Thursday, December 29, 2005

Broken Clay Jars

Sometimes it is difficult to understand why we suffer so much.

2 Corinthians 4:6-11

6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.

This is a good picture of our suffering I think. We fallen humans are pretty fragile, much like clay pots. A little pressure, and people begin to see what we are really made of.

As prideful people, we hate windows into our soul. We tend to keep our exterior well polished, we keep enough distance that most people do not notice the ugly cargo we hold.

As Christians however, we are indwelt by the holy spirit. Our cargo is a treasure. Instead of our insides being something to be hidden, we should be proud to have it spill out. These cracks, which are windows to our soul, can be the most beautiful features of our persons.

Our weaknesses become His strength. We should rejoice when we are tested, because it is only then that our dependence on Him is apparent.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Reflections or distractions?

Today is the day we celebrate:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." All of celebration today should illuminate this wonderful truth.

My question of the day is how do we utilize our Christmas traditions to illuminate Christ? It seems like by nature, many of our traditions are more of a distraction, then a reflection on God's gift to us.

While we give gifts, the gift givers in the Christmas story where given to Christ.. The wise men didn't give gifts to one another.

The tree that we put up in our house each winter doesn't really represent the tree that Christ was destined for.

All of the decorations where likely missing from the humble manger that our Lord was born in.

The guy who knows if you are bad and good, and gives you earthly rewards for your behavior is imaginary, while the one who knows if we are bad or good and gives us heavenly rewards is real.

What do people do to minimize the distraction of our traditions and put the focus back on God's gift to us?