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.