Meditation for Preparation: December 17
Posted by: Zach Mullis
Matthew 5:9-12 -- "Blessed: The Peacemakers & The Persecuted"
Persecution brings us face-to-face with the brokenness of this world and the "not yet" of the Kingdom of God. And yet, we also recognize that nothing is outside of the sovereignty of our good, generous, and loving God who invites us to call Him "Abba." With that in mind, here is a snippet from a Gospel Coalition article by Brittany Salmon called "Celebrating Christmas with a Broken Heart."
"A few years ago I walked into the holiday season with fresh wounds, and I was blindsided by how a season I once found comforting brought additional pain. That calendar year had brought so much suffering: we had lost loved ones, our marriage had been through a rough season, our adoption plans had been halted, my husband was in the middle of a career change, and we were walking through a family crisis. I’d even been diagnosed with PTSD from all the shock and change. Sin, death, and brokenness seemed ever-present, and the raw grief prevented me from celebrating the holidays like I used to.
It’s easy to be thankful when God ordains seasons of joy and plenty, but it was an ugly fight for gratitude when he ordained suffering. Looking back, however, that holiday season is one of my favorites because I can see how suffering unveiled my eyes and enabled me to celebrate the holiday’s truest meaning."
She goes on to list three ways to fight for gratitude and focus on what matters, and then she concludes:
"Believer, God came to earth to make broken things whole. It’s okay for you to be broken this holiday season because of the baby in the manger. It’s okay to walk through the holidays without denying your wound, but allowing your wound to point to a greater story. May you find great peace amid great sorrow, resting in the knowledge that the God of the universe sees your pain and draws near to the brokenhearted. May the celebration of the birth of Jesus, who came to earth for the broken, bring you comfort and hope in these sad days."
I'm also posting a sermon from a few years ago by a pastor named Art Azurdia. He is the preacher at Trinity Church in Portland, Oregon. THose sermons which I've heard of his are deeply encouraging. I hope you'll enjoy hearing his exposition of Luke 2:1-7 and Matt. 2:1-7. I saw this particular sermon posted on the Gospel Coalition's website, and I decided to listen to it; it's very good. Here is the description of the sermon from Trinity's website, which sounds similar to our study on the Beatitudes. I'm about halfway
People often miss the real Christmas due to a preoccupation with things profoundly insignificant by comparison. Our lives seem to be lived at a frenetic pace. Everybody seems to always want more from us. Maybe the busyness is a cheap anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life. If Jesus is the Son of God, a person has only two options, embrace Him or eliminate Him from life. To truly find Christmas, one must be honest enough to admit their need and be humble enough to ask Jesus to be their Savior.
Here's the link to the sermon:
Here is a Spotify playlist for our worship music this week:
- Ongoing-- New Adult Sunday School Bible Study of Jude 1:1-25 at 9:38 a.m
- December 24-- Family Christmas Eve Service @ 10:30 a.m. (No children's classes/activities either hour [9:30 or 10:30])
- January 7-- Security Team Informational Meeting (3:00 @ TGP building)
- January 28-- TGP 101 (New Member Training) 2:30-5:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall
- Click to download the December Bulletin.
- Sign up for the TGP Newsletter here!