Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Greatest Christmas Gift

Just hours after last week's post went out, twenty 6 and 7-year-old children, along with seven adults, were brutally murdered as another school day began at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, a little, idyllic American town, referred to this past week in the media as "Anytown, USA." Our prayers go out to each family touched by this cruel and senseless act. The screenshot (above) of the school's webpage is from Sunday, 12/16/12.

For a variety of reasons, America feels darker to me this year than last. But as John the Apostle wrote, "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." (John 1:5, NLT) This is what Christmas is about: the Light of Christ Incarnate shining in darkness. At the Christmas season we mark the occasion when the Word become flesh and dwelt among us. Think about this. The Light shining in the very darkest of darkness, far as the curse is found.

Far as the curse is found.

[This post first appeared on December 25, 2009.]

One of my favorite carols is Joy To The World. The words are by Issac Watts, based on Psalm 98: "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for He cometh to judge the earth, with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity."

Some say Joy To The World is not about the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. They say it is about His second coming, not His first. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_to_the_World.)

The joy that is sung about, then, is a future joy that will occur when Christ returns, to “make the nations prove the glories of His righteousness,” in that full expression of His Kingdom (yet-to-come).

But for me, the song also makes sense as a celebration of the first coming of Christ in Bethlehem. While I’m looking forward to that full and perfect expression of Christ’s Kingdom-yet-to-come, I’m also celebrating the Kingdom-already-here. Jesus is Lord of all. Today! Not just in the future, but in this present moment (Acts 10:36-37)!

The Lord is come! No, the Kingdom of God isn't fully recognized yet, or perfectly functional right now. This will happen when Christ comes the second time. But the domain over which Christ is King (that is, His King-domain) presently includes both Heaven and Earth.

This is the greatest Christmas gift: Christ the King has come to Earth “to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found.” Right now. Our Savior has come to make His blessings flow through people who are reconciled to God, and reconciling all things around them to Him, including the things of Earth. That's the big idea behind Christ's coming in the first place. See Col. 1:16-20, and To Reconcile Not Only People But Things.

So, no more let thorns infest the ground. By God's amazing grace, let's put our work gloves on, go to our workplaces after the Christmas holiday, both at home and in the community, to pull up bramble bushesand plant redwood trees.

Joy to the Earth! the Savior reigns; Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat the sounding joy!

Far as the curse is found.

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