Is life a paradox or what?
For example: The smells of Christmas 2010. Peppermint, Cinnamon, Chocolate, Evergreen, Perfumes. But then there are the smells of the first Christmas. Hay, Animals, Animal waste, and a Baby Boy.
For example: Exchanging gifts. A lot of companies and even churches have gift exchanges. Usually there is a price limit on these gift exchanges so that it is not a burden to anyone. Looking for the right ones. Maybe the surprising ones? There is joy in the children (both you and old) as we open gifts. But what do we get Jesus? He already has everything including our sin! In the midst of the holly and the jolly, and the worship and the praise we drop by the manger and humbly give ourselves: our idolatry, adultery, foul mouth and hearts, things we have stolen, bad attitudes like selfishness and pride, all of our sin. That is really costly because for a lot of us it is the only way we have known. When we drop these “gifts” off we God gladly exchanges them with purity, perfection, holiness, love, harmony, peace, a forgiving heart, calm, peace and . . . That is a pretty cool gift exchange! At our staff meeting on the 22nd we talked about “healthy tension.” I guess that is kinda like the embarrassment of showing up at the manger with our sucky gifts and getting quite literally the greatest gift of all.
For example: One of our greatest days of joy - Christmas! But Jesus didn’t not come for a vacation or change of scenery. But to live and to die and to live again. Cool, sad, amazing!
Life is a paradox. Let me rephrase it - earthly life is a paradox. We mix the good with the bad. Jesus came to take away the paradox of life so that life would be filled only with God’s glory! True this won’t come to its final completion until we get to heaven. But it is also true that when we give him our “gifts,” our sins, God is glorified and our “present” life takes on a new shape and meaning!
It is my prayer for all of us this Christmas as we stare into the Christmas lights and hear the message of Christ’s birth that we all Love Jesus More!
In Him, Love Him, For Him,