don’t mistake God’s radical gift for something sentimental left under the tree

For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  – Isaiah 9:6

IMG_4465Wednesday evening, meeting with the guys in my mid-week Bible-study, we talked about how this world would look if Christ had not been born.

Pundits are quite fond, nowadays, of running through a litany of indictments against the church; Crusades, inquisitions, genocides, wars, injustices, abuses of power, unholy alliances, cultural engineering, intolerance, sexism, and more…

JESUS STANDS FOR US: But those abuses are all examples of what Christ came to stand against – and Jesus did it by standing for the radically intentional Gospel of Love. What this means is that, rather than proclaiming a crusade against this world, Jesus stands for us, Jesus died for us – to promote a campaign of invitational, proactive, constructive, redemptive, transformational good news.

IMG_4467Each man around the table shared two observations regarding the repercussions of the birth of Jesus: one global (such as the fight to end slavery, the application of self-sacrificial compassion that sparked the mission hospital movement, the immeasurable impact of local churches on communities…); and one personal – testimonies as to how the reality of Jesus impacts them as individuals (I am saved; I know forgiveness; I am at peace; Jesus gives me purpose…).

The cumulative result of our conversation was a shared affirmation regarding the astonishing, far-reaching and at the same time deeply personal consequences of the birth of Christ.

This world would be – in a word – “unrecognizable” had God not taken such a creative, loving, all-embracing step on behalf of his wayward, lost, floundering children.

The truth about Christmas is not a sweet story, a moral tale, or an inspirational fable designed to make us feel good, or evoke some positive response to the general idea of goodness…. NO! The truth about Christmas is darkness shattering, world-changing, and life transforming! This is no poetic, philosophical fairytale, but Immanuel – real, and direct, and as alive as we are!

A vulnerable baby, born in the shadow of a brutal cross.

God’s imperative of love broke into time and space with power and with intention. Don’t let’s get left behind with the cast-aside wrapping paper and spent party favors.

IMG_4346
Mary and Joseph and the wise men

“God With Us” is a truth that demands our complete attention, and our fully motivated response!

I guess that means I’ll see you in church this morning! – DEREK

 

 

 

 

Christmas faith

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

1 Comment Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: