Monday, December 16, 2013

Anticipating Christmas (Ann Voskamp)

As we anticipate Christmas, it is good to look at His story, "a collection of monumental moments that remind us that Christ cared enough to experience life with us. Christmas is the time to remember that Christ not only came, but he stayed, he lived, he cared." ~ Max Lucado, introduction from Celebrating Christmas with Jesus, An Advent Devotional

Joseph's brothers became fearful. "Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him," they said. 

Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. "Look, we are your slaves!" they said.

But Joseph replied, "Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good."

Genesis 50:15, 18-20

There's a storming mess this side of heaven.

There's this rising much, and there's all of us.

There's always the bloodied, dirty dragging; there's always the ripped underside of things, the dreams and bits of us and unspoken hopes torn to pieces. 

The places where we're torn to pieces can be thin places where we touch the peace of God. 

What was intended to tear you apart, God intends it to set you apart.

What has torn you, God makes a thin place to see glory.

Whatever happens, whatever unfolds, whatever unravels, you can never be undone.

You can stand around a Christmas tree with a family tree like Joseph's, with cheaters and beaters and deceivers, with a family like Jacob's, who ran away and ran around and ran folks down. But out of a family line that looks like a mess, God brings the Messiah. What was intended to harm, God intended all of it for good, and no matter what intends to harm you, God's arms have you. You can never be undone. 

~Ann Voskamp in The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas, December 9

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