And in the midst of those contrasts we see all around us, we are fast approaching once again the moment when God came to earth to show us a better way, to show us the way to life eternally with Him—but also to show us a life which can make a difference in this world here and now—with and for Him.
How will Christmas be for you and me? Will it be as it was meant to be?
Let the coming of the Babe of Bethlehem guide your decisions.
In His Name—Scott