Maybe some years we can convince ourselves that “everything is okay”. Not 2020. Some years the glow of Christmas lights and shiny wrapping paper can distract us from the brokenness that surrounds us. Not 2020. The dumpster fire that was 2020 is undeniable. The fact that an activity called “doomscrolling”, where you scroll through your news feed reading an endless procession of negative online news, has become popular tells you all you need to know about 2020.
This year I need Christmas more than ever. While I enjoy all of the trappings of the holiday – the music, the gifts, the cookies, the movies – what I really need is a savior.
I want God to rescue me. And if it were up to me I would love for God to come and take me and my family away from this broken world. I want out. But that is not what God does.
God enters our world, through the person of Jesus, and he joins us in the messiness of our lives. Yes we do have an eternity to look forward to with Jesus in heaven, but this is not at the expense of our life now. God loves the world and he wants us to experience life with him in the here and now.
I pray that we might see with new eyes the strangeness of the incarnation and come to know more fully the love that drove God to come into our messiness to save us.
I would also love for God to enter this world with “shock & awe”. I don’t want subtlety. I want overwhelming force. If you’re going to do a job, do it right. I want God to come and rid the world of all the sin and depravity and to rule. But that is not what God does.
Instead God choose obscurity & humility. I can’t think of a worse strategy for saving the world than for God to become a defenseless baby, born to a poor teenage mom, in a occupied country, and then have them flee for their lives to a foreign land. But these are the ways of God, to bring life out of death. God enters the darkest most depraved corners of humanity to bring light to the darkness. He rules but in his own way.
How about if God just told me what I needed to do to be recued? If he just gave me a handful of things I could do to rescue myself, that would be easier; I can follow a list. But this is not what God does.
God knows what we have all come to know – we don’t make good saviors. We can’t rescue ourselves. Every attempt to dig ourselves out of our sin-filled pits of despair leave us only deeper. God takes all of our sin and brokenness on himself in a way we could never do.
This year might have have been filled with doomscrolling but I pray for his Holy Spirit to come to me and to you to lift our eyes to see what he is doing right now in our lives. At Camp Arcadia we have so much to be thankful for, but I mostly treasure the Arcadia family that God has blessed us with. In the anxiety, brokenness and struggles of 2020, you have been a light in the darkness supporting Arcadia’s ministry and pointing each other to Christ.
As Christmas approaches I pray that God would open my heart and yours to receive our Savior. And I pray that we might see with new eyes the strangeness of the incarnation and come to know more fully the love that drove God to come into our messiness to save us.