When I see those pictures of the manger scene, where Mary and Joseph sit in awe, and a bit of disbelief, or shock, at what has just happened ....when I see the Shepherds, having been motivated by a host of heavenly beings, already worshiping, coming to fall at a lowly manger (*or whatever they had Him resting in, I've heard this wasn't an accurate translation of the original? But again, whatever...). . . I have to ask …. where is our awe? We have been all about, in a sadly religious kind of way, “putting The CHRIST back into CHRISTmas”. I have stated, by His Spirit I think, that we must first work on putting The CHRIST into His “CHRISTians”! We seem to have lost our awareness of His Holiness, His majesty, His Goodness and His Presence!
The young Savior was nearly 2 years old when the Magi finally showed up looking for Him, due to some star searching, and prophetic downloads they had gotten. This event upset the reigning monarch of that time so thoroughly that he ordered all male infants, 2 & under, to be murdered! But Joseph, who was warned by an angel, got up and took his wife and son to Egypt, so that His life was spared, because, obviously, He had not completed His mission. The Magi found Him there, left their prophetic gifts and moved on. Wisely not reporting back to Herod as requested!
Here we are centuries later, still celebrating that birth, but somehow, still living everyday life as though it never happened. I mean, how often are the sick healed – miraculously? How many times have WE loosed people from life-hindering strongholds, citadels of the flesh, which can, and do, keep us humans from obedience and blessing? How many people have WE led to God, or personally discipled?
Somehow the system blandly referred to as “church” has utterly lost that whole discipleship idea! We make converts to our religious persuasions, not disciples to Christ! Most people have no time for real discipleship. It can be very time consuming, and life disorienting! People are needy beings. But until we are directed to the source of our need, and taught how to access that source, we will fluctuate, as most do, between codependent and independent. We want to run our own life and be accountable to no one, on the one hand, and yet have others solve all our problems for us! I will tell you, this doesn't ever work. We must be discipled to HIM. Taught His ways by those who know HIM. The whole church system that has only one poor fellow as "pastor", with some assistants, is NOT what the WORD instructed us to DO! WE are to FIRST BECOME HIS faithful followers, and then, as Paul said & did, persuade people to "follow me as I follow Christ"! THAT is what discipleship looks like. The five-fold ministry gifts are for ALL believers! Nowhere in the Word of God does it ever suggest that only seminary students get to operate in those!!!!
What God has set up, in sending His Son to establish His Kingdom on the earth, and in sending His Spirit to help US run it – is a delightful interdependence, where we depend on GOD first, and on each other for the temporal, earthly, stuff that people need help with! We are to be need-meeters! We are to meet the real needs of those who are working to get their lives in order under God! We are not ever to be enablers of bratty, entitlement oriented, spoiled, devil-driven, hell-bent flesh! There is still entirely too much SELFISHNESS in “the Church”! And too little real AWE of WHO it is that we are supposedly serving?
Most act as though He is our servant, or worse, some slot machine that one hits when there's some desperate need! And, after living lives of apathetic, half-interested, barely invested, religiosity, we have the nerve to get stiff with HIM for “not meeting” some need we've thrown out to Him! We have the nerve to accuse HIM of not upholding His Word! Which is totally appalling, especially when most barely even know what His WORD says, due to a profound lack of actually reading it – soaking in it – and trying to LIVE it!!!!
Seriously people, if most people treated their jobs with the same disregard and divided interest with which they treat their calling they'd be starving!
So, as another season rolls past, as the sappy movies that make this holiday about anything but HIM take a break, as the music returns to our normal playlists, and the twinkling lights are put back into their storage boxes....Let's let that LIGHT that burned over that “manger”, which drew both Shepherds and Wise men, which enraged a fleshly king, and heralded the worship of Angels – THAT LIGHT that was HIM – let's take that light into the New Year with us. Let's let HIS LIGHT turn all our dark places into bright spots! Let's let HIS LOVE overcome all the anti-love feelings which so easily come upon us in our dealings with other imperfect humans.
“Let's” or “Let Us” - are actions words – so let us become such a bright reflection of HIM in this world that no one around us can miss HIM. Let's let that AWE that Mary & Joseph felt that night, so long ago, overwhelm US as it did them, HE IS. He is still with us. HIS SPIRIT lives IN US. HE - The Christ of Christmas – still longs for us – from every economic & intellectual level – from lowly shepherds to reigning Wisemen – to show up at His feet, fall down in worship, and then be lifted to follow in His footsteps! To do, as He stated in John 14:12, even greater works than He did!
That boggles my brain. But if He said it I believe it! He is not (merely) a man that He should lie! He came as a human, so that He could fully relate to our trials, temptations, and struggles. He did not live in some spiritual cloud above or apart from our earthly realm. He Dwelt among us …. and LIVED what He preached, as an example for US to do the same!
So.... now that Christmas is over, Chanukah's lights have dimmed, and the New Year is upon us, let us march forward keeping CHRIST in “CHRISTians”! May we fully live up to the name, and not be “CHRINOS” – Christians In Name Only!
This year, may HIS LIGHT burn brightly within us all year long, and may many come to the brightness of HIS shining! May we be a true, living, actual, authentic, organic representation of HIM, to this fallen, broken, yearning, planet. May we step up into our authority as His representatives on earth and truly bring His Good Will to Men, not just at Christmas.
May we never lose the AWE of those who sat at that manger, knowing beyond all doubt that The Messiah was laying before them, in the form of that tiny human. And May we never forget that the baby grew up, gave His life for us, and has RISEN – sending His Spirit to enable US to do likewise. If THAT doesn't put one in AWE, as the old ones used to say, “your wood is wet”! Let His warmth dry out that wood, and let His Spirit light that fire. May we take His light into a dark and dying world like never before!
(*P.S. I've used the word “let” a lot. Because He gave us free will. He will not bully us into obedience, we must “LET” Him do what He does. We must cooperate. This year may we lay aside our prideful self-striving and LET HIM be KING of KINGS & LORD of LORDS! Remember, as a wise one once said, “If He isn't LORD OF ALL in my life, then He isn't LORD AT ALL....” Selah – which means, Pause and carefully contemplate that!)
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