Merry Christmas month you guys! At my church we just started a series for the season of Advent called “Wait For it… Something Something About Waiting and the Season of Advent” lol. Clearly I've forgotten the actual title, but MY POINT IS it got me thinking about the season in general. I feel like it's cool to celebrate the Christmas story that happened 2000 years ago or whatever, but I think sometimes we forget that the Christmas story is still happening now. For example— I’m gonna talk about myself because that’s the subject I know most about :). But Matt, one of the pastors at Flood, often describes the Christmas story as “God interjecting Himself into the Human Story to bring us life and restoration.” I dunno, I may have made half of that up, but it’s something like that. And I feel like I had my own personal Christmas story a little over two years ago when God interjected himself into my story to save my life – again. And I was no picnic to save either, believe you me. I was broken-hearted, apathetic, and on top of everything else, a complete and total asshole. You know how when lifeguards save a drowning person, the victim is supposed to relax and stop flailing so the lifeguard can do their job? I was the 300 pound man still kicking and thrashing as God was trying to bring me to shore—it wasn't pretty. But I was sooooo in the dark—and I want to talk about that phrase "in the dark" for a second too because I feel like, at least for me growing up in the Church, that phrase was always used to describe non-Christians or "unbelievers" with only the thinnest veiled tone of condescension. Pastors and patrons always talking about how we needed to reach those poor "lost souls" who don't know Jesus yet, and needed to be saved. But I never really heard them talk about Christians needing to be saved, and I would argue that Christians and non-Christians alike are in need of saving ALL the time. I know plenty of non-Christians who have their shit way more together than I do, and I know plenty of Christians who need to figure it the fuck out. People, both pre- and post-salvation prayer, need help. Here I was 23, a Christian for as far back as I could remember, and I couldn’t see shit, let alone have any idea who Jesus was yet. There's a Mumford & Sons lyric in “Roll Away Your Stone” that goes “Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think? And yet it dominates the things I see.” Boom. Called out. Roasted. I heard that line and it hit me that “darkness” doesn’t necessarily mean evil, the way it’s often touted from the pulpit. It’s literally just the absence of light. The absence of clarity. Standing in a pitch black room that may be as familiar to you as your own bedroom, and still not being sure where the dresser is. You don’t have to be a non-Christian to find yourself in the dark. Darkness will come, I think it’s just a thing that happens. At some point you’re gonna feel lost, or mad, or confused, or maybe hate God. And having recited a prayer a week ago, a month ago, ten years ago, 50 years ago, is not going to save you from that. But it helps me to remember this story. That 2000 years ago, God interjected himself into the human story to help us out. That 2 years ago, God interjected himself into my story to help me out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for celebrating Christmas (obviously, I’ve already bought and/or constructed 5 fake Christmas trees and accumulated literal POUNDS of tinsel), but I also think it’s important to stop and think, how is God trying to interject himself into my story now? Do I feel like He is? How do I feel about the fact that I don’t think He is? I expect a written paper and thoughtful discussion next time we meet.
In the meantime, please enjoy pictures of my 5 Christmas trees and pounds of tinsel :)