God is still offering this world His annual reminder to celebrate Christ’s birth, even disguised by what we call the chaos of Christmas. This year in the midst of my very different kind of personal chaos I have been reminded that first Christmas was disguised by chaos too! People lived in a world where harsh circumstances became the evidence they mistakenly used to form their judgments about God and each other. They lived as separate pieces of chaos with no connection to one another. Sound familiar? But…then The Gift of Connection happened.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Jesus is The Gift of Connection! He is the real Gift sent to us with God’s divine expectations…hoping we would recognize…and receive…the one Gift that could reclaim chaos. The Gift that could connect old Words and Light to overcome darkness. The Gift that would find, and custom-fit, the unrelated shapes, mismatched patterns and varied colors of chaos together to become a perfectly designed whole cloth; every piece connected in just the right spot, at just the right time to become part of something eye catching and unique.
This Christmas, 2021, God still persists in reminding the world he chooses to make whole cloth from pieces of chaos so the world might see how the many parts of His Body and His church can fit together to become proof that His character and promises are made visible by The Gift of Connection and His perfection. Amen!
“All the persons of faith I know are sinners, doubters, uneven performers. We are secure not because we are sure of ourselves but because we trust that God is sure of us.” ― Eugene Peterson
John 19:28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Jesus’ words “It is finished” are an important reality of our life in Christ. I thought about their importance to the personal drama of my own “first” Easter with Jesus. It felt so big, so dramatic, so epic…and so complete…but it had just barely begun.
I wonder why it’s so easy to look at epic moments in our life of faith as finales when beginning right there on that cross, our hope lies in exactly the opposite being true. That’s the truth of Jesus words “It is finished.” Easter was not an epic finale but The Crescendo of a New Beginning.
2 Peter 3:1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
“We are so often in the position of men whose need is not so much to be taught as to be reminded of what we already know.” William Barclay
One of the snags of being devoted to reading the Word of truth over and over again and blogging about it is feeling you need to come up with something new. But you know what? When the time comes to hit “publish” and all your hours of thought, writing and rewriting don’t even make sense to you it’s time to hit “delete” first. The Word that remains is that stand-alone scripture of last Wednesday from Isaiah “so that you [I] may know and believe me [the Lord] and understand that I am he.” That’s the first lesson of faith.
That, my internet friends, has become part of what I call a custom designed object lesson. I share it because I know Christ lives in me. That one thing is so important that if I never learned anything else that would be enough for God. But…I need these daily reminders so I can live what I already know. Today that lesson is completed and confirmed by the Apostle and Barclay.
The object of what I read is to…
* stimulate you [me] to wholesome thinking
* recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior
– be reminded of what I already know
Remember the Image
I’ve been making these beaded memory wire bracelets for the Operation Christmas Child boxes our church will pack in November. They’re so pretty I decided to wear one to church last week. In an inspired moment I gave the bracelet I was wearing to a woman I know almost nothing about except she is a sister in Christ. I wanted her to know, and believe, I understood that about her. It made perfect sense to me to remove it from my arm right there in the church pew and place it on hers with a hug and the phrase “we’re a circle of sisters.” At that moment a simple piece of coiled memory wire with a lot of different beads became an object lesson for me. Memory wire is interesting because no matter how many times you test it by uncoiling it to put it on or take it off it remembers the shape it was created in. That’s both the basis and the beginning of my object lesson.
Memory wire is like the image of God created in us. It’s a shape we may forget but God remembers. We are the beads. The beads are only accents that make the bracelet a visible and beautiful reminder of that remembered shape. I hope that woman will wear her bracelet and let it prompt her memory: God remembers his image in her and so do I…AND….she’s a beautiful “bead” in the circle of sisters.
I’ll probably never see any of the girls who’ll receive one of these bracelets next winter but my heart is filled with that same hope for them. I know God remembers his image in each of them. My hope is that bracelet wrapped around their arm may help them remember too.