Joy is not so much meant for the good times as it is for the tumultuous times. This genuine joy does not deny the existence of pain, heartache, and loss, but it also acknowledges the strength of our God to heal, mend, and restore. Joy must be engaged and actively adopted. The season of Advent is about the arrival of the Savior and the joy he brings to the nations in the midst of our darkest hours.
Christmas has a lot to do with bodies, if you stop to think about it. The nativity narrative in Luke begins with the news that the aged body of Elizabeth will soon bear a son. Then, a virgin named Mary learns that her body will soon contain the very Son of God. When God’s Son is born, he has a real body, one that starts out life in weakness and dependency. If you take away the bodies, you really don’t have Christmas at all.
When the rules always seem to go in someone else’s favor, when you feel pushed to the margins, when you can’t seem to find your way and people keep telling you, “You best move on,” I pray you hear the soft cries of the holy infant and remember he has gone to prepare a place for you… and there is always room.
Jesus arrived in the world, just as planned from the foundation of the world. His arrival defies both good old-fashioned logic and our twenty-first century imaginations. His humble birth made the Kingdom of God accessible to all, even (especially?) those our traditions and customs and comforts and preferences can find no room to accommodate.
The time between the initial glimpse of a promise and God’s fulfillment of that promise can be agonizing. We often wonder, “what is God doing?” and, “why does it take God so long to fulfill what he said?” We may not mind waiting days or weeks, but months or years seem unfathomable. Transformational leadership is rarely about today and almost always about tomorrow.
Whom or what do you serve? What is the person or thing that has the strongest influence in the decisions of your life? This is a tough introspective question that every Christian must answer, and definitely everyone called to the marketplace. The reality is that this contemplation gets right to the concept of motives. It exposes our heart’s thoughts…
In yesterday’s devotion, I highlighted how Jesus chose to come near to two hurting disciples, leaving them with hearts on fire with hope and life. Imagine the impact we as leaders can have when we walk with others in their pain. Leaders who are sensitive to others can bring hope — and sometimes literally save a life.
Jesus is intentional about coming to people, especially to people in pain and living in fear. Jesus purposely sought out these two disciples because he longs to reveal himself to those living in fear, doubt, and hopelessness. Perhaps, as part of your ongoing Easter celebration, you also can come near to those who are hurting and show that you care.
During the fourteen days prior to Easter, I have been reflecting with you on the Stations of the Cross, to help us prepare for a deeper experience of the reality of Jesus’s death, and therefore a greater celebration of his resurrection. Today, on Easter Sunday, I want to add an Easter postscript to this series of devotions.
In most human societies appropriate burial of dead bodies is a sacred tradition. It matters profoundly that we ensure the proper resting place for those who have died. Yet, after burials happen, we don’t generally mention them specifically.