Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas and Giftmas

This holiday season, I've been reflecting on the secular side of Christmas wrapped in the mythology of Santa Claus and the material parts of the holiday. Things I enjoy about the cultural celebration of Christmas include fun movies like Elf, The Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, among others. I appreciate the pretty Christmas lights and fun Christmas songs. Time with friends and family is largely positive if a bit hectic in going from event to event and navigating different relational elements. I also especially enjoy the cookies and delicious deserts. On the gift giving front, I can understand how it is fun for some though gifts are not a focus for me personally.

There's a part of me that thinks our society places heavier focus on these fun cultural aspects than the original Christmas story and God's gift to humanity. Rather than cultural elements being a fun addition to the central story of Jesus birth, they begin to shift focus and take center stage.  

A recent Christmas movie that I saw was built entirely around Santa Claus interacting with some kids in an action oriented story and appropriated and warped elements of the real Christmas story. While I don't mind fun fictional stories, to take from and remold elements of the historical account of Jesus birth into something completely different begins to border on sacrilege. As things move further along this path, Christmas becomes more and more secular to the point that for some it has no more meaning than bunnies, Halloween candy, and celebrating a made up holiday that would be better described as Giftmas. 

I don't begrudge people having fun with the holiday but would love for more focus to be placed on God sending His son into the world so that we could have relationship with Him. The fantastic Christmas Carol O Holy Night does a wonderful job of orienting us to this heart posture.

O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appears and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O Holy night, O night divine!

This Christmas I hope that you and your loved ones get to spend time reading and reflecting on the original Christmas story and thanking the One who loves us most for His incredible gift.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Friday, October 23, 2020

Where Your Love Is

This year has been difficult for many people both from a global perspective as well as unique individual challenges. Over the past few months, this song has expressed my prayer and desire to God. 

Where His love is, is where I want to be. His love is more powerful than anything and can fill hearts, heal hurts, encourage souls, and change the world. I hope the lyrics and music can encourage you in whatever you're experiencing this year.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Where Your Love Is

Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me

When troubled times take hold
Lord won't you guard my soul
when I don't understand 
won't you take take my hand and lead me on

When all I feel is stress
Lord help my heart to rest
when there's uncertainty
be my surety and lead me on

Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me
Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me

How I love you, how I need you
here's my heart, here's my soul take all of me
How I love you, how I need you
here's my heart, here's my soul take all of me

 So holy, so mighty, so beautiful, your glory
 So holy, so mighty, so beautiful, your glory

Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me
Where your love is, is where I want to be
so let your love flow and cover me

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Waiting in the Space Between

Photo by لا روسا Acacia in Ein Khadra Desert Oasis, Egypt
There can be seasons of waiting and living in the space between what's been and what's hoped for. The new professional opportunity, the relationship development, the family situation, the health condition, the personal goals hoped for. It's in these times when a disconnect can exist between the intellectual acknowledgement that God is in control and loves us and the heart experience of longing, discouragement, pain, and disappointment.

In these places that it's so important to continue to lean in to God's promises even when we can't see what's on the other side and when it will come. To trust in the Lord with all our hearts leaning not on our own understanding but allowing Him to direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 paraphrase)

A comfort when I've been waiting in the space between, is reading Psalms. There are so many great passages that worship God and acknowledge Him as creator, almighty and powerful, a rock and refuge in times of trouble. Similarly, there are passages that are brutally honest, crying out to God in times of trouble, expressing pain, and searching for what good can come of very difficult circumstances and how long they'll last.

Whatever you're going through in your season of waiting in the space between, be encouraged that God is with you, He sees you, He knows you, and He loves you.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew
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