Consider the power of the Christmas story: the amazing depths and breadth and heights to which God's love for us will go. We feel the echoes of that love every time we peer into that dimly lit stable. And, sometimes in the process, the Light of the World is born again in us. Then we have the joy of being granted the right to become the children of God. (From Pastor Randy's Sermon on January 4-5 2014)
From Pamela: I have spent the last couple of days beginning to take down my Christmas decorations. I still love having a "real" Christmas tree and "real" flowers and greenery. These real decorations need to be watered regularly and lavishly whenever they are inside. (Otherwise they become fire hazards). Even with care, they only last for a few weeks, at most. Finally they wilt, dry out and need to be discarded. They require more fuss, and they create much more muss than artificial decorations, but the fragrance they emit has never been replicated by aroma therapy. Furthermore, I have just enough of a stubborn streak in me that I resist the convenience of the artificial Christmas decor.
I am reminded by Pastor Randy's words of the stubborn nature of God's love for us. Nomatter how life wears us down throughout the year, the emergence (anew) of God's love in Christ effectively meets our every need. On the other hand, some of us may have had a year of abundance -- we may have entered December rooted in sophistication or the complexity of what we are "able" to do with our intellect, energy and sense of control. Even then, the simple gift of God's love in Christ trumps and transcends any abundance that the world or our human power produced since Christmas 2012.
As children of God, we are filled to the brim of our being. We are saturated with everything we need to know about what is true and lasting. God's gift is REAL, and ABIDING. Everything that we accumulate on our own is in some way artificial. Even if our accumulations seem to enhance the quality of our life, they will eventually become worn out, used up or discarded.
What did you receive this Christmas that is real? What did you receive that is artificial? How will you respond? How will you stay close to the source of life so that what is REAL can be nourished and protected?