The Magi have been slandered throughout history: “Had they been women, they would have asked direction, shown up on time, helped with the birth, and brought useful gifts, like casseroles and diapers.” In reality, these men showed up on God’s timetable, and brought gifts with meaning and purpose.
It's easy to get caught up in the rush and then wake up after the holiday and realize that the real Christmas has passed us by. Some people miss Christmas. Others find it. It depends on where you look and what you see.
Worship is literally the breath in our lungs. Because of Jesus we have the privilege to experience God’s presence in worship. Such worship is like being connected to a machine that fills us with pure, life-giving oxygen.
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 10:19-25
Solo Christian is an oxymoron. In the body of Christ, our hearts beat in community. But Paul wouldn’t pray and preach on unity so much if it was easy.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:42-47
For a time, Cain was the only child on the face of the earth. Life was good - until he had to share with his brother Abel. We're all descendants of Cain. Envy and anger is part of our daily struggle. How do we tame this tiger?
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 4:1-16
We're made for connection, and one way God gave us for being connected is through sex. But the fallen world twists God's gift by mixing sexuality with hurt and insecurity. The good news is that Christ can restore us to the purity of Eden.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 2
It's been said that sin is the only empirically verifiable Christian doctrine. It's the thing in us that leads us do the thing we don't want to do. Sin isn't rule breaking as much as a form of disordered love. It's the same old story - but there's more to the story.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 3
The seven-day work week has become a familiar part of contemporary life. But in Creation, God models a different sort of work week, in which the seventh day is for rest. What if a space for grace allowed us to be both more balanced and more productive at the same time?
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 2:2-3
Today there is remarkable consensus among scientists that human action is determining the quality of future life on the planet, and it isn't pretty. Some blame the Bible for this mess, but the Bible tells the story of a God who created from nothing. This truth — that God made ex nihilo — has huge implications for how we should live.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 1
Authors like to reveal as little as possible at the beginning of their story in order to build the suspense. God, as the author, does the opposite. So much is revealed in the beginning of God’s story that we cannot help but want to see where the story will end.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 1:1-5
If you've ever put a baby into a 4-year-old's arms, you've seen something magical. The 4-year-old looks down with awe, reverence, and even a little fear. At Christmas, we're the 4-year-old, and God is placing the baby Jesus, the Prince of Peace, in our arms.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 9:2-7
The final paragraphs of A Christmas Carol report that Scrooge “knew how to keep Christmas well.” Simeon kept Christmas well, too, by seeing God's promise through to the day of its fulfillment.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 9:2–7
At Christmas, we long to transcend typical consumer trappings. The Christmas story is based on such an experience - the appearance of the angel, bringing good news of a great joy. The catch is that an angel's appearance is but a glimpse of the ultimate experience, God made flesh in a baby.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:8–15
Think of the keepsakes and heirlooms you treasure. How carefully do you protect them? How much more God protects us, when we belong to Him. But the fine print is that we have to be willing.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 43:1-7
John, who called people to return to the wilderness where Israel first became a people, is the best friend you could have to start the Christmas season. Only when we understand that we're lost and hopeless on our own does the coming of a Savior make any sense at all.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 3:1-20
The most common trait of the latest National Merit scholar students? Family meals, at least three times a week. Eating is central to God's family, too. Move from tablet to table and discover God's grace.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:46-47
The church is familiar with responding to crises. But what about the margins of chaos and violence, where few are equipped to respond? Jesus has called us to a life of justice, mobilizing His church to the most fragile of places. What if we were to take on the greatest needs of our day?
Christian marriage isn't really traditional marriage. It's a shining ideal of lifelong fidelity by two sexually different humans in mutual surrender. We cannot define Christian marriage. It defines us.
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 5:21-33
The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle repeated in all four gospels. It's a story of how we can become channels of God's power. All we need to do is offer our meager resources to Jesus.
SCRIPTURE: John 6: 1-14