The Paradox of Advent

There is a place where the nonsensical becomes the most rational. Where the extraordinary becomes the obvious and expected. Where the simplest of ways births the most extravagant of wonders.

As baffling as it may appear, sometimes the incorrect is just plain right. Even when it all seems so very wrong.

Thus is the Advent season… this paradox of both arrival and completion. The conception of a Savior bent on rescuing a world at odds with its Creator. Announcing His arrival with the words “It is finished” already formed on infant lips.

From the stable, to the cross, to the empty grave…

Each step purposeful, blazing pathways of redemption through souls.

Each touch heavy with the weight of holy and free.

Each breath, from first newborn cry to last earthly gasp, declaring love unconditional for the enemies of the Divine.

Every word spoken with intention.

Every action proclaiming an undying devotion.

Every moment a continual reminder of Immanuel.

God with us. Embracing the world with infinite love through puzzling means…

An unwed teenager chosen as the perfect earthly mother for an otherworldly Lord.

A lowly stable providing shelter for the King of kings.

A Nazarene carpenter transforming the lives of lepers and blind beggars and common laborers and hated tax collectors and prostitutes.

A Messiah come with light and love to a world set on resisting the very One it has longed to welcome.

A Friend of sinners betrayed by a comrade in order to fulfill the most holy of Covenants.

Oh, the wonder of such paradoxical designs as Calvary’s cross screams the Savior’s presence in the most absurd of ways. Sin drained from mankind by its absorption through innocent veins. Redemption completed by the death grip of iron in nail-pierced hands. Restoration intact through the ripping of temple veil, granting entrance for one and all.

The unworthy deemed valuable, summoned to partake in all that is sacred and hallowed.

The harlot made pure.

The shattered and broken raised with honor through the working of Calvary’s reparations.

This paradox of love remains as steady as ocean tide, beckoning me to come wade knee-deep in Advent’s waves.

Looking.

Hoping.

Anticipating.

Waiting with open hands and willing heart to receive the unexpected in divinely appointed ways.

So be still, anxious heart.

Hush the worry.

Quiet the weary of too much and too fast.

Slow down to ponder the wonder of sacred arrival.

For He has come and will continue to come to this wayward world.

Here in the mangers of human hearts, may He find a welcome resting place.

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The Revealing

The Word with God was God.

Abiding in profound union,

So intricately entwined there could be no separation.

Everything was created through Him and reunited to Him through Him yet again.

A cycle of ceaseless grace consumed with His mercies

Gave light and brought life,

Unrelenting and unconquerable.

True Light,

Giving light to all.

 

Stepping into His own creation,

He remained unrecognizable.

So far removed from His glory dwelling.

So far removed from human expectations of the Divine.

Misunderstood.

Rejected.

By the very hearts created to beat in communion with His own.

 

BUT

To all who believed Him,

To those who saw Holy in a manger

And Glory on a rugged cross,

He sealed with sonship.

Securing their inheritance as His children.

The gift of rebirth granted to eyes opened by this Love Light.

 

The Word became flesh.

Incarnate confined by human skin,

Morphing Himself into the masterpiece He created.

Filling the canvas of temporal here

With the eternal presence of unfailing love and faithfulness.

Revealing God with us.

 

From His abundance, beggars are filled.

The blind see.

See the glory of the very countenance of I AM

Reflecting in this man face.

Revealing God

To all who will believe.

 

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Returning the Gift

Within the last 24 hours, I have read the same Scripture reference twice (one penned in a book, the other posted on a facebook status). Interestingly enough, in both accounts, the selected verses neglected to include the final three words of the complete sentence as quoted in the Bible. Perhaps you are familiar with the reference to which I am referring, as taken from the book of Micah: Act justly; love mercy; walk humbly.

While this thought implies a good directive, without the final three words, I can’t help but think that we are missing the fullness of its true exhortation. And perhaps, along with the missing words, we are missing out on the only way to fully live the suggested actions. The remainder of verse 6:8 reads: with your God. And I find it’s those last three words that “pack the punch.”

With your God.

It’s presence that makes a relationship.

God seems to get that. In fact, it’s the very reason that Jesus was sent to earth. Born of an unwed, virgin teenager, He came to the lowliest of men so that every person, from every station in life, would have opportunity to have a relationship with Him.

In Matthew 1:23, Jesus was fittingly christened Immanuel – which means, God with us. Divine nature uniting with human nature. Salvation come to earth at the mere mercy of God alone through the precious gift of His Son. Redemption found through the blood of a cross. Intimate relationship offered through the rending of the temple’s veil at the fingertips of the Almighty.

No wonder God longs for us to walk with Him in justice, mercy, and humility. His love poured out on Calvary’s hill to fulfill the law and deliver us from slavery, once and for all. No more need for sacrificial offerings of the blood of rams and bulls. It’s the offering of our hearts that He desires most.

The gift of our presence offered back to the Giver of Life.

Contrary to what some of us live as if we believe, the action God requires of us is not the paying a price for the pardon of sin, but the gift of love itself. And this gift is not even something we are asked to give of our own power and might, but a gift that naturally emits from having a relationship with our Savior. It is a love that is produced as we walk with God. We can only live lives filled with justice, mercy, and humble thanksgiving when we have fully acknowledged the redemption extended to us – by choosing to take God at His word and by inviting Him to become our God.

John 1:14 tells us that the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Jesus the Christ  – Immanuel – God with man – God in man – united with us by the power of His Holy Spirit – in the preaching of His Word – through the healing of His hands – by the promised and living Savior in our midst. Immanuel – the most holy and intimate fellowship between God and man imaginable.

As we walk the course of our lives, let’s not forget to include those final three words of Micah 6:8. Act justly… with your God. Love mercy… with your God. And walk humbly… with your God.

This Christmas, may we wrap our hearts around the truth of Immanuel and offer back the gift of our presence in return. This year, let’s not only celebrate the gift of God with us but invite Him to celebrate the gift of us with God.

May your hearts be overwhelmed by the gift of our Savior’s love.
Merry Christmas!

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