Just looking at all the activities that are already starting to crowd the blocks on our church calendar for the next couple of months, it is obvious we are beginning the “busy, happy season” of the year. A season of joy… but not for everyone… and sometimes the hectic pace can sidetrack or interrupt the deep Christmas peace and joy we are longing to find. I suggest, as we take the deep breath and plunge into the end-of-year ride, that we look for balance in our activities and keep our focus on the real reasons for the seasons of Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas. I think God had our situation in mind when he had the Apostle Paul pen the first chapter of Ephesians. I read it recently in The Message and the colorful, descriptive language encourages me with the power of hope renewed – God had us in mind!
How blessed is God! And what a blessing He is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in Him. Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son. (Eph 1:3-4)
At times during the holidays you can wonder “what’s the point?” and Ephesians 1:11-12 encourage us to keep our focus on the real point:
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone. (Eph 1:11-12)
When I think of Sterling UMC, I can’t help but think of love outpoured in kind deeds to others in the church and to those in need. Verses 15-19 of Ephesians 1 echo how thankful I feel when I see this. I know that giving and giving and giving some more can get exhausting since we are, after all, only human. This section of scripture reminds us to take time to discern exactly what His call is for us to be doing (and maybe not doing) and let God work in our lives and give us His boundless energy and strength.
Ephesians chapter 1 closes with the image of energy that we can expect to infuse us from Christ, the head of the Church – which we are a part of – and so have the privilege of being the hands and feet and presence of Christ to those He puts around us.
All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. (Eph 1:20-21)
I recommend reading Ephesians 1 as a way to recharge our battery as we approach the holidays. Let us be intentional in our living as we walk with Him through the end of this year together.
Love in Christ,
SUMC Communications Assistant