Saturday, December 25, 2010

How many gods would pour out their heart to romance a world that has torn all apart?

(Original photo)
 Are there any stories that you've heard a thousand times that you somehow discover have caverns of meaning you've yet to explore? For me, much of the bible is this way. I grumble to reread that cliché parts: the cross, Jonah and the whale, Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, and especially the birth of Christ. Even people who don't believe in the bible know about that one, thanks to Charlie Brown's Christmas. Yet this year, when I heard that same ole story once again, sparks flew. The implications of the age old tale, the babe in the manger, the angels, and the shepherds echoes into our lives today. The baby changes everything. Maybe you recognized the story's greatness the first time you heard it, maybe you think the story was made up to help sell Christmas cards, but play along with me.

Just a little back story to the nativity scene: the world was separate from God. Because of sin. Because in that first Genesis story, people decided that God was holding out on them. Eve chose to take things into her own hands but then Adam rushed to rescue her from sin...oh He stood by and did nothing. He actually took part in disobeying God's only forbiddance. Since then the world was sick. It was rampant with the sin disease. People gave God the finger and did whatever they wanted or they straight ignored His existence. Death crept into the world and brought with it sorrow, pain, grief, anger, destruction. God didn't just sit back and watch this new, broken world. He gave them guidelines, that would keep them safe, and make their lives better. But people ignored those too. God made appearances, but He kept a distance because when something is pure, it cannot touch something impure or it too will become impure. It was painful to be apart from what you love, and God could not imagine His treasured creations spending eternity without Him. He had a rescue plan.

God decided to come to Earth. As fully man, and fully God. That way He could touch man's heart. Now, God could have made a grand entrance. He had thunder, lightning, earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, chariots of fire, plagues of locust, kings and queens all at his disposal. Instead, God came in the quiet of the night. And the only sign that pointed to His arrival was a bright, beautiful star. Those who'd listened to God's messengers knew exactly what was happening. People had been talking about this for years. But who would have expected a young, scared couple gave birth to the God of the Universe, in the form of Jesus, God's son? The mighty being, left His throne in heaven where he'd never felt the cold, never seen a dark night, never had to sneeze, to come to disease-ridden Earth. He came as the most dependent of creatures: a baby. He had to be fed, He had to be protected, He pooped His pants. Did he come to the grandest places on Earth? Was he born in a palace? Or perhaps a Macy's parade. No. God had so much humility that His son was born in a stable. The place they keep farm animals. And who did God send to tell the news that His son had been born, that God had come to earth? A grand choir? A professional motivational speaker? The president? Nope. Nope. And nope. God sent angels to tell a group of grungy old Shepards. Shepards weren't exactly the cool kids of the time. In fact, they were looked down upon. They were poor, simple men of trade. Yet God chose these nobody specials to spread the greatest news the world would ever hear.

I bet Mary didn't know as she held her baby that He would grow up to live a perfect life, loving people while spreading the good news about relationship with God, and die to finally give people the power to be free of the bondage of sin. He would bridge the gap between God and man that had been created by sin. He would rescue the world. He would rescue me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


When I heard that my campus' branch of Campus Crusade for Christ was hosting a mission trip to East Asia during Thanksgiving break my first thought was, sign me up! You see, this was a special trip in hopes to help build world vision that the individuals who went would spread to the rest of our movement. Coug staff kept these things in mind as they selected a few students to accept this challenge. I know that I would have said "YES!!!" If they'd asked me, and couldn't understand why they didn't.

I was SO BLESSED to be able to spend 5 weeks in Costa Rica this summer, just serving God. Sure there were a few large bugs, weird foods, and lonely, uncomfortable situations along the way. But for the most part I got to spend my time loving God, loving my team, and loving Costa Rican university students. What could be more fun than that? So naturally, when a similar opportunity came along, I was cock-eyed enthusiastic about it.

God and I reconciled about me not being called to go on the trip. I decided that what I really needed was a week of rest. I would hit ministry hard when I came back feeling refreshed and renewed. And God was calling me to be a part of this trip through prayer and finances. I loved being on my friends' support teams. My heart needed to give more than it needed to go.

Well, after living out this week I am so thankful to have had it. Inspired by Amanda Laplante's list of things she and Eric are thankful for, here are the things I'm thankful for--Thanksgiving break edition:

Sleeping in til 10. Staying in my pajamas all day. Sledding. Harry Potter. Jordan. Connor. Joey. Late night tv + talk with Joey. Mom. Big girls night out. The Grinch. Hot chocolate. Popcorn. Tea. Muffins. Banana bread. Snow Angels. Dad. Turkey. Mashed Potatoes. Ellen. Kelly and Rose, just like old times. Mischievous dogs. A warm cat. A bed that seems HUGE compared to the one in my dorm. Weddings. Wearing pretty dresses. Philip Arnold. Dance parties. Strobe light app. Rice-a-roni. Jesus music. Taylor Swift's Speak Now CD. Snow plows. Peppermint bark. Pizza with jalapenos on top. The game of things. Jill's jello. Just dance 2. Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer. Glee Christmas music. Cousins. A tank full of gas. Free meals. Family. Jesus. Love.

Conclusion: God is smarter than me.
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