Dear Bethel Friends:
I brought home my first foster child on an August day. She was 2 days old, weighing in at a total of 4 lbs 13 oz. There is all sorts of training that you get to be a foster parent, but little of it tells you what to do with a newborn. That said, I was an experienced aunt and long-time babysitter. I believed I was up to the challenge. Besides, she arrived on the first day of my vacation, so I knew that this was from God.
I knew enough to expect that she would turn my life upside down, and boy did she ever. She was eating 1 ¼ oz every hour and a half. The nights were long! But those sweet snuggles were the absolute best. I was home for a week and then back to work. Ella went with me to homebound visits, council meetings, and staff meetings. I carried her during sermons, while doing desk work, and walks in the neighborhood. She was all-encompassing.
While Ella’s presence turned my life upside down, it was for only 2 months. They found her biological family. She went home to a half-brother, and a dozen aunts and uncles. I had all sorts of feelings… pride that I had cared for her so well; joy that she would live in a loving community that knew the stories of her birth parents; and deep sadness to let her go. To this day, her presence was the best disruption
in my life.
We just spent this Christmas celebrating Jesus’ birth. We celebrated with trees, and beautiful decorations. We practiced traditions and we made room for each other in our lives. We told the story in as many ways as we could: through our nativity scenes, by reading scripture, and singing the songs. But now, the tree is down, as are the figures of Mary, Joseph and the baby. We can move on as if Jesus’ disruption didn’t really affect us.
The challenge with following Jesus is that he is supposed to affect us. He is supposed to change how we live because we have been touched with God’s power in the flesh. This is the season of Epiphany. This season begins with those Magi. They did something completely crazy… they followed a star, because they hoped/believed that it would lead to something/someone great. It did lead to someone great, but not who they were expecting. It lead to a baby who was not a member of the King’s family. For those magi, meeting Jesus was a disruption with political and personal safety complications. AND… It was about meeting Jesus.
We know the rest of the story. We know that Jesus will walk around with skin on, and heal, teach, forgive, perform miracles and change people’s lives. We know this story. Yet, I wonder if now that the decoration and reminders are packed away, how do we keep the disruption of Jesus to nudge us forward as followers? How can we continue the work that Jesus began, by loving others?
Those Magi, they were the first non-Jewish witnesses of Jesus. Because of them, we all know Jesus’ story. How can we live in such a way that others know too? Let's walk together and see what disruption Jesus causes in us this Epiphany season.
In God's Grace,
An epiphany of disruption: What can it mean to how you live your life?