Christmas Poem

To a girl of humble estate, a Son,
To the shepherd in the hills, the Pure Lamb
To a king and his power, a Challenge
To those driven by wonders, Morning Star
To the least of all towns, Emmanuel
To a nation lost, a Deliverer
To a people crying out, the Answer
To humanity in sin, Redeemer
To creation longing, a Just Savior

Today, as in every age, King of Kings
The Sun risen, with healing in its Wings
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The Depth of His Lack

The majesty and glory of Christmas is not found in a sky full of angels or strange moving stars, but in the weakness of a newborn, completely helpless in his young mother’s arms. This is God become flesh? Unable to hold his head up, crying, dirty and completely deprived economically, socially and physically. And yet this is what we celebrate during the Christmas season: not the arrival of a king in power, but a king thoroughly fragile. Not a God who storms into humanity in all his glory, but who has to rely on a very human mother and father for protection and provision.

The beauty of the Advent story in the Gospels, especially in Matthew, is that the fragile child does defeat the king in power of the region, Herod. The story is a contrasting look at the empires of Jesus and the world. And Jesus, like he always does (thank God), wins. Herod pulls all his punches, tries to deceive in order to find Jesus and kill him, murders the children of all the region in hopes of retaining his earthly power and yet the Bible declares with brilliant finality, “Herod died”, while the story of Jesus is only beginning. His birth a vibrant foreshadowing of what Jesus would do on the Cross, His sacrificial love defeating death forever and consequently the power of the kingdoms of this world. How incredible is that?

The tragedy of modern day Christmas is not that it has become so elaborate, but that it has valued the immense over the meager. It is all about big trees, big light shows, big pomp and bigger circumstance and it forgets that the spirit of the season should be a celebration, yes, but a celebration that the Savior, as a newborn at the depth of his lack, would one day conquer death. To quote an old adage, all roads lead to the Cross, not least those which begin in utter helplessness. It seems the antithesis of glory that God would subject himself to all the limitations of humanity from the very beginning but before we recoil at the thought of our Savior lying in a feeding trough at the furthest margins of society, let us not forget what the Father thought about it all when he sent his messengers to proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men”.
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Expecting in Confidence

And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written,

"Those who have never been told of him will see,
and those who have never heard will understand."

This is Paul quoting the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. I (Alex) read this the other day and it has been sitting with me ever since. At first all I knew was it resonated with me and I didn't know why. I take that back, I did know why: San Francisco is a city full of people who have never been told and have never heard about the real Christ. But what I didn't know was how exactly this verse was effecting me.

So after some prayer and searching, I sat down to hash it out in writing. Here's what I'm thinking...

Do I really believe that students in San Francisco, who have totally adapted to life without God, will not only reconsider Christ but also come to love and have relationship with Him? For some reason, it was harder for me to believe in San Francisco than in any other place I have lived.

I think back to the last year I spent in San Francisco ( I did not intern with Campus Crusade) and all the interactions I had with people that in some capacity related to Christ. At first I am amazed at the opportunities the Lord gave me to speak openly about Him, then I am moved by the willingness of my coworkers and friends to engage in the subject matter but then I come to the point where I say to myself.... "They were open to talk and reconsider Christ but what about coming to the point where they understand the impact of his death and ressurection? What about coming to the point of knowing Christ in an interactive relationship?

I realize now that sometimes I only expected conversation and openness, which seemed more under my control, but had no expectations for results. Results were up to God, I knew that and still do, and if he choose to call someone to Himself, praise God! Yet at the same time I had faint expectations of Him actually doing that last year.

Finally the weight of Romans 15:20-21 hit me: Paul quoting an Old Testament prophecy was more about his confidence and faith in the promise of God rather than his rehashing of truth.

That is my (and Josh's) desire; to have increased faith that God will do mighty works in the lives of students despite the circumstances of the city. Which is funny, because even now I am realizing God did do mighty things last year, yet how much more will God be glorified when I expect great things and then see God meet and most likely exceed those expectations, probably in ways I never even expected.

It is my aim and prayer to own this statement in confidence...

"Those who have never been told of him will see,
and those who have never heard will understand."
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Movie Review Haiku: Foxy Elves Always Get the Girl

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Animals who smoke
Are much much more clever than
Boggis, Bunce and Bean

A man dressed in tights
Who sang and was in young love
Was me in college

When Harry Met Sally
Does a world exist
Where Crystal gets Meg Ryan
No, but you can dream

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