Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Lamb

Every week we somehow misplace the baby Jesus in our nativity set. (everyone loves holding baby Jesus). This morning we're missing the lamb that accompanies the shepherd. After last night's Christmas message, I find this somehow appropriate.....

"When they found Jesus in the manger as the angel said, the very location of his birth was drenched in significance. The Savior had been born into their unclean world in the same manner as a lamb. The symbolism was not lost on them.

When the shepherds saw Jesus there, they not only saw that he had come, but they also got a hint as to why. He came to be the the perfect lamb, the ultimate, lasting sacrifice. This baby's coming was to accomplish and establish peace between the God of all creation and his image-bearers who habitually rejected him.

And so it would be all his days.

From the manger in Bethlehem to the cross on Calvary, Jesus moved among the people, came into their homes, touched their blind eyes, and permitted their unfaithful hands to touch him. He taught them profound lessons from ordinary events. He defended the defenseless and opposed the self-righteous. He ate at their tables, laughed with their children, and wept over their grief.

Never did he abandon his purpose for coming, which was to die for a world of spirit-poor outsiders as the Lamb of God who takes their sin away. Jesus was born poor. He lived poor. And he died poor for the sake of his people.....

- From Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative by Russ Ramsey

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Time of Waiting

I've been 'assigned' to write about Advent: what it is, perhaps a bit of history, how we can best spend our time as we wait. How to meaningfully prepare our hearts for what we know is coming: Christmas. Emanuel. Christ's birth. The coming of a King.

But Christmas  and Advent is more than waiting for Christmas morning. We look back and reflect, but we also look forward. We look forward and we again, wait. For Christ to return.

Yesterday was a difficult day. 20 elementary children dead at the hand of what can only be a deranged, evil, disturbed person. We attempt to make sense of the senseless. We are looking for a why. My facebook page is littered with all types of response from people and organizations. Some are talking about how broken our nation is, allowing guns. Some are sticking up for their right to own guns. Some are just sad and in mourning. Some are outraged. All kinds of advice, opinions and questions are on facebook.

Having elementary school-aged kids, my heart breaks, as this hits close to my heart. I can't even imagine the routine of sending my child to school and having something so tragic take place -- and right before Christmas! A time in our culture of  innocence and perceived goodwill. Of childlike wonder, hope and faith.


As my family lit the Advent candles, I whispered 'Come, Lord Jesus!"

The world still waits. We still ache and cry out. We yearn for peace. We want to see the Kingdom here and now, we work at it. We want what God wants, yet realize that only He can provide what we yearn for.

Come Lord Jesus.

 Come and heal. Draw those that mourn close to you. Let the world ask the questions of "why" and find the answer in You. Help us Christians set aside our own issues and opinions and work on being people that reconcile others to You. Help us wrestle with the questions and find a loving Father. Help me emerge from my questions to find solace in You.

The world is a broken place. In this darkness, in this time of waiting, let us truly find You and understand deeper the meaning of Christmas; of a loving Father, who sent his son to a hurting, broken world so show us His love.

The light shines in the darkness.......