Posts Tagged ‘life’

Christmas is over

Friday, December 26th, 2008

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is attending Midnight Mass. I’m not Roman Catholic. I think that’s one of the reasons that Midnight Mass is such a great experience fro me. It takes me out of my comfort zone (although I only missed on step in the dance this year). It forces me to think about God in new ways. Since Roman Catholic Mass is so different from the church in which I serve, it keeps me from playing the comparison game too. It allows me to focus on worshipping God without any distractions. Every year it recharges me. It refocuses me. It is one of the most important Christmas triaditions for me spiritually.

This year in particular was a great experience. The focus of the Mass was on Jesus being born in our hearts. That is beautiful language and a beautiful metaphor for Christmas. Birth is a beginning. It’s a start. It’s a genesis. That is what Christmas should be for us. Too often I feel like Christmas is an event. We read Luke chapter 2. We exchange gifts. We give a special offering to the church or our favorite charity. Then it’s over. The event has ended. For a lot of people this leads to a post Christmas low. A friend of mine on Facebook called it post-partum “Christmas blues.”

But Christmas shouldn’t be an event. It should be a starting point. It should be a chance for Jesus to be reborn in our hearts. (Don’t give me a hard time on the theology there, it’s a metaphor!) That is what Midnight Mass did for me. It was the beginning of the next season of life and of ministry for me. Christmas isn’t over. It isn’t an event that ends. It’s a starting point that leads us to a deeper relationship with God. It leads us to grow closer to him. It leads us to follow him more completely. Don’t let Christmas end for you. Make it a new beginning where you commit your life more fully to following Jesus as God and King.

I don’t want to be a pumpkin!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Preschoolers are a wealth of insight aren’t they? I had an interesting experience with my almost three-year-old daughter today. (Brenda turns 3 on the 22nd.) On our way to preschool this morning Bren was visibly upset. That’s unusual for her, because she loves preschool. I asked her what was wrong.

She told me she didn’t want to be turned into a pumpkin. We’re still trying to figure out how the idea that someone might turn her into a pumpkin entered her mind. This wasn’t a passing fancy though. When I picked her up this afternoon the idea that someone might turn her into a pumpkin was still bothering her.

As I was laying her down for be tonight, she emphatically reminded me that she wanted to be “just Brenda” she didn’t want to be a pumpkin. I, of course, reassured her that all she ever had to be was Brenda because that was who God made her to be.

That started me thinking though. How many of us would rather be pumpkins? Okay none of us aspires to be a vegetable but somewhere between 3 and 30 the desire to be “just Brenda” changes and we start desiring to be something different. For many people it’s a specific someone different. For others the difference doesn’t matter just as long as it’s different. We want someone to turn us into a pumpkin. We’re tired of being “just Brenda.”

What’s your pumpkin? For me it changes pretty regularly. Every time I go to a conference, or pick up a good book, or listen to a good podcast I find a new pumpkin. I’m one of those that has a specific pumpkin in mind and I see it all over the place.

That’s part of my problem. I see pumpkins all over the place and I wrestle with being “just Bryon.” Yet, the best thing I can be is “just Bryon” because that’s exactly what God created me to be. I’m in the process right now of wrestling through what it means to be “just Bryon.” I’m tired of looking at pumpkins and asking God to change me into one. I’m committing myself to being “just Bryon.” Being a pumpkin won’t fulfill me but being “just Bryon” can lead me to the abundant life that Jesus promised.

What about you. Have you figured out what it means to be “just you?” Are you happy being “just you” or are you trying to get someone to turn you into a pumpkin? If God wanted you to be a pumpkin he would have made you one. He made you to be you. Be “just you!” Be the best “just you” you can be!