HOME! I’m home this week and on a Sunday. I’ve never been gone this much from my home church in my life. I’ve missed you. Not only have I missed seeing you, I’ve missed telling you the stories of Jesus.
We’ve come into my favorite time of the year for ministry. It is the season that many in the world shift their focus for a portion of the time to Jesus. From the Nativity displays to the Christmas carols, I love to hear people talk about sharing, families coming together, and the importance of Christ to the world.
Now, in all fairness, lots of folks sing carols without much awareness about the meanings. But the reality is, that many people read Scripture without much awareness of the meaning. This isn’t that far removed from those who sing songs of praise on Sunday assemblies without any reflection on the meaning of the words.
But off of the negative and on to the positive. I spend most of my life looking for openings to bring Jesus into conversations. Now, the opportunities are abundant. From talking to little children about why so many people place a star on the top of the tree to remembering that when we exchange gifts it is an imitation of the great gift that God shared with the world in sending Jesus… each is an occasion to reflect, remember and connect.
My favorite expression in the story of Christmas is the announcement of the angel that Jesus would be called Emmanuel, God is with us. Jesus is forever the presence of God in our world. God is not distant, disconnected or uninterested… Jesus demonstrates that he is present, powerful, and involved.
God is here. God is with us. God loves us. Such language causes my spirit to soar. After whispering from heaven through the voices of angels, in the process of dreams and the mystery of visions the boldest statement of all time was the arrival of an infant who embodied God. As he grew, developed, and matured in life, the world around him was awakened to the notion that God has come.
Traveling from village to village bringing a message of grace and truth to all who would hear, touching with healing and mercy lives of the desperate and those who were hopeless, Jesus showed God’s presence in the world.
Now, living in us, serving through us, he continues his mission. Around us, if you listen, you hear the world celebrating it. Can we but smile?