From the DayBreaks Archive, 12/26/12:
Christmas was just yesterday. Perhaps it seems strange to speak of suffering at this time of year. But is it really all that strange? While the Christmas story itself is joyful and the angels proclaimed tidings of great joy, the shadow of the cross was always in the background even in the stable. Christmas was, for God, the beginning of the sacrifice and the beginning of suffering.
“In entering human history God shattered all previous conceptions of who God is and what man is meant to be. In the New Testament we are presented with a God who suffers crucifixion, a Supreme Being with spit on his face. What he went through in His passion and death is meant for me too; the invitation he issues is, ‘Don’t weep for Me! Join Me! The life I have planned for Christians is a Christian life, much like the life I led. I wasn’t poor so that you might be rich, I wasn’t mocked so that you might be honored. I wasn’t laughed at so that you could be lauded. I was revealing the Christian picture of man and woman, one that is meant to include you, too.’ Paul wrote to the Colossians, ‘We are meant to fill up what is wanting in the suffering of Christ.’” (Lion and Lamb, Brennan Manning)
This year has seen major changes in our lives, our families, our churches, our nation and our world. Wouldn’t it be appropriate for Christmas to be a bit different, too? Instead of being so focused on what you GOT for Christmas, why not seek a way to “fill up what is wanting in the suffering of Christ”? How? I’m sure that there are many ways that it could be done, but ask yourself this question: “If He were here today, how would he suffer for the benefit of another?” Then go do it.
Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>
Prayer for today: We need your courage, Lord, for if left to our own devices, we will always seek the path of least resistance and comfort. Let us live not just in imitation of your love and compassion and mercy, but also in imitation of your willingness to suffer for truth and for the sake of those who might even hate and reject us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.