Work is full of scenarios whereby, if some things are settled, others fall into place. If you settle on a budget and a deadline for your project, then any proposal outside of these parameters is inadmissible and options within become clearer.
We are reflecting on the announcement made to Joseph that his fiancé’s baby would be called Jesus as He will save His people from their sins. In the first two of our Advent series you have glimpsed the saving of your yesterdays and your forevers.
So let’s be clear. If your yesterdays are dealt with and your forevers are settled, you are left with a gift which arrives seven times each week throughout your life. This gift is the stuff of which your life is made. It is how you experience your world. I am talking about your today. It’s a single noun because there is only ever one ‘today’. There is also a gift designed to be unwrapped every sunrise.
Before you can unwrap it I want to suggest you do a little bit of thinking. The message we are exploring is about being saved from your sins. Sin is an ugly word which has multiple meanings. It’s about breaking laws, falling short, exercising pride and a million misdemeanours.
But this is too shallow. Sin is about absence, it’s about hiding, it’s about disconnection. It has to do with you being absent from your own life, hiding in activities and action, being disconnected from yourself and your own spirit. Sin is about you losing day after day preoccupied with worry about tomorrow or guilt about yesterday. Sin is about intense doing designed to hide from being. Sin is about gaining the world and losing your soul. It has to do with taking up a sword, a position, a salary but not taking up the cross. To be robbed of your today is the sin from which you need to be saved.
There is another way to look at today. I have hinted at that being a gift. This implies a Giver. I have mentioned that it is designed, which implies a Designer. How can you move from home-made day to a day that the Lord has made?
Just for a moment, unwrap your today. Your heart will beat 100,000 times. You will breathe over 17,000 times. You will think an uncountable number of thoughts. Your body will perform millions of actions. The sun will rise and set. You will speak thousands of words.
When you see this as a gift designed you will observe it differently. But, and here’s the but, your today will disappear unless someone saves it.
Back to the manger. If you listen carefully, this saviour Jesus is also called Emmanuel – God with us. Now your today can be saved. God with you changes each heartbeat into a gift, each breath into a present. God with you means thoughts can be characterised by gratitude, praise and mindfulness. Each task can be an act of worship. I do becomes I am and I am becomes a presence not an absence.
It is impossible to overestimate the significance of this power. It is the difference between living a life where God is acknowledged but not absorbed and a life where He is absorbed.
Your work will look a little different, your soul be no more nourished and your sense of meaning no deeper than your disinterested, disbelieving co worker, unless the Bethlehem drama plays out in every second of your today.
Your heart will beat 100,000 times today whether you recognize this truth or not, but when your today is saved you are connected to Emmanuel. Every today is transformed, not by your clever mind, but by a mind being renewed. Christmas is not you looking for God, its God looking for you. He wants you to live each today, free from the robbers but also flooded with his presence.
Such days are connected days. Such days are days of presence. Such days are celebrations of gifting and design. Such days are your days. Such days are saved days. Emmanuel, I Am, Saved – these are the days the Lord Jesus the Saviour makes.
Can you hear your heartbeat?
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
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