Thursday Dec. 5
Scripture: Psalm 27:13-14
The rise of Christianity is perhaps the most inexplicable sociological phenomenon in history. How did the largest religious movement ever arise out of a small number of generally uneducated disciples without access to significant amounts of wealth?
A virgin birth is certainly a miraculous story which would have resonated with both Jews looking for a Messiah and Romans whose Emperors often claimed to be divine and born of a virgin, but a virgin birth alone cannot explain the power of Jesus’ influence on the world. The resurrection, the event on which Christianity is based, certainly was unprecedented, wholly unexpectedly, and completely unexplainable by natural means. Yet, from a sociological perspective, even if the resurrection is true, one would not expect so many people who did not witness it for themselves to come to believe it. There must be something more going on here.
We believe the something more is the presence of Jesus working in the hearts of his followers through the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a lot of scholarly debate about the historical Jesus who was. However, from the beginning Christianity has not just been about the Jesus who was, but also the Jesus who is. The Jesus who is still alive. The Jesus who is still at work.
If Jesus really was Lord at his birth as the timeless carol Silent Night proclaims, then Jesus is also Lord today and present with us today. If Mary and Joseph really beheld God in the flesh when they looked into the face of their newborn son long ago in Bethlehem, then we should really be able to experience Jesus’ presence here and now.
Psalm 27:13-14 says “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
How do you see Jesus at work in your life today? How do you see Jesus at work in the world? Have you given up on seeing Jesus here and now in the “land of the living”? What would it mean for you to expectantly and patiently “wait for the Lord” to show up in your life?
Prayer: Precious Lord, teach me to wait for you when I cannot feel you near, to keep looking for you when I cannot see, and to keep listening for you when I cannot hear. Make my eyes sensitive to your appearing, my ears attuned to the whispers of your Spirit, and my heart alert to your presence. And in time when my eyes catch a glimpse of you, when my ears hear your voice, and when my heart finds its rests in you, then let my mouth shout your praise and my deeds make known your matchless love. Amen.