In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being. What came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light. A man named John was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light. The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world. 10 The light was in the world, and the world came into being through the light, but the world didn’t recognize the light. 11 The light came to his own people, and his own people didn’t welcome him. 12 But those who did welcome him, those who believed in his name, he authorized to become God’s children, 13 born not from blood nor from human desire or passion, but born from God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14, CEB)

The Word became flesh and made his home among us. Or in the NRVS the word became flesh and dwelt among us. Made his home is a better understanding of the word. The word in Greek literally means tented. Jesus came and pitched a tent to stay awhile. He want to be a part of this world so he set up a residence for a stay.

Jesus was God, and is God and in the midst of everything happening the plan was for God to come to earth as one of us and help us know what it is to love.

Honor God today as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Love your family, even those who are of a different political party than you.

Love your neighbor, even the one that pisses you off.

Love the world, because that is what God did when he stepped down into the manger to show us what love is.

Loving People. Loving God.

Consider them carefully

In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom. Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14 “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” 15 When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. 18 Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. 20 The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told. (Luke 2:1-20, CEB)

A story we have all heard time and time again, the anticipation of Advent comes to its peak in the birth of our savior. When reading this I am reminded that this is not only a story of history but of today. Jesus is not only reborn every year but in every moment, grace is shown in this world. In both the hard times and the easy, Christ is with us, guiding us, and calling us to glorify him. As we come to the end of Advent find every chance to bring Christ’s light into this world through grace and peace to all people.

Loving People. Loving God.

Not a story

16 We didn’t repeat crafty myths when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Quite the contrary, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when a voice came to him from the magnificent glory, saying, “This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 In addition, we have a most reliable prophetic word, and you would do well to pay attention to it, just as you would to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Most important, you must know that no prophecy of scripture represents the prophet’s own understanding of things, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will. Instead, men and women led by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:16-21, CEB)

We are not just telling a story when we talk about Jesus coming in a manger and going to the cross. With all the details in between.

It isn’t a myth, or a tale, or something we spun out of our own creation. Only the Holy Spirit can lead us to speak this truth.

This story is a lamp for the darkness of the world. One we must share.

So go shining a light and sharing the good news of a baby in a manger that goes to a cross, so that all may live.

Loving People. Loving God.

brought near

11 So remember that once you were Gentiles by physical descent, who were called “uncircumcised” by Jews who are physically circumcised. 12 At that time you were without Christ. You were aliens rather than citizens of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of God’s promise. In this world you had no hope and no God. 13 But now, thanks to Christ Jesus, you who once were so far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. 15 He canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. 16 He reconciled them both as one body to God by the cross, which ended the hostility to God. 17 When he came, he announced the good news of peace to you who were far away from God and to those who were near. 18 We both have access to the Father through Christ by the one Spirit. 19 So now you are no longer strangers and aliens. Rather, you are fellow citizens with God’s people, and you belong to God’s household. 20 As God’s household, you are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 The whole building is joined together in him, and it grows up into a temple that is dedicated to the Lord. 22 Christ is building you into a place where God lives through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22, CEB)

We were once a people with no hope and no God. But thanks to a baby in a manger that showed us how to love, we have been brought near.

Jesus is our peace. Jesus has made all people into one body. There we must break down hatred and divisions of all kinds. Jesus canceled the old rules that divide us and made us be one.

The baby we await has given us all life and brings us all together.

Live in a way that brings together.

Loving People. Loving God.

breathless with anticipation

18 I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. 20 Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice—it was the choice of the one who subjected it—but in the hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. 23 And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. 24 We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? 25 But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience. 26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. 27 The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will. 28 We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 We know this because God knew them in advance, and he decided in advance that they would be conformed to the image of his Son. That way his Son would be the first of many brothers and sisters. 30 Those who God decided in advance would be conformed to his Son, he also called. Those whom he called, he also made righteous. Those whom he made righteous, he also glorified. (Romans 8:18-30, CEB)

Have you ever been there, in that moment where it seems like time is standing still and moving one million miles an hour all at the same time, as you wait for the thing you’ve been waiting for to happen?

It is a breathless moment where you almost need to remind yourself to breathe.

We are so caught up in the anticipation of what is coming we forget to do what needs to be done to live.

That is what Paul says life is like in the already but not yet. We are already sons and daughters of God, we have already experienced the birth of our savior, but we wait for it like it hasn’t happened.

When the fulfillment of the kingdom comes and we take that breath, oh the beauty of the moment.

Know Jesus is with us, even as we wait for him.

Know that we are already with God, as we await the fulfillment of the kingdom.

Know that we are breathless, even as we breathe.

Loving People. Loving God.


