Happy “4th Sunday in Advent”!
Saturday I drove down to Charlotte to meet Andrew, Alicia, and our newest grandchild (“Mr. T.”) at the airport. Sunday they came to church with us for the 11:15 service.
They may have just flown in from Germany; you may live just down the street. No matter how far you traveled, it is always a good day to be in worship.
In her message, Rebekah talked about “holding the newborn baby”, pointing out our tendency to view the nativity from the sidelines – as spectators – rather than approaching the manger – like children often do – and taking God into our arms.
But that is how God invites us to respond. Jesus is – in a sense – God’s hug, God’s embrace. In the same way that Rebekah and I took our new grandson into our arms and held him close, God holds us in such a tender care. This is in a large sense the point of the incarnation. Not just God with us but God holding us, God loving us with deliberate tenderness, God pouring life into our very existence.
Jesus came to redefine, to gift, and then to live-out-loud a new kind of love. Our invitation is to participate in Christ’s initiatives of grace, mercy, promise, and love.
The absolute best way to respond is to invest ourselves in a place where the teachings of Jesus are central and the point of church is to worship God and to encourage one another to live as intentional disciples.
In just a few days it will be Christmas. It’s never too late to be ready to receive the newborn king!
(Photos from both contemporary and traditional worship)
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.