very year at Christmas I like to bring something new to the story...last year it was the sermon about the Little Drummer Boy (the Kingdom principle of using what's already in your hand to be effective), and Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer (the thing that you thought was a weakness in your life...the thing that caused everyone else to shun you...may be the very thing that, "for such a time as this" will bring you to greatness). But this year's word about reconciliation and inclusion (the wise men who sought Him, and the shepherds who didn't, all receiving the same Good News) I think is my favorite.
evelation is what this season is all about...the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us...the invisible becoming visible...a time when we acknowledge the possibility of giving birth to the impossible:
For unto us... not unto me… not unto you... but unto us, the collective, corporate community of mankind...the household of humanity...unto all of us, a child is born; unto us, the global family, a Son is given, and the responsibility of the government will rest on His broad shoulders. In fact, all the governments of all the peoples of the world will ultimately recognize Him as their one true foundation, for the earth is His, and He belongs to all of us . He will be the physical embodiment of the “I Am,” the God who defies description; and, in an attempt to define the indefinable, He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase and expansion of His kingdom and government and peace there will be no end. He will reign initially from David's throne and over His kingdom, establishing it and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time, on into the eternal now. The passionate zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
(Isaiah 9:6,7 - The Bible In The Now)
ight now, I only want to focus and concentrate on these things...to rejoice in the reality that unto us a Son is given. No doubt, there's currently a lot going on in my life and in my ministry...in fact, you could say that I'm just generally in transition in pretty much every area...but I have chosen to take no thought for tomorrow according to Matthew 6:34, believing that, ultimately, my steps are ordered, and that the Lord will always perfect that which concerns me. I so appreciate hearing from many people over the last few days, several with whom I had basically lost contact, who have picked up from the blog that something's going on and wanted to send some encouragement (I'm frankly surprised that so many of you who I never hear from read it!)...but, seriously, I'm OK...we're OK...we can talk about it in a few days...but this is Christmas week, and I haven't even watched "It's a Wonderful Life" yet, or listened to the soundtrack of "A Charlie Brown Christmas"! First things first!
ou probably have your own drama swirling around you, currently...plenty to be worried about in the natural...lots of things by which to be distracted from the beauty of the holiday. We all have our plates full, but for the next few days I want us all to put those full plates down, and pick up real plates full of turkey and ham and all kinds of delicious and fatttening things (I even like egg nog and fruit cake...how extreme is that?!), and just enjoy Christmas in the now! You can watch what you eat later...this is a time for celebration! You can deal with your stuff later, too...it will most likely still be there...or, maybe not...who knows what Christmas miracles can and may occur in the next few hours?
“Peace I leave with you; I’m talking about My own, personal sense of peace, wholeness and well-being; I’m actually transferring it to you. You see, My peace is unlike the peace that comes from this realm...the peace that is reactionary and temporal, dependent on outward circumstances to determine its strength and presence. My peace is other-worldly – settled, absolute – causing you to be in harmony with your whole life – past, present, and future – and ultimately with the whole of creation. It will empower you to refuse to let your heart (your inner world) become troubled, agitated, or upset, no matter what is happening around you, and you can be fearless because you will be at peace with the Father, with yourself, and with the universe."
(John 14:27 - John In The Now)
hoose to be happy and grateful for all that you have this week...choose to take time to count your many blessings...choose to embrace and manifest all of the best sentiments of the season like "peace on earth, good will toward people" (especially the people in your life and personal world), and "God bless us, everyone (there are enough available blessings to go around...more than enough for all of us)!"
What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. - Agnes M. Pharo
ave yourself a merry little Christmas, bloggers and Facebook friends. Regardless of what you may have gone through in 2009, the fact is that you made it...you're here now...and you have lived to see another holiday season. So you need to enjoy it...every bit of it...even if it really is only a merry "little" Christmas this year. God is good (all the time), and He has been good to you throughout 2009 in ways that you can't even see right now. You know, we probably overuse the Romans 8:28 "all things work together" phrase and concept (I wrote a whole book about it, in fact) to help us deal with all the unexplainable and overwhelming things that often happen in our lives...but in the big picture, that's what is really going on. Take a minute out of the holiday hustle and bustle to get quiet, and in your spirit you may hear Him say, "I really do know the plans I have for you..."
