After worship yesterday, two folks came up to me and while they talked about different topics, the topics of our conversations intersected at the core of the season of Christmas we are about to enter. Since the scripture this past Sunday was on spiritual armor, Harry Davies mentioned to me that military armor is made for one purpose – to go forward. Soldiers wear gear for going forward; not for retreat. Everything the Apostle Paul named in Ephesians six is about spiritual armor has the intent of followers of Jesus using spiritual armor to move forward.
After Harry left, I talked briefly with Bill Marler. Bill shared the following lines from a poem which he later sent to me in its entirety. Below are a few stanzas from the poem.
“My soul is so dry that by itself it cannot pray;
Yet you can squeeze from it the juice of a thousand prayers.
My soul is so parched that by itself it cannot love;
Yet you can draw from it boundless love for you and for my neighbor.
My soul is so cold that by itself it has no joy;
Yet you can light the fire of heavenly joy within me.”
(Guigo the Carthusian: d.1188)
Wow! Those words are so powerful because they remind us life lived to its fullest, especially in the most difficult times is not determined alone by our power and ability; but because of who God is and God’s power. I see the two conversations intersecting and reminding me of the core truth of the Advent-Christmas season that we will begin to celebrate this Sunday. The reality of the Son of God born in flesh and blood into the world contains the message that God chose not to retreat from the darkness of evil and sin. God did not retreat and take away from the world; rather God moved toward the world and gave us himself, his son. Secondly, the conception of God’s son without normal human involvement echoes the truth from the poem that power to change ourselves and rock this world ultimately resides with God; not us. God is always moving forward and does so because God is ultimately what Paul claims in Acts 17:28, “In him we live and move and have our being.” All of us go into the holidays with disappointment and pain from life such as grief, sickness, separation, and regrets just to name a few. Our congregation will celebrate the Christmas season in an environment much different than we normally have in the past. Who knows what we might experience in this season of Christmas as we pray, read our daily advent devotional, and worship to celebrate Christmas. We are celebrating Christmas before the One who never retreats and who is able to do more in us and with us by his power. See you Sunday.
It’s all About Him