40 Days of JohnDay 28: John 15:18-27
Jesus is preparing His friends for times like today when He has gone to be with His Father in heaven. Jesus reminds us that, as believers and His friends, we do not belong to the world, but to Him.
"As it is you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world...And you must testify, for you have been with me..."
Jesus reminds us that believing in Him and following His ways for our lives means that He calls us to think differently, to act outside the cultural box in which we live. And as Jesus is saying this, I am reminded how difficult that was, even for Jesus, God's own Son. It's not easy, but it sure is glorious!
The first thing that comes to my mind as I read is Christmas. It's Advent, a time for preparing and remembering Jesus' humble and amazing beginnings on earth. We celebrate Emmanuel, God with us.
And everywhere I turn, I am confronted by the rush and urgency of the seasonal shopping/decorating frenzy. It's easy to miss Jesus in the middle of Santa Claus, noisy bells, all the bright lights, holiday parties, black Friday and cyber Monday offers. There's so many distractions asking for our attention.
Yet, Jesus reminds us today that He calls us to serve Him, not the ways of the world. He was never in a hurry. And Jesus thought way outside the box of His current culture. His goal was to serve, to share God's love everywhere He went with the people God put in His path. He showed us what sharing God's love really looked like.
So, I wonder...what does God want for you and for me, from you and from me this Christmas?*
A prayer for today-
Thank You for Jesus and this time of year to reflect on His beginnings in the world. Thank You for reminding us that You are always with us. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit that guides us and empowers us to love You and to love others like Jesus.
Lord, forgive me for getting so distracted and rushed in the holiday frenzy. Open my heart and mind to Your will for me and for my family at Christmas. Help me to slow down and hear Your still small voice that is at work in the world. Help me keep Jesus at the center of Christmas.
I pray for all those who need Christmas to be different this year. May they come to experience the true Spirit of Christmas, Your Holy Spirit.
In Jesus' name I pray,
In Christ's love,
*On a side note, this post was partly inspired by a new Christmas song I heard on the radio called "What God Wants for Christmas" by Darius Rucker (from the album, Home for the Holidays).