Show Up In Love At Christmas

By Andy McQuitty
In eLetter
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My Dear Friends,

Like millions of Americans last evening, I sat in my Christmas-light festooned house across from a beautifully decorated tree and watched would-be presidents of the US debating national security in the recent aftermath of the San Bernardino jihadist shootings.

Whew, that was a mouthful! But I wanted to get it all down in one sentence to provide the context for one more mouthful of a sentence. I can’t remember a time in my life when our nation has been more afraid, frustrated, angry, and divided than it is right now, and I’m aggravated that it’s happening at Christmas and highly motivated to do something about it.

But what? I’m in no position to dictate foreign policy or provide protection for the masses or instantly right every injustice or solve every societal problem. The sheer helplessness of that acknowledgement is disconcerting to say the least!

And then I realize that, as a follower of Christ, I should never be reluctant to acknowledge personal weakness in the face of insurmountable problems. Has not Jesus told us that He is the vine and we are the branches and that we can’t do anything apart from Him? Yes He has. And the direct implication of his words is that we should welcome weakness because it provides an occasion for God to show his strength if only we will demonstrate our faithfulness.

Another way of expressing this is that God plays big ball and we play small ball. We look to him for home runs while committing to faithfulness in the fundamentals. So when I’m anxious in these days to run out and “do something”, I need to think small ball and not home runs. And what’s one of those small ball fundamentals that God wants me as a Christian to faithfully execute, especially when our world is roiled and our Christmas is threatened? Love.

I was challenged to see expressing love at Christmas as an alternative to feeling afraid, frustrated, angry, and divided by these wise words from Pastor Rick Warren:

“We give love to people at Christmas when we show up in their lives, serving and celebrating in the name of Jesus (1 John 4:7-9). Our love is not to be limited to ‘just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action’ (1 John 3:18 TEV).

Isn’t it ironic that at Christmas we will spend our money lavishly, yet spend our time like misers? We keep our schedules so full and hectic that we often have difficulty showing up – with focused attention – in the lives of those we love.

Yet Jesus showed his love by being there. He gave people time and focused attention when they needed his help, when they needed his comfort, when they needed his protection, when they needed an answer to a perplexing problem, and when they just needed time with him. One of our aims at Christmas should be showing up in the lives of those we love.”

Indeed it should! And we do intentionally use the troubles in our world to motivate us more than ever to show up in the lives of those we love, it will potentially make this chaotic Christmas the very best Christmas ever. I pray it may be so for us all!

Showing up in the lives of those I love,

— Pastor Andy

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