THE STAGE HAS BEEN SET
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
Here we are... Christmas Eve 2020. Little did we know a year ago the craziness that we would encounter this year. If we had, we may have held a little tighter to the hugs that we will not receive this year. We may stop and breathe and take in every moment because some of us, regardless of the pandemic, did not realize that this may be the last time that we would gather with our families in this way. We walked into 2020 just like any other year with so many hopes and dreams and expectations that were to be fulfilled. Then our world's took a turn, and we were faced with the greatest struggle of our time. It was something that was worse than war or anything that we had truly encountered. All of us thought that this would all be over in a short amount of time and we hurriedly waited for someone to tell us that things could be back to normal and we could go about our regular lives. Meeting with people in public places without the confinement of a mask. We all thought that surely by Easter everything would be back to normal and we would be able to spend time celebrating how God brought us through this small and annoying glitch in our regular programming. But that never happened and after 10 months, once again the stage is set for Jesus to enter in to the world as the shining LIGHT to those that are entangled in darkness. But what is truly different about this year for you?
We have fought to try and get back to some kind of normalcy in 2020. We praised the fact that college football would be played but with a caveat. Almost no fans and the threat of every week being cancelled because of something that once again was out of our control. We praised the fact that many of us or our students got to play Fall sports like volleyball, football, and cross-country with stipulations and regulations that we never expected we would encounter but we made it through. We were able to cheer them on as if we were really stepping back into normalcy.... but the continued struggle to find a sense of a new
normal continued to weigh on our hearts and minds and we just could not understand why the doors to the church was closed but the doors to large superstores remained open. We continued to try and find ways to connect over the internet, but soon ZOOM began to give us ZOOMPHORIA and we would leave our gatherings being more disconnected and less engaged. People continued to grasp at straws and began attending services online and we finally discovered ways that the internet could be used to provide God with unlimited access to the people around the world in a millisecond... but the nuance of online church revealed something that was a bigger problem than we wanted to admit. Had the church... the place that had been such a foundational setting for so many years become irrelevant? And once again the stage was set for the battle of a lifetime.
As we enter into the eve of the birth of Christ, I can only imagine the world was in a similar state before the interruption of the norm. The world had almost given up that God would once again reveal Himself because He had been silent for over 400 years. I could only imagine that the people began to get frustrated and suffered from isolation and finally decided that it just was not going to happen. See the stage was set all the way back in the Garden of Eden for evil to control the world and cause disruption and doubt. The stage was set as soon as sin entered into the world that there would be a moment in which God would have to show His ultimate authority over His creation. The problem is we let it get so bad that God did not have another choice. Our decisions as humans was pretty detestable if you read about the way sin controlled the world. Death, destruction, and the complete distortion of the truth made us feel that we had to step into the control... but it was when we took over control that the beauty of God's creation was destroyed. The reason there was so much silence was because God was about to reveal His plan to get us out of the mess that we stepped in to with the fall of humanity in Genesis 3. It was all a plan by satan to take the one thing that God had created in His own image and manipulate it in such a way that God would have to admit that He made a mistake. But that is when everything changed. When God said, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel”, He was foreshadowing a promise that was going to provide for us the opportunity to once again be united with God. It would be a painful process, but God set the stage for FREEDOM to cry out in the voice of a child.
So I say all that to invite you to really stop and think about the scenario in our lives over the last 10 months. I know that it has been very uncertain and difficult to truly walk through this with confidence, but I just need you to know that God has once again set the stage for us to connect with Him. God has been challenging us to return to family and get away from the schedules, devices, and sins that have encapsulated our lives. We have once again stepped into a time where God is being silent, but the difference is we are shutting Him out. We have created such a barrier of noise that we are truly trying to push out the voice of reason just so we can control our future. Once again the stage is set for the Son of God to enter into the picture, and the whole world is going to celebrate a little different this year because I hope and pray that over the last 10 months, something has driven you to have a desire to rejoice. I pray that something inside of us all is drawing us back to a manger that was a tomb. A place where a child was born to die as a sacrifice so that we could live life more abundantly for GOD. I pray that we look at the world and realize that we are in desperate need again for
God to be revealed through HIS LIGHT and invade the darkness of every corner of the world. I truly believe that God has been preparing this moment for something to happen and maybe that will come to pass through the ones reading this blog today. Maybe the GOSPEL that was placed in a manger and celebrated by angels and shepherds, would once again find relevance in the world that has claimed not to know Him because of our inability to let go of the control we have and the lives we have and surrender it all to Jesus. The stage is set and I hope and pray that you are ready to engage with the LIGHT of the world. NO ONE... and I mean NO ONE can make that decision for you. William Shakespeare said, "All the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players", a line that is taken from an ancient Roman poet Juvenal. It helps me to see the truth behind that fact that God set His creation, the Earth, as a stage for the greatest turn in history to be revealed. And now all of the men and women God created are playing out a role that either shares the LIGHT to the world or attempts to snuff it out. Are we ready to have a true encounter that will change our role forever.... If so, the stage is set and the story is about to unfold.