This Christmas there is a married couple sitting together around their Christmas tree. Instead of being in separate residences like they almost ended up this year, they are instead fighting for each other instead of with each other. This is happening because Jesus Christ has been allowed to be real in their lives all year, even when they wanted to go their own way... because a cord of three strands is not so easily broken.
This Christmas there is a single dad who is no longer single. Not to imply that he is married, but he is surrounded by brothers and sisters who are helping him see Jesus and parent out of those insights. His household has been washed by the Living Water, and the shine of it all has been contagious. Whoever said a leopard can't change its spots is right... for we're not supposed to. But with God, a leopard can become a new creation - and suddenly the old spots don't matter as the once did.
This Christmas there is a household embracing the cup of suffering that God has given them. Every day is a choice of worship, because every day is not easy to face when it comes. As their feet attempt to hit the ground, there is natural disorientation that is only being trumped by supernatural anchoring. They know the words of Jesus, having abandoned bumper sticker cliches in favor of hard truth that gives them strength. And somehow they make it through the day to the next, finding encouraging warmth in a community called the Church.
This Christmas there are those on my street whom I get to live with forever. While we share an address of "Westgrove Ct, Medina" we also share an address of "Gold Streets, Heaven." I wonder what movies we'll watch together on the side of our mansions in glory. I am quite sure, though, that now the great banquet for Jesus will have a master chef behind it.
This Christmas there is a God who is a little more famous... in a good way. Perhaps one day we will fumble the ball badly, but today we are thankful and excited for the good days we have given the message of hope to the world. Having dedicated ourselves to being the Church and embracing what it means to be sent on a mission to love our neigjbor, we have done so much in this past year that is simply beyond words. Maybe there is something to this idea of simply attempting to be one with the One so that the world can believe in He who has sent us... so that they may see His glory and embrace His holy love that has been in play since before time was invented.
This Christmas there are gifts I am enjoying that are not under my tree, but are laid before the tree called the "cross." It seems so easy to focus on the infancy of Jesus Christ as Christmas, but He didn't stay a baby... just like He didn't stay crucified... just like His Church isn't meant to simply be "religious."
This Christmas the eternal King of Kings has gotten His feet dirty yet again through an imperfect, ragtag community called Connection Church. Just as He spoke within the Trinity to allow all things to be created and now is ever lobbying on our behalf for us, so has He allowed something precious and unique and wild and sacrificial and untamed to emerge.
and then those feet grewu p and got dirty walking through the metaphorical and literal dirt we are covered with everyday...
and then they became dirty again, only this time by dripping blood...
and perhaps they can continue to get dirty when we follow in those footsteps.
This Christmas, may you see the manger underneath the crown of thorns, yet even still underneath the majestic crown, and yet even still through the practical obedience of His Church.
This Christmas, may you be Christmas, and in doing so bring Christmas in and through your household.