Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.”

Is this not the goal we seek?

If 2020 has taught us one thing, it is that we can no longer count on the “old normal” for what lies ahead. Even as I have experienced weariness and a general desire to be done with this, I am renewed by the reality that we serve a Christ who comes amidst our darkness to make all things new.

As we near this Christmas, here are some truths I bring to this Christmas celebration:

  • We are not called to be a people who “go back.” Like the Israelites, we long for the days when things were predictable and seemed more certain. Even the predictability of slavery for the ancient Hebrews was more desirable than the uncertain wilderness that lay beyond Sinai. Moses, however, knew that God was leading to something new and pushed them beyond their complaining.
  • God is greater than our darkness. There are times when this all seems so overwhelming. We wonder just where God will lead us. We, however, are coming to this day with the certain assurance that God’s “light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
  • We are not the first people to experience a darkness like this in our lives. While we are tempted to say that there has never been anything like this, history tells us that pandemics like the bubonic plague and the Spanish flu have brought just as much (if not more) devastation to human populations.
  • God has equipped us with resources we never before imagined to help us cope with and move beyond this darkness. A Lutheran pastor in the little town Eilenburg in Saxony wrote the hymn, Now Thank We All Our God, during a time when he performed funerals for more than 4,500 people (including his wife) in the middle of the Thirty Years War in Germany; this occurred after their little town became a refuge for people fleeing the war creating the perfect conditions for famine and disease.
  • We are not alone. This is perhaps the greatest lesson I bring to this. This season, more than any other, is when we highlight the name chosen for this incarnate God: Emmanuel … God With Us.

So I come seeking this new thing that God is doing in our midst. I think Paul has it right. “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.”

What is the new thing God is doing in your life?

Lord, we come seeking this one known as Emmanuel. We are ready to let go of this year that has become very old, and we seek the new creation you now offer us. Amen.

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