Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas redux

The simple message of Christmas
I have become a servant of the Gospel by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—  the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. - Colossians 1:25-29
The fullness of God, Paul writes, was once a mystery that was hidden away. Interestingly, the exact element that makes this mystery so rich is the same element that now makes it so accessible... and that is "Christ-in-us, the hope of glory".

I love that about Jesus. I love that about the Christmas message. It's the accessibility. It's the simple story of a baby, born vulnerable and dependent on the fortunes of a young refugee family. Fundamentally (and please don't confuse that with fundamentalism!), the message of Christmas is this simple: God made accessible, without pretense and without the buffer of contrived religiosity.

People are still searching...
THE STORY: The Baby Jesus grew up, became a man, shared the essentials of what it means to live the life-charged life, discipled a small group of followers, and then left the balance of the story to us.

That's why Paul said that the glory and the richness of the mystery is "Christ-in-you". He made it pretty clear that the hope of glory is communicated - or not - via the evidence we present, simply by living the Gospel out loud.
  • That makes us billboards for Grace...
  • ...And emissaries of Promise.
  • We're not keepers of the mystery so much as evidence that the mystery is no longer hidden.
  • It means that we are God's big PR gamble.
  • It means that we are an advertisement for the validity (or not...) of this "New and Living Way" Jesus came to set in motion...
Today, then, I recommend a contemplative frame of mind and spirit. Think about the essentials; think about Jesus.
Peace, Hope and Promise - DEREK

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