Friday, December 29, 2006

a treasure in a jar of clay...

Merry Christmas everybody.

I’ve been thinking about you all…all of you who check in and out of this site. I’ve been waiting for an afternoon to spend writing, I’ve been wanting to tell you a bit about what God opened my eyes to see this Christmas. Perhaps it’s nothing revolutionary, but this year it was from God, to me.

I’ve spent Christmas away from family this year, and I really felt it. More than I imagined I would, actually. (Those who spoke with me on the phone, through a few tears, know it.) But with less distraction, (such as the usual fox traditions, and romanticisms like snow, lights, and music that are noticeably absent when one spends the holidays in Ecuador), it was cool to narrow my focus somewhat and spend some good time thinking about Jesus. I did ask God to give me more this year, more… understanding, truth about who He IS. And it’s so cool how God delights to reveal more of Himself, and so personally too.

So…I was thinking about the Incarnation. I always get stuck there. It’s an incredible thing. God got fed up with sin. Separated in His Holiness from the creation He designed to “BE” with, He came breaking through time, space and eternity…to pitch His tent here on earth with His beloved ones; to redeem, once and for all, the creation that belonged to Himself. He became Emanuel, as was long since proclaimed, “God with us”. Wrapped in human flesh, the Son left His glory. He came to live, to teach us how, and to be the perfect Lamb of God. He was the Ultimate Sacrifice, so pure that it cancelled the old covenant requisite of shed blood for atonement…and left humanity in a wake of righteousness, free for the taking!

And then I got to thinking of the throngs of people that just don’t get it. (Including myself on those days when I can easily find myself trying to earn God's love.) There are so, so many, and even many in the church, who work for God’s favor, as if they could gain it, like as if the LORD were Santa with a list of who’s been naughty or nice. Nothing could be further from the truth. God’s favor HAS BEEN granted. Wasn’t that what the Angels sang that very first night?! God Himself came to make peace, it doesn’t depend on us! And a living, breathing, loving relationship with the Father is free.

LORD, please take off the blinders, so that more of your creation can see.

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness” ….

…came to earth as The Light to redeem the darkness. And when He came, His Light shone out of such a humble vessel. A young girl, a carpenter, a donkey, a stable, a manger, a baby; all that was ordinary, weak, poor, dirty, and helpless. God took a broken, useless, humble humanity and turned it into a history of power and truth, redeeming the darkness with Light.

And I guess what struck me this Christmas, was that God continues redeeming. He who “ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. For we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God, and NOT from us.”

The LORD continues to shine His light out of broken, useless vessels, in order that it might be obvious to the world that it is HIS power at work, His Spirit…in our lives. You see, the Light didn’t leave earth when Christ returned to the right hand of the Father. It remains in you and me. His Spirit stayed.

And He continues to redeem, and claim for Himself what is broken, dirty, weak, useless and poor.

He is “God with us”… still.


Christiane said...

Amen Pastorja :D

I love you

Bobbi said...

Merry Christmas, Janna. Thankyou for the insights- especially the part about God's favour already being granted. I can now find rest in Him over these crazy Canadian holidays. Be blessed.

Matt, Christine, Elijah, Joseph & TBA said...

Thanks Janna. I always am encouraged by your words, written so beautifully and so Spirit led! Merry Christmas and Happy new year.

Love you,

mattandsteph said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Janna! Love ya!

Jordan said...

I think you're incarnate in Ecuador, aren't you Janna?

Thanks for keeping the blog. It's good to hear about what's up with you.

Best wishes on the journey,
Jordan Draper