Monday, January 4, 2016

The Eleventh Day of Christmas: God Comes in Many Ways

Will an Epiphany (“manifestation, revelation, or striking appearance”) happen for us as we come to the end of the Twelve Days of the Christmas?   Epiphany (January 6) celebrates God’s revealing and disclosing of himself to the world through Jesus.  Will God show up in some new way in me, in you, and in our world?  Will we experience a new birth of some kind?  Will we be cut loose from old wounds and inner fears to sing a new song, or dance a new dance, or do a new thing,  or hear an annunciation? 

Prayer is one channel by which we receive the gift of Christmas, the gift of God in Jesus.  Prayer is a time when we become still—a time when we let God address us, command us, and penetrate us.  Prayer is the time when we are most likely to be addressed by God, a time when we can respond—a time of dialogue.  The fact that prayer is a low priority in our lives says something about our resistance to God.  We really do not want God to get too close.

For many centuries God has spoken to his people in a unique way—through the written word, particularly through the Old and New Testaments.  God is not to be limited to just this one book. There are many witnesses, who, through their testimony via the written word, open a way for God to speak and come to us.  The Bible is not a book of answers, but a book of wrestlings—and therefore extremely relevant to each of us.  God is not limited by that one book, but God does speak through it.  We don’t read it properly and we don’t read it much, because we really don’t want God to get too close.

Epiphanies occur in our meeting with others.  Without “Star Persons” to guide me, would I have entered into faith?  I doubt it.  God speaks through our friends, our neighbors, and reveals himself and comes to us through them.  Perhaps we keep a proper distance from our friends and neighbors, because we don’t want God to get too close.

Our tendency is to put God in a straitjacket, to mold God into the God we want to hang around with everyday.  Prayer, the reading of the written word, and our meeting  God through  others are just a few of the ways in which God speaks and comes.  There are burning bushes, pillars of cloud and fire, Damascus roads, and the opening of Red Seas everywhere.  Look for them—for God comes in many and varied ways to each of us—eager to take us on in love.

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