He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

We’ve been through two words for Advent: Peace–“on earth Peace, good will toward men”, peace with God, peace and quiet, peaceful times, “May the Peace of Christ be with you”–and Come, including all the invitations for Christmas parties & dinners, God’s invitation to us, and our invitation to Him–inviting him into your life, and looking forward to his return to earth. Those two words could even go together, as is clear in Matthew 11:28, where Jesus invites us to come to him, and he’ll give us rest (hover your mouse over the reference).

Both those words were also very evident in our church’s concert yesterday, titled “Peace”. The choir director, in explaining how he came to the theme, described his sleepless nights a little while ago, as he thought of the persecution of Christians in Iraq. Peace is truly a miracle of God in such situations.

But that reminded me of something I thought of recently, as I wondered what was meant by the verse that talks about Christ-followers experiencing “the sufferings of Christ”. Part of that could be the yearning that we begin to feel for others, as we draw closer to God–his love flowing through us. Yet, Jesus says “take my yoke upon me and learn of me”, and “my burden is easy”. How can we experience his sufferings, and still find the burden light? Simply this: when you truly love someone, you don’t even notice any hardship/suffering in doing for them, praying for them, etc. When you truly love Christ, as you do the more you “learn of him” and realize his love for YOU, doing whatever he wants is easy.

So, my word for this third week of Advent is: “Perspective”. As a few people have said, there is a lot of darkness around the first coming of Christ. There is a lot of darkness around this time of year! But (as we talked about a few posts ago), it is the darkness that makes the light so beautiful–candlelight, tree-lights, etc. Perspective.

It’s a time of year when we look back to years ago; for example, pouring over photographs of Christmases past. The perspective of time truly adds some beauty to things, doesn’t it? Whatever you’re going through or doing right now, just think how the perspective will change in years to come! We can’t even imagine how things will be, really. This is something you learn more and more as you get older.

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