Beautiful Beginnings

Last week the world celebrated the birth of Jesus. Our thoughts were on the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the new parents, and the perfect child laying in a manger. The thrill of hope had made its way to all mankind and it was beautiful.

As we enter a new year, let’s continue to think about the Christ but don’t leave him in the manger.

Let’s set our minds on:

– How he sat with the wise in the temple when he was a boy, already knowing that being about his Father’s business was where he belonged.

– Those he surrounded himself with daily; the faithful twelve, the many disciples, the broken men and women who followed his every move.

– The Samaritan woman, so ashamed of her life choices she went to the well in the heat of the day not knowing she was about to meet her rescuer.

– The wealthy official who knew Jesus was the only hope his child had of living.

– The leper who fell at his feet and cried, “If you are willing, you can help me.”

– The woman who had struggled with sickness for twelve years but thought, “If only I can touch his clothing.”

– The hated tax collector who climbed up into a tree and found, not only a redeemer, but a friend.

– The blind who could see, the lame who could walk, and the dead who sat up and took another breath.

– The cross and the tear streaked faces of those he loved.

– The shock at the tomb when the angel told the women, “He is risen.”

Celebrating the baby in the manger is easy. Worshipping the King who calls us to seek out and serve others and to love them as he loved us will move us out of our comfort zone. While that is often difficult, it is imperative for that reminds us of who we are and to whom we belong.

True love began in Bethlehem, walked our dusty streets, gave himself to die, was raised on the third day, and lives in the hearts of all those who follow him. He excelled at giving new starts to the grieving, broken, outcast, oppressed, misfits, and mistreated and expects his people to continue his mission.

In this new year, may we take every opportunity to love our neighbors in the name of Jesus. Every person deserves a new beginning.

Happy New Year!