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Lectio: Luke 3.1-6

December 1, 2009

“The word of the Lord came to John…”

This passage opens with some very interesting and helpful information that frames the opening of the gospel in its historical context. It tells us that the events we’re preparing to read about happened in a real place, at a real time in history. Those things helpful and fun as they are to explore didn’t capture my attention this morning as much as that simple phrase, “The word of the Lord came to John…”

During this season of my life as I’m stepping back from nearly all leadership responsibilities in my local church (A sabbatical season) I’m learning quickly that the best in life is given not earned and even when I am tempted to think that things are going well because of my brilliance or effort I am wrong.

“The word of the Lord came to John…” He was looking for it necessarily. He wasn’t striving for it. He for sure wasn’t initiating it. It came as all good things do: as a gift.

“For God so loved the world that he gave….” (John 3.16) It is in God’s nature to give and it is our place to receive. We are not the initiators or the inventors of our identities or destinies. We are designed to be receptors of God’s life coming to us. Now that doesn’t mean we are passive or have no part to play. We do. But passivity is not my temptation most often. My temptation is to take on too much (things are not being given to me) or take credit for (or attempt control of) things that are purely gifts.

Ponder this: Advent and Christmas are about being receptive and open to God’s activity in our life. What is he doing in your life in this season? How can you receive it with joy and gratitude?

+++ Lord, even when I think things are happening all around me because of my own smarts or effort I know deep down that I am nothing more than a man that has been lavished with great gifts that I have not earned nor deserved. In more honest moments I know that all good things come from your hand and the best I can do is simply welcome them into my life and share whatever is given with the same abandon and generosity that you have shown me. Help me to do just that. Amen. +++

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