“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
“On the tenth day of Christmas…”
Seriously, people, let’s not fall into the ever popular “Christmas is over” miscue quite yet. Today is just the tenth of twelve days. It is still Christmas. The rest of December, the four weeks leading up to December 25, that was “Advent.” Advent sets the stage, then Christmas lasts a full twelve days.
Sure, we’re thinning things out a little here at Maul-Hall. Most of the greenery is gone (it was dangerously dry anyway), and there is noticeably less bling around the house. But both trees are still up, and the lights around the front door too.
Most of all, however, Rebekah and I want Christmas to continue to shine. The only way to do that, of course – at least with any degree of credibility – is to carry the transformational truth of the Incarnation at the core of who we are.
The idea is that how we live out our discipleship will tell the ongoing story of the good news in a way that is both authentic and compelling.
THE NARRATIVE: Here’s what’s on my heart today. There is a narrative out there that is anything but good news. Its adherents – people who promote the narrative either consciously or unconsciously – include not only those who claim to have no faith, but also many of those who ostensibly fly the “Christian” flag.
I’m talking about a persistent story that insists the church has lost its relevance; a story that lives as if hope plays second fiddle to despair; a narrative that bows in deference to the shadows, and gives credence to the lie that darkness is making steady headway against the light.
That makes me sad. Especially when I am reminded that people tend to live into the narrative they have chosen to repeat.
In consequence, I believe it is critically important that those of us who understand the Good News of the Gospel of Love not only believe the story, and tell the story, but that we live the story with enthusiasm and conviction.
Believe me when I say that the darkness cannot deal with that much light! And believe me when I say that the Gospel is a story that literally grows with the telling, and that takes on authority as it is lived.
Listen to just a few of the thoughts Jesus has to offer about this Gospel – his narrative – a message from God that is – as the angel proclaimed, “Good news to you; wonderful, joyous news for all people.” – Luke 2:10
- “The gates of Hell will not prevail against [the church].” – Matthew 16
- “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” Matthew 7:7
- “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” – John 10:10
- “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” – John 4:14
- “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35
- “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:17
- “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” – Luke 4:18-19 (Jesus, about himself, quoting Isaiah)
So dance already! And don’t give those other stories the time of day; especially if you intend to follow Jesus – DEREK