Christ Among Us

John 1:14

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (NLT).

The most meaningful thing we can do for someone is to walk alongside them in life. Whether they are celebrating their most remarkable achievement or suffering through their most challenging trial, our presence makes a difference. The most powerful bonds come into being when we live out our stories in unison with one another.  

As we approach Christmas, I wanted to end the year by reminding you of one of the central stories of our faith: God came down to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He lived among us, experiencing life as we do and leading by example in everything. He walked alongside us, showing us what it means to live. It boggles the mind to comprehend the depth of meaning in this truth, but we will explore it together. 

Jesus Was Fully Human

Jesus didn’t just show up as God cloaked in human form: He was human in every way. He developed in Mary’s womb and was born, growing through childhood into an adult. He experienced every stage of life that we do. Jesus grew up as a child with His parents and then worked His father’s trade as a carpenter before stepping into His ultimate role in ministry. We can find hope in Jesus because He faced the same struggles in life that we do and overcame them: “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NLT).

We can find hope in Jesus because He faced the same struggles in life that we do and overcame them.

Jesus Perfected Humanity

Acts 1:11 reads, “Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday He will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go!” (NLT). When Jesus rose from the dead, He didn’t discard His humanity. Yes, His resurrected body is unique, but He is still human. In overcoming sin and death, Jesus perfected humanity, elevating it as He ascended into heaven. When we trust in Jesus, He cleanses the humanity in us from the sin that taints it.

Jesus Will Come Again 

We celebrate Christmas as a remembrance of Jesus’ arrival into the world. Our understanding of the season must not end there, though, as Christ will come again. What we celebrate is not only in the past but also in the future. In light of this, it is not only a season of celebration but also of preparation. Will you be ready when Jesus returns? 

I pray that each of you experiences all of the joy and peace that this season brings. Hold close the mystery and beauty of God’s truth, and devote time to living in the love of those you hold most dear. Celebrate Christ with family and friends, rejoicing in His salvation and preparing for His return. 

This blog will return at the dawn of the new year. Thank you to everyone who has made this initial year such a success! I am grateful beyond measure. 

May God’s peace reign in your hearts always! 

Why is Advent Important?

This week began the season of Advent, the celebration of the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Different churches celebrate Advent in a variety of ways. You may also have a personal way in which you honor God during this time. There is no one tried and true way to live out this season, but it can be an impactful time of preparation, reflection, and spiritual rebirth. 

It is an old tradition within our faith, but one of powerful significance. There are layers of meaning beneath what it appears to be on the surface. The time of Advent is a season of preparation and anticipation for Jesus’ entry into the world. The word “advent” means “coming” in Latin. 

What we typically see as a remembrance of Jesus’ birth actually has a threefold meaning. What are these three meanings found in this season?

Celebrating Jesus’ Birth

This meaning is the most obvious. Advent is a Christian celebration of the Christmas season lived out through intentional worship practices. There are many ways that Christians live this out in practice, but the idea is the same. One of the most widely spread traditions is the Christmas tree. It is set-up on the first day of Advent as a visual reminder and celebration of the season for many people of faith. 

Remembering Jesus’ Impact on our Lives

Advent can also be an excellent time to reflect on Jesus’ arrival in our lives personally. As Christians, we all have a story of when we came to faith in Christ. Just like Jesus’ entry into the world was the defining moment of human history, His arrival into our hearts was likely the most impactful of our life. Let this season also serve as a reminder of that moment.

Just like Jesus’ entry into the world was the defining moment of human history, His arrival into our hearts was likely the most impactful of our life.

Anticipating Jesus’ Return 

The third and perhaps most relevant meaning of Advent is the hopeful anticipation of Jesus’ return. The Biblical story has not come to its conclusion. Jesus died for our sins, was resurrected, and has ascended, but He will return once more. Acts 1:11 reads, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (NIV). Advent is also a season to humbly prepare for the time when Christ returns to usher in God’s future Kingdom once and for all. 

This Advent season, consider everything this time represents and use it as motivation to deepen your faith. During your time living out your regular holiday traditions, remember Jesus’ presence in your life and the real meaning behind everything that you are doing. Also, take the time to further a spiritual discipline in your life, whether it be Bible reading, prayer, fasting, etc. Advent is the perfect time to recommit to your faith, striving towards a deeper relationship with Jesus!

Identity in Christ

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (NIV).

I always struggled with my self-identity when I was younger. The person who I felt on the inside was not who I was on the outside. I was unbearably shy and socially awkward, but on the inside, my soul was ablaze. I never knew how to express the passion that I had inside. This disconnect was what left me feeling confused about myself. 

I tried to express it through music. It helped a great deal through different parts of my life. Ultimately, it wasn’t my answer. Writing has been an even bigger ally on my journey of self-discovery. As an extreme introvert in a world dominated by extroverts, I used to feel weak. But the power of putting words on paper made me feel strong. The pen was the magic wand that allowed me to express what was going on inside. 

Still, it wasn’t the key to my full realization. It was within the pages of God’s Word that I discovered who I am. Through it, I saw how I fit into the world around me. God helped me rediscover my old interests and repurpose them in a way that made them bring value to my life again. Reading the Bible felt like coming home. 

It was within the pages of God’s Word that I discovered who I am.

Strange as it is, it still does no matter how many times I read it. I learn something new every time I open its pages. Not only about myself, but about the world I interact with daily. God’s voice fills my soul with value and self-worth. He teaches me how my passions in life fit into the bigger picture. Through Him, all is clear.

There are powerful words to be found in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (NIV)The tangled mess of emotions that made up the old me is gone. In its place, God has pieced together the original design that He had for me. I am new. 

God loves us the way that we are, but He desires even better for us. He wants to guide us from where we are to something more profound. God placed a multitude of desires in our hearts to lead us in experiencing all that His wondrous Creation has to offer. We are each molded uniquely by His hand so that we can see these adventures through our own special outlook. 

Follow the path God lays before you. On the journey, you will encounter a version of yourself that you’ve never known before.