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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hope That Shines When You Didn’t Know You Needed It

            I was walking through the grocery store, on my way to pick up a bowl of soup for a quick lunch when I got the call.  It was from my financial planner asking me what account we wanted the $65,000 deposited that was being transferred from an Ameritrade account.  I think I actually stopped walking at that point. 
You see, I wasn’t expecting any type of transfer from anyone’s Ameritrade account.  I definitely had no idea where $65,000 would be coming from.  I let them know that but I also did say, if someone was wanting to pass on a $65,000 Christmas gift, Pam and I were definitely willing to bear the sacrifice of such generosity!
            Sometimes the extraordinary shows up in the midst of the ordinary.  It is life as normal – mundane and routine – and then something happens that is totally unexpected.  We become part of a story we didn’t even know was happening.
            God does that sort of thing pretty regularly, it seems.  We are going along, minding our own business and God shows up in crisis or opportunity, wrecking our reality in the process, throwing us into new levels of faith we sometimes didn’t want.
            The Christmas story is this kind of story.  Everyone who is a part of the Christmas story of Jesus was thrown into crisis and opportunity.  Everyone was forced to see God in a new way, to make choices of following or rejecting.  The story of Christmas was life altering in this way. 
            Although the Christmas story caused great turmoil and disruption, it is still ultimately a story of hope.  It is a story of hope because Jesus brought light to the darkness.  He laid bare both the political reality of the day and the personal reality of the people who encountered him.  It required people to make a choice – follow or reject.
            In our times where Christmas is a safe story filled with traditions and sentimentality, it can be hard to capture the power of the first Christmas.  But it should always remind us that God still shows up unexpectedly in the midst of the normal, the routine, the mundane.  And when he does it is both a crisis and an opportunity.  And when he shows up it is an invitation to follow – you have a choice to be made.
            My prayer this Christmas is, in the midst of the joy, traditions, songs, shopping, giving and getting, God would unexpectedly show up with such power and such beauty you would be thrown into the chaos of crisis and opportunity.  My prayer is you would say yes to Jesus, yes to new faith and yes to deeper faith.  And when you do you would see the hope that shines brighter than the crisis.  I pray this Christmas you will see Jesus.

Peace and grace,


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