“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved….
God has broken into this world in an astounding story of divinity and humanity that boggles the brain even as it transforms the heart…
In the words of the late Samuel Hines, “God has a one-term agenda, listed in one expressive and inclusive word: reconciliation.” It is a bold statement. It suggests that God’s intention, purpose, and desire for the world can be captured in this one word.
Reconciliation implies that a relationship has suffered damage. It indicates division exists where there was once harmony. Such division marks all humanity. Through sin and disobedience, we have separated ourselves from God and from one another…
In Christ, through Christ, and with Christ that “dividing wall of hostility” [Ephesians 2:14] has been torn down. According to Charles Wesley, reconciliation is… the message of Christmas:
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
— Kevin Baker in Hail the Heaven Born
Abundant life from Christ comes not in tangibles, but in grace-given presence. We are being changed from self-serving people, grasping, needing, to God-serving people, loved and freed, who in prayer and by the Spirit paradoxically gain by giving away C…
“Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to
God does not comfort us only to make us comfortable — rather He does it to make us comforters.
— Navigator’s Daily Walk Bible
Our salvation comes from something small, tender, and vulnerable, something hardly noticeable. God, who is the Creator of the Universe, comes to us in smallness, weakness, and hiddenness. I find this a hopeful message. Somehow, I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God’s saving power; but over and over again I am reminded that spectacles, power plays, and big events are the ways of the world. Our temptation is to be distracted by them and made blind to the “shoot that shall sprout from the stump” [Isaiah 11:1].
— Henri J. Nouwen in Gracias! A Latin American Journal
Some have shared with me [a] problem. “I don’t want to unload all my darkness, pain, and anger on anyone, especially Jesus, whom I love. I’m afraid it will hurt him,” one person told me, really worried. She had herself experienced much emotional pain, and dreaded the thought of sending that pain and darkness into someone else’s heart. This is a real and loving concern which must be taken seriously.
But this is the mystery of the Savior:
“Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
…wounded for our transgressions.” (Isaiah 53:4, 5)
…This includes not only our sins, but also our wounds, our pain. All that hurts us is already shared and carried by that heart. We are only asked to give the full impact of the pain with consent. This is the meaning of the limitless love that has come to be with us. If we still feel troubled, it may be helpful to think of another woman’s experience. When I shared with her this problem, she said, “I just asked Jesus if He was willing to receive my full load of pain directly into His heart, and He inwardly told me He was here for that reason and was willing and able to receive it all.”
No matter what we do, no matter what we feel, no matter the full crushing impact of pain we give to God, that heart of God through Jesus will not be shattered or destroyed or hardened.
The fire of God’s love is fed by its own fire, forever.
— Flora Slosson Wuellner in Heart of Healing, Heart of Light, published by The Upper Room,
The prophet Isaiah spoke of a shoot coming out from the stump of Jesse and a branch growing out of his roots (Isaiah 11:1). Here is a tree tradition that reminds us of Jesus’ Jewishness. Jesus did not just drop down out of nowhere. It is scandalous for…
So here we are again, a few billion miles farther along our mysterious path among the immensities. What a comfort it is to know the Man in charge of it all. Without Him, it would be easy to think that the whole of time and space, and life i…
I recently heard a story on the radio of a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable, and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everythi…
Christmas is a time pregnant with anticipation and expectation. There is so much to look forward to, but it’s easy to get so excited about celebrating Christmas that we easily overlook preparing ourselves for the Christ. We can get so caught up in the hype and hoopla that we don’t take the necessary time to prepare ourselves to be watching for how God will come into our midst in the here and now.
Are you anticipating the kingdom this Christmas?
Are you expecting God to come into your midst today?
What are you doing to prepare yourself for the Christ and not just for Christmas?
— Adapted from Bryan Marvel