Drifting in the Right Way

People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.

True Christmas

It’s no secret. Those who know me, know that one of my favourite and most inspiring Christ-follower is Francis Chan.

His story about the Robynsons is probably one of my most memorable ways to explain what Christmas is about – horizontally and relationally.

Here it is. Enjoy it and be inspired.

The Robynson Family
This family of five, with three kids under the age of ten, chooses to celebrate the birth of Christ in a unique way. On Christmas mornings, instead of focusing on the presents under the tree, they make pancakes, brew an urn of coffee, and head downtown. Once there, they load the coffee and food into the back of a red wagon. Then, with the eager help of their three-year-old, they pull the wagon around the mostly empty streets in search of homeless folks to offer a warm and filling breakfast on Christmas morning.

All three of the Robynson kids look forward to this time of giving a little bit of tangible love to people who otherwise would have been cold and probably without breakfast. Can you think of a better way to start the holiday that celebrates the God who is Love?

Innkeeper’s Excuses

I read this poem that i had come across to the Senior’s Christmas Meal and it went down a treat:

“Oh, if only I had known!”

Said the keeper of the inn.

“But no hint to me was shown,

And I didn’t let them in.
“Yes, a star gleamed overhead,

But I couldn’t read the skies,

And I’d given every bed

To the very rich and wise.
“And she was so poorly clad,

And he hadn’t much to say!

But no room for them I had,

So I ordered them away.
“She seemed tired, and it was late

And they begged so hard, that I

Feeling sorry for her state,

In the stable let them lie.
“Had I turned some rich man out

Just to make a place for them

‘Twould have killed, beyond a doubt,

All my trade at Bethlehem.
“Then there came the wise men three

To the stable, with the morn,

Who announced they’d come to see

The great King who had been born.
“And they brought Him gifts of myrrh,

Costly frankincense and gold,

And a great light shone on her

In the stable, bleak and cold.
“All my patrons, now are dead

And forgotten, but to-day

All the world to peace is led

By the ones I sent away
“It was my unlucky fate

To be born that Inn to own,

Against Christ I shut my gate�

Oh, if only I had known!”
From Collected Verse of Edgar Guest

NY:Buccaneer Books, 1976, pg. 614

Christmas Broken Dreams

Some people just grow up really fast. And often it’s not through the happiest circumstances. The hard knocks of life often dismantle us for life or fast-track us to maturity.

Mary presumably had to grow-up pretty fast. As a woman with a devout heart – she probably dreamed (sexist stereotypes aside) of serving God through the family life with a blessed husband and children. No idea how much of a scrapbook a Galilean girl would have put together – but I’m sure she dreamed of her special day and a special ‘nest’, that was her own.

We all have our dreams, and as much as they can be our inspiration – the expectations can often become our curse. We expect God to bless us by aligning His will with our plans. And only then we feel as if our destiny is fulfilled.

And yet – as Mary discovered, God has a better yet often harder way to mature us. She was highly favored but had to face the potential contempt of her fiancée and the ridicule of her community. She gave birth while almost on the run. She saw her son grow up knowing that something dark was going to end up his life. She went through the proverbial roller coaster ride of seeing his rise to fame as well as his brutal execution. Surely not something she would have had as her perfect life on her Pinterest wall.

It’s admirable that we should seek the weaving of our desire for fulfillment with the destiny God wants for us. Yet rarely we realize that the two might have different blueprints. Mary remained committed to let God shape her life, family and destiny. She did it willingly and gladly. and she must have made daily choices to back that early surrender. And it paid off – from eternity’s perspective.

The secret? She TRUSTED God.
His wisdom, His power, His goodness.

A timely reminder to us all.