Christmas ABC

It’s so easy to get complicated. Particularly when it comes to God.

ABC blocks

When we look up at the night sky and ponder its infinite unmeasurable enormity, the vast expanse of space….. our tiny word-search comes up empty – devoid of vocabulary to describe how a Creator could be real and behind all of that out there….

space

And then down here we’re so, so insignificantly randomly small by comparison. It’s too hard to grasp. Let’s rather join the multitudes choosing denial and unbelief rather than admit an alternative – God – far beyond our comprehension and limitations.

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From our vantage point surrounded by gunfire, suicide bombers, wars, greed, lust, cruelty, exploitation, addiction, murder, rape, violence, torture, sex trading, duplicity, haves and have nots, betrayal, oppression….. where’s the evidence of a loving God? If God’s so great and real why, why, why? Great questions with answers that frustrate. Platitudes swing from pointed fingers declaring blame, fault, and judgement from on high. So it seems.

But those are conversations in the head… a place not designed or capable of containing the noisy depth of such debate. It gets complicated very quickly, like a flailing infant so full of wind but with no learned words to share what’s inside other than to scream.

baby_crying_in_crib

Perhaps the first trace of a better way is found in the mother who picks up the tormented infant and soothes with an embrace, the offer of her breast, the sound of a song, the caress of skin, and the gentle rocking cradled in her arms.

Mother-and-Child

On earth as in heaven – she’s unwittingly using the language of God. Relationship revealed in love touching human hearts where words are not enough. The infant cannot be debated into peace any more than we can adequately prove the person of God. As the mother pre-existed the birth of the child so too we are ‘pre-existed’. Left alone we angrily cry from our crib… millions and millions of screaming infants… until 2000 years ago, “Away in a manger no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.”

Please, you must be kidding me? That’s your answer?

Four hundred years after the last words of the prophet Malachi penned these prophetic words to end the Old Testament writings… “He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents…” Jesus was born.

cat shakespeare

The first Christmas, God in human form, impossible for us to comprehend – which is precisely as it should be. Anything else would be as ludicrous as trying to get my cat to talk back to me or recite Shakespeare. Unless of course God steps in and helps us understand something of who He is and who we are intended to be…. Which gets us back to why Jesus was born, lived, died and rose again.

It’s also why the symbol for Christianity is not a manger, cot, cradle, or roll of bandages?

manger 1

Here’s the ABC reason for the season – Christmas.

A = Appearance and arrival. The birth of Jesus was a revelation from heaven to earth. Like a seed falling into the ground that would grow over time into fulfillment – eventually revealing the true meaning of its planting. But left there…. not enough… a distant historical moment that seems like make-believe… makes no difference to me today.

B = Behavior, a model of love. The life of Jesus demonstrated sacrificial love, kindness, and supernatural power to heal the wounded and broken hearted. In Him the Creator is revealed as personal, kind, forgiving, good, and never angry – no-one expected that when looking up at the heavens. Through Jesus we glimpse God as a loving Father bending over the crib of every screaming infant in the universe and drawing them close to his heart. Healing, affirmation, and explanation communicated through touch and feel…. Heart first, the conversations would follow…. Left there – not enough – a good example exposing how far the rest of us have fallen and failed… what might have been, quite depressing if that’s it..

C = Crucifixion. The full extent of someone’s commitment is revealed in how far they are willing to go, the depth of their sacrifice. The fruit of the seed planted in the manger was harvested on the Cross. One perfect life given for the many lives lost in order that all could be redeemed, reborn, renewed, and restored. Left there… not enough…. forgiveness for sin perhaps, but we’re still caught in a powerless and debilitating merry-go-round of never being good enough.

abcdef

D = Death defeated. Evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, a man risen from the dead, rolls away a gravestone and shatters my earthbound paradigm. The window of heaven is open, there’s more to life than this one. I have no understanding of how or why it makes any difference – yet. A barrier’s removed but it’s still not enough… Information gathered in my head while my heart is out in the cold.

E = Empowering. The Spirit of God is poured out and available to every living creature through the barrier Jesus broke on the Cross. Presence, hope, forgiveness, love, joy, power is released from a loving Father to every child who receives. Exactly the same as was given to the baby Jesus, the child Jesus, the adult Jesus, the miracle-working Jesus, and the suffering Jesus. All I have is yours, ask, seek, knock, receive, heaven on earth, restoration, renewal… much more. Almost enough, need a few more blocks..

F = Faith. This is where I take hold of all the other blocks and respond. The great revelation from heaven to earth is activated as I believe in order to experience and see…. only a mustard seed required – and that’s more than enough! My heart burns within me… wow!

istock-alphabet-building-blocks-1-4-mb

G = God is good. The character of God is transformed through Jesus and I’m no longer afraid. He loves me unconditionally, is not angry, disappointed or disillusioned with me… He’s for me. not against me. He knows I need help and relationship and that’s what He’s offering and releasing my way. – more than enough…. generously pressed down and overflowing.

H = Heaven on earth. Life is no longer limited to me…. I don’t have to wait for death to experience hope and joy, and the power of God’s love and presence. God’s kingdom has come… and I’m invited in… now.

I = Identity. I’m a son or daughter of a loving Father who sent His Son Jesus, to welcome me home and accompany me through life on earth. I’m no longer an orphan without hope or purpose. Because of Jesus I live from a place now of acceptance, affirmation, purpose, confidence, and a life-giving sense of anticipation for so much more to come… like the rest of the alphabet :-)!

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What if the next step to know God this Christmas is to allow Him to cradle your head in His very strong arm and to hear Him sing a love song over your troubled and puzzled heart? What if you risked not over-thinking and dared to believe God’s love poured out over you right now? And you used the simple words of a very young child…. “Jesus thank you, show me that you’re true.” And if you don’t have the words, a gurgle or groan will do just fine.

“Unless you become like little children you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”

May you, quite simply, know His amazing presence this Christmas – and be rocked!

Below is a link to a simple and creative contemporary presentation of the birth of Jesus using socks and music – enjoy 🙂

 

 

John Cox

Offering Pastoral Counselling to encourage, heal, transform, and give hope.

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