It’s hard to know what will come out as I start typing these words. My spirit is a mess of emotions.
I can’t go back to talking about the baby Jesus in the manager as if He’s safe and cute and cuddly, instead of the King of everything. I can’t go back to talking about the Church like she’s a product to be evaluated instead of a family full of broken but blood-bought creations, treasured by the living God. I can’t go back to using the word forgiveness to describe a lack of hatred instead of a glorious love and unity.
How could I go back?
I’ve laid on the floor of a hotel hallway with my sweet friend as we prayed with tears for the salvation of those who murdered her husband and my brother. I’ve knelt on the floor of a news studio while the Spirit of God manifested Himself in her very words.
I’ve seen disputes and disagreements dissolve in the face of true need. I’ve seen a messy and broken church come together with tears and laughter and hugs and love in a way that honors God like few things I have ever seen before.
I’ve seen a man live and die for Jesus with no pre-disposed personality type or writing-on-the-wall encounter with God. He was brought to that place – not by a burning bush or a dream – but by something more sure: the day to day meditating and digging into the Bible. It may not sound romantic, but I am watching with my own eyes the power of the sword of the Spirit of God, which – make no mistake – is the Word of God.
I’ve seen that trust without borders means laying down your life; not in some metaphorical-summer-camp way, but literally laying down your life. Laying down the lives of those you love most in this world. Laying down your expectation of facing the events of this life with the people you treasure by your side.
I can’t go back to singing worship songs without fear or trembling. I can’t go back to casually throwing words heavenward oblivious to the very serious consequences of engaging in this battle. I can’t go back to a time when telling Jesus I was ‘all in‘ felt romantic or exciting.
Because this is not a joke. It is not a game.
This Gospel is not a sweet story of a cuddly baby in a manager snuggling with sheep and cattle.
That baby was born to die. We are baptized with the blood of a Savior. And servants are not above their master, and students are not above their teacher. If we follow Him, it is to death.
This Gospel is wet with the blood of my dear friend and brother.
This Christmas I will kneel. I will bow to that baby and swear allegiance, just as those three kings did all those years ago. For this God is a consuming fire. And that baby is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
It is with a trembling voice and a broken heart that I declare without hesitation that His call is worthy and His cause is worthy because my King is worthy.
To Him be all the glory.