holiday reflections

a little over two thousand years ago, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ humbly entered the world, loved by some, but rejected by many. think about it: this is the only isolated event (besides Jesus’ death and resurrection) that completely changed the trajectory of the entire universe for the rest of eternity. our perfect God took the form of a human, left the splendor of heaven, and came to earth to live among us. he knew that he would be despised, abused, rejected, and scorned by his own people, the people he came to save, and he did it anyways. what a Savior we serve.

 

in light of this beautiful, life-changing story, everything else seems kinda small doesn’t it? for me, at least, when I meditate on the story of Christ, I find myself prioritizing my life quite differently. everything seems to fade to the outside, and serving God moves to the center. and that’s how it was meant to be. God intended for us to live our lives as a offering to him. but how easy is it to let our focus shift to our material blessings, our jobs, our classes? why is it so easy to serve creation instead of our Creator?

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born the king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have to come worship him.” -Matthew 2:1-2

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” -Luke 2:10-11

 

here’s the conclusion I’ve come to after too many times of swinging back and forth between following Christ and serving creation: I don’t fully understand the depth of love God has for me, so I don’t fully love him back. that’s pretty hard to admit. the reason I turn my back on a life of service to Jesus is because I don’t fully believe in his wonderful promises and selfless love he gave to me. if I did really believe that Christ loved me enough to live, die, and rise again for ME and MY sinful life, I would care a lot more about living my life as a sacrifice to him. I would live a life immersed in the love and grace of my Lord because I believed with my entire heart that this would lead me to a better, more fulfilling life. I would laugh at the thought of pursuing sin and lusts of the flesh because I would fully know that those things lead to death. but I promise if you catch me in the midst of weakness, grief, pain, sorrow, or loss, these statements will not describe my life.

 

but here’s the good news: JESUS CAME TO EARTH. he knows everything that is going to take place for the rest of eternity, including all of our sins and mistakes, and still came. imagine you are thinking about moving to a new city. you received this great job offer and are considering leaving the comforts of your home to pursue this new opportunity. along with this offer, however, comes the promise of rejection and hatred. you will be betrayed by your closest friends, beaten and mocked by strangers, discredited by countless men, and eventually hung on a cross and left to die. would you still move there? I sure as heck would not. but Jesus did. and that’s what makes our stories beautiful.  he, as the picture of humility and selflessness, came to redeem our mistakes and sins. he paid our debt so we wouldn’t have to.

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” -Isaiah 53:3,5

as Christmas is winding down, the new year is just around the corner. an exciting time to claim how different we will be in the coming 365 days. a time where millions of people sign up for gym memberships, but a mere 20% of those people determined to get fit continue attending the gym past the month of January. a time where people vow to save more money, donate more of their time, reconnect with their family, the list goes on and on. I personally choose not to make resolutions because I never seem to keep/remember them past the first week of January. but if you are the type of person to make a list of things to improve in your life next year, I challenge you to make loving and knowing God deeper at the top of your list. don’t vow to read your Bible more, pray more frequently, or serve others better. not that these things are bad goals, but they aren’t the root of the issue. if you learn the depth of love Jesus poured out for your life, these other things will come naturally. you’ll want to learn more about his character and his story. you’ll want to talk to him more. you’ll want to share him with others. you’ll stop focusing on the negative and start seeing all the beautiful gifts he has given us. you’ll find yourself living a life committed to worshipping and following him.

 

he poured out his life for you. for me. for everyone on the face of the earth. a life of serving him as our one true King seems like a pretty good life to me. and I hope and pray that while running this race, I’ll look over and see your face there, running alongside me, pursuing the same gracious Lord and Savior that I’m running towards.

“And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord with all heart and with all your soul?” -Deuteronomy 10:12

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