Create by: Hungsu Lim December 21, 2015 at 7:17 pm
[Advent Devotion] Day 19 “Bigger and Better?”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
The Advent and Christmas season can be chaotic and extremely busy. Sometimes I find myself repeating the mantra, “I don’t want to survive; I want to thrive.” It’s easy for clergy types like myself to point fingers and place blame on the culture of consumerism that pervades nearly every aspect of the countdown to December 25. There are some really great reasons for this: Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving Day, and the weekend is partnered with Small Business Saturday and capped off by Cyber Monday. As if that isn’t bad enough, everything in the world seems to be on sale—from phones to produce to cars. It’s a great time not only to purchase Christmas gifts but also to buy something bigger and better!
In our attempts to drown out the culture’s consumerism, the church offers its own brand of busyness: Christmas plays, live Nativities, caroling, and multiple Christmas Eve services. Rather than transforming the lives of people, the church adds to the busyness and chaos. Advent becomes a practice of survival and endurance. Our purpose in the church is to prepare people for new life. But when church becomes one more thing added to a month of many things, the result is people who are exhausted, parched, and dry from their experience of preparation. This is not our calling. We do not need more programs; we need purpose!
Purpose is not found in doing one more big thing for God. How many times have you caught yourself saying, “Let’s make Christmas even bigger and better this year?” That’s impossible. The biggest, best Christmas has already happened, and everything we offer our friends, family, and churches is a mere glimpse of God’s bigness. So instead of bigger and better, what if we tried new—not a new activity, but space for God to make us new. When we said yes to Jesus, Jesus said yes to making us new. Yet often we do not feel or experience “the new” because we are not allowing space for God to do the work. This Advent God is asking us to offer ourselves, not because we are a big deal but because that’s all God really wants. Following Jesus means surrendering our whole lives to God. And this season of preparation is the perfect time for God to breathe new life into us.
Do you want to survive or thrive this Advent and Christmas season? What space are you carving out of your everyday life to give God room to make you new?
PRAYER: Giver of new life, help me to allow the time and space in my calendar and my life so that all things can be made new. I offer my whole life to you. Breathe into me the life-giving wind of the Holy Spirit and make me new; in Jesus’ name. Amen.
(from “SENT: Devotion” Week 4 – Jesus Brings New Life by Rachel Billups)
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