About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. –Matthew 2:2-3
Call me crazy. Heading into the holiday season, already feeling mowed down by snowballing demands, I challenged myself to reflect on Advent every day for twenty-five days, and to write about it. Not for kicks; for survival. I knew I needed more Jesus. And if I didn’t prioritize getting real with him, I’d finish out the year as a hollow-hearted poser.
I’d miss the magic.
Herod wasn’t a disbeliever. Like “everyone in Jerusalem,” he simply didn’t care to worship the true God, and it disturbed him to see others making much of him.
John Piper writes,
Jesus is troubling to people who do not want to worship him, and he brings out opposition for those who do.
From Day One in Bethlehem, Jesus faced two kinds of opposition–indifference and hostility. The same is true today.
My heart isn’t hardened toward God like Herod’s, but I can miss the magic. I can go through the motions, even attending church every weekend, with a heart indifferent to the King of kings. I can prioritize my time, pursue my interests, spend my money without a glance toward the one who provides my resources and knows better than I do what makes me content.
I can keep repeating the same daily to-do list:
-accomplish what I think is important
Every day, I get to choose. Make much of myself or magnify my maker.
I don’t want to be like the kid who stuffed his pockets with snowballs for a later day. To reach the end of my life with nothing but soaking-wet pants.
I want to stake out a patch of Bethlehem mud in clear view of the baby in the manger. To worship, twenty-four/seven, the holy one, who has supernatural power to bring lasting good from even my most misguided efforts. To fall on my knees with neighbors and strangers and hear the angels’ voices.
To attune myself to the magic.
*Hey friends, 2016 will go down as one of the most exciting yet painful years of my life, and frankly I’m pretty wiped out and still dealing with low-visibility conditions. How about you? As 2016 comes to a close, are you reeling from the snowball effect of challenging life events? Could you use some more peace of mind and joy of heart? I hope you’ll join me as I reflect on John Piper’s daily Advent readings. In the days leading up to Christmas, you can receive these 25 short daily reflections direct to your email inbox. Just scroll down and look for the “Stay Connected” or “Subscribe by Email” box to follow along! Also, you can find and download John Piper’s “Good News of Great Joy” here. Jump in anytime!
I’ve chosen to commit to this 25-day challenge, even while I’m hanging here by frozen fingertips on the edge of an icy cliff, wondering what comes next. This I know: God’s got me, still. As the season ramps up–and your plans go wonky and threaten to derail your focus, ugh–I pray that your heart, soul, and spirit will be blessed and refreshed with a tangible outpouring of Christ’s heavenly peace!