December 15 Reflections

If we are versed in Christianity we know that Jesus came to earth as a baby and went all the way to death on the cross; rising again on the third day and before he ascended into heaven he promised he would come again some day which we refer to as the second coming. First coming and second coming. But I think there is a third coming. The way Jesus shows up in our lives every day. Where has Jesus shown up in your life this past week? At first the question stumps us, but if we think about it we see the ways he shows up in answered prayer; having courage when needed; reaching out with compassion to someone who is hurting; having someone give you an unexpected gift of love and friendship; or maybe a stranger who stops and helps you fix a flat tire; or a door closes or maybe a door opens. Jesus is the light who speaks and shines into our lives every day.

Leo Tolstoy wrote a children’s book Papa Panov’s Special Day where he tells the story of an elderly cobbler in a small Russian village. All alone on Christmas Eve he reads the Christmas story before going to sleep. Once he fell asleep, he had a dream that Jesus came to him and told him to be ready because he was going to visit him tomorrow. He woke up the next morning because he was going to meet Jesus. He looked outside and noticed a street sweeper out in the cold working. Papa Panov invited him in for a cup of hot coffee. Later in the day, a single mother with a worn face too old for her young age walks down the street clutching her baby. Again, Papa Panov invited her in to warm up and he gives the baby a new pair of shoes he had made. As the day goes by, he keeps looking but all he sees is beggars. He decides to feed them and give them a place to warm up. Soon it is dark. He retires inside and thinks that the dream was only a dream and not true. But then Jesus speaks and tells Papa Panov that I came to you in each and every person you helped today, from the street sweeper to the beggar. “I was hungry, and you fed me…I was naked, and you clothed me. I was cold and you warmed me. I came to you today in everyone of those you helped and welcomed.” (Based on Matthew 25:40)

Can we see Jesus showing up in our lives of those that we love well? Can we see him when the door opens or when it closes? Can we see Jesus loving us well by pointing out a hurt that needs to heal? Can we see Jesus speaking to us in his Word?  Maybe showing up in a colleague or friend? Maybe he shows up in solitude when you are all alone and you know his loving presence. So many did not recognize Jesus the first time he came, no one will miss the second coming, but do you see his coming today? It is all grace! We are going to think about this on Sunday. Some passages of Scripture to read: John 1:9-13; ; Ephesians 2:8-9; John14:23; Genesis 28:10-17.

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn