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He has Come!

I feel like we are collectively straining our eyes for a light at the end of this 2020 tunnel.  Whatever we thought this year might hold, none of us could have predicted the convergence of events that have us all desperate for something different.  I was brought to tears this weekend as I scrolled through images from the year--we have endured so much.  In some beautiful moments, we have come together in unique ways even as we remained physically distant.  In some very dark moments, the divide has felt too wide to overcome even for those within the same family.  

Whether you are well acquainted with God or don't often give much thought to the idea, times like these have many searching the skies for a sign that there is a God and that God is good.  In Matthew's account of Jesus' birth, he tells of some visitors--three kings, wise men, magi--who noticed and followed an astronomical anomaly as a sign that something special was happening.  As they followed the star, they found Jesus.  (See Matthew 2)  

The story is an odd one because we do not really have a lot of information about who these guys are or how they had the insight to ask, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."  (Matthew 2:2) What we do know is that they did ask...they saw and they followed the signs...and they met Jesus face to face.

There is something about our culture that gives questions a negative connotation.  My daughter hesitates to ask questions in class afraid of not looking smart enough.  When I was a kid, even genuine questions in my home would often anger my parents as they felt I was questioning their authority.  In our court system and the court of public opinion, questions can be perceived as argumentative, attacking, or even misleading.  But questions help us discover the truth.  Good teachers, secure parents, and even wise judges will encourage questions, and God--who is all of those--does too.  When we read scripture or hear a sermon or listen to a podcast it is important to ask God (and others) for clarity and more understanding.  What questions do you have this season?

I have sat with a lot of people searching for an answer from God.  Everyone wants a big flashy sign from heaven, but many ignore the signs right in front of them.  I am guilty of this myself.  I know how scripture says to handle a disagreement between friends and I know that every feeling of dread when I see a text from that friend is a sign that I need to follow the advice of scripture, but I also avoid the situation for weeks even as the scripture pops up everywhere on my social media feed and I battle the situation in my dreams.  The magi recognized and followed the star and, later in the story, a dream as well.  The star was in the sky for everyone to see, which makes me wonder how many others ignored the sign right in front of them.  Are there scriptures or dreams or other signs you might be avoiding or ignoring?

The questions and signs all lead us closer to Jesus, and Jesus wants to be found.  This is not a cosmic game of hide and seek where he is the best player, though it can feel that way at times.  The reality is that Jesus was born to be found!  This was his plan, not just so we would be saved, but so we would know him.  Jesus became God-with-Us on the day of his birth and that is what we celebrate each Christmas.  He has come to answer the deepest questions like do you care?, do you love me?, does my life matter? with a resounding YES!  He has come, not just a speck of light in the night sky, but the Light of the World so everyone can find their way.  He has come!
 
Merry Christmas!

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