Amazed and Confused

“Amazed and confused . . .”

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“Amazed and confused, they kept asking each other, ‘What does this mean?’” (Acts 2:12)
 
 
Behold, our Christmas tree!  Confused?  Maybe it’s just a a bunch of colored circles… No, it really is our Christmas tree.  It’s just purposely photographed out of focus so that the lights appear as colorful circles.  Sometimes when we encounter things we can be confused at first and need some time and distance to figure them out.  My sense is that Christmas should be such an encounter.

This morning as I write the stores are filled with shoppers snatching up the after-Christmas bargains and spending their gift cards.  “Whew,” we sigh, “we made it through another one.”  Yet the words of the author of Acts about the first day of Pentecost seem to apply to Christmas as well.  In Acts the author describes how the presence of God descended upon the disciples in the form of tongues of fire.  It startled those present enough to cause them to wonder, “What does this mean?”  It seems important to me that we depart from the celebration of Christmas with the same cry on our lips, “What does this mean?”

When we celebrate the presence of our God in the form of the Christ child it is not simply an event that we mark on the calendar, anticipate, celebrate, and box away for another year.  I know we’ve all heard that before but in light of all the recent violence it merits saying again.  When I worshiped on Christmas Eve with so many who held their candles high and sang, “Christ the Savior is born…” I felt the presence of God in our midst.  Once more God has been revealed to us in the birth of the Christ Child and we should be startled enough to wonder, “What does this mean?”  What does it mean that God cares enough to be present with us?  What does it mean that God cares enough to love us back into relationship even when we at times have worked so foolishly to destroy that relationship and relationships with others?  What does this act of love from God mean for my life?  What is God telling me?  What is God asking of me?  What does this mean for God’s world? 

Maybe as we pack away the Christmas decorations we should write on every box, “What does this mean?”  Better yet, as we walk away from the manger maybe we should make this our daily prayer, “What does this mean?”  I’m sure if we continue to ask, God will continue to answer.  I pray that God will keep this prayer on my heart and lips throughout the coming year, “What does this mean?”  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit www.survivingteendepression.com.

Check out my new video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24
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~ by revgenelson on December 27, 2012.

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