Another Christmas season

I was travelling much of October and November. Lots of impressions, but nothing that has yet crystallized into a blog entry. Many seem to be sensing that we are in a season of transition. And yet, they draw different conclusions about where that is taking us.

So I find myself waiting: "What is on your heart, Lord?"

TreeIn the mean time, Christmas is fast approaching. My local jazz radio station has been bombarding me with jazz renditions of Christmas music. Which seldom improves the songs...

There is the song about Santa coming to town. It is actually a very oppressive song, threatening with his constant surveillance of our behavior in order to determine whether or not we will get the good stuff. Not a lot of freedom there.

Sadly, this is pretty much how many of us view God. The idea that God is a judge, who is constantly keeping a record of rights and wrongs in order to award or deny us an eternity in heaven, is quite widespread. A good share of preaching and teaching enforces this perspective.

Santa Claus is a myth. And so is any so-called god who fits this Santa description.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1 NIV)

God the Father of Jesus Christ is not in any way like Santa. He is not a record-keeper. He is love, and love keeps no record of wrongs. As I wrote a couple of months ago, he delights in showing mercy.

One transition that we definitely need, both as individuals and as the people of God, is to move away from a good-or-bad framework. This is a season to be pursuing his heart—not trying to do what he wants us to do, but pursuing and understanding of the thing which are dear to his heart in order for our own hearts to become like his.

To start with, this should lead to more patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, etc. We will begin to find ourselves loving our enemies, laying down our own rights, spending ourselves for others, and so on. And what would that lead to?

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14 KJV)

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Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™