Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Merry Christmas friends!

Christmas Day is a great day for kids of all ages. This is the day that seems to take forever to get here and doesn’t last as long as we think it should. There will be times of reflection, food to be eaten, presents to unwrap, stories to share, prayers to be prayed, carols to be sung, and much, much more.

This year my kids have decided that they will show up in our room to make sure we’re awake at 7 AM. They’ll jump on our bed, with stockings in tow, and make their way through the fun little treasures within. Before we head downstairs for a special Jesus Birthday breakfast, unwrap some presents, and play, we’ll read the final chapter of Jotham’s Journey, by Arnold Ytreeide, the book we’ve been enjoying throughout the season of Advent. We can’t wait to see how it ends!

The funny thing to me about Christmas this year is that as much as it can seem like it’s the culmination of what we’ve all been waiting for, it’s really a lookout along the way where we pause, remember, and celebrate each year. The waiting and longing continue for the promise of God to be fulfilled in Messiah Jesus. As you wait, keep your hope alive as you walk in love, jump for joy, and pursue peace.

So at the lookout this year let’s celebrate Jesus’ birthday. Here’s a song to help you do that. Hit play, turn it up, and sing and dance with your family! If you’re looking to know more, click here to discover the story behind the song.

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Love Decides Everything

To be honest, the theme of love for this second week of advent has proven to be more difficult for me to sit with and focus on then I expected. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a ton of Scripture passages that I could devote myself to, but after a while they all seem to say the same thing. Which isn’t a bad thing…it’s just that I’ve been wanting to see or experience something different this year.

This morning I came across a poem by Pedro Arrupe. As you will find out when you read this poem below, it doesn’t necessarily have an advent or Christmas vibe to it, but it does draw us in and reminds us just how powerful love really is. If you think about it, the power of God’s love is certainly a theme during the season of advent as we reflect on a loving God who sent the the promised Messiah to be born, live and proclaim the kingdom of God, die, be raised to life, ascend to heaven and one day return.

As you consider this poem below, I invite you to not just read it once, but multiple times. Enjoy each section and consider how it describes you and the ways that you love God and others.

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So Loved: J3:16

john-3-16This single verse from the gospel of John is known all over the world. It’s probably the most popular verse and usually makes the top 3 favorite verses for individuals.

And why not? Who isn’t interested in receiving immortality from a loving God by simply believing in his son? Seems like a no-brainer to lots of people.

As simple and straight forward as this verse is, without considering how a first century Jew would have understood what John was saying, we miss out on the depth of all that was actually being said.

And as much as I’d like to unpack this verse and dive in deep to understand all that’s being communicated, I’m going to choose to make just one comment:

God’s love for mankind is all about us winning in the end. So celebrate the birth of Jesus fully as you eagerly wait for his return.