Weekday Devotionals

Devotional by Pastor Aaron Green

"Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! "And now, oh Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you." Psalm 39:6-7 (ESV)

Think of the Christmas story... not the one that plays for 24 hours on TBS with Ralphie, a leg lamp, and a Red Rider BB gun (You'll shoot your eye out!)... Not that one. The real one. About baby Jesus...

Now think of Christmas.

In many ways these things seem wildly disconnected. Sure, we can give Christian sounding explanations as to why we have a tree, how Jesus got gifts from the wise men, and how Santa was himself a dedicated follower of Jesus. All of which are true and good, but what is the Christmas story really about?

This past Sunday we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent. The Advent is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years ago as a time to reflect about the significance of the coming of Jesus. The arrival (or Advent) of our Savior and Messiah. In many traditions, a candle is lit. That first candle represents hope; a light in the darkness. Let's think on the Christmas story again with hope in mind...

First, a young girl, in a relatively poor household, in some distant part of the world, is told the Hope of the world is going to reside inside of her. This story is birthed, quite literally, through the poor and marginalized of society. This Hope of the world is birthed in humble circumstances; alongside animals. I wonder if there was 'no room in the inn' because people were ashamed and disappointed in this young pregnant girl yet to be married, and they figured, 'serves her right'. She too needed Hope.

Next, this excited message of the coming King of Kings, born in a manger, came not to the affluent or influential, but once again, to low-class shepherds with a distinct smell. There seems to be a theme already growing here. This Christmas story seems to want to highlight the poor and marginalized people on the outskirts. Christmas seems to be about bringing hope to the hopeless because they feel they have nothing to bring to the table, and yet, all God wants is for them to simply come.

As I think about Christmas in our own context, it seems we've become far too concerned with accumulating more stuff. Sure, there is a Jesus element in our celebrations. We know Christmas wouldn't exist without Christ, but perhaps we've neglected the other part of the story. God is still wanting it to be about bringing hope to the hopeless. About being a light in the darkness. About bringing the poor and marginalized closer to the circle. Perhaps this story is bigger than we thought. Perhaps we need to revisit how we 'do Christmas'. Perhaps we need to widen our lens on the traditions we have. Perhaps we need to put our Hope in God instead of Amazon Prime.

What are you hoping for?

Pastor Aaron




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