Friday, November 30, 2012

Double Contemplation

   As we prepare for Christmas it's easy to lose sight of the meaning of this Holy day.  The quest for "Stuff" demands our undivided attention and the commitment of our wallets - to some you're considered an unpatriotic Scrooge if you refuse to amass Christmas debt. These days before Christmas are called Advent (which simply means "Coming").  I invite you to use Advent to re-focus Christmas onto Jesus Christ.  Two colors mark the season of Advent and answer the key question of Christmas:
WHY did the Son of God have to be born?
   Jesus was born because this world is broken.  This sad fact is reflected through the penitential color of PURPLE.  We are broken people gathered together into broken families.  The whole of our life is seeking meaning in the midst of this craziness and establishing order amid the chaos around us.  Advent is a time to repent.  It is a time to acknowledge that Christ came into this world in order to save and rescue us from our own destruction.  It's easy for me to point to others as the reason the Son of God left His throne to be wrapped in humble swaddling clothes . . . it's healthier when I confess that MY sin contributed to His humiliation.  WHY did the Son of God have to be born?  In order to save the world!

   After accomplishing the work He was sent to accomplish (i.e., living perfectly in the place of imperfect people / dying for those destined for death / rising again in order to restore life to the world), Jesus ascended into heaven.  He left . . . but He left with a promise that He would return.  This hope is reflected in the color BLUE.  The paradoxical truth is that He is still with us, but beyond the capabilities of our senses to comprehend Him.  Though we live with sorrow, pain and striving, we look forward to the Day when Christ returns.  On that day evil will be forever banished from the presence of God's children.  On that Day death will be impotent as the dead arise from their graves.  And on that Day we will see Jesus face-to-face.  WHY did the Son of God have to be born?  So that after He had completed His redemptive work, He could return to bring us to Himself.

   To quote Linus, "that's what Christmas is all about."  May the Double Contemplation of Advent - repentance and hope - increase your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.  And may the angelic chorus be made true through YOU; "Glory to God in the highest!"

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