Fourth of July is always so much fun. We are celebrating this year with lots of inflatable rides, carnival food, and an amazing fireworks show. I just can’t wait.
Naturally, this holiday always reminds me of the word “Freedom” and what it really means in my life. We are so lucky in many ways; we are afforded so many freedoms in our country.
During this 4th of July holiday, I also can’t help but think about the freedoms I am given in Christ. These freedoms are so easy to overlook, and so easy to take for granted…but shouldn’t we be celebrating these Christ-freedoms as well? Sometimes the Christian life can feel so constricting - lots of rules, lots of no-can-dos. But this life is also about such glorious freedom.
Because I am in Christ, I have freedom in:
• Not having to please people all the time
• The ability to let go of so many things the world tells me are important
• Finances - they don’t have to control me
• Being forgiven over and over
• Marriage, as I can understand that 2 broken people are involved
• Being honest and vulnerable with like-minded friends
• Confidence, as I know that there is so much more than what I know now
I need to celebrate my God-given freedoms more often, not just the ones I remember each 4th of July.
May we all celebrate our freedoms long after this July holiday, and choose to rejoice throughout the year in what we have gained as children of God.
We are two days away from the “big day” and there is quite a bit of anticipation in our house. We leave tonight to head towards my in-laws for the holidays, and they do Christmas big. For one three-year old little boy in our house, it will be truly magical.
With the anticipation of the next few days, it is easy for me to feel like so much is coming. Christmas is coming...but just not today. It is coming once I pack our bags, clean our house, cook these food dishes, send these last cards, wrap these final gifts, travel these final hundred miles, and more. I am waiting for my to-do list to get done so that Christmas will finally be here.
But really, Advent and Jesus and Christmas and celebration - it is here. Now.
The story of the coming Jesus has been told for so many years through so many unlikely situations and people: God searching for Adam and Eve after the fall, God's overwhelming grief over the state of the world with Noah, the blessing and covenant with Abraham, the promise of God to not leave Jacob, the good that God worked through Joseph’s plight, the use of a prostitute Rahab in the lineage of Jesus, the faithfulness of Ruth, the anointing of the smallest brother David, the fulfilled prophesies of Isaiah and Micah, the redemption of Jonah, the stand of Esther…all point to Jesus.
God wove his story for many years, through many unlikely people, in many unlikely situations. Advent has come. Jesus has come. The celebration is now.
What does this mean for me, two days from Christmas, with travel to do, presents to wrap, people to call, a house to clean, a dog to drop off, a work project to wrap up…a long list of must-dos? How can I see the story, the promise, the Advent already-come when I just.have.so.much.to.do?
Advent has come and the promise is here, despite the things I have decided must come first. Before I finish my to-do list. Before I get us all packed. Before I clean up the 3000 Lego pieces that are spilled on my living room floor.
Today, Advent is here. I have hope. I can rest assured that Jesus did come, and continues to come after me, just like he did throughout the stories of the Old Testament, leading to his birth.
I can let it go. I can rest assured.
I can see the blessing in the packing, as it means I have people to pack for. I can speak thanks over the Lego pieces strewn on the floor, as it means I have an inquisitive child who loves to build. I can see God in the dirty house, as it means we have lived (really) well here.
I can speak thanksgiving in these two days of crazy leading to Christmas, as Jesus has come. Advent is here. I don’t have to wait two more days to get there. I am not waiting for something better. Today is the better. Today is the blessing. Today is the day Jesus came for me, that Advent really comes alive.
How do you see Advent in the day to day, in the mundane and crazy and overwhelming that occur in the next 2 days?