Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ice Storm Christmas

Last evening the weather experts warned all to stay at home. Treacherous conditions. Ice slicked roads. A prelude to Armaggedon.

So, with a triumphant shrug we defied the doomsayers and drove 20 miles to Willow Creek Church and joined about 6,000 others to celebrate Christmas. Anita, John and I have made Willow Creek a holiday tradition. This year son Kevin, his wife Joanie, and my daughter Erin joined us. It made it all the nicer.

We serve, as you know, at Christ Church of Oak Brook. So, why do we go to one of the 'competitors' for Christmas? :) Easy answer. So we can worship. Sometimes it's hard for those who minister to actually worship on their home turf. Sounds funny but it's true.

So, we went to Willow and God met us there. As He will this afternoon when we 'serve' at CCOB. But sometimes you just need to go someplace where there is no responsibility and expectation. And it is there that you can listen and let yourself go and put yourself at the feet of the 'God with us'.

As we listened to the weather reports in the late afternoon yesterday we considered not going. Risking life and limb isn't always the way to go. But the pull to go was greater than the need to stay safe. That actually explains much of the life of faith. Safety and security beckons but there is a greater call to go and trust God. And so we should often find ourselves pushing away from more natural inclinations and venturing out into what might pose some risk.

We all yearn for a God who can meet us at the place of our greatest need, who can help us rise to live beyond our modest expectation, and who gives us a work to do that has meaning and requires us banding together with others. Christmas reminds us that the God we seek 'comes' and is here with us. He speaks. He acts. He calls us to Himself. Always.

It was a good day yesterday. The roads weren't nearly as hazardous as the media experts claimed. The balm for a weary soul was found in a place of wonder and worship.

In a few hours I'll assist at a Family Service at our church. People will be blessed. God will be in the house inhabiting the praises of His people. There are no ice storms in Chicago today. But there will be those who will listen to inner voices telling them that a Christmas Eve service is unnecessary and inconvenient. My prayer is that they will listen to the voice of God beckoning them to the manger to worship the King of Kings who came in the most humble, vulnerable and tiniest of packages. In the manger they will indeed find the a God of relationship who loves them. And they will be forever changed.

Merry Christmas.

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