Invited, Welcomed, Assured.


Christmas drains me.

Trying to secure funding for food hampers, and then distributing those hampers fairly is a heavy job. There are so many stories that come with the people walking through my office doors and, after a while, the sheer volume of need takes its toll.

Christmas drains many of us if we’re honest.

It’s precisely the time we need to choose how we’re going to participate in God’s transformative plan. It will be risky, unpredictable, and dangerous. We will be tired, we will make many mistakes, we will hurt others, and we will be let down. We won’t often see or know God in the midst of the suffering within us and around us.

Choosing the risker plan — choosing to listen to God’s voice — is more like a daily discipline than a one-time declaration. We get up in the morning (sometimes after having been in bed for only an hour or two), we become paralyzed all over again watching the slaughter in Aleppo or engaging our brothers and sisters out on the streets tonight in this terrible Canadian cold. Life and death hang in the balance so closely each day, and our decisions tip those scales more than we like to believe.

Joseph could have walked away from Mary, raised his own family with another woman, and not suffered anything much beyond perhaps some initial grief or scorn.

But he didn’t.

Joseph is often overlooked in the Advent narrative; he’s kind of a stock character that is simply there. But as I reflect on the ways my decisions at work and in ministry affect the most vulnerable around me MORE than myself alone, I get perhaps a small taste of what Joseph may have gone through.

What about you?

What choices in your lives are you facing that will have a greater impact on someone else than yourself alone?

Strange space to be dwelling in, huh?

Strange place indeed.


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