Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Advent Over--Keep Christmas All Year

Advent is over. The time of anticipation of the Incarnation has passed and the Savior has come.

Our sermon this Christmas eve was challenging the idea of putting away Christmas. Instead of putting away the powerful Incarnational God, embrace Him all year.

Pastor Hamilton told several stories, but my favorite was this one, about Healing House. About how Bobbi Jo found the transforming power of God, and upon release from prison just could not find a good spot to land to make the transition from criminal to citizen. At about that time, she came into an inheritance, and used it to buy and rehab an old building in the Gladstone/NE area of KCMO. Since that modest beginning, over 6 buildings are involved, and about 120 women and 30 men are ministered to in the name of Christ.
They do not forget their roots, or from where they have come: On holidays, like Christmas and Easter, they put together little ditty bags of essentials and give them to people still poor and out on the streets. Christmas 2010, a group were out doing this, driving one of the ministries full size vans around to various places known to be gathering areas for the homeless and down and out. After a bit, they needed gas and stopped at a c-store to get it. While they were fueling up, a KCPD patrol car stopped nearby. One cop got out to see what was what with this van load of mostly women running around during the holiday. When he got near the van, he looked inside, and his eyes widened. "You," he said, pointing at one woman, "We thought you were dead!" He looked some more: "And you too. We thought you were dead too!" He went back to the police car and got his partner: "You have to see this!" The two officers marveled at the transformations before them that day.
You see, when we become Christians we become new. The old has gone, the new has come! said Paul in Corinthians. This is not the kind of God we put in a box and take out only once or twice a year now is it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Wish

I was just reading my friend John's latest blog post about Christmas--he talked about not fretting quite so much over traditions and letting togetherness be the major theme of the holiday celebration. Activities together like dinner, and seeing a movie--spending time as a family together after all the razzle dazzle is done.
Here is my Christmas wish: that families be conscious of those who for whatever reason are not able to be with their families, whether the distance is physical or from family dysfunction. Yes, I know that Christmas is a big family holiday, and it is important to spend time together as a family, but if a family knows a single who will be alone, why not make that person a part of your celebration? Christmas day can be a very long day if you are alone, what with everything closed. After the family phone call, which may or may not be rewarding, that makes 15 hours and 30 minutes of the wake time of December 25 to deal with.
Trust me, that is a long time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jesus Jersey

There's been a bit of a flap over the creation of Denver Broncos jerseys bearing Tim Tebow's #15 but instead of Tebow's name on the back, it said "JESUS" there. At first I didn't know what to think, but when I thought about it more, it is the ultimate goal of a Christian to have Christ's name instead of our own. What do we say over and over, that we want to be like Jesus, right? When we become Christians, the Bible says we become "new creations in Christ" and Jesus Himself instructs us to "deny ourselves and pick up our cross." As we open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit and allow him to mold us, we stop looking quite so much like ourselves and more and more like Jesus Christ, God's Son.

So instead of our own identity on the back of our team jersey, it is the identity of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

I can deal with that.