I have two guilty pleasures in my TV watching habits: X Factor and Extreme Makeover (Home Edition). I also have a Celine Dion Christmas CD but I confess that with slightly more shame (although she does an amazing “O’ Holy Night’!).
The shows themselves are formulaic and a bit contrived, but they reach my heart because they point me towards the true mission of Jesus: to reverse the effects of sin and evil and bring the Kingdom of God to earth. X Factor has been full of great stories of people overcoming adversity and letting their God-given talent shine. Chris, who is 7 months clean after being addicted to crystal meth; Josh, who is ultra-talented but found himself stuck making Burrito’s with a 13 year old daughter to help support; Stacy, who had come out of abusive relationships and being told she had no talent and the list goes on. Extreme Makeover helps everyday heroes who give a lot, but are also burdened by disability, poverty or other circumstances which ahve left them without a functioning house. I love the fact they go way-over-the-top, build beautiful houses, and custom design it to the individual’s heart. It reminds me that we serve an abundant God.
Reversal is a Christmas theme. After Mary found out she was pregnant with God’s Son she sang this psalm; “He has performed mighty deeds with is arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. he has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. he has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors (Luke 1:51-55).”
Jesus came to bring life in place of death; hope in place of despair; faith in place of fear; peace in place of strife; freedom in place of slavery and salvation in place of condemnation. That is what is at stake at Christmas. The battle is intense around the birth of Christ. Joseph ponders divorce; there’s no decent room for Mary to deliver in; the baby boys are slaughtered in Bethlehem; the Son of God flees as a refugee to Egypt and Simeon is right when he says to Mary, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so taht the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too (Luke 2:34-35).”
The coming of Jesus at Christmas is hope for the world and God’s big yes to his creation. The reversal begins now as we embrace the new hearts that he has given us, let him in as Lord and King, friend and brother and let him say YES over our lives. He loves us and has rescued us and now we’re part of his mission to bring his hope to the world.
Merry Christmas everybody. Thank you for your support of this blog. We love sharing the life of the heart with you. God Bless and enjoy some Celine Dion!