Category Archives: Jesus
I taught my son to shave yesterday. I can’t believe I just typed that, much less actually handed him the razor. But I did, in a quiet, low-key ceremony without pomp, I handed him the razor. And now my mind seems to be stuck in slow motion, as if to rebel against some perceived speed infraction of life traveling by.
“Slow down life!” No response. Mist, indeed.
I gaze deliberately around my mind’s corners and see years stacking up like yellowing newspapers towering on a hoarder’s kitchen table. My eye pauses and strains to see wrinkled headlines of memories past. There’s one. It’s the time when Abbigail cut her own hair, hid the evidence, and with a poker face that would have caused the biggest, Vegas high-roller to squirm with envy said, “I did not cut my hair and put it behind the couch.” A smile.
There’s another. One of many tea parties with Emily no doubt, filled with high-pitched, but awesome British-ish accents, invisible crumpets, and names like Misses Dinglehoffer and Mr. Farggennewton. She starts college in the fall.
The problems of then seem so much smaller than the problems of now.
Images flash on. The happy scenes are many, but the trials seem no less vivid. Life can be hard on this groaning ball. There’s real pain here – big, bold pain that brings the gears of life to a screeching halt. Tears. Then the gears turn again, slower than before but gaining speed now. Normalcy, but not really.
God says it’s never meaningless. Questions remain.
We’re here, and then we’re not. Blink, it’s gone. So what do we do? Make mud pies and hope for the best? I’ll pass. I want more, I want to give myself to joy. If joy won’t have me at the moment, if the inn is full, I’ll suffer meaningfully. May it be so, Lord.
Christ reigns. He decides, not me.
I want Him to have all of me. And snippets like yesterday, when I pause and struggle to find my bearing because time seems to be winning, I want north to be Christ. Always, eternally focused. I want to spend my life experiencing the awkwardness of being in the world, but not of the world. Homeless, but homeward-bound.
My story… my mist, is part of His story. And His story is one of glory and grace, mercy and meaning. That’s the mast I’m nailing my colors to. The joy I’m after lies in His story and is of the all-sufficient, deep, abiding type. No cheap thrills, no emotional highs, no shallow platitudes…
…Joy that can break in on a small bathroom, as a father hands his son a razor for the first time, and sadness lurks near. Yep…
I did, I handed him the razor. A smile.
I recently came across a creative writing assignment that asks the writer to compose a 26 word story utilizing each letter in the alphabet in order. No extra words are allowed and it must make sense. I thought I would give it a go with Christmas in mind. Feel free to try your own, but this is what I came up with:
(I cheated on the “x”)
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Arriving bundled, Christ descended, entered futility – God himself incarnate. Jesus, knowing love makes new obedience possible, quietly reaped sins transfer ushering victory with x-alted, yielded zeal.
As the lights of Christmas trees begin to glow and wish lists are being finalized, the lure of materialism grows. “Newer, faster, bigger, better!” It’s a daring tactic by the enemy to flaunt his earthly wares at a time when Christians celebrate the arrival of our Savior–the very Savior who came to die, that we might die to worldliness. So it is appropriate that we not let our guard down this season (or any other time of the year for that matter).
The world’s offerings are but empty boxes of rust and dirt compared to what we have been given in Christ. Seeking fulfillment in and through these things is like straining to quench a dying thirst from a bone-dry, dusty, cracked flowerpot. Keeping us distracted and hurried, even with activities that in and of themselves can be good, edifying, and joy-filled, is the world’s aim. But anything that takes our hearts and minds away from experiencing the all-satisfying joy that is to be found in Christ alone means we settle for less than what God intends.
So let us enjoy the blessings we’ve been given this Christmas. Let us be thankful for God’s kindness in our lives. Let us appreciate family and friends being together in this busy world. Let us even give gifts in honor of the great gift we’ve been given. But let us do all of these things, being ever mindful of what this “holiday” is truly about.
Christ came. He died. He rose again. He fulfilled God’s plan of redemption. And He will, one day, come again.
He is our hope–He is our joy–He is our peace. He is Immanuel–God with us.
Surreal glow in western sky
Appeared as though to draw us nigh
What wonder does this starlight call
On such as we to leave our all
And journey forth to unknown lands
‘Twas the star’s summoning hand
Should we tarry to find its source
No, ’tis but One with such force
To steer the heavens against their will
His power deserves our lowest kneel
Thus we go, unknowing much
But having felt a majestic touch
Expecting crowds of searchers here
Unknowing faces and silence near
Where is he, the King of Jews
God himself hath brought us news
Do you not know of this great deed
Sir, ma’am – do you not take heed
The Babe’s been born from virgin womb
Awaken from your sleeping doom
The star goes on and thus we do
But plead with all to follow too
We reach the Child and thus bow down
Our gifts we give for His renown
Gazing upon His divine face
Knowing then, ’twas sheer grace
The star He sent across the land
A call that created its demand
As the beginning of Advent draws near (this Sunday), I thought I would share the words* of Melito of Sardis, the bishop of Sardis in the 2nd century. In each of these phrases, he seems to have captured at least a part of the biblical tension we need to have when we think of the Incarnation. May these truths be a blessing to you and cause your heart to turn to our Savior in worship.
Though he was incorporeal, he formed for himself a body like ours.
He appeared as one of the sheep; yet, he remained the Shepherd.
He was esteemed a servant; yet he did not renounce being a Son.
He was carried about in the womb of Mary, yet he was clothed in the nature of this Father.
He walked on the earth, yet he filled heaven.
He appeared as an infant, yet he did not discard his eternal nature.
He was invested with a body, but it did not limit his divinity.
He was esteemed poor, yet he was not divested of this riches.
He needed nourishment because he was man, yet he did not cease to nourish the entire world, because he is God.
He put on the likeness of a servant, yet it did not impair the likeness of his Father.
He was everything by his unchangeable nature.
He was standing before Pilate, and at the same time he was sitting with his Father.
He was nailed on a tree, yet he was the Lord of all things.
(*Taken from Gregg Allison’s rendering of the original in his Historical Theology.)
If you’ve ever wanted an in-depth discussion of Christ’s two natures, here you go. I thoroughly enjoyed both of these videos and will probably be watching them again in the future. The lectures were given by Professor Fred Sanders as part of the 2013 G. Campbell Morgan Theology Conference, sponsored by Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute.