Sunday, December 24, 2017


"Do not be afraid--I have good news. Today is born a Savior, the Messiah, the Lord. "Do not fear, trust." (Luke 2)

Fear is a huge barrier to the Kingdom work of God.
Fear focuses on problems; trust looks to solutions. 
Fear erects barricades of self-protection; trust opens hearts to salvation.
Far focuses on what can go wrong; trust produces hope and joy.
Fear feeds the darkness of disease and sin; trust opens us to the light of healing and forgiveness.
Fear kills; trust leads to eternal life.

The angel's message can never be understood by those who fear. Fear dismisses the Christmas story as a fairy tale. Faith, on the other hand, has ears to hear the good news of great joy. We are those who gather in faith. We, who believe in the Savior, cherish this story and, like Mary, we want to ponder its meaning.

I believe that the incarnation was always part of the divine plan. The Father had to enter time and space to interact with us. The incarnation is the means by which God relates to us. Obviously, with the Fall of Adam and Eve, the incarnation of Jesus also had to deal with sin and death; so the birth of Jesus is now shrouded by the cross. However, let us be clear, God has come among us and become one of us so that we can be united with Him. This is the reason for creation; the gift of divine love which unifies us to the Father. I think that Jesus, was always supposed to be Messiah and Lord, but it is our sin which  required that He also be a Savior. Even so, the deepest meaning of salvation is always union with God.

Luke tells us several times that Mary "pondered" the events she experienced. Pondering is a spiritual disciplines which requires time and patience. I assume Mary never stopped pondering her Son. She pondered His ministry, she pondered at the foot of His cross and she pondered His glory on Easter day. You and I must ponder the revelation of God on our own journey to union with Him. We must ponder God's word in prayerful wonder.

Jesus lived a full human life because God fully embraces our human existence Salvation is also a life long process. There is no single moment when it is completed here on earth. Unfortunately, we, too, are affected by sin. Suffering and death impact us as well. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we battle the against the Evil One and the deadly passions. It happens here, in this world.

Christmas shows that God thinks His material creation is important. Incarnation means that the matter matters, stuff is redeemable, and there is more to human life than being spiritual. The birth of Jesus should not be reduced to mere sentimentality, but the mystery of incarnation should produce a warm feeling in our hearts, and perhaps even a tear or two. 

Ponder it: human existence is sacred. Ponder it: God embraces your humanity. Ponder the wonder of existence and let it transform you. Embrace your body and soul--the same way God does--and receive  union with Jesus. Be His holy presence in the world.

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