I’ve met 2017 with mixed emotions. I looked forward to resting, but as I am quickly learning each year, the end of school, Christmas, and New Year, have a completely different routine. It’s just as busy and very often a lot less comfortable.
Christmas is unpredictable. It is not tame, nor can it be tamed. It’s not tame because it disrupts all our routines, whether they be healthy, mundane or toxic. Christmas forces us to be with people we normally don’t get to spend a whole lot of time with.
It confronts us with memories that come to us as both great and sometimes painful. Christmas draws us together. It frees up time for us to be free for others. Through our participation or even non-participation, we are affronted with the reminder that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.
That Christmas is not tame, is part of its spiritual reality; which is the free God at war against all pseudo-divine masters that seek our slavery. Every part of our world is impacted by Christmas.
Our physical, emotional, economic and relational world is disrupted by having to stop, go, sell, give, rest and follow. In this place we are met, not with an exhausting what, but a joyful Who. It’s the encounter with the One, who is the Spirit of Christmas, that draws us out of an anesthetized insular bubble of self.
The spiritual reality of Christmas is the freedom of God. As such Christmas remains beyond our control. We can only respond to it.
If 2017 seems daunting, it’s helpful to step back and think on the things that God can do. Stop for a moment and look upon what God has already done. His will may not always meet in agreement with ours, but He is willing and able to hear us out. He gives us permission to call upon Him, as a father, as one would a Good Shepherd.
If we feel wounded by the events of 2016, it’s helpful to remember that God may say “no”, but He never does so without also raising to life those things in us, for us and around us, that are far better than the things we’ve resolved to create, follow or do for ourselves.
In His freedom, He is the author of peace, not confusion (1. Cor.14:33). It’s not a question of God meeting my will, but me seeking to align my will with His! Calling out once again, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner”.
It’s from humility and gratitude that we see the pathway ahead. This is true obedience to the Who of Christmas and His loving gift of new mercies for a new year. Despite whatever fog might be enveloping us, perhaps, by grasping a glimpse of what God can do, through what He has already done, we may be able to see and allow ourselves to be grasped by what He is currently doing.
May 2017 be one of those years that justifies all kinds of Jesus-grounded joy and hope.