Resurrection

So this may well initially sound like a bizarre thing to reflect upon at Christmas rather than Easter, but just maybe there is some resurrection at Christmas time as well.

At Easter we think about the physical death and resurrection of Jesus, but i wonder whether there is something more fundamental that resurrection at christmas might mean.

So why resurrection at Christmas?

There has been a lot recently spoken about God resurrecting rather than rescuing, and so at this advent time, I wonder whether that is what has taken place at Christmas, where god rather than being the rescuing god, resurrects the relationship with mankind that he is wanting.

The birth of Jesus it could be seen as god not settling for the relationship with the mankind he created and wanting to do all that he could to resurrect that relationship?

I guess it would have been very easy For Jesus to remain in Heaven, enjoying all that Heaven has there, but instead he chose to take the discomfort, of human birth, human life, human death, and then resurrection.

This strikes me as the god who wasn’t prepared to just leave things as they were, or even give them a chance of getting worse, but a god who was prepared to do all that he could, discomfort and all, to resurrect all that he could with his relationship with mankind.

This thought of the resurrecting God rather than the rescuing god is one that would probably resonate with som many people, as they would want god to resurrect them from struggle, trouble, hurt or pain, but realise that god isn’t necessarily going to rescue them, but certainly could resurrect them from their situation.

So much we see around us today, in so many lives would indicate the need for an advent time of resurrection, and so this is our prayer:

Lord, come and resurrect where there is brokenness, hurt, pain, bring life where there is struggle to embrace life. Amen.

Christianity, the Pioneering Faith

For many, I know, the words pioneer or pioneering fill them with fear, but I wonder if pioneering is at the core of our faith.

Even at this Advent time, we celebrate the pioneering nature of God!

Pioneers don’t settle for what is; they seek to break new ground, break down some established boundaries and see change taking place around.

It strikes me that at Advent, this is exactly what God did! He didn’t settle for what was, he wanted to see a change in people’s relationship with him. God simply wasn’t prepared to let things carry on as they had been for some time.

The birth of Jesus, Christ coming to live on earth as a human, being born among us, brought that new invitation to all of mankind. It was a pioneering movement and one that we still celebrate to this day.

I wonder whether at this Christmas time, we could explore that pioneering movement of Christ in our own lives and explore how we could live it out.

Where and with whom could we engage?
Who could we extend an invite to?
Whom are we called to dwell among to see change?

Pioneering isn’t always as scary as it may sound. We are already dwelling among people, but maybe the Advent challenge for us this year is to consider where are we extending that invitation, and where are we being a continuous dwelling presence.

Invitation and Choice

Advent, it seems to me, is an reminder of two important themes: invitation and choice. All the way through, to the point of Jesus’ birth, there is invitation – to Joseph (though maybe not to Mary), to the shepherds, to the wise men: there is a constant invitation to come to Jesus!!

And where there is an invitation, there is a choice, and the choice is simple, whether we accept the invitation or reject it!

The difference with this invitation, is that usually someone invites you to their place, to come to where they are, but in this season we celebrate the simple fact that Jesus came to earth and lived here, so the invitation is there for us to come to him within our own context. What an amazing invitation!!

People invite because they want people to come; the angels invited because God wanted people to come to meet with Jesus, and even today that invitation is still open, come and meet with Jesus!

But once you receive the invite, the choice is always yours as to whether you accept it or not! Invitations are either received and acted upon, or they are received and rejected. And mankind has faced that choice throughout time, to come meet with Jesus or reject him!

This Advent, it might just be an idea to recognise that invitation again, be thankful that the living God wants to invite you, but then realise the choice that lies before you. What choice will you make?

Reconciliation

The word reconciliation can bring up many different reactions and provokes so much in all of us. But as Advent is starting at this time, it is a poignant moment to consider the challenge and our thankfulness of reconciliation.

Could we possibly imagine something that we have done, thought, or said, or even engaged in that would stop us from having a relationship with the loving gracious God? If Advent says little else to us at this time, it surely is that there is nothing that can separate us from God, as God made that first move in sending his son, who clearly was open for coming, making himself present among us, and enabling that reconciliation to take place.

The challenge here is that God didn’t just come for those who choose to believe now, or receive his invite, but Jesus came that all would be reconciled to the father, and that all would know that the invitation is there.

So if God says that to each of us and to others all around us, what does that say to how we relate to others? Are we always open to the possibility of reconciliation? Will we be people who make that first move of reconciliation, or do we place hurdles that people have to jump through to reach that point of reconciliation?

Recently, I heard someone speak about this: they said something along the lines of if we don’t offer reconciliation or be reconcilatory people, then we are saying that those people we choose not to reconcile with are not worth anything!! This is quite a challenge, especially as I reflect upon work amongst young people and others’ viewpoints of young people. My hope and aim is that no young person I come into contact with would ever feel that they were not worth anything, especially not worth reconciling, as reconciliation is one of the greatest forms of hope that could ever possibly be given. I would never want to be that barrier to anyone having hope!!

So at this Advent time, could we be reconciliatory people? Could we be helpers rather than barriers to reconciliation? What relationships are there that we need to be proactive in reconciling rather than expecting others to make the first move?

As God moves to us and we choose to receive that reconciliation, let’s be people who live out the reality of what has been offered to us.