EAL PEOPLE EXPERIENCING THE REAL GOD IN THE REAL WORLD...for many of us this Christmas, this trademark of Church In The Now is becoming much more than a slogan or even a concept. Because of all that has happened and is happening in the world around us, and at CITN, we are forced into walking this idea out...manifesting it as living epistles to be read by all. Mary and Joseph's reality was certainly altered when the angel told them that they would become the mother and step-father of Jesus, but their whole world was turned upside down when they found out they had to go to Bethlehem in the third trimester of Mary's pregnancy, supposedly to be taxed. Of course, the real deal was that they had to get there so that the Messianic prophecy about the birth could be fulfilled. Sometimes what we think is an inconvenience or even random chaos in our life is actually God getting us to where we are supposed to be, so that a prophetic imperative can be confirmed. And part of the end result of surviving that rugged trip to our own "Bethelehem" is that what emerges...indeed what is "birthed"...is something that is completely REAL.
n a word, we have everthing to be thankful for, and nothing to fear...we also have, as I've already said, every reason to enjoy the holidays...to have a Merry Christmas (Jesus is the reason for the season), a Happy New Year...even a Happy Hanukkah (Shalom, y'all)...and an awesome Kwanzaa! Why not celebrate it all?! Why limit Thanksgiving to a single Thursday in November?! You don't have to have a turkey to remind you to celebrate and to be grateful and to rejoice! The holiday season...especially Christmas...is a state of mind...an attitude...a realizaion...a remembrace that God is good and life is good, and life in Him should be appreciated and cherished and valued, regardless of what may or may not be happening in the world around us...Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be Which inspire your heavenly song? Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
o I am praying for all of this community to grasp this (just like the little monk praying over there on the altar that forms the letter "S"), but my prayer is really just a declaration of faith...an affirmation...a blessing that I now pronounce over you and your household and your family and your loved ones...a blessing over all that you are, and over all that you will become in the new year...I bless your dreams...I bless your vision...I bless your spirit and your soul and your body...I bless your memory of Christmas past, and your imagination of Christmas future...most of all, and most importantly, I bless your paradigm of Christmas present...Christmas in the NOW! 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 divine, O night, O night divine!
is the season to be jolly...and thankful...and positive...and proactive...and open and optimistic and full of faith for the future! It's time to reflect on the journey, and to look back over all of it with absolutely no regrets. It's the season to expect the unexpected...to re-connect with the wonder of childlike belief. Call it magic or miracle, the truth of it is that this is the time when we open up our hearts to believe that the clunky and clumsy logic of natural laws is done away with...and suddenly we dream a world of possibilities where angelic choirs serenade shepherds, and eastern astrologers are led by celestial lights, and virgins conceive, and birth is given to the impossible! It's the most wonderful time of the year!
ay your days be merry and bright, and may all you Christmases be right, as you see everything in your life the right way! I speak joy to your world, and say that all of your nights are silent, so that you may sleep in heavenly peace. No matter what lies ahead for you, let nothing you dismay...remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day...and because He was, the only things that you need to concentrate on are tidings of comfort and joy! The hopes and fear of all your years are met in Him tonight! He deserves all of your praise. He knows our need, Our weakness is no stranger, Behold your King, before Him lowly bend, Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!
nd so, as I come to the end of this year's BLOGINTHENOW Christmas post, I await your responses on the comments page. I know we're all busy, but if you have a minute or two, and you have something to add to the conversation, take the time (if you haven't already) to express your thoughts and Christmas wishes for the rest of the blog community (yes, even you blurkers). What you write doesn't have to be poetic or profound...it just needs to be real.
ELAH! GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!
But the angel spoke immediately and authoritatively, saying to them, "Do not be afraid! I am here to announce good news to you...good news of a great and joyful event, and of a new reality! And this good news...this new reality...is for all people everywhere...it is for the entirety of humanity! This very night a Savior has been born in the City of David...a Savior who will perfectly embody the Christ, and will be known as the Lord! If you seek Him you will find Him...and this is what you're to look for: a baby swaddled in a blanket, and lying in a feeding trough for animals!" As soon as the angel made this declaration, the sky above the shepherds' heads lit up, and was filled with a seemingly infinite number of angels who formed a thunderous, mass choir, singing God's praises, and shouting, "GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST PARTS OF THE HEAVENLY REALM...AND IN THE EARTHLY DIMENSION, PEACE...PEACE TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE EARTH...AND A REVELATION TO THEM THAT GOD'S WILL TOWARD ALL OF HUMANITY IS ONLY GOOD!" (Luke 2:10-14, Luke In The Now)