When my older children were small, gifts from mom and dad would often come with the disclaimer – “some assembly required,” three words that can be loosely translated, “frustration ahead.” Christmas Eves became all-nighters, as I contended with the angst of too few screws or the uncertainty of too many, as I grappled with the apparent difficulties of translating Chinese instructions into English, and as I labored tediously through my own mechanical ineptitude.
Now, however, the work of getting parental gifts ready for use has shifted from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, as the digital world has replaced the mechanical one. I spend hours setting up accounts, reviewing permissions strategies, implementing parental controls and tightening, loosing and then tightening access again to internet sites and app stores. Then, once all the prep work is done, the gifts must be integrated into the business of living. The children and I must launch out into the brave new world of when, how, and how long you can, may and should use these gifts. This is nothing new of course. Any gift can radically change your life if you use it. But this change does not happen overnight. We have to learn how to wrap our lives around that gift.
If this is true of the consuming power of digital gifts such as a smart phone, tablet or computer, consider how much more it is true of the greatest gift we can receive – the gift of a Savior. That gift changes everything about how we live, who we are, and where we are going. When we receive Christ, we must wrap not only our minds, but our lives around Him.
The story of the coming of Christ in the Incarnation is the most dramatic story ever told. While it reaches a beautiful high point with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, there is much, much more to this story – a story that has its origins in eternity past and its implications in eternity future, a story of epic failure and dramatic rescue, a story that reveals a God who is quite different from the one our fears imagine. It is a story that engages us every day, and in every way imaginable. Consequently, when Luke writes the account of Jesus birth in his gospel, he does not simply pan out from the manger and slowly fade the story from the image of Mary pondering and treasuring in her heart. He gives two more vignettes of Jesus childhood which give deep insight into what it costs to receive Jesus into your life.
Join us this Lord’s Day, December 30, as we examine the first of these stories – the story of Jesus’ dedication in the temple and the words of Simeon and Anna as we consider what it means to wrap our lives around the gospel. We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. Click here for directions or download the order of service. Come with a friend you and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.