15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the one who is first over all creation, 16 Because all things were created by him: both in the heavens and on the earth, the things that are visible and the things that are invisible. Whether they are thrones or powers, or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him. 17 He existed before all things, and all things are held together in him. 18 He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the one who is firstborn from among the dead so that he might occupy the first place in everything. 19 Because all the fullness of God was pleased to live in him, 20 and he reconciled all things to himself through him—whether things on earth or in the heavens. He brought peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20, CEB)

Jesus is the image of God, the first over everything.

Everything that was created was created by God. Everything was created for God.

God holds everything together.

As we await the coming baby in the manger, let us remember Jesus came to show us how to live and how to love all of creation.

Let us see the love we have from Jesus and return that to the world around us.

Loving People. Loving God.

Baby lept

39 Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. 40 She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. 43 Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.” 46 Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! 47 In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. 48 He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored 49 because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. 50 He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God. 51 He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. 52 He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed.54 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, 55 just as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.” (Luke 1:39-55, CEB)

Mary went to see Elizabeth and John lept when he heard Mary’s voice!

John knew that Mary was the mother of Jesus even before he was born.

This is hard for us to fathom. This is hard for me to believe.

But the Scripture says this. So it must be true, right?

Do you know any of your family’s stories? Are they all 100% true?

Sometimes details are embellished or changed ever so slightly to help make the story better.

John prepared the way for Jesus in many ways and was a great person of faith. John did many things to help many believe in Christ and to be followers of the way. John gave his life for the faith.

And this story tells of cousins who had babies and both were over joyed in the circumstance, one being “too old” and one being “too unwed” for babies, but their lives were changed, as our lives were changed by their babies.

Love the story. Share the story of a baby born in Bethlehem, in a stable, to show the world how to love.

Loving People. Loving God.

Under wing

31 At that time, some Pharisees approached Jesus and said, “Go! Get away from here, because Herod wants to kill you.” 32 Jesus said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Look, I’m throwing out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete my work. 33 However, it’s necessary for me to travel today, tomorrow, and the next day because it’s impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to you! How often I have wanted to gather your people just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you didn’t want that. 35 Look, your house is abandoned. I tell you, you won’t see me until the time comes when you say, Blessings on the one who comes in the Lord’s name.” (Luke 13:31-35, CEB)

There is a great image of peace and protection in this section about death and wanting power.

Herod wants to kill Jesus and so do Pharisees because they are losing their power because of Jesus. And Jesus says that he won’t run away and that he wishes he could gather the people of Jerusalem together like a hen gathers her chicks under her wing. They are safe there. Protected from the world.

God wants us under her wing. Protected.

Do we want that?

Do we trust God enough to gather there?

Can we help others see the promises and the love God has for the world?

Can we help others know that they are loved by God?

Loving People. Loving God.

Hold Fast

32 But remember the earlier days, after you saw the light. You stood your ground while you were suffering from an enormous amount of pressure. 33 Sometimes you were exposed to insults and abuse in public. Other times you became partners with those who were treated that way. 34 You even showed sympathy toward people in prison and accepted the confiscation of your possessions with joy, since you knew that you had better and lasting possessions. 35 So don’t throw away your confidence—it brings a great reward. 36 You need to endure so that you can receive the promises after you do God’s will. 37 In a little while longer, the one who is coming will come and won’t delay; 38 but my righteous one will live by faith, and my whole being won’t be pleased with anyone who shrinks back. 39 But we aren’t the sort of people who timidly draw back and end up being destroyed. We’re the sort of people who have faith so that our whole beings are preserved. (Hebrews 10:32-39, CEB)

As we wait for the promises to be fulfilled it seems we lose heart.

It is easy to hold fast when we first are in the faith, but time wears away and we wonder.

But remember that God is not like us, and we are not like God and the blink of an eye is like 1000 years to God. So time is different to us.

The promises will be fulfilled and God will make good. We just need to have faith and hold fast.

Loving People. Loving God.

Once and for all

10 We have been made holy by God’s will through the offering of Jesus Christ’s body once for all. 11 Every priest stands every day serving and offering the same sacrifices over and over, sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right side of God. 13 Since then, he’s waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for his feet, 14 because he perfected the people who are being made holy with one offering for all time. 15 The Holy Spirit affirms this when saying, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them. After these days, says the Lord, I will place my laws in their hearts and write them on their minds. 17 And I won’t remember their sins and their lawless behavior anymore. 18 When there is forgiveness for these things, there is no longer an offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:10-18, CEB)

Before Jesus, no matter how many times a priest did a sacrifice it would never have been enough. And even now any priest other than Jesus that offers a sacrifice it is never enough.

But God gave us Jesus to make the one sacrifice that would for all time cover everyone and make the promises true.

Trust in the promises that are fulfilled by Jesus and trust in the baby coming in the manger.

Loving People. Loving God.