Each of us has our own list of gifts for which we thank God: family and friends, each new day, work to do, the glorious autumn leaves, the cute little puppy that bounced all around me the other day – these are a few of the things that top my list right at the moment, and these are just the transitory gifts.
We’ll be entering the season of Advent soon and so this moment of Thanksgiving can be an opportunity to call to mind the greatest gift that God has given us, our savior Jesus Christ. What a gift! Jesus comes into the world to show us how to live in this world so that we might find our way back to God. And, as important as it is to do what is right, it isn’t what we do that secures eternal life for us, it is Jesus Christ, sent from the Father into this world who makes that new life possible.
Imagine living thousands of years ago among peoples who interacted with the spiritual world with amulets, believing in curses, purchasing animals to pay off their debts of sin, and coming into a personal encounter with an itinerant preacher who taught a completely different way of being. Who called them to belief in Him, who called them to walk the talk he spoke.
Here we are more than two thousand years later and I am struck by the thought that we may not be so different from those ancient people. Maybe, we are not as fundamentally superstitious still we struggle every day with forces that are beyond our control: invisible powers — political, cultural and technological — that influence and govern our lives. It is tempting to look for protection in the wrong places. Maybe our fears of aging and death cause us to seek out a ‘magical potion’ that will erase our wrinkles or acne or cure our high cholesterol. Maybe our social insecurity pushes us to purchase ‘amulets’ in the forms of expensive cars, gadgets, jewelry, etc. Maybe we even call up our own angry spirits in the form of prejudice, political, social or economic power, to afflict the people we view as our enemies.
What might the world become if each of us began to live a life that flows from gratitude for the gifts we’ve been given … if we began to use our minds to think more deeply, if we began to let our compassion drive our actions, if we opened our spirits to wonder?
What might the world become if each of us began to live a life that flows from gratitude for the gifts we’ve been given … especially the gift of Christ Jesus? What if we began to walk his talk? To walk in this new way? This is the core of what we hope to encourage here at Romans12: a lifestyle of encounter with the natural world, the intellectual world and the spiritual world.
Pack up your gifts. Ask yourself if there’s anything you need to leave behind. Consider where the true north of your compass points. Come walk with us … let’s see where the journey takes us.