Reflections – 2013.01

“Back to Normal” – January 2013

The Christmas season is over.  For several weeks, we have played our
part in the annual ritual – the shops seeking business, the neighbors
seeking yard ornament admirers, the grocery stores delighting in the
feast and each of us wondering what gifts we should buy, who we should
send Christmas cards to, is this the year we give in and go artificial
on that tree and so on … And of course, for those who care, there is
the heightened awareness at this time of year that salvation has come
into the world in a way that was wholly unexpected, which makes it all
the more glorious.  As a church, we caroled and cookied and considered
the baby in the manger once again.  But now we must move away from the
feast, turn our attention to the after-manger life of Christ, consider
his ministry and sufferings, His rule and reign, and our life as
believers who follow Him.   We are “back to normal.”

Decorations must give way to school and gardening and the work of life
… Jesus’ infancy must give way to His life, death, resurrection,
ascension and return … Our own life in Christ must not stay at
infancy, but must mature, grow, even flourish.

It is interesting to me that as we return to our “normal” sermon
series, that the Psalms themselves over the next few weeks (57-60) are
not on anyone’s favorite Psalms list.  There are no “Christmas feast”
songs – no Psalms that people know and recite like a favorite
Christmas carol – no Psalm 1 or 23, no Psalm 100 or the vigorous
praise of Psalm 150 … As far as I know, no one quotes them – I have
yet to be in one of our small groups and hear someone say of a
co-worker, neighbor or family member who is creating difficulty, “Let
them be like the snail that dissolves into slime” (Psalm 58:8)  They
are Psalms fit for after the holidays – when we are back to “normal” –
But those common themes of the Psalms, salvation, song, thanks, the
presence of treacherous enemies, the desire for justice, the
faithfulness of God, show themselves again and again … the “normal”
… and this is what we need – a God who doesn’t just show up at feast
time, but one who by His Spirit works in our lives day by day, hour by
hour, minute by minute, in ways that we can see the Psalmist emphasize
repeatedly, in ways that we learn to love and glory in as Christians.
So as we return to “normal”, may this be a year of rich growth as we
practice corporately and individually those “normal” post-holiday
Christian acts of worship, Scripture reading, prayer, fellowship and
sharing the Gospel with others.  And may the Lord be glorified as we
follow Him together.